To Kindle or Not to Kindle?

I like books. Real books. Books made out of paper.

I like the way they smell. I like bending the binding and writing notes in the margins. I like seeing the big pile of them on my nightstand, beckoning me to lay down, relax, and read for a while. I like the sense of accomplishment that comes from closing a book and seeing all the pages that I have read. I love a stuffed bookcase, books piled sideways and crammed into too-small spaces. I love walking around bookstores and libraries, looking at book covers and reading blurbs on the back to find just the right book to take home with me that day.

Books have been my friends for as long as I can remember.

This is my favorite book. I have had this copy since college. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read it. It’s full of notes and highlights and coffee stains. It has traveled the world with me. I use it to teach my AP Literature students. The pages are yellowed and the binding is falling apart, but I refuse to get a new copy. I almost stopped breathing last year when I couldn’t find it (it was tucked away in my file cabinet, so I wouldn’t lose it).

And yet, I am beginning to consider getting an electronic reader. My nightstand could be clear, my shelves could house decorations, my heavy bookbag could be replaced by a stylish clutch.

But reading on a screen? Can I stand that? Won’t it make what should be pleasure feel like business? And how will I take notes and highlight? And does a list on the homepage (or whatever it’s called) bring as much satisfaction as a pile on my nightstand?

Help me out, those of you who have made this switch. How did you do it? What are your thoughts? Am I crazy to even be considering leaving my paper books behind?? Oh, the toils and turmoils of life in the 21st century!

6 Comments

  1. Bruce Turner
    Jan 28, 2012

    I hear you and feel the same way about my now whittled done library, but I can say that for me, my recent purchase of a Kindle Touch, has revived in me a passion for reading. The convenience, ability to highlight, take notes, share quotes on social media and even loan books to others and check books out from my local library have proved invaluable.

  2. I still prefer a book to eBook, but an eBook is really handy. I don’t mind the screen too much. Since I use a Kindle app on my iPod the screen is small so there are like 2000+ pages for a 200 page book. I have a hard time knowing how much longer it will take me to read 300 ePages. If I have a book I can visually see how many pages are left and know if I’ll finish tonight or should go to sleep and read in the morning. That’s my biggest complaint. I still do both.
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  3. Elizabeth
    Jan 28, 2012

    Ok, One year ago, I was TOTALLY where you are now. I LOVE the way books smell and feel. I love the way they look on my shelf; all colorful and size-variant. But I was going on a cruise, and my main goal to was to relax, so I didn’t really want to carry the 4 or 5 books that it would take to sustain me for those 10 days. I went ahead and ordered a Kindle to have “just for travel”. But lo and behold, I really liked reading on it, and the more I put on it, the more I HAD on it when I was out and just had a yen to read. What’s even better is that Amazon has the Kindle app you can put on your phone, so even when I don’t have my Kindle with me, if I get stuck waiting somewhere I can pull out my phone and read on it. Oh, and the Kindle app for the phone is completely normal sized letters. You don’t have to squint or blow up the screen.

    Now, all of this said, there are still times when I buy paper books. If they continue a series or if I know I want to make notes (although to be fair, the Kindle allows for notes) I buy the book. Sometimes it’s symbolic in a way that I only totally understand. For instance, I bought “The Help” because I felt like that was a book that deserved to be tangibly held. I have the Bible on my Kindle, but I prefer to use my actual Bible at church.

    To sum up, I think you can do both. I think that you would enjoy both. Oh, and also, I still have my very first copy of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” that I have had since 1991. Also falling apart, also yellowed, also irreplaceable.

  4. Kelly
    Jan 28, 2012

    As much as we are on the road with sports, I like my Kindle. I can take many books with me when we are gone for a whole weekend. That way if I finish one book I have another book just by the touch of a button. I didn’t think I would like it but I have grown to love it. There are some books I still buy that are not e-books. But just casual reading I use my Kindle.

  5. kathy hall
    Jan 28, 2012

    Krista, I too just got a color nook. I absolutely love it. I love reading with the backlight and not having to turn a light on. I love the built in dictionary so that I can look up words instantaneously. I love the big font, because my eyes aren’t what they used to be. There are notes in the classics that help me to appreciate the author and the meanings of various items referred to. I love the fact that you can highlight, and also the page you left off reading is the one that comes up when you want to read again. There is no guessing what page you were on or dog earring a page. You can actually highlight the word that you left off with if you want. Needless to say, I am converted. It takes a little getting used to, but it is well worth it.

  6. Laura J
    Feb 4, 2012

    I’m a librarian, so I felt a little guilty buying a kindle. However, i LOVE it. I used to always carry a book in my purse (and still do often), and I love that I can carry a hundred books in my purse now.
    I still buy the books for my favorite authors because I like the way they look on my shelf, but I’m a kindle fan for the rest.

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