It took a little while to get used to reading off the screen. The e-ink gives it a matt surface that’s easy on the eyes, but the screen’s smaller than a page in a book, and you’ve got to learn to phase out the border. But once I was used to it, I don’t even notice anymore. It’s just reading.
The thing I love most about my kindle, without a doubt, is how easy it is to buy books on Amazon. I’m probably not meant to say that. I know there’s fear about Amazon gaining a monopoly in the publishing industry, and I believe in working against that sort of thing. But at the very basest level, I’m a consumer and Amazon makes consuming books a joy.
Once I created an Amazon account, all I have to do to buy a book is click one button. The book arrives seconds later on my Kindle. I especially love the way it navigates from Twitter.
Say someone is raving about a book on Twitter, and they post a link to Amazon. If I’m on my phone the Amazon page opens inside Twitter, so I’m not even taken away from what I’m doing. I can click the buy button and get back to Twitter in seconds.
And let’s face it – ebook prices are pretty damn fantastic. I’ve discovered so many authors this past year who I would never have heard of or read if I’d stuck to paper. The standout is KA Mitchell. (I recommend her whole-heartedly, but I should point out that she writes male/male romance with lots of sex in it.) I downloaded one of her books months ago when it was free and came recommended. I didn’t even get around to reading it until recently, and have since bought her entire backlist in the space of about a month.
I do a lot of critiquing for other authors, which I love to do. My Kindle makes it so much easier to read long manuscripts and make notes as I read – rather than reading off the screen, or printing a whole manuscript out.
So after all this Kindle-love…how do I feel about print books?
I buy fewer paper books than I used to – there’s no denying it. The last book I bought cost $20, which now feels like a real investment, or a special treat. Good thing I loved it so much!
But when I really think about it, I only bought books very rarely before I owned a Kindle, too. I think what’s really suffered is my trips to the library. Which means overall I buy more books (many, many more books) than I used to – they’re just mostly digital.
Paper books must still hold a place in my psyche, though, because there are certain books I simply don’t want to buy as ebooks. Sarah Rees Brennan’s Unspoken was a book I wanted to hold while I read it.
(You can see why, when you look at the beautiful cover. Though in a surprise twist, we get the much less pretty UK version over here.)
There’s something about books I want to really savour, and own, and hold and indulge in. The very thing I love about ebooks – their fluid, easy quality – is what convinces me to keep buying paper books. In contrast, they feel permanent and like treasures I can open again and again. Or series that can sit in a row on my shelves.
I think a lot of people purchase along similar lines, and it convinces me paper books are going to have a place in publishing for a long, long time.