Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A Kindle kinda love?

            Do you own a Kindle?
I’ve had one for a few weeks. Am I a convert?



Kinda. And kinda not, too.
I mainly bought it because I’ve been reading manuscripts as a sideline job. Being able to download them straight onto the Kindle seemed a good enough reason to invest in one, plus, the idea of taking unlimited books on holiday has always appealed.
So far I’m pretty happy with it and although I wouldn’t want it to completely replace paper books, I do feel it’s been a good investment.
I’ve noticed something, though, about the reading experience that has taken me a while to pick up on.
If I’m absolutely LOVING a story, and rattling through it at a very fast pace, I really notice no difference at all with the experience of reading a regular book. The fact that the screen isn’t backlit is a great bonus for me; after a day spent staring at various screens, the last thing I want to look at it in bed is another glowing rectangle. I missed having real covers to look at, it’s true, but it was surprising how quickly I got used to that.
But when I’m reading something that needs much more of a slow investment, and is taking me some time to get into, then I miss having the physical heft of a book in my hand. I miss being able to pause, look at the cover and the blurb again; maybe read the author’s biog at the start. These all feel like small signposts that help light my way when the path into a story feels murkier and more opaque.
So it’s mixed feelings from me so far.
What about you?

21 comments:

Helen Black said...

I still haven't got one Caroline, but must admit I'm tempted.

My other half reads a lot of books and the papers on his iPad and is a complete convert.
HB x

Debs Riccio said...

I've got one on loan right now from a friend but I'm not feeling the 'love' I have to admit. I miss being able to flip about randomly and have a proper colour cover and I have to say the dull non-backlight thing I find VERY dull - even greyer than a proper white page... I'm not convinced. Everything's very.... grey...

Luisa Plaja said...

I love mine. It's brilliant for travelling, and I use the Kindle app on my phone a lot too.

Fionnuala said...

I love mine - her name is Felicity (Kindle)
The only thing I dislike is the lack of page numbers (only giving a percentage of the book read). You sort of lose the ability to 'scroll back or forwards'?

JO said...

I think Kindles are fine - up to a point. I did a road trip in America earlier this year, and took a Kindle loaded with The Grapes of Wrath (seemed like a good road-trip-book), which would have been huge to lug about and read in cafes or on beaches, so it was much easier to have that on the Kindle.

But my guidebook advice - I had a real Lonely Planet, so I could skip backwards and forwards easily to find things, be diverted by information about something I hadn't thought of, choose between various hotels.

At home - I generally stick to books.

So I think there's room for both - enjoy!

Ellen Brickley said...

I love mine, but I don't want it to fully replace paper books. I don't think it will, to be honest.

Being able to take so many books on holidays is great for me, because I travel as much as I can. I also love the fact that my house - already pretty full - isn't getting any fuller! (OK, it is, just at a slower rate!)

Roderic Vincent said...

Someone gave me one and I never use it. I feel guilty about that. Perhaps we could offer it as a prize on Strictly for our next little comp.

MorningAJ said...

Kindle - no. Because Amazon tried to restrict people to buying their files and not being able to red any kind of file on it.

Sony eReader - yes. And I love being able to carry about 50 noves in my handbag.

victoriabantock said...

I had always said 'no way, not me', but then last week I could take it no more and I got one! I have crossed to the dark side!

I agree with many of the reasons so far given and the no page numbers thing is definitely annoying but I can live with it. I have found new authors to read because of it, downloaded the weekend papers without having to get dressed and as I also read non-fiction, I have highlighted important bits in text I want to revisit which is very handy.

I love the idea of the Kindle Lending service but think I need to build up my library first before I can swap books and I hope that it opens soon for public library lending as my local library is now lends e-books (Brighton library yay!).

I still have traditional books and they will always be with me but there is room for both I think.

Gillian McDade said...

NO!!!!! AARRRRGGGGHHH.

I'm a Luddite. I will never own one. I prefer having a thousand paperbacks. Please don't ever buy me one.

Fionnuala said...

The thing is though, I don't think it will ever replace real books. I love the feel and smell of a real book and I love to own them, but the kindle is handy... There's room for both methinks

Caroline Green said...

Thanks for your comments everyone.
I also think they would never replace books completely but are a good addition to my reading life. By the way, the page numbers thing used to drive me insane but if you press 'menu' it instantly comes up at the bottom [on a Kindle].

Rod, that's a great idea to give one away!

Colette said...

I felt much the same way you did at first. After about a year I no longer notice the differences -- except when I want to flip back for something.

Caroline Green said...

Interesting, Collette. Could just be part of getting used to the experience then...

Sue Sedgwick said...

I'm interested to know how children take to it - or other electronic readers. Does anyone have any experiences to share? My feeling is that like adults they will continue to enjoy real books as well; that the physicality of books is important to very young readers, and that older children will happily differentiate between the super-interactivity of electronic media like games and the different experience of a book, and not necessarily want to enjoy them on the same platform - but I have no evidence for this.

Caroline Green said...

Sue
My tech-obsessed son is suprisingly uninterested in my Kindle. He has commented on how creepy he thinks the b&w drawings are when it's on standby though...I sort of agree with him on that!

N.Scott said...

I don't own a kindle but I use the app. to read off an iPad. I love that I can download a book instantly but I don't find it comfortable to read. Paperback is more ergonomical.

I think kids will love the fact that there's a dictionary.

Personally I prefer the intimacy of just me and the book in the bed.

Caroline Green said...

N. Scott, do you find the backlighting a strain on the eyes at all? My children are obsessed with iPads. They really tick all the boxes, I think.

N.Scott said...

Caroline, I haven't had a problem with the back lighting although I've heard some people have an issue with it.

My girlfriend, who uses her Ipad regularly, has noticed a change in her vision but, of course, that is only speculative. As a precaution, I do not read in the dark.

Kath said...

I don't own one, but my friend does and she said something interesting yesterday - that when lying on the sofa to read the kindle is so much lighter to hold in her hand that the experience is much more comfortable. Me, I don't like the look of it. Give me a book every time.

Caroline Green said...

Ah but they are also easier to read on public transport, because you can change pages with your thumb!