A few years ago I penned a few thoughts (“Go Go Gadget Literature?”) distancing myself from e-readers and e-books, then exploding in popularity. A recent post by Lori at Should Be Reading made me think of it, and for good reason: I’ve had a Kindle Fire for just about a year now. “What?” cry you, “Have the mighty fallen?!”
Eh. It’s not so dramatic. I bought it as a tablet, really. Perhaps I was already on the slippery slope, for a few months prior to that I’d downloaded Kindle for PC so that I could read the occasional supremely cheap or free ebook on my computer. It was an easy step, really, to buy the gadget and since it was my 30th birthday…why not? In the year since, the Kindle and I have gotten along tolerably well: last year, I read no less than eleven titles on it. (The first? Kindle Fire HD for Dummies, naturally.) That’s something on the order of 7% of my reading from last year, though, so my pursuit of real books hasn’t been diminished in the least. On the contrary, the ability to zap previews of books to the Kindle has led to my buying the real deal. The kindle allowed me to plow through the entire Narnia series within a couple of weeks despite some rascal having later books in the series checked out. So far, I have used my Kindle only for exceptionally cheap e-books, books received for free via the kindle lending library or my own, or (as is the case this year) NetGalleys. I don’t carry my Kindle about with me, for fear the thing will drop or be stolen. I don’t have that problem with real books; those I own are subject to all manner of abuse, riding with me in cars and taking hits from the slings and arrows of everyday life. I have so far avoided the biggest peril of e-books, distraction. If I get an itch to check my email, I make it wait until I hit the end of a chapter. Some genres lend themselves well toward the e-reader; I thought Spam Nation an appropriate e-book read, but I try to avoid reading ‘real’ literature on it (classics, for instance). Literature should have the same weight in the hand as it does in the mind, and it’s best to take it with a drink. Tea, perhaps, or my favorite vice, coffee.
So, while I have embraced the new, the old is in no wise threatened. At least…not by me, but then I do call myself a young fogey.