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!