Monday, March 7, 2011

Hello, my name is Erica and I am a Kindle owner.

So I came upon some extra money recently. I had it tucked away with the intention of buying myself something big and fancy as a birthday present. I’ll be turning 25 in July, the quarter century mark, which totally freaks me out but that’s beside the point. I figure turning 25 is something worth spoiling yourself over. So the money was set aside and I had my brain set on a list of different presents for myself. I was pretty dead-set about getting myself something and yet… I kept returning to tumblr and reading over posts written by bloggers who own e-readers. Their arguments as to why e-readers are awesome were pretty convincing to me so after doing some comparison research I decided- I was going to buy myself an Amazon Kindle.

I won’t lie, I have been a Kindle owner for only two weeks and I am in absolute love. I was worried that I would suffer buyer’s remorse but have yet to feel any woe due to the purchase. There is an assortment of reasons why I absolutely love the kindle and I hope, expressing these reasons, anyone who is considering an e-reader might find this of some help.

My household is filled with books. I live at home with my parents, it’s just the three of us, but my mother and I love to read. She has two bookcases of her own books that she’s collected since childhood, shelves of children’s books from my own childhood, and a large bookcase my grandfather built that is packed with books from my teenage years. Then we move into my bedroom where I have two more bookcases that are packed solid. I have no more room for books. None. And I’ve known this day was coming for months. I’ve been actively looking for the bookcases I have, to buy another, but keep coming back empty handed. The family jokes it’s OCD, that I must have all of my bookcases be exactly the same, well, it’s true. They need to be the same. I wouldn’t like to have a random bookcase that was different. My own obsessive behavior aside; I have no room for books and I really haven’t the money to buy a new bookcase anyway.

Well. Okay, so I did have the money for the new bookcase (if I had found it) because I went and spent $140 on my Kindle. However, that $140 Kindle already has nearly 30 books stored in it that I got completely free. Yes, that’s right. Thirty books for free. If I had gotten them as Mass Markets those thirty books would have easily cost over $200. They’re all the classics, which is exciting because I’ve wanted to read so many classics and yet many times thought, “I’m not sure I’ll like this book, do I really want to buy it?” No problem, I have it for free. So even if it takes me three years to make my way through the book it’s okay, because it’s on my Kindle and I didn’t pay a cent for it.

So just acquiring those free classics already paid off for the Kindle. Those thirty books that, if they were printed, I wouldn’t have any room for them.

Not only that, but the Kindle is so light and easy to carry around. I slip it into my purse or bag (nestled into the little ‘Kindle sock’ I crocheted for it) and it isn’t that added bulk that my books give. I adore that there is a function to look up words. If I am reading a book and I pass over a word that I am not 100% sure of the definition I like to look it up. This is all fine and good if I’m at work or at home with a dictionary available. But when I’m traveling or out and about I won’t have a dictionary handy. On the Kindle I can simply scroll to the word and there’s the definition.

I can go onto the internet from my little Kindle, I can update my twitter and facebook with quotes from the books that I adore, and I can download games, magazines, and newspapers. Say I’m cooking but really would like to read, well, I can set the Kindle to Text-to-Speech and allow it to read to me. Suddenly I have audio books without even shelling out the money for them.

Now, for all the naysayers who are completely against the e-reader because they feel it’s the death of publishing, hear me out. I was in that category for a long time and my opinion has changed fully. The availability of books on my Kindle is wonderful and convenient. I appreciate not having to find that bookshelf (at least for awhile), I appreciate the lack of bulk, and I appreciate the low price of these books when I typically haven’t much money to put towards book. But all of this does not take away my love for a published copy of a book. Don’t think that for a second. I know I could download I Capture the Castle to my kindle, a book I have already read and adore, but I don’t want to. I want the actual copy. I want to be able to look at the cover, smell the pages, and relive the memory of reading that book for the first time. Printed copies have in no way gone completely out of my life.

I would suggest an e-reader (specifically, the Kindle, because there is seriously nothing wrong with it!) to any avid book readers. If you don’t read a ton of books each year or are happy to just take books out from a library, then maybe an e-reader would be a waste of money, but if you don’t fall into that category then hop to it and order one!

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