Saturday, February 2, 2019

Kindle vs. Books - An Ongoing Internal Debate



When the Amazon Kindle first appeared on the market, Valerie and I both bought one.  The idea of being able to carry around a device that held numerous books at once was appealing.  This was before we even had Wi-Fi in the apartment.  We would buy the books and then go to the Perkins restaurant down the road to download while having coffee and pie.  Amazon offered hundreds of books that were in the public domain for no or little cost.  I have had a Kindle for at least five years now and probably have over 400 books on it.

The appeal is now wearing thin.  I re-discovered how much I like holding a book, a real book.  It also occurred to me that I wasn't retaining what I read on the Kindle as well as I do when I read a print book.

And there is this article by Naomi S Baron of the Washington Post.  It confirmed what I suspected about e-readers such as Kindle and Nook. I wasn't imagining things. As an example, I read the complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, all four novels and 56 short stories.  I don't remember as much as I feel I should.  They are all going back on my reading list.  In print.  And maybe I won't try to read them all at once.

There are authors, obscure or otherwise, that are nearly impossible to find in print second-hand.  H.P. Lovecraft comes to mind.  Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan and other series, also. When I worked at a used book store, they never came in, and when they did, they didn't stay very long.  Their works are available on digitally, now.

E-Readers do have advantages.  Say you see an article you want to read online but don't want to print it?  There are several browser extensions, like Send to Kindle, that can re-format to article and send it to your reader.  Once it's read, then you delete it.  

So, although I am not giving up my Kindle, I will probably refrain from adding any more digital books to my library, free or not. While there is something to be said to buying a book and having it instantly available (we do have Wi-Fi now) I still enjoy holding a book.  I have also become a big fan of Thriftbooks.  Their books are very affordable.  There are also several used book portals if you, like me, like to spend time as a hermit.

And despite what Marie Kondo says, it's not hoarding if it's books...

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