To Kindle or Not to Kindle?

kindleFemnista oneshots are arriving every day for our next issue and I’m super-impressed and delighted with what terrific fiction writers our contributors are! The topics are great — it makes me want to read and watch more television shows (like I have time for that!).

Anyway, on to the main topic of this post — e-readers. I’m torn about them. On one hand, how handy to carry all your books around with you in a convenient little Kindle! Less eye strain! No more sitting up late at night craning your neck, while your arms go numb, as you hold up a heavy book (yes, Rowling, I am looking in your direction… much as I love your last four Potter books, they be heavy!). Best of all, a lot of classics are FREE for Kindle. Hello, Poe, Dickens, Austen, and Twain.

Yet, there’s something nice about holding a literal book, about smelling its pages (provided you didn’t buy it second-hand from a smoker, ugh), and using pretty little bookmarks and such. Plus, authors can’t sign Kindle books!

So, what do you think? Should I invest in a Kindle? Do you have one? Do you think it’s a passing e-fad, or a sign of the future? What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it? Does it make you more or less inclined to read?

Do tell. My birthday is coming up and I’m debating whether or not to ask my parents for one!

33 Replies to “To Kindle or Not to Kindle?”

  1. I saw this post a few days ago, but wanted to really think about my answer. Maybe it’s kind of dumb considering I have two Kindles in my house (a basic model and a Kindle Fire), but I didn’t want to spit out an opinion, then think it over later and wish I’d taken the time to think about my response.

    So anyway.

    I think if you read books a lot of travel, then it’d be a great investment. Though I read a lot, and I don’t use it. I have a friend who just got a Kindle Paperwhite and it’s supposed to be easy to read in any light, anywhere, and she loves that she can store so many books on it and barely make a blip in its storage.

    But even though we have two Kindles, I don’t use them for reading. I suppose I will one day. I’ll try getting an e-book from the library, but I really love losing myself in the physical book. I know lots of people have embraced e-readers, though, and I really think they’re going to become even more popular. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them, I just don’t use either one we have for books. They’re incredibly easy to read on, though, and very easy to use.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that my opinion is not helpful, heh.

    1. I would have asked you sooner, if I’d known you actually owned Kindles! I wasn’t sure if any of my friends actually had one! It’s cool that you have them, but a bit sad if you don’t use them much. But at least you have that option! =)

      For me, I might actually read more with one — since it’s so far to the library, and when I’m interested in something, I could get it much quicker on an e-reader, particularly if it’s popular. But I don’t know… I may ask my mom’s friend if I can look at hers, and see if the charm of reading is lessened with a screen! =)

      1. We got the girls the Kindle Fire so they could play games (and take them off our phones!). I keep meaning to give the other Kindle another try, though.

  2. I’ve just recently discovered the free Kindle app for my Android phone. You could try it out and see how you like e-reading in general. Ofcourse a phone is not an ereader, but it could give you an idea.

    I don’t think I’ll use it a lot (or if I buy an ereader), I’ll still mainly be reading physical books, but the fact that many classics can be downloaded for free is a big plus to me. They are sometimes not as easy to find in the library and I just can’t buy everything, right?

  3. I totally understand your debate about picking up an eReader, I went through the same thing two years ago. I have one (a Kobo) and it is convenient (definitely saves me room on my shelf as I am out of room at this point), portable and you get loads of free books (as you mentioned, free classics–I saved quite a bit of money that way and gutenberg.org is my friend xD). I was initially a little hesitant about it because of my eyes but my Kobo (and I suspect the new (or old?) Kindle) uses e-Ink so it’s like reading off a page.

    However I do miss holding the physical copy in my hand, the smell of freshly printed paper, etc. and I still ultimately prefer having a book in my hand. I also realised that there are still certain books, regardless of whether I want it in a physical format or not, that I prefer reading off the page (poetry, Russian literature–the really dense stuff that you need to focus on completely. Don’t know why, my brother thinks it’s all in my head but I disagree, haha).

