Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dr. Paperwhite or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Kindle

Hilarious and true, from stickycomics.com
Since this blog of ours is two years old now (our blog is a toddler!), I thought I'd reminisce about my favorite subject.

Yes friends, it's time to blog about ebooks or, as I think of it now, tilting at windmills. This past weekend I visited a good friend of mine for her birthday. She's a huge book reader like I am, though she tends to like historical fiction and romance, and she was asking how I liked the Kindle Paperwhite I had received for Christmas.

I started talking about my Kindle usage, explaining what I used it for ("on the train" and "only for cheap, trashy books"). I kept emphasizing how I still love paper books and I still read them and buy them, but I also found reasons to use the Kindle. I mentioned that my friend might like one and she said she was considering it. That's when it hit me like a bolt of Asgardian lightening. I was PRAISING the little device. I had suggested someone else BUY one.

I wonder if this is how people feel when they realize they've been bit by a zombie and their future just took a turn for the grim.

After spending years of my life raging against the demonic little e-readers, I found myself saying it wasn't that bad and suggesting a friend buy one. I am a traitor. A turncoat. A Benedict Arnold. How did this happen?

When I received the Kindle for Christmas, part of me figured it would sit on a shelf and gather dust. For a time, it did. It didn't feel like a real book, I couldn't get comfortable reading with it and I wasn't about to pay $7 for a digital copy of a book that wasn't even technically mine if you looked at all the fine print. Even today, using it on the train to work, I found myself infuriated by a glare on the glass. I spent an evening ranting on Twitter because it was updating it's software. It is still not a perfect experience, but it isn't all bad either. It's good for $1.99 books I wouldn't be caught dead reading normally (as an aside, romance, urban fantasy and sci-fi publishers, why are your covers so uniformly awful?), or for using with a pair of gloves on a frigid East Coast morning stuck on an outdoor train platform.

While I will never, ever, EVER stop buying and reading paper books, I think the Kindle and I have an uneasy truce now. I still don't 100% trust it, and it knows that it could be bound for a life as a dusty paperweight if I so chose. Right now, though? It isn't half bad.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Stellar Four! You can now all tell me "I told you so".
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  1. I think everyone from our era who loves books will always have some paper books around. You probably remember that I love ebooks and epublishing, but I still buy paper books, too, and there are paper books I own that I would never get rid of. But I hope that ten years from now, every book on my shelves is one that's special, instead of having piles of paperbacks cluttering up my life. Seriously, my living room still has cardboard boxes in it, closing in on 3 years since I moved into this house, because I've got too many books and no place to put them. There will never come a day when I don't have overcrowded bookshelves. But it sure is nice to know that when I go on vacation next month, I can bring fifty books with me on one tiny device.