Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kindle or regular books, electronics vs. good old hard copy

I love books, often reading more than one at a time.  A historical novel is bookmarked on page 129 in the family room, a biography on page 67 in the bedroom.  I may not remember what I had for breakfast but I can keep up with several plot lines at once.  Nothing beats a brand new book, the scent of the pages, the color of the covers all drugs for a read-o-phile like myself.

Which is why when my husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas last year I was a little intimidated.  Electronics and I just don’t get along.  Sometimes I think that I must emit some sort of invisible force that causes devices to quit operation.  I can walk by a computer and it will spontaneously freeze.  In addition, I am a real ninny when it comes to operating anything that plugs in or uses a battery.  Our blue ray player is a real challenge considering I never quite figured out how to operate the VCR.

A kindle can store thousands of books on a device that is smaller and lighter than even my smallest book.  I can bring the bookcase with me, something that is exciting for someone who reads as much as I do. A kindle can read to you!  Yes, audio is available, haven’t tried it yet but its there if I need it. If I stumble upon a word that is foreign to me all I need do its insert the cursor in front of that word and it is defined right there!  And there will be no more flipping back through the pages looking for the entrance of a character in a book with too many characters.  I simply push a button and every mention of that character appears like magic. As an added bonus the cost of books are substantially lower than bookstores.

But I like flipping through the pages.  I never enjoyed having something read aloud to me, and my bookshelves while overflowing, are quite attractive. I discover that while downloading samples is convenient to say the least, it is extremely easy for someone like me to buy a book by mistake.  I’ve never walked in a bookstore and had the salesperson charge me for a book that I just picked up, and kindle smells like, well, nothing.  Real books may cost more but they will remain for years, kindle depends upon batteries and power sources.

I have discovered in the war of electronic vs. hardcopy there are no winners or losers. Each has its pros and cons, so… My bookcases will still receive new additions and sag a little lower and I’ll still check out books on Kindle and count on that “bought by mistake” button.  And I’ll read.
"Books" pencil sketch

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