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Friday, January 6, 2012

Kindle versus "real" Books

If you know me, you know I am a voracious reader.


I mean it.

I know a lot of people who say they "read."

I usually ask what they've read lately-- because I'm always into reading something new and different.

When they say "I read yada yada a few months ago..."  I stop listening.

Or when people ask me about joining the book group that I'm in, I ask "How many books did you read last month?"

If their eyes get BIG and they are stunned that we meet every month and read a book, I just make up some vague excuse about how we're "full."

Everyone in the book group is a voracious reader.  We all read the monthly book and then a few more.

Books are my crack.

My husband knows this.  He asked me if I wanted a Kindle a few years ago.  They were $500.  That buys a LOT of books.  Plus, I am a purist.  I didn't want to give up my books.  Well, Christmas of 2010, they had dropped to $129.  I told him go ahead.  If I didn't like it, I would give it my kids (both avid- not quite voracious yet- readers).

I did not like it.  It reminded me of my blackberry and I felt like I should be working.  Between the computer, my blackberry for work, my Android-- I was teched out, so to speak.

My 76 year old client a few weeks later, was asking me what I was reading.  We started talking about my new Kindle.  She LOVED her Kindle.  She has no idea how to use a computer and yet here she was, embracing technology.  She gave me some tips--

First, she said, you have to adjust the font type to something you like.  Then, adjust the font size.  Then the spacing.  And she suggested that I buy a cover with a book light on it.  She said it would feel more like a book.


I found out that I am a sans serif kind of girl.  I like a little bigger font and a little more space when I read.  Those reading glasses I was considering?  Put on the back burner for now.

I traveled for business quite a bit last year and it was great to have it with me-- with the exception of short flights.  Since it's an "electronic device" I couldn't use it during take-off's and landings.  That sorta sucks.

I love that I can download any book any time.  I can even check books out from the library.

So, with that said, I asked to be upgraded to the Kindle Fire for Christmas this year.  I wanted it to do a little more-- you know, so I could waste even MORE time on Facebook--- anyhow, while I love everything my Fire does, I have to say, I prefer the older ink based model for reading.  It's just easier on my eyes.

There I go again, hanging on to the past.

What I do like about having 2 now, is that I can keep one upstairs on my nightstand and the other downstairs.  If I connect to the wireless before I turn it off, I can sync where I am on one device, and open up to the where I left off on the other.

How freaking cool is that???

And here's the funny thing-- I still have a few books I need to finish.  And me, the lover of all things book, the purist, now hates to read "real" books- they seem so heavy and cumbersome.  Talk about a conversion of spirit.

With that said, it still saddens me a little.  I like my book shelves lined with books.  I tend to give away books and this makes it harder.  I wonder what libraries will look like in the future-- I spent the large portion of my childhood in the stacks of our county library.  Will my grandchildren know that amazing smell?  Will textbooks go electronic?  Will the slate tablets of the past be replaced with tablet computers?  Will it make it easy for me to self publish?  Will it result in a lot of amateur writers clogging the shelves with self-published books?

E-readers have been around for quite some time now.  They have clearly taken off this year more than ever.  Kinda like how a few people had cell phones 10 years ago, and now everyone has one.  Even second graders.  It's a transition period, most definitely.  Amazon has figured it out- it now costs more for e-copies than paperbacks.

So part of me feels guilty for embracing this new technology and possibly adding to the end of a very wonderful part of my own personal history.  The other part is happy to have access to unlimited titles, flexibility, portability and a whole world of knowledge and stories to explore.

In the end, I am simply a voracious reader.  I will take my crack any way I can get it.

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