Sunday, 2 December 2012

Kindle - A conflicted review

Today I bought a Kindle.

To me this sounds like a confession, an admission of guilt.

Today I bought a Kindle.

Anyone that knows me might think this an ideal purchase - I love to read.

Anyone that knows me well will understand my hesitation - I love books.

I have been vehemently set against e-readers since they began emerging.  To me it was a prophetic herald of the end of the bound paper book.  People would no longer waste the money and resources to print books when they could be produced much easier and cheaper through electronic formats.  My mind raced ahead to books becoming a rare collectable commodity, housed in museums and private collections, accessible only to the few thanks to the expense of their rarity, no longer read for fear of damaging their fragile paper nature.  A future where children would no longer recognise books, having never see one let alone owned one of their own.

I wanted no part in this future.

I love books.  The beauty of bindings, images and colours chosen to highlight themes within the story, paper or fabric coverings protecting the pages within.  I love the feel of books, the paper sometimes parchment thick, so thick you are convinced you must have turned two pages at once, sometimes tissue paper thin so every page turn feels like it risks ripping.  I love the smell of the paper, the potential held within each binding, I love to look at books.  I spend many happy hours organising my collection into whatever order seems most sensible at the time, arranging onto various bookshelves by author, category, age, size, preference, and love to sit back and admire the view of those many spines together.

All that enjoyment before you even get to the story.  How could an e-reader compare?

It cant.  That is the simple truth, no less true now I have bought one.  An e-reader does not, can not, compare to the printed, bound word.  It does not replace the book, nor does it even come close to competing with it.

However, it may begin to complement it.

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