Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Converting to eBooks

I am in the process of converting to eBooks. Slowly, I might add, and reluctantly.

My First Kindle

I bought a Kindle when they first came out in 2007. It was a wonderful solution to carrying several books in my carry-on luggage while I was traveling to and from Asia several times a year. When I returned to the US permanently, I went back to reading only print books.

Recently, I was given a new Kindle as a gift. It is very different from the 2007 model - smaller, lighter, and easier to read books on. The downside of the new Kindle is that books are more expensive these days than they were a three years ago.

I went to Amazon looking for a half dozen books to load on to my new toy, but they weren’t available on Kindle. So I won’t be converting totally to reading only eBooks. Yet. I was surprised, though, at what was on Kindle. For instance, I downloaded several free “Scientific American” magazines from the 1800s for research purposes.

No eBooks for Me (or Famous Last Words)

I never thought I’d be one of the people who would convert to reading eBooks. I steadfastly refused to listen to audiobooks when they became available, and, as the technology changed, refused to load books onto my iPhone or my iPod. I love printed books. I love the way they look, the way they feel when you hold them, the little thrill of anticipation I get when I open a print book for the first time, and that whisper when you turn to the title page. I love it all.

The only reason I bought a Kindle in the first place was because I don’t sleep well on planes, even on those long, 15-hour flights to Asia. So the Kindle was a perfect choice then. When I wasn’t on a plane, though, I continued to buy and read print books.

Why Use a Kindle Now?

Recently, I found myself spending way too much time trying to decide which book to take with me to a doctor’s appointment that I knew could run into the three-hour range. With my Kindle, I can throw it into my bag as I leave the house. Voila, I have many books to choose from (although, since I’m already reading a book on the Kindle, there really isn’t a reason to have to choose).

I read while I’m waiting for an appointment, I read while I sit in the Botanical Gardens after I finish my walk, and I read waiting for meetings to start. Wait, you may say, you can carry a paperback in your bag, you can read a paperback in the Gardens, and you can read a paperback while waiting for meetings to start. So why Kindle?

Indeed. Why Kindle? Because when I put a paperback into my bag, it is the only book I can read that day while I go about my business. But throw the Kindle into my bag and, theoretically, I can take 3,500 books with me. I’ll have a choice of which book to read. Of course, choosing which one of 3,500 titles to read will take up the waiting time, but it is the principle of the matter. I'm sure it will take me years to fill my Kindle up and potentially thousands of dollars. But, I tell myself, buying books for the Kindle is still cheaper than buying 3,500 print books.

What’s Most Attractive About the Kindle?

Perhaps, the most attractive thing about reading on the Kindle is that I won’t need to figure out where to put yet another bookcase, I was looking at one of my bookcases the other day and noticed that I have fewer books on it now that I’ve started using my Kindle again. In fact, one shelf is half full of socks. Yes, I have a lot of socks, but that’s a blog for another day.

What Did I Do with My Old Kindle?

I gave my old Kindle to my nephew who steadfastly agreed with me that he, too, would never give up on print books. However, even he now carries his Kindle with him no matter where he goes. Yike! What is the world coming to?

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