Monday, December 20, 2010

I Got a Kindle. Am I Sellout?

For the past month, the hubby has been talking to me about the Kindle. “Don’t you think you’d like one of those?” Books are cheaper, it’s easier to carry, yadda yadda yadda. I always said no. I like my books. I like seeing the covers. I like turning the pages. Mostly, I like the community of sharing books with friends like Willikat and CMS and my mom and mother-in-law. Plus, as a devoted reader (and a magazine editor), I want to support the publishing industry as much as I possibly can.

[Note: However, when my hubby, the music lover, couldn’t quite get on board with iTunes right away and kept purchasing CDs to show his support, I was on him about all the space they take up (!) and how much easier and cheaper iTunes was. Same argument, different genre. A tad hypocritical?]

Well, I got a Kindle for my birthday. It was a very generous gift from my MIL; she was super excited to buy it for me, and even though Jon told her I didn’t want one, when she asked a second time, he told her to go for it. I was very surprised by the gift. As we were on the way to our birthday dinner, Jon asked me if I really liked it. I told him I thought it was cool, it’s convenient, the books are cheaper…but it will take me awhile not to feel like a sellout. The publishing industry is my world; am I betraying it by reading books like this? Even my boss, who does everything via iPad, has yet to purchase a real electronic book.

However, it is very easy to read on. I don’t have books on there yet, but I’ve been reading the user’s manual and the e-paper is pretty cool. Plus, the books are like 50 percent cheaper, which in tough economic times, that means a lot. And, as a friend pointed out, I don’t have to read all books this way.

I’m going to keep it, because it was a lovely gift from someone who cares about me a lot. And I don’t remember the last time I received (or treated myself to) something this extravagant. (I use the free cell phone from our plan and a hand-me-down iPod; I don’t have my own computer.) And it’s not like I won’t use it. I’ll just use it while having an internal struggle and a bit of book-lover's guilt. All the while still reading physical books, too, and sharing those with my friends.

So, am I a sellout? I’ll keep you posted on my thoughts on the Kindle.


Ellie said...

I agree, tough decision. My problem is mainly that I haven't used one enough to know if I'd be able to comfortably read on an e-reader. Great for portability and travel, but like you I'd miss the cover and sharing with friends (which I do a lot). I haven't found an e-reader that has everything I'd want anyway. I like the Nook for the touch screen (hate that the Kindle has a keyboard that takes up space) but the Kindle's new eink is appealing for readability. I also like the idea of the iPad as an e-reader, just cause it would be nice to have an all-in-one, but not sure that screen is great for books. So, I'm just gonna wait and see.

A. said...

I suppose that's where I lucked out then. The decision was made for me! But all those concerns are valid, too. I guess, as long as I can just read, then I'll be fine with what I got.

willikat said...

I feel very meh about the Kindle. I was surprised by my Bro-in-law's Nook and how easy it was to read, and I want to Save the Trees and all of that...but I still feel as though I will miss the tactile experience of a book. However, I think I'm ready to fully convert to digital music. I don't have time to read liner notes these days anyway. I'll try not to call you a sellout. ;)

Charley said...

I like your idea of trying to balance your Kindle use with reading physical books. I understand the benefits of e-readers, but I also think there are many benefits to supporting your community by shopping locally and visiting your local library. I think - I hope! - that it's possible to balance both the old and the new ways of reading. I look forward to seeing how your Kindle thoughts progress.

Maega said...

I don't think you are a sellout. I don't know much about where the money goes for the purchase of E books, but I imagine the writer gets a portion of it. Enjoy it! How cool!

Em said...

I have been very reluctant to even consider Kindle or any of the e-readers, too. I love my books, I love book stores and libraries. However, it is a good point that you don't have to read everything that way. And I am totally converted to digital music, I rarely by CDs. I'll be curious to see how you like it!

doahleigh said...

I'm actually jealous. I want a Nook. Not enough to shell out $150, but if someone got me one as a gift, I'd be thrilled. Not to replace my books, but to supplement them. I can see taking my Nook when I travel, etc. I'd prefer the Nook over the Kindle because my library system offers books for the Nook and not the Kindle. I spend very little money on books (used books, library,, so I don't want to start spending a lot on eBooks!

manda said...

I've been thinking about this post. I obviously don't think you are a sell out. I think this is a huge step you may not have made so soon if the Kindle wasn't a gift. But I think it's good for you, a great experiment for a true book lover. I have some questions now that you've had it for a bit.

I notice that when I put down my phone and laptop and turn to a book I feel less frenetic. No pings from Twitter or FB, not little envelope indicating mail. I get really fried from my technology. When I pick up a book, that drops off. Have you noticed you get the same feeling holding a Kindle as you did the book? Or do you still feel that techno-surge holding a piece of electronics?

Second, can you post a follow-up post with your thoughts after you've read a few books? I know I look to friends for their opinions before I buy stuff. I'm really interested in how your expectations were met/not met with the Kindle.

In the meantime, enjoy your new toy!

A. said...

I think this is the most comments ever on one of my posts!

Manda, you hit the nail on the head when you say I wouldn't have taken this step nearly this soon (if ever) if the Kindle wasn't a gift. However, I'm kind of excited for the experience. We'll see.

Because I was already in the middle of a physical book, I have yet to read much on the Kindle. But I have downloaded two novels, so one of those will be my next book. And I fully plan to report back on my thoughts on not only the book, but the Kindle experience.

Thanks for commenting!

CMS said...

Very interesting post, A! I'm not qualified to comment, as I "hate technology" (according to Jeremy), still own a flip phone (oh! the horror!), hardly ever text, and still buy the occasional CD. I'm curious to see how your thoughts evolve, though, after you've had some time to get used to reading books on your Kindle.