Despite my protestations that I didn’t want one, my husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas. He – gadget-obsessed – thought that I – book-obsessed – would love it. In many ways he was right, but it’s been a turbulent, love-hate relationship.
Things I love about my Kindle:
1. You only need one hand to hold it and turn the ‘pages’ so it’s ideal for reading:
a. on the tube (avoiding the embarrassment of falling onto a fellow commuter as you let go of the hand rail to turn the page of a ‘real’ book)
b. while holding a baby on your lap (on a plane journey for example).
c. while lying down (in bed or on a sun lounger for example).
2. It’s so easy to buy books – one click and you’re away – and you can download sample chapters for free so you can try before you buy.
3. I have definitely been reading more since I got it, probably as a combination of both points above.
Things I hate about my Kindle
1. The perpetual guilt about contributing to the demise of real books and bookshops.
2. The poor shopping experience. Yes it’s great to buy with one click but the actual experience of browsing for a great new book to read isn’t great. I’m not a big fan of the Amazon website for buying books anyway, it’s ok if you know what you’re looking for and yes sometimes it can offer decent recommendations, but nothing beats browsing in an actual bookshop, looking at the front covers (because yes you can judge a book by its cover), reading the back covers and flicking through the content. Points 1 + 2 = vicious circle. Also, not everything is available as an ebook yet so you aren’t even able to browse the full
3. It’s flimsy as f**k! Despite having a protective cover and treating it with reasonable care, my Kindle has already broken once (admittedly it was swiftly replaced by Amazon) and I thought it had broken a second time while we were on the outward plane journey for our recent holiday. I had nothing to read for the latter part of the journey and had to wait until we got internet access in the hotel where my husband accessed the manual online. (Thankfully he got it going again after doing an elaborate version of the failsafe IT advice of switching it off and turning it back on again!).
On reflection I think the answer is balance. While the Kindle has its benefits I don’t think it will or should ever replace my real bookshelf, nor the Kindle store my local bookshop and library.