I was surprised when I received a Kindle for Christmas. But even more surprising was that I liked it. I appreciated it’s simplicity.
Given that I’m a bibliophile, people are surprised that I didn’t already own an e-reader. With an e-reader I can possess a ridiculous amount of books in one little device.
The Weekly Writing Challenge posed the question: if you were a bibliophile, wouldn’t you love the ease of carrying around hundreds of books in a small device?
For me the answer is no. Rarely do I want to carry around hundreds of books with me, just one.
Carrying around an iPod with thousands of songs on it makes sense. I don’t know what music I might want to listen to on a bus ride home from work.
But if I’m on a bus reading a book, I will only read whatever book I’m reading at the time. Why would I carry around novels I read two years ago?
I take great pleasure in holding a physical book in my hands. It’s more than just a love of reading. There is a love of the physical object itself and the form it takes. It comforts me that they fill my home.
True to my bibliophile nature there are bookshelves in almost every room in my house. When I answered the poll for the Daily Post Challenge there was no question that I prefer paperback books to e-books.
E-books cannot fill that sacred space. A thin, electronic device doesn’t evoke the same comfort as a bookshelf.
But I now own an e-reader, so why not try it? I was eager to experience it for myself and understand the other side of the argument.
The first book I read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower. There was something comfortable about reading this simple book on a simple device.
Then there are the ten pound tomes I pick up from time to time. Game of Thrones series? Going on the e-reader.
But I think the biggest advantage will be the accessibility of magazines. On any given month I may pick up Harper’s, The Atlantic, or the New Yorker. Downloading issues on the Kindle will broaden what I read without building up the clutter.
Two of my nephews received Kindle’s for Christmas as well. As the aunt who always buys them a stack of books as gifts, I find myself wondering what their experience will be. Twenty years from now when they are asked this question, will they be devoted to their e-reader, or will they still have a love for the book?
Among us bibliophiles there is a fear that the book as an object will one day be extinct. When I thought about my nephews with their Kindles, I understood that their was a place for both.
People will use whichever form they need to read. If it takes an e-reader for my nephews to read, then so be it. But you know, whenever I go to Powell’s I’m still standing in a line of people who are all buying books.