This Christmas an Amazon Kindle sat waiting for me underneath the tree. I wasn’t expecting it; hadn’t hinted at even the merest desire for this technological alternative to the traditional book. In fact, I was rather opposed to it. For even though the Kindle is not exactly new these days, I had never really warmed to the idea of reading my books on an electronic device. I have always loved real books. I like turning the pages; the smell of new paper; the glossy covers.
One of my favourite things to do in town, if time allows, is to browse the aisles of the local Waterstones at my leisure. I feel very much at home in a book shop. I like to pick up a book and read the blurb; to flick through and absorb the writing style, allowing myself a general feel for what’s inside. My favourite place to read is in the indulgent solitude of the bathroom during a relaxing soak – the one place where I am not disturbed by anyone else in the family.
And water and electronics never mix.So, you might wonder, does all this mean that I did not unwrap my gift with enthusiasm? I might like real books made with printed paper, but I do like reading very much. So a Kindle must surely be a thoughtful gift, for a true lover of the written word? Maybe one just has to adapt, I decided – although I really wasn’t sure that this new way of reading could ever be the same.
The truth is, I like turning pages. Still, reading via a Kindle has obvious advantages – for one thing, no trees need to be felled. It also eliminates the issue of what to do with books once enjoyed, yet now gathering dust on the bookshelf. Some books are meant to be read again and again; most are simply not. Of course, there is the local charity shop or secondhand book store, but nowadays even most of those seem to be bursting at the seams with other people’s cast off books. If a book is in decent condition and a popular title, it might find another owner.
Some books, though, never will – at the local fete there is always a pile of books left at the end that no one has even looked at. Reading by means of a Kindle is therefore a great way to avoid contributing to the pile of unwanted books in our world.Keen to get to grips with my new Kindle, I purchased my first digital book sometime on Christmas afternoon. It was a fiction book, one I had always thought about reading but somehow never had. It was actually no cheaper than a traditional book – the price of a Kindle version does seem to be rather inconsistant.
However, later on that evening, I purchased two more books for my Kindle – a biography and another non-fiction title.
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