Does This Change Things?

I've resisted it for a while but have finally succumbed...I purchased an electronic reading device (Kindle), but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start over by saying that I am a bibliophile. I love books, and I own more than I'll probably ever read. But as previously stated I bought a Kindle and it arrived today. I resisted them for a while but was swayed for a few reasons. One is the price of the (electronic) books. Even as a new release the books are cheaper than a print copy...but there are thousand (I'm guessing) of free books available. Just this evening I downloaded more than 40 free books...not a penny spent. James Joyce, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Jack London, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Paramahansa Yogananda, even an English Standard Version of the Bible. All free. Not to mention numerous New Thought authors, including the book pictured in the device above (As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen). These alone are worth more than what I paid for the device (I specifically call it a device because it is most definitely not a book...but more on that in a minute). But I digress again.

One of my favorite past-times is browsing bookstores, in real life brick-and-mortar stores but virtually too, such as Amazon. When I travel--which isn't that often these days--I actually plan in advance which bookstores I'll visit in the same way people visit tourist attractions. I own something like 700-800 books on food (best guess), a hundred or so spiritual books, and many novels and books on fiction scattered around the house. To me books are not only for reading; I like how they look and feel. They are in fact part of the decor of my house. For these reasons this device cannot replace books in my life.

But what about convenience. I am chagrined in that I don't read as  much as I once did and I can't help but wonder if it doesn't have something to do with time...though I write a blog about simplicity m y life feels more sped up than ever these days (whose isn't). I'm hoping carrying around a virtual library with me will encourage me to read more (again) or at least as much as I once did.

Another thing I found interesting was this post at Treehugger regarding the Kindle as actually being greener than print books (go figure).

At any rate, does this change things? Yes, but hopefully for the better. Will it replace books in my life? Not a chance. While the screen of the Kindle does look remarkably like a page out of a book it is still not a's an electronic reading device that you press a button rather than flip a page. None-the-less, I am glad with the purchase and look forward to reading it.

I'd be interested in hearing others view's on electronic reading devices (Kindle, Nook, Sony?).


Doug said…
I'm about 2 weeks into my Kindle experiment and very pleased so far. I've been using it mainly for newspapers + periodicals - NY Times, the Globe and Mail, the Irish Times, the Atlantic, New England Journal of Medicine, etc. Each issues gets a more thorough read than it got in paper.

I've been branching out into books, and it's nice to know that you'll never run out of reading material on a trip. I've read 2 books so far, and it lends itself well to reading while traveling (bus + car, so far).

Great device
the_big_smile said…
I heard, that Amazon deleted books from their customers Kindles without aksing the customers first! They paid back the money, the customers paid for the books, but I wouldn't want to use a reading device when I am not shure, no one else has access to it.

And the point with a Kindle beeing green...
Well, just read the comments on the treehuggers article.
I really can't imagine, it is green!
But your spend money on that device and your reading-habits become controllable by the industry.

I do electronic reading too. I own an iPaq Pocket PC from hp, wich I use for various purposes in the first place. (Todo-Tasks, Apointments, Navigation and many more.)

Electronic reading is really convinient! I carry a lot of book allways with me, including a 2006 excerpt of complete wikipedia!!!! (Without pictures, just text.) This comes in handy every now and then.

But I would never buy a device just only for reading. Physical books feel much better in handling, than electronic reading.
And you borrow physical books, without getting in trouble with the law!
Carol Barta said…
I've had a nook for about 8 months and use it daily. I'm a librarian and love reading. Because the Nook is open, I can download books from Overdrive--our libraries have a subscription as well as those free books. I really enjoy downloading old books in .pdf format--I have a 1865 copy of Walden--just to see the old type face and crinkly pages. I also download my electronic copy of Friends Journal each month.
Joe said…
Doug, Thanks for the comments and update.

Carol, Interesting...a librarian and still reading books electronically. Gives me a little more confidence. It was a close second for me when I purchased the Kindle...almost bought a Nook, but I'm happy with my decision.

Stefan, I can understand your distrust of the big company and ambivalence with ordering from them. But I have ordered books from Amazon for years and have a difficult time believing that they would delete electronic books from your computer without your consent (especially if you paid for them). Currently I have 42 books on the Kindle which I did not pay a cent for...this is what sold me. As mentioned in the post I read a lot of New Thought authors and many of them are out of print or difficult to come by...but interestingly many of them are free (public domain) on Amazon. I would have spent a fortune ordering print copies of these books, not to mention the paper used in their print and gas spent delivering them. Do I like the Kindle, yes. Do I love it, no. Why, because it is not a book...but it is handy. As always, thanks for your's an example of one of the public domain books I ordered, and you can see many more in the bottom scroll-bar.