Monday, October 11, 2010

Kindling a Love for Reading

I'd been thinking about getting an e-reader.
I went back and forth pn the “can I adjust to a 'book' that isn't made of paper and ink?” question. Was the tactile experience part of the pleasure of reading? And if so, how much?
Would I miss thumbing through actual pages? Flipping through a book, back and forth, comparing passages? Or would an e-reader simplify my reading experience?
Most importantly, could I still read the end of the book first?
Those questions weren't the only issues I struggled with: I felt a little bewildered by all the e-reading options. Should I just download a reader on my laptop? I'd checked out the Nook -- every time I walked into Barnes and Noble, someone offered to show me everything I needed to know about it. And I'd always been satisfied with everything Sony; maybe their e-reader was the way to go.
Or I could just succumb to the temptation of the Apple and get an Ipad -- as if money were no object.
Speaking of money, would I spend even more money on books if they were only a click away in the Kindle store? Could I exercise discretion and judgment when book-shelf space wasn't a consideration?
My family saved me the trouble of making a decision. For my birthday this year, they all went together and gave me a Kindle.
Initially, the learning curve isn't too steep, although I know there are features on my Kindle I haven't figured out yet.
And I'm liking it. I'm liking it a lot.
With its pebbled leather cover (complete with its own light!), reading is still somewhat tactile, although there are no pages to turn. Late at night, though, when I'm tired, I still forget to hit the page-turning button, and reach up to turn a (non-existent) page.
The Kindle fits into a purse in a way most hard-back books won't. And it keeps track of where I am in a book. It offers variety, convenience, and fun in a very small, very portable package.
There might be a few drawbacks -- it seems as if it will be harder to share a book with someone. I still haven't figured out how to navigate quickly from one part of a book to another. Illustrations and photographs aren't quite as crisp as in a print book. Some books don't seem to be available through Kindle, although perhaps I just haven't found them yet.
And perhaps worst of all, there aren't too many children's books available in Kindle editions.
But overall, I like this new reading experience. I don't think e-readers will replace paper-and-ink books. I think they will just give us more options. And who could argue with that?
So now I'm curious . . . have you tried a Kindle, or another e-reader? What do you think? Are you using it a lot, and enjoying it, or is it sitting quietly by your bedside? And what are you reading?
I'd love to know.


megs @ whadusay said...

I have not ventured into the e-reading world yet. I think if I ever got one I would probably use it most for travel, the thought of "packing" lots of books in one little e-reader is very appealing, but since I don't travel that much, it will probably be a while before I actually make the move. Also, the expense of buying books to fill it deters me a little as well. Maybe someday, it does sound fun!

Right now I am reading The Happiness Project (almost done) and Radical. I have three novels, two taking place in China and one a friend just let me borrowed that I cannot remember the name to waiting for me to start.

megs @ whadusay said...

Oh, and how cool that your kids bought you a Kindle, that sounds like the perfect gift! Glad you are enjoying it. :)

Holly said...

Megan, it is great for traveling, and also for waiting rooms! I've also been reading Radical -- what do you think?

Michelle said...

Holly, it sounds like your kids did good! :-)

We have no experience with e-readers in our family, so your thoughts are definitely appreciated. We have considered buying one for my "mother-in-love" for Christmas.

I have only recently ventured back into the world of grown-up books. I just finished Choosing to See (cried all the way through it) and The Me I Want to Be.

Holly said...

Michelle, my kids did great! :) Sounds like you've chosen some good books. I've been reading Laura Bush's Spoken From the Heart, and since we went to see the movie Secretariat last night, I just downloaded the book that the movie was based on -- it looks good, too! And I've been re-reading Joanna Weaver's books. So many books, so little time to read!