Friday, July 2, 2010

To Kindle or Not to Kindle

My birthday is approaching and I've been asked on more than one occasion if I want a Kindle or a nook. 

Up until very recently I've towed a firm line on the idea of a Kindle or nook.

And that firm line has been a firm NO.

I said I liked the tactile feeling of a book in my hands. I like books and the the thought of them all turning into electronic download-able files makes me shudder. 

I've  recently been exposed to the Kindle and the nook and I have to say I'm smitten. I never thought I'd write those words but they are true. 

However,  while I read a lot of books, I don't actually purchase a lot of books. Sure the Kindle versions are cheaper than traditional books, but they aren't cheaper than free at the library. I do like the fact that you can "lend" your books out with the Nook but really, I don't know anyone with a nook to begin with. I like the look of the nook better but Kindle seems to have better prices on the actual books.

And what happens if you spill coffee on them as I am wont to do with books sometimes. Or drop them. What if you have like 357 books in there ( yikes! Do the math!) and you break your Kindle. Are those books lost forever. (Of course I just mentioned above that I hardly ever buy books, this should NOT be a concern.) See how consumerism spreads like a virus. Before I didn't even want to own any more books. Now I'm worried about losing them.

Both have book light accessories (and the Kindle has one with an AC/DC adapter) which is important because right now when I read in bed (a lot) I use a flashlight....  I've never found a book light that was not a huge battery hog or bright enough. So I position the flashlight in the crook of my neck on the pillow. Sad but true.(If I don't get a reader for my birthday could someone please get me a high end book light at least?)

But technology concerns aside, I think the fundamental question is can I be trusted with the ability to purchase any book instantly?  Even the frugal gal that I am can't say that won't be a huge temptation for me. 

I could promise myself I would stick to 1 Kindle book a week. Even at that I've just created a $520 yearly expense where there wasn't one before. (I'll counter this but adding that I've purchased maybe 4 songs on iTunes ever.)  But is this really necessary??? I pay pretty steep property taxes where I live, I ought to be able to use the library. I know that there are a ton of free books out there as well (Classics and the like) but you can pick up a copy of Wuthering Heights anywhere, the is no wait for that one at the library.

The idea of having almost any book literally at my fingertips is a frighteningly delicious prospect.

I think the real truth is that I DO want one of these things. It just seems extravagant. And unnecessary.  And Oh-So-Tempting.


Krista said...

I'm with you. I want one, but I don't want one.

For example, our library is is typical small southern town bad. Virtually no books younger then me, slow as turtle snot ILL system, etc, so I could see where one could come in handy. On the other hand, that is a lot of money to spend...

Not much help, am I?

Christine said...

Krista, both the kindle and the nook have gone down in price considerably but the are still around $200. That makes my first year cost about about $750 (with the books) . I probably spent around $100 on books last year. I also spent money ordering books through ILL ($.050) each and overdue fines sometimes. I don't actually think the Kindle will replace my use of the library though.

Meredith said...

I am going to have to say no to this. Books are books - with pages and binding and what can ever compare with buying a brand new book and reading it and being able to write notes in the margins and having it on your shelf for future reference? The feeling of a book in your hands is something I will never give up.
And, do you really want to stare at what amounts to a mini computer screen for hours? Ouch on the eyes!

Christine said...

Meredith, although both seem pretty easy on the eyes,you make a good point. I've been thinking that I wish I could read an entire book on one and then see how I feel.

Additionally, you've captured the romance of an actual book in your comment. I get that.

And as I mentioned, I don't think the Kindle would solve all of my reading needs anyway. So really, what is the point? It's just so slick and I'm lusting over it. The ability to read the next book by an author or get one that I just learned about would really thrill me. But then again, that seems a little indulgent. Like I can't wait a day or even a week for a book....

Maybe I should get an Amazon gift certificate instead and just order whatever books I want :-)

Unknown said...

First of all, electronic book lending is going on in some libraries. Maybe yours.

Second, the environmental impact of an e-reader is good from a paper standpoint. Even better from a not cluttering up your house standpoint. Best of all, traveling without a huge bag and using more jet fuel etc. So don't worry too much about the consumerism. This is where the evolution of media is going. We'll never be without paper books, but e-books are a good thing. Not a mindless indulgence.

Now, something you may not know. There are a million free e-books out there, many of them great. Many authors like me, will give away free e-books as promotionals for our paperback copies. So don't assume you're going to spend like mad.

Once I got an e-reader, I didn't go crazy buying new books. However, when I did make a purchase, I was far more satisfied because I could always read a sample first (at least on kindle). I purchased authors I might not have otherwise found, and that was very enriching. My buying has been restricted to things that I love. (more)

Unknown said...

The price of e-books is in flux. Some will remain cheap. Some publishers are going to try to jack it up--something I think is foolish because you're buying a license to a book, not the book. And as an author, I know I'll sell more books at a lower price point.

