Kindle

Posted: January 12, 2012 in All things literary, Technology, Travel
Tags: , , , , ,

For Christmas 2010, my husband got me a Kindle with a black leather cover and a cool little light that pulls out from a corner. (The light’s stopped working, even though I rarely use it, and I have to figure out where the battery is and where to get a new one.) He was probably more excited about it than I was. I’ve been collecting books for years, a habit aided and abetted by 16 years of homeschooling our two daughters, and I’m not a person who only reads a book once, then gets rid of it. I collect books by authors I like although, limited by money and storage space, not all the books by all the authors I like. Some of my books I’ve read at least 10 or 15 times and I plan to read them many more times.

And I’m a bibliophile, a lover of books, actual books as well as what’s in actual books. The library is my favorite place, closely followed by Half Price Books. When the first HPB in the Cleveland area opened in Shaker Heights many years ago, I was the first non-store-related, non-celebrity person in the store and I eventually knew practically all the sales people. They used to give a $5 gift card for every $30 or $35 of children’s books purchased and I sometimes shudder to thing how many of those I got. I loved my teacher’s card, giving me as a homeschooler, an additional 10% off and deeply regretted the day I honestly didn’t renew it.

But back to the Kindle….My first thought was probably “Nice, but I’m not giving up my books”, followed shortly thereafter with the thought that if I bought all the books I read, my husband would have to get a second job and I’d have to go back to work, leaving me little time to read said books acquired at such a cost. The time between those thoughts and now have been a time of figuring out the place of a Kindle in my copious reading life. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

The Kindle (or whatever reading device like it you prefer) is superb for use while traveling and I love to travel. Prior to owning one, when I went on a trip, I packed a bag or two of books or had a library card at the other end of the trip or both. If I went to the post office and expected to wait in line, (and when didn’t I expect to wait?), I took something to read. And a two-week trip to France, such as my husband and I took this fall, would otherwise have created a real problem, especially with the weight and number of suitcases limitation, as well as the difficulty of getting English books overseas in a non-English speaking country. Just the plane trip alone would call for more books than could easily be packed and then what if I didn’t want to leave them somewhere when I was finished (which I wouldn’t want to do)? Traveling occasionally on the Megabus, I’m offered six hours of reading time, although the majority of my fellow travelers use the time to sleep. I can now take thousands of books with me in my purse! How can that be bad?

But what about getting the books to keep on the Kindle? I’d saved a link shared by an online friend to a blog that every day tells me about free or almost free books from Amazon. Most of these are by indie (independent) authors so I never know what the quality will be. I can always grab them, then delete any books I start and don’t like. I’ve got many of them initially but have slowed down as time goes on. There really can’t be that many books that are 4 or 4 1/2 or 5 stars. No books about vampires for me, no erotica, no Amish romances and not most romance novels at all. I have an entire library of business books and mysteries as well as a smattering or more of a variety of other books.

The other books that are free are the classics. Sometimes the formatting of the free versions isn’t very good (and sometimes not on the ones I’ve bought, either) but they’re still free. You could get an amazing education for no more than the cost of the Kindle. You don’t even have to pay for internet access. My basic Kindle has to be somewhere like the library, Caribou Coffee, Starbucks or a similar place with free wi-fi, but all sorts of places have free wi-fi now. For a bit more money, you can have the Kindle with its own free internet access, although you’ll just be in touch with Amazon.

I also collect books by authors I like, want to keep re-reading and want to have available. Some are free, some not, some aren’t even available as e-books, yet. I’ve collected almost all the Donna Leon books, Georgette Heyers Regency romances (which even my husband enjoys and which cause us to often laugh aloud while reading) as well as her mysteries, the first ten or so Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries by Anne Perry, lots of the E. Nesbit books, a complete Bible, all the Miss Silver mysteries by Patricia Wentworth, and so on. Periodically, a book from a series is offered free, often the first book, and every day Amazon has a Deal of the Day for $.99. Every month they have 100 books under $2.99 or something along those lines. So I’m gradually building a library that not only doesn’t take up much room but that can be transported around the world with ease. Hard to beat that.

But still, I want to someday live in a house with a library, near a Half Price Books, a library and, hopefully, a bricks and mortar bookstore, to buy books (with free shipping) from Amazon and to give books to my girls, not just let them be one of my five Kindle accounts.

Comments
  1. Ruth in west london says:

    I am so glad you told me about your site. I have very much enjoyed reading your observations. Although I am a Bibliophile I too have a ,Kindle – a birthday gift last year and love it for all the same reasons that you do. Since we plan to retire in three years and will need to downsize, a huge benefit for me is having reading matter readily available without needing to accumulate more paper books, much as I like them.

  2. Thanks, Ruth. I’m glad you stopped by. Downsizing is so difficult and even though I have a Kindle which would, theoretically help with that, it’s so difficult for me to get rid of books. I’ve been going through boxes of them as I try to downsize but when I try to get rid of them, it’s as if my fingers had glue on them. I find books I haven’t read for years and thing, “Yeah, but I might want to read them again, now that I remember I have them” and then into a box they go. But no matter how successful (or UNsuccessful) my book downsizing is, being able to take a library with me everywhere I go is a blessing and truly amazing.

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