It’s an inevitable question isn’t it. A while ago I had a kindle bought for me. I was a little underwhelmed at the time because to be honest I prefer books. However, that being said it’s amazing quite how easily the kindle becomes a part of your reading life, it inveigles itself and creeps up on you unexpectedly. Let’s face it the books you buy for your kindle are more reasonably priced. There are frequently good deals on some of your favourite books. There are daily deals and many books are completely free, especially the classics. If I was to list my pros and cons they would probably be:
- Cheaper books
- No matter how many books you have on the go at any time your place is always saved – no need for bookmarks
- No stacks of books all over the house
- Easy to highlight relevant parts which is great when doing a readalong
- Quick to purchase – ‘one click’
- No postage costs or delivery time
- You can take a thousand books away on holiday with you and still fit clothes into your suitcase
- Really good for reading big chunksters
- They’re not books! Books are like trophies in a way, I love having them gathered all over the house. I don’t know why but they’re just a part of my personality and I feel like they say something about me that a kindle just doesn’t.
- No stacks of books all over the house!
- The books are cheaper but if I read a book I love I still want to own the paper version which in reality means I buy the book twice!
- It runs out of battery at the most inopportune times – my fault but nonetheless infuriating when it happens
- They’re pretty useless in terms of glossaries or maps that are usually at the front or back of the book – if you’re reading a book it’s so much easier to flip from front to back. Which means I tend to ignore these things completely!
- I lose the association with the look of the book and the title and author. Sometimes I will struggle to remember a book’s author after I’ve finished reading on the kindle – I know that sounds odd but when you’re reading a book you see the cover and name/author all the time. It just reinforces it somehow.
- I can’t be nosey and look at what other people are reading when they’re using a kindle. I know, I know. I’m a nosey so and so, but, I just can’t help wanting to know what everyone else is reading – well, it could be the next ‘big thing’.
- It really is too easy to buy books this way which means you purchase on the slightest whim – there are no physical inhibitors, no scowling partners – no books taunting you from the windowsill, coffee table, bedside cabinet.
So, it appears evens doesn’t it – and yet, I still prefer the book. I worry about all the talk surrounding the disappearance of paper books, how they’ll soon just become a thing of the past. Let’s face it some books are never printed at all now. What happens to all the gorgeous cover art?? Will it still be needed?
It definitely makes me a bit sad to think electronic books may be the end of paper ones. After all, as much as I’ve grown accustomed to my kindle it’s never going to fulfill my dream of having a library is it!!
And, I wonder what authors make of ebooks. I can’t help thinking it must be really satisfying when you receive that first copy of a book with your name on it – and yet at the same time so many books are self published now which gives some authors a chance that they wouldn’t previously have had) Of course, there’s a whole other argument around that and the flooding of the book market with so many books that probably would never have made the cut through a publishing house.
So, a few weeks ago I was bought a Kindle. I’ve always resisted the temptation because frankly I’m a total booky type person. However, people have conspired against me, as they will and do, in some sort of grim determination to bring me into the electronic age and having previously been a bit outspoken against e-books I thought it only fair that I revisit my thoughts now that I’m actually using one and can speak from a little experience as oppose to a lot of prejudice.
Before I continue I must state emphatically that I will not be abandoning books! Phew. Had to just get that out there. But, I will also be including a few electronic ones now.
On the plus side
- OMG there are a lot of books out there that are much cheaper on the kindle – this is a definite bonus when you read a lot. Okay, there are some that are more expensive and I do struggle to understand why that is but, in the main, they seem to be cheaper. (on the downside to this I will admit that you can become a little bit entranced in looking through the ebooks to the extent you find you haven’t done any reading at all for quite some time!)
- no need for book marks or bent pages – the Kindle just opens your book up to where you left off, even if you have more than one book on the go, no more losing your page. No more watching as your book slides off the arm of the chair where you (thought you had) carefully placed it, bashes to the floor and loses your place!
- free samples – how many of those have I now got waiting to be read. This is a definite bonus. I know you can’t always tell from the first few chapters if you’re going to like a book or not you can at least get to check out a flavour of the book and also the author’s style – lets face it this isn’t really possible with paperbacks!
- Dictionary – okay, I’m not a total dunce but every now and again you read a book and there’s a word in there that you don’t know. So, do you make a note, rush home and whip your dictionary out. No, you don’t. You read on and hope that the use of the word in the sentence has given you the correct feel for the meaning. No need for that with the Kindle. Okay, having said that, I haven’t used that facility – but, I could if I wanted!!
- plus, you can bookmark things really easily – so no need to make any notes or remember page numbers to come back and look at later – a definite plus. although I do like my little notebook I must admit.
On the down side:
- does a book ever run out of power. I think not! How annoying is that, and, yes thank you, I realise it’s my own fault if I don’t keep the Kindle properly charged but you have to concede the point that this is not a problem you ever suffer with a book! So, when I want to read something on the way to work and open the Kindle and then it just powers down – a little bit disappointing which brings me to the second down side
- because I’m not the best at keeping things charged, and because this means I may wind up in the situation of not having a book to enjoy over lunch, etc, then I now carry a book as back up. Which rather defeats one of the main arguments for a kindle, i.e. lighter to carry in your bag, no more lugging around heavy tomes, because now I’m carrying a book and a Kindle (doh!).
- also, and this may seem lame – but its yet another gadget! And, gadgets appeal to people with light fingers. As much as I love books I don’t imagine anyone stealing one – but this is just something else that might attract unwanted attention. I’m just saying!
- book covers – I think this is one of the biggest downside. You download a book (oh, and that’s another bonus – it’s there straight away) but there’s no cover. I like book covers. I’m sorry but I do. In fact I’m not sorry. I’m not going to apologise for liking covers. It’s a whole industry going on right there and I can’t help wondering what sort of bad effects this will have on all the illustrators, designers, etc.
- plus, just read a Christmas Carol – no illustrations. The book I picked did have illustrations but the book I downloaded didn’t. Okay, I don’t need pictures but that’s not the point.
So, that’s my experience so far. Even Stevens. Like and Don’t like. I’m like Smeagol. I loves it and I hates it precious. So, for now, the jury is out, but I’m keeping an open mind and continuing with my experiment.