The reading experience on a kindle is great and nothing like staring at a mini computer screen. E-ink is a pleasure. You're not going to get any eye-strain from an e-ink device. That's one of the drawbacks of the ipad, is that it's more like a computer screen.

Being tethered to the Amazon store isn't fun and I assume the Nook has similar difficulties with Barnes & Nobles. You may prefer a Sony for that reason--it allows more flexibility in formats.

If you lose your kindle, you don't lose the books. They're on your account. I assume the same is true for the nook. It may be different with a Sony, but in that case you'd keep a backup on your computer.

You can also write notes using a kindle, and probably the other readers as well. However, I will admit that for heavy research, I prefer the book in my hands. I find it easier to locate a page and a note that way because I'm very visual.

I would go with something with a wireless connection--tethering to the computer is annoying, and sometimes defeats the purpose. People have sent me documents to my kindle while I'm away from my computer and it's very nice to be able to just sync the device for free so that I can read what I was sent.

Christine said...

oooohhh....I feel myself being swayed again!!!

Steph, I knew you would have some interesting things to say about this, I'm glad you posted.

My library does have an electronic lending program which is awesome except I was unable to tell if the books would actually work on the kindle. You can download audio books to your ipod but the ebooks just say Mac of PC. I think I'll need to call the library on that one.

I had not even thought of the SONY reader. Yet another thing to research now!

And I had not really considered the environmental impact, though I have on library books as you know.

As for your books, I will always buy the actual book as I don't think you should sign my kindle! (hmmm...Look how I easily I said that!!)

Christine said...

And the newer readers have a 3G connection so you don't even need to be a in a wireless hot spot to download a book!

The Fine Art of Motherhood said...

I can see both sides on this one. Having worked for so many years at a book bindery, I know exactly what goes into the actual production of a book -- the number of people, the number of details to decide on -- so many things that most people don't think about. I think book binding, particularly the types of projects that we worked on, is an art form and I hope that there is never a day that I can't go into a book store and purchase an actual book.

Having said that, I do definitely see the value in all of the new technology that is available -- we have iPods and absolutely love them -- we can definitely see a time when all of our music is loaded onto an iPod and we don't have hundreds of cd's around the house. And grabbing the one iPod instead of filling up the cd case for a road trip -- wonderful!!

And digital cameras -- I come from a LONG line of Kodak employees and I thought I was completely resolved to never be dragged into the world of digital pictures. I LOVE film and having actual prints in my hand. And then someone gave us a digital camera... I used both for a while, and then I completely got pulled into the digital world. I rarely go anywhere without my digital camera! My kids can grab it and take pictures of their stuffed animals or their Playdoh creations, or the floor, and I don't have to worry about them "wasting film" or paying for those prints to be made. I love being able to know immediately that I captured the moment that I wanted to. The point being, I think I felt about digital cameras, the way you felt about Kindle. I made the switch and I don't regret it at all -- it's better than I expected! And I definitely think that even with the Kindle or the nook, or the SONY, you will always make trips to the library. I can't imagine you raising your daughter to think that books are something hard and plastic that you read on a portable little computer screen -- you'll still have real books in your life!

So, put down the flashlight and try out the Kindle! (Hey, Mema loves hers, and there is no one in the world that I know that reads as much as she does/has!)

Christine said...

Mema is the one who started this whole thing Deanna. I actually did think if Mema loves hers then I'm sure I would love one as well.

I think the nook is winning over the Kindle at the moment because the nook has more titles avaliable as well as free titles avaliable. Additionally, the nook has the ability to read the ones from the library better than the Kindle. And the nook has some cute pink covers and matching PINK BOOK LIGHTS!!!!

As you can see I've been looking at these things all morning and when I'm late to your party today you'll know why!

Christine said...

And I really appreciate the perspective of the regular/digital camera. Even your Dad, the photographer uses digital now! And he WAS a kodak employee!!!

The Fine Art of Motherhood said...

Ooh -- imagine if they had LEOPARD print covers and book lights! ;)


Christine said...

Well then there would be no contest.

Tree Huggin Momma said...

I need my books, however DH likes to read on the computer, so I might get him one for Christmas, although would be nice if he and the kids went to the Library on a regular basis..... now wouldn't it?

Raven said...

Just in case you don't get one (although it sounds like you're leaning towards it), you can get a headlamp to solve your reading in bed issue. It's a flashlight you put on your forehead and it shines where you look, adjusted to your preference. They're about $10 in the camping section of Target, use low battery power & are very handy. I use mine and it makes life so much easier.

Just don't look over at your husband's face, as it'll shine directly into his eyes.

Christine said...

Wow Raven, kind of like a miner's hat!

Raven said...

Exactly like a miner's hat, except with an elastic band instead of a whole helmet. Works great!!