The Fall of the Kindle (Day 16)

Nothing happened to set this in motion. At least, nothing I can pinpoint.

One day I was the Queen of the Kindle and the next day, its soon-to-be ex-wife.

Since electronic books first became a thing, I was one of the biggest proponents.

I love books. I love to read. I love to read lots of books at the same time. When reading lots of books at the same time, I tend to misplace one or two and be forced to go on an all out, time consuming, irritating search before the library due date or the book group meeting or my self-assigned, to-be-finished-by date.

The Kindle put all my books in the same place. Since I’m always reading something, chances were high that I wasn’t going to lose my Kindle. Which kept the rest of my books-in-progress always within reach.

No more overdue fees. That was a plus.

Of course, I started buying all the books I read instead of borrowing. But this felt good because I like the idea of supporting authors. How can I expect others to buy the books I write (if I ever get around to finishing them and getting them published) if I am stingy about purchasing books written by others?

Also, I am a repeat reader. When I like a book, I reread it. Sometimes once a year. Sometimes more frequently. So if a book I borrow ends up being something I love, I’ll usually buy it. To have it at the ready. Just in case.

With the Kindle, it was at the ready AND easy to find.

Yet. Something clearly was amiss. It’s taken several years, but I can admit, finally, that I was wrong. Reading a paper book IS that different from reading on a Kindle.

In my humble opinion.

One thing I noticed was that I’d stopped reading books before bed. I’d always loved the coziness of getting situated with my pillow and blankets, turning on my book light, putting on my reading glasses, and getting lost between the covers of a good book. The flat, cold Kindle didn’t meld with the ritual. It felt like setting the dinner table with candles and china and crystal and serving guests astronaut food. Incongruent. And lacking mystique.

I like mystique.

Something else I noticed was that I missed going to the library and the book store. I still went occasionally, usually with my computer, to get away from the house, to give a lift to my writing by changing environments. But the searching for books, the wandering around, pulling one out, reading a few pages and moving on to another one, the stacking of interesting options in my arms until I had to sit down and make the final cuts, those things were no longer part of my repertoire. With the Kindle, I went on Amazon and downloaded a recommended book or two. The process of getting to choose from an embarrassment of riches was another treasured activity lost.

Who knew I attached so much significance to the non-reading aspect of books?

I’m sure there are many other signs that it was time to go back to the paper book, but one day, in a moment of forgetfulness, I went to our town library and stood before the shelves of new fiction and behaved as if I’d never owned a Kindle. I still had my library card so after culling my collection of possibilities, I borrowed four books. That night, I read in bed. Booklight, blankets, reading glasses.

Happy, happy, happy.

So I’ve put my Kindle aside for the time being. I’ll take it with me when I travel. I don’t want to go over the weight limit for my luggage or hurt my back lugging all those books in my carryon bag.

Still, I think to read on the plane ride (or train or bus), I’ll bring at least one paperback.


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4 thoughts on “The Fall of the Kindle (Day 16)

  1. I have transitioned to the iPad for reading because my almost 50 year old eyes need the light! But I agree with you, no substitute for a real book.

    1. Talk about old eyes. I can’t focus on the IPad at night because the back lighting makes my eyes strain. Hence, the book light.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Some friends and I were talking about this recently. Most preferred the real, curl-up-and-enjoy, flip-the-pages book, but appreciate the benefits of an e-book in certain situations.

    1. I thought I’d smoothly made the transition from book to Kindle. But alas, no. Not sure it will ever happen completely.

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