To Kindle or Not To Kindle.
I used to be proudly anti-kindle-or-any-kind-of-e-reader. I used to be disgusted by the very notion. I am a book girl, to the death. I like pretty covers and I like the way books look all lined up on my shelf and I like how I can buy lots of pretty editions of my favourites (hence my numerous copies of Alice) I like the feel and the look and the smell and the whole experience that you get from a book and I couldn’t see how you could even begin to get that from an e-reader. To be honest, I still can’t. I didn’t like what I thought e-readers would do the already fragile publishing industry, or how struggling writers would earn even less of a crust if everybody started buying heavily price slashed e-books. To put it simply, E-Readers always felt wrong to me. I was totally against them on principle. I just didn’t like them.
& then I went on holiday and I had to leave half my clothes behind so that I could take ten books with me and not get penalised for my case being overweight. & then I realised that all the bookshelves in my house were full and that actually there isn’t really room to squeeze in another one. & then I realised that if I kept on buying books and piling them up all over my house like some kind of crazy book lady I would find myself having to choose between said books, and my boyfriend.
& then my Granny got a Kindle. I shouldn't have been surprised, she's the Queen of gadgets after all, but somehow I felt betrayed. My love of books comes from her. It comes from the books she's bought me and the books she's read to me, from her floor to ceiling bookshelves where I'd find books handed down to her through generations and here she is with a Kindle and a big grin. & yes, I did tell her that I thought she had gone over to the dark side, but then she made me look at it and as I sat and played with hers on Christmas Day, I began to be able to see the appeal.
She told me how she can download all the classics for free, how there's hundreds, maybe thousands of out of print books that she's never been able to get hold of, that she can get for the Kindle, for free and how there was a book she'd won in Sunday School when she was a girl and had loved and lost and never found anywhere that she's downloaded to her Kindle & then my Mum got one, and I played a little more and I imagined a world where I could buy all the books I wanted and never run out of space; a world where I could take as many pairs of flip-flops on holiday as I wanted because my 10 books, hell my 100 books if that’s what I wanted, would weigh nothing; I imagined a world where I had the choice – to snuggle up with an old favourite, a book I knew and loved in paper form or whether to explore something new on the Kindle.
And you know what else? The screen is really nice. It's not like a computer screen at all. There's no glare, no light and the type is nice and it's clear and easy to read and there's not much delay when you turn a page and as much as it pains me to say it, I think I might be converted. I like the idea of lightweight travelling, and I like the idea of taking one to work and being able to read without my book getting creased in my bag. Like my Granny says, having a Kindle doesn't mean she doesn't love books anymore, or that she'll never again read a paperback but it's nice to have a choice......
I now have a Kindle fund and everything, but still the key word is might. I might be converted. I’m not sure. A big part of me feels like I’m being disloyal to the paper books I love so much, and maybe a little disloyal to myself. I wonder whether I’d use it once the novelty wore off, and whether reading off a screen is really as enjoyable as the e-reader devotees say it is. I wonder whether I’m just buying into the gadget craze. I wonder whether it’s ever going to be as enjoyable reading the Kindle as it is reading a book, is the experience ever going to match up? & if it’s not, then what’s the point?
To Kindle, or Not To Kindle.