I had promised myself that when Kindles become as cheap as 100 euros, I would get myself one. And even though this is the summer we are supposed to economize, the summer when my country was on the verge of bankruptcy not once but twice, I went ahead and ordered it. It took just three days to arrive from Seattle (or wherever Amazon storage rooms are) to Athens and about five days from Athens to Larissa. But Friday afternoon it was here and I was once more excited as kid. It was like Christmas in the middle of the summer!
Predictably enough for an obsessive bibliophile like myself I had downloaded , exchanged, bought enough e-books to last me for a life, even before the Kindle had arrived. It took a very short while to learn how to work with it. It is one of the few times when all the publicity hype is true and it is a marvelous piece of equipment to work with it. Very easy to buy books from amazon, I also suggest you download Calibre which is an excellent little piece of software to help you organize your books and articles. PDFs are readable but they aren’t my favourite kind of file because the fonts come out very small. So we all set for a holiday full of reading without the extra weight.
So here are the pros:
-Light, light, super light. And cool. Here in Greece they are still a novelty and people are looking at you somewhat strangely when you read one of those on the queue to pay the electricity bill. But on second thoughts people look at you strangely when you read a conventional book as well.
-Quantity. Never again worry if the book you took with you on your holiday is not what you had hoped for. I’m not sure if it can really hold 3,500 books (I very much doubt it if they are books like the Infinite Jest with its 1600 pages) but I’m sure you’ll never be short of books. Ever.
– Readability. The digital ink is indeed very readable and comfortable for the eyes. It doesn’t feel like reading from a screen at all.
– Connectivity. In case you are short of any other devices and you desperately need your daily dose of internet it also works as a simple tablet, with a black and white screen, however. But you would have to be desperate, I repeat.
And the cons?
Well, I have to admit there are some. First of all after years of using these simple devices called books, you know the ones with the paper pages, I just can’t get over the feeling I don’t know whereabouts in the book I am. OK, there is a note that says, 15% or 56% but this matters little when you actually want to see how many pages to the end of the chapter so you can turn the light off. Not to mention the fact that reading the (infamous) Infinite Jest, I thought there was something seriously wrong with my Kindle cause I was stuck to two percent for days. I read and I read and still 2 percent. Then I decided to check the number of pages. Then I relaxed. So you don’t actually get the feel of the book. Is it big? Is it thin? Are chapters few and sparse? Are they one-page-long? That’s a drawback to me.
But most of all, as I said before, Kindles are excellent for some kind of books, and documents, for travelling and all but they will never be good enough for any kind of illustrated book. Children’s books? Forget them. Actually what prompted me to finish this post today was reading about one Taschen book that I’ve just seen and started drooling for!
My friend Ken mentioned somewhere in FB that he wouldn’t change his paperbacks with an e-book because books are really great conversation starters. This journalist seems to agree as well. I must admit too, that I would terribly miss this diversity if everyone read e-books. (From the FlickR group Reading in public)
I don’t regret buying it of course. If nothing else, my bag is much lighter these days. People argue whether its strong point is the battery (which really lasts very loooooong) or its screen which is very relaxing. In my opinion its strong point is convenience. The fact you carry with you so many books any time and you can refer back to them and you can access your notes easily. But of course what this does to our memory in the long term is another issue and maybe another blogpost. For the moment I’ll just try to find some space for the books I brought back from my parents’ house.
(Για τους Έλληνες αναγνώστες, δύο ακόμη αρθράκια από ανθρώπους που πρόσφατα αγόρασαν το δικό τους Κιντλ)