An intriguing development

My house is liberally scattered with books. They sit on shelves and tables, they teeter in piles beside chairs, they lurk under desks and scatter themselves around beds. I have always lived among books. When I find myself in a room without books I feel slightly nervous. Something is missing. I will never stop buying books or enjoying the feel of them in my hand. So when I was given a Kindle for Christmas, it was a surprise. I tilted my head to one side and thought ‘hmmm’. I understand all the misgivings about Amazon and the threat to high street booksellers, but I was touched and pleased by the gift; a shiny new Kindle HD Fire. End of advert. Why am I thinking about Kindle when I should be preparing a lesson plan for this evening? It’s because something unexpected has happened since I received my Kindle. Firstly, I am reading more. The Kindle sits by my bedside and I find it easy to reach for it, open it at the bookmark and flick through pages I might otherwise find cumbersome to hold and turn in bed. Second, I have discovered the pleasure of going away for the weekend with just the slim Kindle in my bag in place of the books I have a tendency to lug around with me. People had told me to expect this benefit, so it does not surprise me. No, the surprise has been to find that I am visiting my local bookshops more often than in my pre-Kindle life. When I browse the online store I find myself reading sample chapters and earmarking books I would like to own. I notice that I download the ones I want to read on the smooth screen (which I have adapted to a type size and background colour that suit my imperfect eyesight), but I make a mental note to visit the bookshop to find or order those books I wish to handle and add to my ‘real’ collection. In the past month my visits to an actual bookshop must have more than doubled. Has anyone else found this to be the case, or am I in helpless thrall to the pocket-sized marketing machine that a Kindle provides? Overall I would say that Amazon now has less of my business than before, whereas Waterstones and my local independent book sellers (of which there are three) have more. I imagine this is not what Amazon or Kindle expect of me, but it the case. I am enjoying my Christmas present. 

3 Comments on “An intriguing development”

  1. Deb Manasseh

    i had a kindle, despite being dubious @ 1st…. i was totally won over, ease, lack of bulk / weight AND the ability to test drive a book for free (giving me the option to try out new stuff). more than anything, living in Israel, the lack of variety in english books was no longer a problem…. i could even buy a new one whilst lazing on the beach! (bliss).
    when my handbag was stolen, i mourned the loss of my kindle more than anything else & am working on getting a new one asap.

  2. Mary Smith

    I know what you mean Jane. I wasn’t at all sure about my kindle when I first got it but it is absolutely great for taking on holiday. One small, light object instead of half a dozen books. However, you can’t beat a real book. My house, too, looks something like a book shop. I make conscious about which books I want electronically and which ones I want in their classic form. I love paperbacks; especially when they have become soft from frequent handling. I’d be interested to know how you find your kindle fire in bright sunlight. Mine is the original, old-style kindle, with a non-reflective screen which can be easily read indoors or outside. The Kindle Fire is a bit like an IPad and the shiny screen might be more problematic in sunlight.

  3. joinedupwriters

    Mary, my Kindle hasn’t really been exposed to bright sunlight yet but I can adjust the brilliance, font size and background colour. I’ll test it out as the days get lighter. From what I’ve been told, it seems that it’s more adaptable than the iPad.

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