Wednesday, 12 October 2011

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

I received a Kindle for my birthday and loaded it with books – lots of books – to take on holiday. No more worries about the suitcase being too heavy, or about running out of books in a resort which has no English language bookshops. I could simply download more if necessary.

I did, however, feel a bit guilty while making my holiday selection. Much has been said and written recently about the ‘death of the book’, which the prophets of doom maintain is being brought about by the digital revolution. Was I hastening the demise of books as we know and love them? Wasn’t I already contributing to the closure of independent booksellers by buying from Amazon, the biggest bookseller in the world?

On the other hand, though, I downloaded many books which, because they are published by small independent publishers or even self-published, would never have been stocked by High Street booksellers. It feels good to have been able to support new writers this way. I’ve been able to read some pretty good novels from crime to romance to contemporary fiction at a fraction of the cost of those by best selling authors whose mainstream publishers keep prices higher even as eBooks.

Since my holiday, I have taken my Kindle on a couple of train journeys. At an outpatient appointment it not only helped the interminable waiting pass more quickly, it prompted a number of discussions about Kindle and on books in general.

I have, however, gone back to borrowing books from my local library. I have bought books both online and in book shops. When I go to bed it is a ‘real’ book I read.

When I next manage to go on holiday I will be taking my Kindle. I feel less guilty now because I don’t believe the demise of books as we know them is going to happen any time soon.

1 comment:

  1. I'm totally with you on this Mary. I don't believe it's an either/or situation with Kindle and books. I love my Kindle (when I can wrench it out of husband's hands - and I strongly suspect this Christmas will see us become a 2-Kindle household...) but I will forever be drawn to books, whether in a bookshop, on a friend's bookshelf, or in the charity shop. They're irresistible and irreplaceable and long may they continue to be so.