Cozying Up To Kindle

Books Family GeekMom
how kindle re-ignited a love of reading,
Image re-mix by L. Weldon

I adapt slowly to technological change. That’s an understatement. The first time I drove past a guy who was engaged in a lively conversation despite no one else nearby, I was struck with empathy and said something (in my Compassionate Mom voice) to my kids about the burden of mental illness. “He WAS talking to someone,” my son corrected me (using his Patient Teenager voice). Then he explained the concept of Bluetooth headsets to me.

So you can logically assume I’ve been minimally aware of all the e-readers on the market. Well, at least not aware of their benefits. But a few months ago my college student son bought himself a Kindle with his own earnings. He told me it would enable him to get textbooks more easily. Decent rationale.

But from very start Kindle hooked him on much more than textbooks. Clichéd as it might sound, Kindle re-kindled his love of reading. Back when he was elementary school-aged my son read for hours at a time. I’d find him curled up on the couch or out on a porch chair, engrossed in a book. As he got into his teens he read fewer and fewer books. He spent more time with friends, more time on the net, and when he did read his material of choice tended to be magazines. Sadly, I assumed his voracious reading days were over.

I was wrong. The first two weeks he owned the Kindle he read over a dozen books, scrambling eagerly through every word. That pace hasn’t diminished. When he’s curious about a subject he reads a whole Kindle book on it. Maybe two. He finds more depth in this approach than scrolling through the net looking for information, although he hasn’t given up the net by any means. I don’t hear much about all the magazine and newspapers he’s subscribed to on his Kindle until he says something like, “Oh yeah, I read an article about that last week in the Washington Post.” He still reads required material for his college classes but when he’s home on the weekends I tend to find him curled up on the couch or in a porch chair, getting in some recreational reading on his Kindle.

An older member of the family will be getting the larger version, the Kindle DX, as his Christmas gift this year. Chances are he’ll be telling me about all the e-reader advantages not found in that old format I still enjoy, bound books. Maybe he’ll leave it lying around and I’ll give Kindle a try.

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6 thoughts on “Cozying Up To Kindle

  1. I’m not the enemy of the electronic format, but I do enjoy a good book; the artifact value of the hardcopy still has irreplaceable value to me. That said, proprietary bundled tech is spooky– & Amazon goes in after you & deletes your stuff, sometimes? No thanks. My wife has a Nook, which is much more open– you can check out library books on it, even– & that seems a smarter choice.

    1. Mordicai, I totally agree that some books just can’t be read off a screen, no matter how cool e-ink is. I have select books that I insist on owning in hardcopy. Emma, well pretty much any Austen, Shakespeare, or the school classics I hated when I was forced to read in high school and positively love now. Harry Potter is another (although this is a non-issue as Rowling won’t release her property to e-book format. She is cool with Hollywood murdering her intellectual property but e-books take away from the experience….ok…down off the soap box). Either way I’d still own Harry Potter in hard copy. I also prefer Phillipa Gregory and others to be finished with a crisp satisfying snap of a book. Something is lost when you get to the last page of the Kindle and nothing happens.

      In Amazon’s defense, they are no more controlling than Apple is with their customers. And they don’t delete your stuff. Well, not without warning you. They tell you if a book has been pulled or if the ebook license has been pulled normally with about one-two weeks notice. This is rarely Amazon’s choice. It is the publisher or the author who changed his mind for a host of reasons. And if you want to keep the book anyway, turn off whispernet.

  2. I have a philosophy about eReaders that I’ve rarely seen expressed, being that it is neither one end or the other: I think there’s no such thing as an eBook. Oh sure, there are eNovels, or eStories, or eContent In General, but a BOOK is a physical entity. All an eReader is is an easier way to read electronic content than from a typical monitor screen. I’m holding out for when something like the iPad becomes more readily accessible to the masses (a couple months ago I finally “upgraded” –it was the most basic model they had– my cell phone to one that can take pictures. That can VIEW pictures. I am way cheap with gadgets)– basically a comfy-reading computer that can handle all sorts of content– webpages, documents, and yes, novels. I have no problem with that. But a BOOK is an actual THING I can keep, and I’ll have lots of those, too, of my favorites. As it is I only BUY books when I want to have something to keep, anyway– I use the library mostly. So I definitely don’t want a current kind of eReader that’s going to force me to purchace anything decent I want to read. Like I said, waiting for the tablet computers to go ubiquitous… and continuing to buy my Keepables in hard copy.

  3. I love love LUUUUURVE my Kindle. LOVE IT! I am a voracious reader. I’m impatient with my small library’s loan system and book limits, I’ve spent way too much money on books that aren’t worthy of my limited shelving space, and I tend to read large tomes that are rather unportable. My Kindle is my hero. I read over 100 books in the first year it was given to me as a gift. I too loved the smell, feel, SOLIDNESS of a real book, but Kindle won me over quickly and has become an old familiar friend to cuddle up with. If you love to read, and read quickly, Kindle is great.

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