Me and the Kindle

by francine Hardaway on October 25, 2009

I have the first, worst Kindle, the one most of my friends didn't bother to get, and the one Scoble discarded in disgust after a week. It's not International, or version 2, which is easier to turn pages on. I got it the way I get everything, in a fit of curiosity, and I didn't use it for a long time, especially after the Kindle app came out for the iPhone. I was beginning to think I didn't need it.

And then I took a long trip this weekend, the first this year across the country with layovers. And the Kindle was awesome. First of all, I have just realized that over the past year I have bought more books than I probably bought in the five previous years.  There are books about quantum physics, books about the collapse of the financial system, and books about health and healing. There are also several novels. Have I read them all? No, because as one of Leo laPorte's girl geeks said on the air recently, the Kindle is a book-buying machine.  It's way too easy to buy books on the Kindle, like it's way too easy to buy music from iTunes (I have a lot of that, too).

But at home, it takes me weeks to finish a book. I ordered Ted Kennedy's memoir, True Compass, and it took me forever to read, which is why I never buy books. It was heavy even to cart from room to room.  I made an exception because it wasn't available for Kindle.

In the air, I can read an entire book each way on the flight. And more, I'm sure, if I'm going to Asia.  Long after the iPhone and the MacBook Air are dead, the Kindle is still my stalwart. Showing 85% battery life. And I am carrying all my books in my purse. My purse, unlike most women's, is a receptacle for portable devices–laptop, smartphone, Kindle, power cords, backup batteries, etc. I can never even find a lipstick in there, and the bottom is full of loose change. The guy next to me is always stunned to see a woman-of-a-certain age unpack all those devices.

But I would never have read Nick Hornby's Juliet Naked without the Kindle, and I never would have laughed out loud from my aisle seat. Despite the fact that back in the day I wrote dissertations on contemporary literature, the path of life has led me away from it, from books, and from knowing much about contemporary literature at all. I defiantly don't read "junk," a throwback to my arrogant lit-major days, but I don't read anything else either, except business books, contemporary history (mediocre writers like William Cohen and David Faber, rushing books about the stock market into print) and a gazillion RSS feeds a day.

So I'm taking a moment to express my gratitude for the Kindle, and for the occasional opportunity to enjoy a good, old-fashioned reading experience. It may not be a "book," but intellectually it sure feels like one.

Posted via email from Not Really Stealthmode

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

ursulas October 25, 2009 at 1:39 pm

I am one step away from buying Kindle 2. Couldn't decide between it or the new Barnes & Noble eReader for a bit. Thanks for your opinion!

Mike October 26, 2009 at 3:27 am

The Nook isn’t available until end of November – so if you can’t delay gratification get the Kindle now

Niland Mortimer October 26, 2009 at 4:53 pm

How perfect! I, too, resisted the Kindle until two months ago. My reasons were much the same as you describe: literature major snobbishness, a passion for type, and paper, and books and book arts. A personal library of over 8,000 books, scattered over three states. A self-definition as a “book collector,” and the dusty image that term implies.
I remember in the late 1990's receiving an early e-book at a EuroRSCG partners' meeting and giving it to one of my sons in distain. Now I'm hooked. I love my Kindle 2. I travel by bus, MUNI, BART and CalTrain around the Bay Area, having no car, and the Kindle travels with me. I've read many books that I may might have considered “beneath” purchase. I have the ability to switch from a business book, a white-paper, a blog, a novel or a newspaper at the touch of a button. I haven't stopped buying books. But my hard copy purchases have become more considered. The Kindle compliments them, it doesn't compete with them.
Tomorrow I set off first to Boston and then to Maine and am delighted to have the Kindle with me.

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