I Need a Kindle

March 9, 2008 at 10:06 pm | Posted in Books, LIfe, My Life with Books | 4 Comments
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I love books.  I love their weight in my hands.  I love the way they smell.  I love to open them and run my fingertips over the pages.  I love bookmarks.  I love brand new books and books that visibly have been enjoyed more than once.  I love the way a book gently lets you know much you have already read or how much there is yet to come.  I love being able to cradle a beloved book to my chest when I’ve finished it.  I love being able to pitch a book across the room when it sucks.  I love walking into my bedroom and seeing my favorites lined up in nice, neat rows on my bookshelf.  I love books.

I have been reading now for 30 years and have wondered what the word “chignon” means each and every time I’ve encountered it.  I have not once got up from my book and looked the word up.  From context, I have been able to determine that was a formal to semi-formal hair style.  But I still wanted to know what it looked like – but not enough to get up from my reading and open a dictionary.  Not enough to remember to look it up when I had the dictionary, Google, or Wikipedia open looking for something else.

The other day, one of my co-workers brought his Kindle into the office for us to see.  I am not a fan of reading on screen.  As a technical writer, I stare at a computer screen all day long.  I prefer to read on paper to give my eyes a rest, if not for all of the reasons I love books.  So, as I was getting my demo I thought it was a neat gadget for those who dabble in reading.  I kept that smug assessment to myself and was ready to forget all about it until he showed me the dictionary feature.  When he showed me how easy it is to get the definitions of a single word or for all of the words in a sentence, I knew I would sell my pure reader’s soul to the electronics devil to have one of those.

Since no one is in the market for this Dutch woman’s soul (shocking, isn’t it?), I’m going to have to save up some money.  At  least writing this post prodded me into looking up chignon


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  1. I want one of these so badly as well. In a perfect life where I had a job to buy the thing as well as money to purchase books to put on it, I’d have one in a heartbeat.

  2. Dictionary feature or not, I’m still not sure I would like one of these. I really do like the look, feel and smell of books – especially old books. If you end up getting one, I’ll be interested to hear if you like it!

  3. I have been an avid reader since I was 5 years old, was taught to read by my sister who was then 10 years old — and I am now 81 years old. So I have a house filled with books — rooms filled with bookcases, with sometimes two rows of books per shelf. But I bought a Kindle when it first came out, and have had mine since Dec. 4.

    The price of my Kindle I feel was was worth it by far. It covers a lot more than the mere physical ebook reader — a lot of services from Amazon-Kindle, and real human beings answering the phone directly from inside the US — not from India by non-native speakers of American English.

    I found that I can get out-of-copyright ebooks for free from many sources — some of them with tens of thousands of books. I have gotten all the classics from these sources — Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, etc., etc. And have bought many more from Kindle — all of Agatha Christe, Asimov, Heinlein, etc., etc., at half price or even less. Right now I have over 450 books on my Kindle — a major library source even considering the physical books I have been buying for many years. I love this.

    In addition to all the above, I can and do bring my Kindle with me every where I go — people are quick to waste your time waiting in a queue for services. So I get a chance to read, and I do read — from an amazing collection of books, which I really enjoy since I am usually reading in multiple books at the same time. I never could do this before. And worst, the books I did bring with me kept getting badly dog-eared from carrying them around, and I do like to keep my physical books clean and neat.

    As for the screen, it is clear black ink on a paper background, no different from any other book, especially paperbacks which it shares the same size with, although the Kindle’s 10 oz. is of less weight normally. It is very easy on my eyes, plus I do not need to read in semi-darkness as I do with my computer.

    People say why no color? But they don’t mind their paperbacks not having color — who needs it to read text anyway. People say it should be back-lit — but that’s exactly what’s wrong with a computer screen — have you ever seen a backlit paperback book? But amazingly for people getting old as I have become, I can change the text size to be big enough to read in comfort. What book ever had that feature? And the number of large text books one can buy are very few.

    I have an 8 GB memory card that can store up to 15,000 books at one time. I have no limit reasonably speaking, of the number of books I can store on my Kindle. And even though I have 41 pages in my home directory, all I have to do is to press one letter key on the kehyboard to go to that section in my directory, and thus quickly find what I am looking for. And I can have it sorted by Title or Author. What more could I ask for? Certainly my bookshelf books are not so well organized.

    All in all, I love my Kindle, and don’t miss the weight of dead tree books, or their musty smell as apparently some others do. They are not going away, but I will buy no more paper books, paying twice the price for the privledge. I just wish there was some company to whom I could donate my paper books in return for them scanning them and make them available on my Kindle. The problem is you cannot even give away older books, and when people die, they just throw them in the recycle trash — even libraries usually don’t want to bother with them.

    Charles Wilkes, San Jose, Calif.

  4. I will also be very interested to see your reactions if/when you do get a Kindle. I have been very ambivalent about them: first I see the beauty of only carrying the only little thing instead of 10 books when I go on vacation, then I think that I wouldn’t want to read it by the pool, on the beach, or in a bubblebath. Of course, I absolutely did NOT want an Ipod, didn’t think I’d use it, etc….until my mom got me one for Christmas. I’m sure it will be the same with the Kindle. I will proclaim that I will NOT use it…until someone buys me one, then I’ll love it.

    Of course, my Ipod does have a tendency to lay around unused for long periods of time…

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