It’s nearly Christmas and like a lot of us, I am thinking about my wishlist.
I was talking to my Book Club about the new Kindle and whether it was a good decision to buy or not. At only £89, it’s mighty tempting. One of our friends was raving about hers but I wasn’t convinced. This might be surprising to some. I am a tech-savvy person. I enjoy gadgets. But, when it comes to books, I am reluctant to move to electronic versions.
Here are my reasons:
- I am constantly connected to electronic devices, whether its my desktop or iPhone. I am probably looking at one form of a screen or another for the majority of my waking time. When I read a book, I want it to be different. Books are my down-time, my escape. Continuing to read on a screen just seems like a continuation of my working day rather than a leisure activity.
- I love the feel of a paper book. I like holding it in my hand. I like the feel of turning the pages and using a favourite bookmark. I like seeing the cover artwork whenever I look at my books.
- I just don’t think an electronic device… ANY electronic device (sorry Apple, you know I love you) can compare to the experience of reading a traditional paper book.
- Not all books are available on Kindle.
Here are the buts:
- Electronic devices are a greener option. Are they? Yes, they save trees, but what about:
- the materials used to make the device
- the electricity
- the manpower
- the working conditions
- the money and resources it takes to ship the products
(You know, the ‘Carbon Footprint’?) Has anyone done a comparison of Carbon Footprint of a traditional book vs an electronic reader? I don’t know, but I’d like to.
- You can search and download a new book any time on an electronic device, including borrowing from an online library. (To get a new paper book, you have to physically go to a bookstore, library, or buy one online and wait for it to be delivered.)
- The Kindle holds 1400 books. I have several hundred books, but to have 1400 paper books available to me, I would need to buy a new house!
- Kindle books cost less than traditional paper books.
- Kindle books can be read on any electronic device I own.
So, on paper, it looks like the Kindle wins hands down…That being the case, why am I still reluctant? Why am I finding it so hard to ‘move on with the times’? Maybe it’s because I’m a writer and abandoning paper books seems like turning my back on my roots. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to see paper books become extinct. Like so many art forms, bookmaking seems to be a dying breed. I don’t want that. I feel like Meg Ryan in ‘You’ve Got Mail’- the owner of a small independent bookstore (which I happen to absolutely love over big, commercial chains) fighting against the wheels of ‘progress’. My children have at least 100 books between them and they love them. I want them to continue that love and respect for physical books. I want them to know that not everything in life is electronic. I guess I’m just a purist in this respect.
I don’t know whether or not Father Christmas will be leaving a shiny, new Kindle under our Christmas tree…check back to see how the story ends.
In the mean time, leave me a comment. Have you made the switch to electronic readers? Are you against them? Help me decide what to do!