BOOKS, A DYING BREED: THE KINDLE VS. THE PAPERBACK
Ever since I can remember, I have had an ambition in life to have one room in my house full of books. Now, I realise that this may be an unrealistic fantasy, living on a student loan barely covers the cost of a room, let alone an entire house with a spare room for all my literary needs. However the point is, I love the idea of having something to show for all the hours (and there have been many) spent engrossed in a book. At the moment if someone comes into my room (at uni and at home) they often have a look at all the books on my shelf and may ask questions about ones they are interested in or ask to borrow them. In my opinion a home isn’t complete without a shelf of tatty novels, that although may not have been picked up in a while, were at least loved once.
Enter the Kindle (or E-reader.) More often than not these days you will see a person reading a Kindle rather than a book. Now I have no problem with this, I can understand the appeal: the books are cheap, they are light and easy to carry in your bag and they are a lot easier to read in bed. And yet whenever someone asks me why I don’t have a Kindle, for me, there is really no contest: it’s paperbacks all the way. My main reason for this, as I mentioned earlier, is that I like to have a bookshelf full of all the reading I have done, and with a Kindle it is all compressed into a private, little piece of technology. I have to admit I was tempted to buy a Kindle when they first came onto the scene in 2007, but this was when all they did was allow you to read books, like a personal little library in your bag. However, now with tablets such as the Kindle Fire HD, I think they are nothing more than cheaper iPads branded as ‘e-readers.’ They may be made for reading, but you can browse the internet, play games and do everything a normal tablet could do. With this in mind, you may as well just download the Kindle app on your phone. We are in an age now where people are criticised for not spending enough time together and instead always having their eyes glued to the incandescent glow of a computer screen. Kindles are not helping this situation. In the past when I’ve been reading in public, people will comment on what I’m reading saying that they’ve read it, or asking me if I think it is any good. I think this gives a nice personal touch to reading. It connects you to other people in a way that a Kindle could not: on a Kindle no one knows what you are reading because there is no book cover. Furthermore unlike a book, an e-reader can run out of battery, and while there are accessories that allow you to “comment” or “note” it is not quite the same as the satisfying look of an tatty over-read book full of sticky notes and messy pencil markings.
All in all, I have nothing against other people using Kindles to read, but I personally will never be jumping on that bandwagon. On a slightly more positive note though, if Kindles are what it takes to get more people reading, then maybe they’re not such a bad thing after all.