A Writer Vouches for the E-Reader

Yes, my Kindle sleeps next to me

I am the proud and unassuming owner of an Amazon Kindle. It was given to me almost a year ago by my good friend, Evan, who said “If anyone in the world needs one, Monet – it’s you.” And boy did he create a monster. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love books. I love how books smell, especially borrowed books from the library (smoke, powder, cheese?). I love the overall aesthetic look of books and I love how if you’ve read one book enough, you can open it right to your favorite parts. And there’s something to be said about how awesome your bookshelf looks crowded with books. But seriously, the world of the e-reader is just as awesome. Here are my top five reasons why you might want to consider coming to the dark side:

1.       Weight – I read a lot of Sci-fi and Fantasy, which means I read books that could easily be used to hold open a heavy steel door. These books only come in one size: massive. I’m talking a minimum of 600 pages in book one…out of a series of ten. Over the years, I have developed a pair of iron strong wrists but imagine my delight in holding my collection of Robert Jordan’s Wheel Of  Time series (now on book 14) in one hand!

2.       Bookmarks? Who needs em? — I’m reading on a park bench in downtown Spokane when a fellow classmate walks up. An hour later, I’m alone again and my Kindle has powered off. I flip the switch and I’m right back in the Shire with Frodo. No need to hold a finger in the page, or look for a bookmark, the Kindle has me covered. What’s even better? The Kindle will hold every book in the last place you were reading. So when I feel the urge to reread the scene where Elizabeth Bennett encounters Mr. Darcy at Pemberly, I can pull up Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and it’s right where I left it. Awesome!

3.       Portability – The e-reader is meant to travel. Once I got over my fear of dropping it, I started taking it everywhere and I was surprised by the moments that came up when having a book (or a hundred) would come in handy. Just missed the bus? It’s cool, got my Kindle. Free time between classes-Kindle! I could go on. Another neat trick? On solo road trips, I turn the Kindle’s talk feature on and listen to my favorite books and the robotic voice gives them new emotional depth.

4.       Instant Gratification – People have been arguing that Americans are obsessed with instant gratification and I say, “Yes, and?” At this point it’s probably clear that I am a bit of an oddball reader but I’ve got another quirk to reveal. There are several authors whose books, I have to buy the day they come out (i.e. Juliet Marillier). I just love them so much, I don’t need to read reviews (though I could read them on my Kindle, if the mood struck). So this past September, my mother and I drove from my home in North Carolina to Spokane where I would be attending grad school at EWU. We did not mess around, driving no less than 12 hours for three days straight but I still managed to buy and download Jennifer Crusie’s Maybe This Time on the second day of the trip on route 90 in the middle of Montana. Magnificent!

5.       Price –Clearly as a full time grad student, I’m constantly lacking in funds but given a choice between giving up buying books and say driving my car, I would be one walking fool. But lucky for me, I don’t have to make that choice. Kindle books are always several dollars cheaper than the physical book price and if you can be patient (which I can’t) the Kindle price goes down even more a few weeks after the initial release date.  Evan, my friend, who gave me my Kindle, also saved my wallet with a great budgeting idea. Since it’s so easy to just buy books with one click, and since they’re so cheap (usually around $6), one can easily overspend without realizing. Well Evan suggested allotting a certain amount to spend every month. So, I allow myself  $20 a month on books. And I’ve gotten very stealthy about it, making sure I know what books are coming out so I can carry money over from previous months if I want to and only buying books I know I will read again as opposed to getting them from the library. It’s a win/win for a bookie like myself.

So there it is, folks. I could go on, but I’ll just leave you with this- all the racket about the e-readers being the death of books, is just that, racket. If anything, the e-reader revived the book industry. Want an old book made into e-reader format, petition the publisher and they’ll make it happen. As far as I can see books are not going anywhere and even if the e-reader is reducing the number of physical books being printed, what’s wrong with saving a few thousand trees? I love my Kindle and wouldn’t trade it for anything! So if you like to read, give the e-reader a try!

23 Comments

  • BMac says:

    Loved this post. Very thoughtful and purposeful comments. I have been considering buying a kindle but have been reluctant to do so. However, you give a compelling argument. Just might take the plunge to the dark side. Thanks!

  • JWalk says:

    Oh Monet. You get so bubbly over books it’s adorable. I have a kindle too, one more neat feature is if you don’t happen to have it with you, you can download a kindle app onto a computer and pick up right where you left off!

    Tis truly a thing of magic, it is.

    A very well written kindle review by an obvious enthusiast :)

    I look forward to more of your work.

    • Monetthomas says:

      You have a Kindle and you still haven’t read “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”? You’re fired!

      • JWalk says:

        hey with all the life and death experiences i’ve had recently, cut me a break! I’m going to make it next week’s goal to sit and barnes and nobles and read the whole thing. I may even have to come back the next day.

  • Marina says:

    Hey, Kindle, give this kid a job! Great article, Monet! I will stick to the smell and feel of a book, but heck, if someone wants to buy me a Kindle too, I’d accept! I look forward to reading more!

  • Asa Maria says:

    I may just have to get one just for this reason in number 3: “On solo road trips, I turn the Kindle’s talk feature on and listen to my favorite books and the robotic voice gives them new emotional depth.”

    Great post!

  • Daniel Romo says:

    I love how you can also take notes while you read. I get inspired all the time while reading and the kindle cuts down on the need to have paper and writing utensil.

  • Cathie Smathie says:

    The end of point #2? Stellar.

    Love it.

  • The idea of holding all of the Wheel of Time in one hand is, I admit, intriguing to this paper book loving reader.

  • JaimeRWood says:

    So…I’ve been thinking about going over to the dark side because I’m part of a book club that reads a different book each month, and having an e-reader would make it easier for me to get library books without having to worry about whether my branch actually has the book I’m looking for. One question though, what formats will the Kindle read? I’ve heard that the Kindle is the most proprietary of all the e-readers, meaning that the Kindle book format is super specific to Kindle, which means that I’d have to buy my e-books through Amazon. Is that true? It would be nice to find an e-reader that doesn’t make you buy through a certain place like B&N or Amazon. Also, do you know enough about the Nook to make a comparison? I’m interested in it, too.

    • Monet Thomas says:

      Jaime – that’s a great question. I have only purchased books through Amazon. I do have a “mystery books compilation” that was created to be compatible for the Kindle and other e-readers and some of the pages are a little off, so I know there are specifics about the format. I’m pretty sure that Amazon does have a monopoly for formatting. I have only messed with the Nook once briefly and it was after I got my Kindle (with a little bit of arrogance) so I can’t speak on it. But you can geek out to this website like I am:

      http://www.thenookvskindle.com/

  • godmum says:

    Hello Monet….What an interesting article. I only wish I had this to read just prior to Christmas when I purchased a Nook. I must admit I heavily considered the Kindle. But anyhow, It’s an awesome “bark”…and you say it so well. Spokane is lucky to have you there!

  • Jumaane says:

    Very nice article. I knew Monet was actually working on the West Coast!

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