Kindlelemma?

I’m sure that you’ve heard about Amazon’s latest reading breakthrough – the KINDLE, that is. It’s a device that enables you to buy, store, download and read (not necessarily in order, btw) reading materials of your liking. It uses an electronic paper display via a 6″ screen. It’s revolutionary, it’s handy, it’s convenient.

For some people.

Maybe for many people, as I heard it was sold out in almost five hours after it was launched.

So when you have your own Kindle, you can read e-books, you can read blogs, you can browse Wikipedia to your heart’s content, you can even read the first chapters of books before you finally decide to buy it or not, among its many features.

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kindle

Kindle or a real book? Hmmm.

Personally, I think Kindle isn’t for me. See, I still value holding a real book in my hands. The smell of book pages is incomparable to the smell of a 290-gram white gadget. My own personal effort to protect the spine of a book as I read it adds to the pleasure of reading.

I view “variety” in two different facets as I think of Kindle. In one, I prefer variety in books that I bring in my bag – and I have moments of “book-in-a-bag” where each of my bags I alternately use carries a book that assures me I have something to read just in case I get bored. It also happens that I will have two to three books in one bag – two of them I will actually read, and the other one, the just in case book. You get the picture. For some weird reason I also like it when bag inspectors look at my bag and see I have a book in there. I can never satisfy that variety fetish with a Kindle.

On the other hand, at a given time, I may lug around a maximum of three books at one time and they would be a handful, especially if we talk of actually spending time reading them. In cases of long flights and/or long waiting periods, two to three books are already sufficient…for one, an iPod has proven to be another worthy companion, and as it is, it can also carry e-books. With Kindle, there will be a lot of things to choose from that it may be really cool, but if you think of it, you may spread yourself thinly, reading-wise.

A friend asked me if I will buy a Kindle for myself this Christmas instead of that other gadget I have been saving for. With only $20 to add to my gift-for-myself budget, I will still have to pass. Kindle may work well for others, it may even be the greatest reading device created SO FAR but I still won’t get it for myself.

I still find pleasure in logging on to the computer, visiting my favorite sites (yes, Wikipedia included, sue me), reading “First Chapters” at The New York Times website, making online purchases, all done while at home or in the office, not at some random airport of beach getaway (although I admit that would be utterly cool). More importantly, taking away the crappy arguments on variety I mentioned above, the simple reasons of holding on to real paper, smelling them, flipping through them, will always be part and parcel of the great experience that reading gives me.

To all the people who got and will get Kindle, here’s to celebrating our common love for reading! That’s what it all boils down to anyway. We all do love reading and we will do it in ways we feel are best for us.

3 thoughts on “Kindlelemma?

  1. Interesting post. I actually agree with the order in which you put the things you can do with Kindle. This device seems to focus on the consumer experience much more than on the reading experience. This is why i personally doubt its revolutionary aspect (there is somewhat new solutions in terms of purchase process, but other than that there is not much new) and if you are about to spend so much money on a gadget, i would recommend to take a look at OLPC project. Don’t know if you heard about it, but this is an MIT-led project that developed a low cost laptop for children. Buy buying one, you are donating another one to a kid in developing country. Just something to think about.

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