Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Kindle Infection

Last year, my sister received a Kindle as a birthday present.

Last Christmas, my sister gifted me with a Kindle.

This Christmas, we jointly gave my mother a Kindle.

This February, I'm giving my best friend in real life a Kindle for her birthday.

Clearly, Kindles are packaged with some weird kind of brain infection that makes you want to give them to other people. But why?

As it's been well documented by this blog, I was no friend to e-books and e-readers. I'm still a little wary of them. Everyone I knew thought it was hilarious that I got one for Christmas. Reading on it isn't so bad, though it has become a huge impulse-buy money pit. SO many $.99 e-books, so little time. It's truly a sleek little device with a small learning curve that fades into the background as you're reading. It will never, ever replace a good paper book.

So why does it seem like everyone and their mother (including MY mother) has one now? Book lovers love to share books, do we also love to share Kindles?

My mother was very perplexed by her Christmas Kindle. She read all seven of the paper books she had received before she even glanced at it. It was after New Years before we even plugged it in and taught it her name and loaded some books into it. It was another three days after that until she'd try to read on it. In short, my mother was very much thinking "my daughters are so thoughtful, they shouldn't have spent this money, wtf is this little black machine where do the books go?".

While my mother hasn't quite mastered turning the Kindle, she's read three books on it and likes it! She was particularly impressed that she could buy a book on Amazon and it would show up instantly on the device even through we're snowed in at home. It was very much a "THIS IS THE FUTURE!" moment for her.

My mother taught me to read at a young age. I was at a college reading level by fourth grade. Words and books have been one of the greatest gifts she ever gave me. So why did I give her a Kindle, especially when I struggled with my own?

I think it's because we love books so much. When I love a book, I want to tell every single soul I know about it. When there's a sale, I want every person to know about it. Book lovers love to share. They love to exchange ideas and talk about series they've read and lend things to each other. Giving a Kindle is like giving someone the essence of a book. It's saying "here, use this and we'll talk". It's passing along the book infection to someone in a slightly more expensive package.

And so, the cycle will continue. Next Christmas, my father will get a Kindle. Next Christmas, my friend's father will get a Kindle. For Valentine's Day, my sister's boyfriend will get a Kindle. On and on, like a massive plague.

So, fellow reading enthusiasts, did you give someone an e-reader this holiday season? If so, why? What was their reaction? Also, does anyone else think that Jeff Bezos might be a mind controlling alien? Just me?
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  1. Ha ha, of course you know that I got a Kindle too. I'm still getting used to reading on it, I gotta admit. Still doesn't feel quite right... But I'm sure I'll get over it!

  2. I have the kindle app on my iPad mini and *love* it. Part of that is living in relative isolation with virtually no bookstores. Paperbacks are expensive, Amazon charges us as much for postage as for a book. A $10 paperback will cost me $20 to have sent by courier pigeon to New Zealand. The kindle allows me to buy books simply not available in my corner of the world. I still buy paperbacks, but they are books I love and want to physically hold. The kindle is for quick and dirty reads, trying new authors, experimenting and maybe loading up for taking on holiday ;)

  3. I was also leery of ereaders. My cousin gifted me with a kindle when I became a resident in a nursing home. Four years and over 1200 titles later, I am a convert. I will always love the heft, feel and smell of books, when one has limited space the Kindle rocks!

  4. I have had a Kobo Touch for a couple years now, but this Christmas my husband bought me the latest Kobo Aura (this is how I know he really loves me :) ). I agree that it will never replace the feel and smell of a physical book, but I love my ereader. I also have the Kindle app on my phone and computer for those titles that are only available through Amazon. What I really want next is an E-ink tablet. I can have all my books on my computer or phone through the apps, but neither of those is as comfortable to read on as an E-ink device. Also, I have recently discovered the wonder that is Audible, so an E-ink tablet with audio capabilities, please. Anyone?