Kindle Review - Part 1: In which this reader suffers much anxiety about switching to ebooks.

© 2011 Angie Kritenbrink

For a long time, I wasn't sure if I wanted an ebook reader - being a "book person," I've spent the last 20 years reading, buying, and selling books, and my collection of books has grown and evolved along with me. They live in my apartment, whisper secrets to me, and make moving a chore that no friend is foolish enough to help me with twice.

There is the fiction section filled with beloved novels shelved next to things I picked up at used book sales and am looking forward to reading. I have a shelf of women's studies books from the time I was in graduate school and really wished there was a women's studies program for me to minor in (along with my American Literature emphasis). I have books on history, poetry, art, writing, plays, anthologies -- and when I got married six years ago and moved to Seattle, my husband's books and mine started to sort of mingle together and become one collection. They live in our living room and overflow to other rooms in the house - cookbooks in the kitchen, my husband Colin's current reading and treasured favorites in a small bookcase next to his side of the bed.

I even went 21st century with my collection, creating an inventory on Library Thing, one of the first sites to allow you to do this. I manage it with care, adding and subtracting in real time. I religiously keep "new books" on a different shelf until they are cataloged there. I'm on the Internet multiple hours a day, and I've been involved with social networking since the beginning. I even do IT at work now. I did very thorough research to decide which ebook reader was the best for me, settling on Amazon's Kindle (for reasons I will explain in another post). So I am not a Luddite, but the printed book has been so much a part of my life and my soul for so many years that I just wasn't sure if I wanted to delve into ebooks at all or buy a Kindle.

It always takes me time to make a decision that will have this much impact. As I thought about it over several weeks, I sat in my living room and stared at my book collection. What would happen to it? Would it be stunted, stopping growth in 2010? Friends and family who visit often wander over and start browsing my shelves. Would they forever reflect me at age 37? Will I continue to sell or donate books from time to time, never adding new ones? I imagined an apocalypse of empty shelves, dusty, littered with the last few dogeared copies of my Alice Munro collection and a couple of old New Yorker issues. (oh, the magazines and newspapers which have already bit the dust in favor of aggregators and RSS feeds. But I still get the New Yorker every week. It will be the last thing I read on paper.)

I talked to tech people about it, who suffered my hesitation with thinly veiled patience (or not, being tech people). I talked to book people about it, who were staunchly in the corner of the printed page. It was silly of me, really, to be so histrionic. Maybe there were things I could read on ebooks and others I would still buy good old-fashioned bound books of. I should just try it with a book I didn't care SO much about, I told myself. I had been reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series, which is addictive, and not so important to me to "collect," so I downloaded the free Kindle PC app and bought the Kindle edition of the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest which was only available in Kindle or hardback at the time. It's kind of apropos that I read that book first, since it has a tech focus. Even on my netbook, it was comfortable and a good reading experience. So I went ahead and put a Kindle on my wishlist for Christmas. [to be continued]

**note: I am a member of Amazon Associates, and if enough of you click links to Amazon that I add to my posts, I will receive a tiny incentive. Computers are smart; they know we are talking about Kindle at the moment, so there might even be a Kindle for sale in the ad box on my page right now (the content of which I do not control). However, Amazon did not send me my Kindle to review and I am not receiving any compensation from them (or anyone else) directly for writing this series of posts, which reflect my true experience as an Amazon customer and Kindle reader.

Although I would sell it to them if they wanted it . . . 

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to see what happens next!