    Has my eReader changed my reading/book-buying habits? Yes and no. Having an eReader has been helpful with the space issue and with getting ARCs (very useful if you’re into that) but I still buy physical books almost as often (except right now since I gave up book-buying for Lent–my brother thought I was going to blow a blood vessel but that’s a different story =P). I don’t know if my comments help in your decision-making but best of luck deciding! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    (Sorry for my longish comment xP)

    1. (Longish comments are my friend.)

      I have to admit, there’s a lot of appeal in owning classics without having to pay a lot of money to get them! (Or having to get them from the library — if they have them — and return them in three weeks.) I can see why some books would be more magical in a literal book than on a printed screen. That would be my worry — that I would sit there feeling like I was reading online rather than just reading for fun. But you never know, I might love it.

      Book-buying for Lent? Oh, you poor thing! Well, you’re almost finished though, so you can soon go back to buying books! =D

  4. I doubt that e-readers are just a passing fad. People come into the library every day for help with their Kindle/Nook/Ipad etc. so they can use our cybershelf to check out books.

    That said, I prefer the physical book.

    I know e-readers are the way of the future, but I’m going to be a hold-out for as long as possible. At least until they stop printing the physical book. Besides, I’m a fast reader and I’d much rather flip a page than have to constantly press that annoying little button on the side to reach the next paragraph. *ugh*

    1. As I mentioned earlier, I still read far more physical books than e-books on my Kindle…but I just had to comment, because for some reason I find myself reading FASTER on the Kindle than via physical copy. Go figure. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. Weird! Maybe the Kindle has a different set-up than the Nook because it took me forever to read “Catching Fire” on that sucker.

    2. I don’t know that they’ll ever stop printing physical books, so your obsession may be safe! (How does an author autograph an e-book?)

      I think page-turning depends on the Kindle or Nook — supposedly in the Kindle Paperwhite, you just touch the bottom of the screen.

      The library appeal would be great, I’d imagine — our library has started incorporating them as well, and it would be nice to read something sooner rather than waiting a long time to get your hands on the physical copy.

      1. Weeeell, it’s not as convenient as one might suppose to have ebooks in libraries. The holds list can be obscenely long for them too, plus there is a company that refuses to sell their ebooks to libraries. They publish a lot of the major names like Dean Koontz and James Patterson, so that’s a little bit of a roadblock.

        It sounds like the Kindle might be more user-friendly for us speed-readers then. I could live with lightly tapping the screen. If you do get one I’ll have to beg you to let me play with it!

        1. True, for some there are long waiting lists. If you’re a member of Amazon Prime, though, you can rent books for free up to a month (maybe longer, I’m not sure) — I don’t know if that includes new releases, though.

          If I get one, you won’t have to beg — I’ll let you play with it. =)

          1. I think I’m just being a stubborn holdout because everyone loves ereaders. I like playing with technology which is why I got a touchphone. I didn’t need one, but I like touching the screen.

            Amazon Prime is awesome!

  5. I don’t have one, but I’m kind of thinking I’d like one. I think it would be excessively useful on long trips, so I don’t have to weigh down my backpack or suitcase with the twenty-seven books I typically carry with me on a trip of more than two days. Also the convenience of having multiple books in one slim little volume would be lovely. But nothing will take away my devotion to real books.

    1. For me, the appeal is having a lot of books without needing a lot of space on your shelf! It’s also much more expensive to buy all the classics than to simply get the e-books for free (I’d like to own Dickens, Poe, Austen, and so forth, but only have so much space!). If I do get one, I’ll let you know how I like it. =)

  6. I own one of the older e-Ink Kindles and the Kindle Fire, which is basically an ordinary tablet. It does have a lot of glare, so if you’d be using it primarily to read and not so much as a computer, I’d go with the e-Ink kind.

    I hate marking in real books but I love the ability to highlight on Kindle – then I can go back and easily see all my favorite quotes listed together.

