I, very luckily, received a Kindle for my birthday.
Having long been fascinated and slightly distrusting of them (as I am with most things before becoming an enthusiastic late adopter), I began to see their appeal when I went on holiday with my mum and Joyce and their Kindles. Particularly now that I take the train to work and have a few holidays planned, I can totally see that they are very useful as well as being rather brilliant. I probably would not have taken the plunge myself, so am doubly grateful that my mum bought it for me for my birthday. (She also bought me my first iPod a few years ago, and obviously now I can’t believe I lasted so long on a Walkman.)
And I have found, very quickly, that I love my Kindle. They are light, convenient, nice to read, and rather ingenious. I have already discovered that it’s a bit too easy to buy things for them – it’s filling up already.
The only conundrum remaining is how to combine this with my loyalty to (and love of) printed books. The idea of physical books dying out makes me sad just as I am enthusiastically downloading them in virtual form to my Kindle. I have a lovely independent local bookshop that I like to support. I enjoy having a well-stocked bookshelf. I don’t want reading to become solely another screen to stare at.
I think I can combine the two, and I’m kind of looking forward to figuring out ways to do it. I have an iPod, after all, yet still buy a lot of physical records. I’m going to try to look at my Kindle in the same way.
As a prolific book buyer, the books I buy generally fall into two categories: the ones I truly love (classics, new novels by my favourite writers), which I look forward to and pre-order and savour and keep forever to go back to again and again; and the throwaway ones, the impulse purchases, the mid-range literary novels that won’t stick in my head, the comedies and thrillers that I will give away to friends after one reading. I cannot envisage a time when I won’t want a physical copy of the first category, but the second category are perfect for downloading rather than cluttering up my flat and then waiting months in bags to be hauled to the charity shop.
In fact, I’m hoping that if anything it will make me buy more books and support the publishing industry even more – allowing me to be a bit more adventurous in my purchases and caring less if they aren’t great, then maybe buying both the download and the physical book if they are great. I want to do all I can to help an industry I love, and I am passionate about trying to buy local and preserve jobs in my community – I really don’t want to contribute to anything that will mean the opposite of that. I hope I can contribute even more – one of my first purchases was a book by a friend of mine that is only available electronically.
I still go to my local record shop and rent DVDs from the local video shop, despite iTunes and The Internet. There’s got to be a way to do both, right? There’s got to be a best of both worlds?
Wish me luck in not becoming lazy and complacent – let me know if I do. Any tips for using the Kindle mindfully would be gratefully received.