As a lover of books, and an ex employee of one of the UK’s biggest bookshops, I should be ashamed to say that I own, and love, a Kindle e-reader. But I’m not. Not really. Now, let me preface this by explaining, beyond no shadow of a doubt, that I love books. I love the feel and smell of a good book. I love when they get battered and dog eared, or when you treat yourself to a brand new copy of a book, and you cherish it to the point that you don’t even break the spine. I love the way my Mum, Nanna and their group of friends would pass around books as if they were a marathon game of pass the parcel, even having to write their names in the front cover so as not to lose track of who had read what. I love books. But the most important thing, is that I love reading. I love stories. From the moment I could decipher Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy books on my own, I have devoured stories like they were a life sustaining substance – and perhaps they are. My need for new stories, new things to read, means that I am that terrible person who never remembers to take back library books, and with the amount of fines I’ve had to pay, I would have been just as well buying the book outright. But when you lose yourself in a good book, a good story, those things are completely irrelevant, you’re a Wizard, or a princess or an ill-fated John Green character.
With a Kindle, then, I have an entire bookshelf of stories in my hand at any one time. Much in the way that I only own 5 DVDs, preferring instead to use Netflix for my film needs, I now only really ‘own’ in physical copy a few very special, and very beautiful books. I am a messy, clutter hoarder, and if I kept all the books I wanted, in the real space of my apartment, there wouldn’t be enough room for me! I like the convenience of being able to download any book, at any time, with nothing more than an internet connection and my ever forgiving bank card. If a stranger on a bus was to recommend their favourite story, I could buy it on Amazon on my phone and have it waiting for me on my Kindle when I wanted it, as opposed to writing it on a scrap of paper and forgetting, or having to wait for a convenient time to pop into a shop. (#firstworldproblems). Although it is probably not advisable, I love to read in the bath. Obviously, dropping my Kindle in the bath would be a thousand times more devastating than a book slipping from my bubbly fingers, however I actually think it’s a lot less likely. You can easily and comfortably hold even the thickest book in one hand when you have a Kindle, page turning and all. Having to hold open a several hundred page book with one hand does not leave the book in the steadiest, most stable position and puts it at risk for an impromptu dip in the tub.
I bought my Kindle second hand from eBay, and specifically chose one of the most basic models. There is no keyboard, no touchscreen, and certainly no backlight. I have a tablet, and reading on it would only leave me distracted with every notification ‘ping’. I wanted something that was pretty much as simple as an actual, real life book (but, y’know, better…!). It holds charge forever and I can read and read and read and it doesn’t hurt my eyes at all. In fact, when on holiday in Mellorca, I managed to read five books in four days and I can’t help but think the sun glare on a bright white page may have made that slightly more difficult that the agreeable grey of my Kindle screen.
Don’t get me wrong, they are not perfect. You can’t (or at least I am yet to find a decent way – answers in the comments!) to swap books with friends on a Kindle in the beautifully simple way you can with real books. A book will never run out of battery right at the epic climax of the fight scene, and you will feel like such a traitor when your Kindle hating best friend (who coincidentally also worked at the same bookshop) glares at your over the pages of her sturdy hardback.
I’ll never give up proper, actual books, but I cannot deny, my Kindle is a very beloved possession (and easier to grab in a fire)!
Check out my other book reviews here
Background of Title Image – Mike McCune, Flickr