The Kindle and me

As excited as I was to receive a Kindle as a gift from the OH last year, I was skeptical too. I have always loved paper books, and I felt like I would be doing them a wrong turn by embracing the Kindle. I felt like I was giving in to something compact and modern, as against something tried and tested since ages. I felt guilty. At the same time, I also felt super excited at the possibilities the Kindle would open up to me. I could buy the e-book versions of all those paper books that had earlier been too expensive for me to buy. I could read anything I wanted to, at any time – most e-books were quite affordable. I could carry my library around with me wherever I went. So on and so forth.

I am here to say that a few months of using the Kindle has changed me. I am here to note down my experiences with the Kindle so far, for those of you who have drooled over one but have been skeptical of buying one.

I am in love with my Kindle, let us get that clear from the start. For three months straight after getting the Kindle, I did not read one single paper book. There were so many inexpensive e-books that I could buy that I was lured away. There was a whole wealth of books that I could read on the Kindle, books that I might have had to wait for years to read, if I were reading paper books. I explored new genres, new authors, and loved every bit of doing that. The fact that it is extremely easy and comfortable to read on a Kindle helped too. No eye strain. I could read even in the night, without turning the light on and disturbing others.

The Kindle has reduced my book clutter. All the e-books I have read so far take up very little space on the Kindle, but they would have taken up a whole load of space in my house. My bookshelf, which is already groaning with a huge number of unread paper books, would not have taken these extra books, had I bought them. I saved money on buying books – my book budgeting improved.

The Kindle has improved my reading speed, I don’t know how. Even if I read on the Kindle for the same amount of time that I used to spend on paper books, I felt like I get more accomplished. Books get over more quickly on the Kindle. A little bit of research on the internet showed me that I am not the only one to think that my reading speed has increased after getting a Kindle. And, for people like me, who think in terms of ‘So much to read, so little time’, that is a wonderful thing.

With the Kindle, I have been able to choose the right kind of book at the right time. When in Goa, I was in no mood to read a holiday romance, which is what I would have normally carried with me earlier. I wanted to read a warm food-based memoir that I, fortunately, had on the Kindle, and was able to read it. No point in plodding along with a book you have chosen for a holiday, if you aren’t really feeling like reading it, right? Also, I began to carry my Kindle on my morning walks (quite easy to do, as opposed to carrying a book), and that way, I got about half an hour’s uninterrupted reading time while I cooled my heels after exercising. All good!

Over the months of using the Kindle, I also began to feel less and less guilty about not reading paper books instead. I later lost that feeling of guilt altogether. I was lucky to have read this paragraph in the user manual that came with the Kindle, an excerpt from a letter to the user by Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO, Amazon.com:

Our top design objective was for Kindle to disappear in your hands – to get out of the way – so you can enjoy your reading experience. We hope you’ll quickly forget you’re reading on an advanced wireless device and instead be transported into that realm of pure imagination readers love, where the outside world dissolves, leaving only the author’s stories, words and ideas.

That is the mindset I began to approach reading on the Kindle with, and it helped me a great deal. Slowly, the imaginary wall in my head fell, and all that I held in my hands when I read on the Kindle was an author’s creation. I forgot that I was reading on an electronic device, and began to heed only the words of the author. The paper books vs. e-books debate began to fade for me – as long as you are reading something, it is good. What difference does it really make if you read it on paper or in e-book form?

A couple of weeks ago, I started reading paper books again, because I wanted to give the Kindle a break and get the feel of holding a book in my hands again. I was, again, skeptical of whether I would enjoy the process after months of the Kindle, but I did! It was just like before. Paper books give me just as much joy as before, I am happy to say. Now, I have begun to realise, there are books which are meant to be read on the Kindle, while some are best suited to be read in the paper version. For instance, The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan or Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti, or Frances Mayes’s Under The Tuscan Sun are books that I would prefer to hold, in the paper form, in my hands, turn the pages back over and over again, sigh over one favourite passage or the other. Not that that cannot be done on the Kindle; just that I would like to do it for these books in paper.

There is a lot more that I still need to explore, as far reading on the Kindle is concerned, but I have loved the experience so far, and am waiting for more!

Do you own a Kindle? How has your experience been with it so far?

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “The Kindle and me

  1. Thank you so much for this post TGND! MM directed me here when I asked her to write about the kindle experience and am so glad she did.

    I have been in this quandary for quite a while. The same guilt for abandoning the good old paper books for technology plagued me too and also the ‘am not sure if I will like it’ doubts. But now, after reading your post, am going to buy one. For I know how much of a book lover you are and if you found it good, I am sure it will be so 🙂

    Do all paper books have kindle versions? And how good is the free e-library that amazon has? Have you tried it?

    Like

    1. @Aarthy

      I am glad my post was of help to you. Like you, I love paper books and was hesitant about using a Kindle. Now, I read as many e-books as I do paper books.

      I haven’t found many great free e-books on Amazon. Usually, classics are free, or some random books, which are not really in my zone of reading. That said, there are many sites that offer free Kindle e-books, and good ones, too. At least, I have found some great e-books that way. As you begin using the Kindle, I am sure you will get the hang of it.

      Moreover, Kindle books on Amazon are way cheaper than the paper version of the same books. Makes reading them so much less expensive, right? Then, there are sites that offer deals on Kindle e-books, where you get them for even cheaper.

