To Kindle or not to Kindle?


I’ve been wondering recently whether to put a Kindle on my birthday wish list.  It’s not my birthday yet folks so don’t panic but you have to realise that in my house I have to start dropping the hints early-on and at regular intervals so they become fixed into the minds of all my family because that way there’s a tiny, teeny chance that I’ll get at least one thing that I want.  Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Anyway, these kindle things.  They’re popping up in more and more places.  Every time I go into the rest room at work I see yet another colleague with lunch in one hand, kindle in the other.  And at swimming club, the bloke who sits next to me has one.  My friend bought one recently too because she says they’re great for taking on holiday and I have to say, that’s probably the biggest advantage.  It must be nice to read a book by the pool or on the beach without said book falling apart due to sand, beer,  salt-water, tequila’s, sun-cream, ice-cream, wine etc. getting all over it.

So Book or Kindle?  Let’s see . . .

  • Convenience – the holiday thing as mentioned above.  But at least you can share books.  I suspect that not many people would be prepared to lend out their Kindles.  You finish one book on holiday and then you lend it to your friend/sister/whoever and they lend you one back that they’ve just finished.  And there are book shelves in most hotels anyway where visitors take and leave books so you needn’t really take any books with you unless there’s a particular book you want to read.
  • Takes up less space.  Yes, but my book shelf wouldn’t look half as homely with one little kindle sat there instead of my musty collection of books.  In fact it would look really quite lonely.
  • Much easier to read in bed.  Got me there.  I find it really hard to hold my book when I’m led in bed, especially if it’s a large book or a hard-back.  I just can’t get comfy and my wrists start to ache after a while from trying to keep the book open with my thumb.
  • E-books are cheaper.  Yes but it would take a lot of e-book purchases to cancel out the initial cost of the Kindle.  In any case, there are second-hand book shops.  Used books are cheap.  And what about the little corner book shops?  Amazon, on-line Waterstones and what-not have already started to cripple the independents.  How can they ever hope to compete with a Kindle.  And there are the public libraries.  Oh, erm Gideon and Cammy-boy are getting rid of those aren’t they.  Well the central libraries will still be there (I think. Hope).  I can’t see those libraries lending out Kindles although I’m sure there will come a time when libraries are lending out e-books.
  • Kindles make great gifts.  Well that depends on how much you want to spend.  I often buy books as gifts for friends and family.  I love buying people books for their birthday.  It’s  so easy.  You just choose something that’s appropriate to their views or personality and they love that you’ve given them something so thoughtful.  And I love the ritual of writing a witty, personal message on the inside cover then dating and signing it.  How can I do that if the Kindle replaces real books?

Well, there you go.  I think I’ve just talked myself out of abandoning the lovely, pulpy book for a Kindle.  Yes, for me there’s just something about the good, old-fashioned book that can never be replaced by electronics.  It’s the smell.  The feel.  The look.  I love my books.  And I love my beloved book shelf that displays everything I’ve read over the years – each book instantly there to refer to, talk about, hold in my hand and marvel over how much I loved it.

But . . . . wait just one cotton-picking liddle minute you silly girlie.  You’ve forgotten one crucial factor.

Yes, how could I forget the most important issue?  The impact.  THE impact.  Me, who named myself after our lovely planet and consistently banged on about the protection thereof, has recklessly failed to consider the environmental impact factor of  both the Kindle and the book!

[Please turn away now while I partake of some serious self-beratement]

So I did some research and t’would appear that although the production of one single Kindle uses up tons more energy than the production of a seemingly pure and innocent book, from hereon-in it gets much worse for the poor book.  In fact, the pulped version turns into a eco-nightmare compared to the e-book. I won’t go into detail because it hurts too much but trust me, I’m mortified.

Gutted folks.  Truly gutted.  But I have to stay true to my eco-me and so, taking all things into consideration, I have come to the decision that (sob, sniff) the books are not as kind to the environment as Kindles are and it is with the greatest of sulking begrudgement that all my future book purchases will be either used books or e-books.

When I get my Kindle that is.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. […] To Kindle or not to Kindle? (earthpal.wordpress.com) […]

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  2. […] To Kindle or not to Kindle? (earthpal.wordpress.com) […]

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  3. One has to live with the times, but why not both? I mean usual books and e-books. One would let you get away from the other and your brain would thank it.

    Best.

    Reply

    • You’re right Jose. I can still keep my bookshelf with all its books and I can buy used books but I’m actually now quite looking forward to trying the Kindle.

      Reply

  4. About your point on e-books being cheaper than paper books:
    – Most e-books, especially new releases are only marginally cheaper
    – E-books do not drop in price because they cannot be resold. Look at this example: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Incredible-Human-Journey-Alice-Roberts/dp/0747598398/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1306336361&sr=8-2

    The used hardcover is still cheaper than the kindle edition. Even if this is great deal for publisher because it will always be 1 reader -1 customer. What a great deal!
    I agree e-books are a lot more convenient and green than paperbooks (that is assuming that we dispose of the obsolete reading devices responsibly) and I am going to buy one for this reason. Yet I don’t see libraries lending e-books anytime soon. They will probably disappear with the last paper books and to read a book we will all have to fork out the fixed cover price.

    Reply

    • Fair points Lupalz. That’s what I mean about book-sharing. Just not possible with a Kindle. I too worry about the future of libraries. The prospects look a bit grim.

      Reply

  5. Yes, I know it all makes sense but I’m not ready for the Kindle yet. I also understand that times are a changin’ and that in 10 years the book industry will either be non-existent or very different. However, if somebody touched my bookshelf now, he’d probably experience the dark side of me… 🙂

    Reply

    • Lol Arvid. I know how how you feel about the beloved bookshelf. There’s just something comforting about a messy bookshelf with all your favourite books sitting there.

      Reply

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