It was my fortieth birthday recently and one of my oldest friends brought me a Kindle. Wow, a genuine real life Kindle! I was really pleased with his generosity however, just one week earlier I’d shouted ‘Judas’ at my PC when I received a Waterstone’s newsletter explaining how they’d now be stocking Kindles and Kindle-related products in-store.
I un-wrapped the box and felt the sleek and smooth linear design; could this sexy little screen ever replace my beloved paper versions?
To be honest, I’m unconvinced but in an attempt to weigh up the pros and cons for anyone who is contemplating purchasing or requesting a Kindle in the not too distant future here’s my pro’s and con’s list below.
Firstly, the pros of owning a Kindle…
They maybe small and able to fit in the palm of your hand but these compact libraries can hold over a thousand titles which can be viewed at the touch of a button. From encyclopaedias to phrase books, imagine the possibilities to learn on the go! This is a huge plus point for the Kindle as the amount of information available to users vastly outweighs what you can hold in a similar sized book.
Thanks to the Kindle’s storage capabilities there’s no need to fill shelves, book cases and cupboards anymore as your entire reading collection can now fit into a box smaller than a packet of Shreddies. Imagine how easy it would be to pack up your ‘books’ when moving house: no more heavy boxes, aching backs or lack of space, the Kindle is an obvious winner in the efficiency department.
In conjunction with Amazon Prime, Kindle users are able to take advantage of a free lending library that presents over 145,000 titles that can be downloaded at the touch of a button. What’s more, downloading e-books costs a fraction of the normal price and e-books are often free. Kindle may cost a little bit to get you started but after that there’s no way that you’ll spend more than buying paper alternatives.
Depending on your age, style and attitude, the Kindle does look relatively ‘cool’, I mean, what’s not to like about a smooth operator that doesn’t take up much space and provides more than just one talking point when left on the coffee table? This is the modern world and, like it or not, technology is King and thanks to its sleek design, the Kindle is riding high on the wave of ‘what’s hot’.
And so, to books…
Yes, they take up space but surely that’s the point! Books are art. They have decorative sleeves and spines which make them a feature of any room. Books are an expression of a home and of the people who live there. And from browsing through a stranger’s collection to organising your own personal library, what you have and how you display your choices says a lot about who you are.
There’s nothing nicer than sharing with a friend and what better way to say I read this and thought of you than lending a book? Well-thumbed and occasionally dog-eared, just the knowledge that you’re leafing through pages that have been read before, all add up to a very personal offering between like-minded people. Also, a little note inside a cover personalises like nothing else.
Yes, you’ve misplaced that book or, even worse, your ‘so-called’ friend has lost it after you lovingly lent it to them but, it can be replaced. Buying on-line is cheaper than buying at the store but you’ve got it back within 24hrs and with its own personal story attached i.e. ‘this was the book that I bought to replace the book that my ‘so-called’ best friend lost when I lent it to her on our cycling holidays’.
Kindles feel soft and smooth but books, especially when they’re old and well-loved, just have that tangible quality that says ‘I’m yours now, be gentle with me’. I remember carefully holding together a copy of Zorba the Greek that had been passed around a group of friends. It had been read by the swimming pool while we were on our family safari holidays and got wet but it just felt like I was in possession of a little piece of literary history and once I’d got the pages in numerical order I realised that I really was.
Basically, as with anything, you’re free to make up your own mind however, as Amazon has now cited that e-sales have overtaken paperback book sales, love them or hate them, it looks like Kindles are here to stay.
Biog: Chris has now owned a Kindle for two whole weeks and has still yet to read it however, with cycling holidays coming up thoughts of saving space in his panniers may change his mind.