Yesterday I sold my kindle. Yes that bastion of convenient reading and downloadable novels is gone. The truth is I’m glad to be rid of it! Now don’t get me wrong- I’m not some kind of luddite but the fact is I just didn’t use it. I went into the purchase with high hopes (and amazon immediately lowered it’s value by putting out the fire 2 weeks after my purchase. Sigh…) but I still thought it was going to be great!
Then I read my first book on it and I didn’t enjoy the experience. Here’s why:
1. I’m a note-writer when I read, partly because it’s the only way I remember from day to day the details of a story, and partly because I like to add my two cents to what the writer is saying. While this is possible to do on the kindle I found it very laborious.
2. If I wanted to go back and re-read a section, something I am prone to do, I couldn’t just flip through until I found the spot (usually with my accompanying note which makes it easier).
3. I read in long stretches and I found it annoying to have to worry about whether I had battery power. I don’t want limitations on my reading. Last year at a lecture by a favorite author Haven Kimmel she claimed she’d never seen anyone read a kindle for more than 15 minute stretches. While this may have been a bit of an exaggeration I do think there is something about using an electronic device like that which encourages distraction and a less-leisurely reading experience.
4. I thought it would be great for travel but since you can’t use handheld electronics on the plane for most of the time I ended up bringing a book anyways so it ended up being another thing to carry around.
5. Once I finish a book I get a lot of satisfaction out of putting it in my library so I can re-read to my hearts content. Literally 2 weeks after I got my kindle it was already out of date. The only way I want my books to be out of date is content-wise not because I can’t read them a few years down the road. Plus, I don’t want to invite myself into the expensive web of constant upgrading, downloading and transferring. Reading is supposed to be simple and accessible.
6. I’m a book loaner. Meaning I find a book I love and pass it on to friends and family. For instance, Edenbrooke I loved this year and I’ve given my copy to half a dozen people. My sister has it at the moment. Can’t really pass around a kindle like that. It also limits my friends from loaning me books they’ve liked, which is no fun.
7. I worry about the e-reader’s future socio-economic impact. Books and free libraries have always been an equalizing force in our society. Most anyone could go to a library, get a book, and read no matter their income level. With e-books some of those children are excluded from a type of reading and that concerns me. Suddenly the most fundamental act of learning has become a status symbol instead of an equalizer. Kid’s from poor families already feel they fall short in so many areas of their life, do we really have to add reading to the list. It is not good!
8. The last reason is probably debatable by some but it seems to me the e-reader has had a negative effect on the quality of many recent modern books. Haven Kimmel agreed. She said when she wrote her first book there were 4 editors involved. Her most recent had 1 part-time editor. Her husband was her main editor. Has anyone else noticed the sloppiness in books lately? Typos, grammatical errors, sections missing etc? (I’m sorry but the Twilight books were terrible examples of this). I think the e-reader has perhaps made it too easy to publish books. In the past it was such an investment they had to get it right on the first printing.
So there you go, my reasons for selling my kindle. I should never have bought it in the first place but my friends all loved it so much I finally gave in. I’m glad to be rid of it!
So, you’all enjoy your e-readers and I’ll continue to read the ‘old fashioned way’. (That statement is so sad…)
What do you think of e-readers?