    The free classics are a great plus – I’m currently about 1/3 through Les Miserables, which I would NOT want to lug around in physical form and squint at the tiny print.

    I still read a lot of physical books too, but it’s nice to have the e-book option. Many public libraries are now adding e-books to their collections, and e-readers are really great for long trips too.

    1. Between you and others advising me, I think if I do purchase one, I’ll go with the Kindle Paperwhite since it has the least amount of glare. It’s cool that you can mark your favorite passages (I also have a real aversion to marking in books, or folding down pages!). And yes, Les Mis is a brick! You could use it to pummel someone with. =D

      Very true, thanks for your thoughts!

  7. I don’t think e-readers are a passing fad! ๐Ÿ™‚ I received a Kindle Touch for Christmas 2011 and I’ve read more than ever since then. I liked the Kindle Paperwhite so much that I upgraded this year. I never thought I would love my Kindle so much, but I do. The e-ink screen is perfect for reading and it’s great having a whole library of books (some out of print) at my fingertips. I love ebooks just as much as “real” books and I can’t recommend the Kindle Paperwhite enough. I personally wouldn’t want a Kindle Fire because it has a back-lit screen.

    1. I’m very tempted by the Kindle Paperwhite — I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. The ability to borrow books — especially ones that are very expensive in hardback or simply can’t be bought — has a lot of appeal, along with being able to read, at leisure, some of the free classics.

      Thanks for adding your two cents! I appreciate it!

  8. Coming from a girl who doesn’t own one, I’ll just say that I am sort of against the idea in general. Yes I see the pros but right now, I wouldn’t make use of most of them (i.e., travel). Also I don’t like the idea of reading on a screen – I do enough of that with blogging, writing, etc. When I read, I wan to be able to hold an actual book.

    Yes, I am a bit of a “book snob.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Someday I may get one and be its biggest fan but just thinking about it makes me cringe.

    Best of luck deciding, Charity!

    1. Well, I’m a Sherlock Holmes snob — you can be a book snob, if you like. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Originally, I didn’t like the idea of it either… as a writer, it freaked me out thinking that someday all books might be e-books… but it also makes it a lot more convenient to borrow books from the library — you just log on and check it out or return it!

  9. As a medical intern I thought to myself having a kindle would be great to be able to read articles on the go. For that purpose I did not enjoy it, though I have an older kindle which was a lot more limited in functionality than todays kindle. From the kindle I moved to the iPad third generation and found it a lot more attuned to my needs in combination with my very old iphone. I would say consider looking into an ipad mini. However if it is too costly, the kindle today is very nice in terms of weight, and display (e-ink) and I would totally recommend it if you are willing to take advantage of amazons services. On another note it also accepts pdfs so if you can get a non copyright book from another site in pdf legally (like from project gutenbergยดs library: which also has kindle format) that is also a plus. If you are able to borrow one from a friend or family member that might also help, if not I say jump in. On another note I would give you mine but I cant afford the shipping and handling, so best of luck. (Also in agreement with the previous post, it is kind of a transition thing sometimes nothing beats a hardcover book)

    1. Thanks for your advice — our family does do Amazon Prime, so the benefit of being able to rent thousands of titles for free up to a month has a lot of appeal, over an i-Pad (which, yeah, is very expensive). I know a couple of people who own one, so I may ask to play with it a bit before I decide. =)

  10. I received a Kindle (basic model) from my brother & SIL at Christmas about a year and a half ago and I love it! It has changed my reading habits somewhat, but not as substantially as others I know who have gone almost wholly to the e-book format. I’d say my ratio of reading physical books vs. e-books is about 3 to 1. I’m still too much of a physical book “junkie.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. That’s cool. I’m glad that you enjoy yours so much — I’m seriously going to consider one, since I think it would be nice to be able to take it with me places (dentist’s office, and so forth). It might encourage me to read more, actually.

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