      All books do not have Kindle versions, but a lot many do, these days. I have found e-versions for over 90% of the paper books that I have wanted to read.

      I would say that investing in a Kindle is a great decision, if you are open to exploring that zone and trying out e-books. It might be tough accepting a Kindle at first, but once you get used to it, you will wonder how you ever lived without one. Seriously. It is a treasure while travelling. And as long as you are reading, and expanding your world of reading further, it doesn’t really matter. A Kindle does expand your world of reading, for sure.

      I hope this helps you make a decision. All the very best!

      Like

      1. Thank you so much TGND for taking the time to write back and for the valuable inputs. So this clinches it! I am going to buy one 🙂
        Will share my experiences as soon as I get it and start using. I will come back to you for some book recommendations and for any books that you may be able to share.
        Thanks again 🙂

        Like

  2. I agree, the Kindle is brilliant. It was essential when I was travelling so much between India and the UK. I didn’t need to carry books with me, and I could download a British newspaper every day. Now that I’m back in the UK I’m still reading loads of ebooks. I only have two issues with the Kindle-
    1. I don’t want to lose my wonderful local book store (as featured in my blog last week!) so I will continue buying some paperbacks from them.
    2. I bought a paperback last week (at the book store event that I blogged about ) and now I’m going to lend it to a friend. Not so easy to share your Kindle books with friends.

    Like

  3. I have a kindle too and I love it. I recently subscribed to bookbub,com [Not sure if its available all over the world]. But they send me daily deals on ebooks – I’ve read so many best-selling e-books at almost free prices! Incredible stuff.

    Like

      1. @Perspectivesandprejudices

        I haven’t tried downloading the paid books from Bookbub, but I have downloaded some free books. And, even if you try to download the paid books, I think you will get an Amazon link, which will, in turn, take you to the Amazon India link, where you can pay in rupees. This is my reasoning, not sure if it will work.

        Like

  4. Kindle, for me, is more than just reading. It is the vast collection of (good) books that Amazon enables me to download in an instant (if I want), which is the real pull. I read my first classic now on the Kindle – and what an excellent decision it was! I have downloaded two more classics and I want to read them like NOW. Secondly, I read a lot of self-help books and many of them are not available/too expensive, in the Indian market. With the Kindle, however, there are no worries (Other than the present high INR-USD exchange rates).

    Kindle has been one of the best investments I made in the recent past.

    Like

    1. @Destination Infinity

      Exactly. Many of the books we want to read are too expensive in the Indian market in the paper version. The Kindle makes it possible for us to read them, at affordable (comparitively) prices.

      Like

  5. I have been skeptical all along – not able to decide if I would love the Kindle experience. I know how much you love books and if Kindle has satisfied you, I have my doubts cleared 🙂 Not sure when I will get a Kindle myself, but then I am sure your post has had an impact on me 🙂

    Like

  6. Recently my hubby gifted me a kindle for my birthday and I haven’t stopped thanking him since 🙂 I LOVE my kindle. I have been exploring new authors and new genres on my kindle too which I normally wouldn’t have got to do with paper books. I love the fact that I can carry so many books with me anywhere and read them anytime. Recently I was travelling by train and I could read past midnight on the kindle even when everyone had put the lights out 🙂 It is very friendly to the eyes and causes no strain unlike reading on a tablet. I have found myself trying to turn the pages on the kindle sometimes like a paper book 😀 The only thing that I miss in the kindle is looking at the cover of the book. It is never the same like a paper book. And I would not read a book with illustrations and pictures on the kindle. I agree on the speed part too, though I hadn’t realised it before. I have read 3 books on the kindle in less than a month which is a lot for me given my schedule 🙂

    Like

  7. Ah well…I do have a kindle, but somehow still prefer books..may be I should give the kindle another shot..somehow, it hasnt appealed me yet…*goes to recharge the kindle*

    Like

  8. Thank you for this articulate and honest post. I know that a Kindle would help to reduce the book clutter I often worry about. I’m surprised to hear that your reading speed has increased as a result of the Kindle. Maybe the print is more readable, due to brightness or some other factor(s)? Anyway, it’s great that you think it enables you to read faster, and that you’re able to enjoy both your ereader and print books. Seems they are both very worthy to you. 🙂

    As for me, I do not have a Kindle, but I do read some books on my iPad mini, which is great, in my opinion, for shorter books. But since I spend a lot of time already on my phone and computer, I tend to want to read books in more traditional form.

    Like

  9. I love my kindle too.. I simply love it.. Initially I started off reading all the free books on Amazon, then I started buying the ones I wished to read.
    I would like to share a small incident with you. 🙂 I am in the habit of reading before I go to sleep at night. On this particular day, I was half sleepy with the kindle in my hand. Then I tried to turn the page on the top right corner of the Kindle (like I would have done in a book). I was wide awake in an instant thinking – hats off to this inventor of Kindle. 🙂

    Like

  10. I have been toying with the idea of buying one or ordering ebooks for my ipad, TBH is willing to gift me one also helps 🙂 mainly to reduce the over flowing book clutter like you mentioned and Yes I was skeptical, and your post has helped me a great deal. The point about not choosing what to carry on vacations or not ending up liking the one book you carried for a long journey is in itself worthy enough. Wonder why it dint occur to me earlier. Because along with TBH business travel I have been landed in places where I wouldn’t get a single book in the language I understand. This post clears a lot of my doubts about owning one. Thanks for the insightful post TGND

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s