Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kindle And My Cold Dead Hands

I've been hiding under the sofa for a few days since I came to a momentous decision. But I feel the time has come to crawl out from among the dust bunnies that have become my friends and declare myself.

I am getting a Kindle.

I know I am a paper freak. I love notebooks and dead trees in all their forms. I may even have made statements about paper books in the past that involved the words 'cold, dead hands' and were punctuated by whimpers.

But the books are taking over my house, and I need to do something.

Just before Christmas, I piled up 130 books that I no longer wanted, and managed to sell half of them to Chapters, Dublin's go-to spot for second-hand books (I sold them for store credit and spent half of that on Christmas presents, and hope to spend the second half next year). I received five books as Christmas presents this year and there is no room for them. They now live on the spare bed.

Please note, I was getting rid of 130. We are talking less than a fifth of my collection here, and it's a small house.

I am also currently embarking on a mammoth de-cluttering project (I brought some paint samples home, innocently, and my mother somehow managed to turn four testers of paint into a valid reason to rearrange the whole house. But to rearrange it, we first have to empty much of it). And since I'm getting rid of everything that I can't justify keeping, it seems silly to keep a book for ten years in case I want to read it again. So any books I didn't sell, and any others I can get rid of, will be given to charity shops, local senior citizens' reading groups, and Facebook friends who 'yoink' in time.

But I'm never going to stop reading. My house is not getting any bigger - and my living space is likely to get even smaller next year.

I have a solution for the current books, but the time has come to consider a solution for the future books that I have no doubt I'll buy.

Once I started considering a Kindle, I saw a lot of advantages.
  • It's easily portable - it weighs less than most standard books.
  • No more missing my bus because I finished my book last night and must scour the house frantically for a new one. I can keep up to 3500 ebooks in my bag all the time and my physical therapist won't hate me (he doesn't like the weight of my backpack).
  • I can buy American books for far less money and far more quickly than I can at the moment.
So I'm going to be getting my Kindle on. For anyone interested in why I chose the Kindle, there are a few reasons. I am looking for a dedicated ereader that's comfortable to use for very long periods (I read a lot) and I don't care about web browsing features or anything else. I just want to buy books and read them comfortably so I decided that the Kindle was the best thing out there for me in my price range. The combination of e-ink and the size and weight were the deal-makers for me.

3500 ebooks. . . . :D


  1. Makes sense - I wish there were other devices available in Ireland that could be considered (I have a very mixed feelings about Amazon and how it uses its substantial power in the book market) such as the nook or kobo, but alas in Ireland there is nothing quite as good as the Kindle.

    Have you got it already?

  2. Nope, it's going to be at least partly a birthday gift so not quite yet.

    I agree, I'm not mad about the book behemoth that is Amazon, but as a consumer the Kindle is the best option.

  3. I LOVE my Kindle. My husband is regretting buying me one because I love buying on my Kindle a little too much. However, there are many great free books out there.

  4. I got a Kindle for my birthday, unexpectedly, and I've used it much more than I thought. The space issue is probably the greatest advantage. On the other hand, I can't loan people books anymore. And you can get a lot of free stuff, especially anything old enough to be out of copyright. I can finally read all the E. Nesbit I want!

  5. I think I will probably get a Kindle this year.

    Like you, it doesn't mean the end of the paper book for me, far from it. But I came back from the UK with nearly 20 books! Cue excess baggage fees. A Kindle would mean I could travel and still read without breaking my back trying to lift suitcases!

    Happy New Year, Ellen btw.

  6. I've had mine for a while now and love it. Let's face it, "real" books will soon be going the way of the wax record album...

  7. I'm so excited for you, Ellen. What a fabulous birthday present (partial) and great idea. I love my e-reader. I still read paperbacks, but the e-reader is a snap to read and it is so easy to download books at any time of the day or night. I've ordered books at 11:30PM!!


  8. I am delighted for you Ellen. I got a Kindle from Santa so it is all very new to me. I find I miss the feel of the book in my hand but I have to say I am getting used to the handbag being considerably lighter and I am carrying about a dozen books around with me. I wanted a Kindle for my summer journeys home. Baggage restrictions majorly cut into my book supply. I still go to the bookstore and peruse the shelves, writing down titles for my next download. I chose the Kindle for the same reasons you did. I only want to use it for reading. So Happy Kindling Ellen!

  9. I am fascinated by this post not just because you're such a survivor - even 2 days with the dust bunnies didn't beat you! I admire that! But I always feel an anxiety attack coming in when people start talking about buying e-readers over those delicious, mouldy, smelly old yellowed-paged thingies called books. Ooh, I love them and I love my house smelling of old books. But you have forced me to face reality - either I or my books will have to move out! I keep re-shuffling, but there comes a time when another bookcase is needed! So you have inspired me to do what I've been considering - I'm going to sort and sell on e-bay. I'll start with some textbooks (who really needs 3 copies of Macbeth?) then move on into more shaky ground of those literati tomes I just can't understand.

    But buying an e-reader? I wouldn't know where to start - I read so many different opinions...

    I really came by to thank you for responding to my 'disaster' post and got way off track. I appreciated your thoughts at the time. I kept my head above water and am now watching the river go down. I am still isolated in the CBD as am surrounded by water and no businesses are operating. The clean-up will take ages...

    BTW I have a Publication Party started on my blog. I'd love it if you could come by and read what authors have to say about getting published. Perhaps you could leave a comment about your aspirations. There are prizes each week. Please come by. The champagne's free!

    Denise :)

  10. The ebooks versus printed books debate has been going on so long now that it seemed a little unreal to me. People kept talking about ebooks possibly taking over, but it seemed unreal when I didn't know anybody with one. Not so after this Christmas. Lots of my friends have them now. I would have said I'd have no interest, but they are comfortable to read from and do have lots of advantages of their own. I can't ever envisage not buying printed books, but after seeing and hearing so much about kindles, I'm definately more open to owning one than I was.

  11. If anyone is eager to get rid of any book which is in bad condition to sell I am studying English and I would thank any help.

  12. Clarissa, I haven't even started on the free books! I'm dying to read the complete Sherlock Holmes and there's a lot of very cheap self-published stuff out there that looks great. Can't wait! Although I have decided to set myself a strict monthly budget for the Kindle store. VERY strict!

    Laura, I forgot about the whole loaning books issue, but I figure when all my friends have Kindles (which they totally will when they see me with one, ahem. . .) they can just download books for themselves and the author gets more royalties! Now to brainwash friends. . .

    Happy new year to you too, Donna. Yes, the ease of using a Kindle when travelling had occurred to me too. I'm hoping to go to New York in June and while I may pick up a couple of books while I'm there, it'll be nice to bring something that doesn't weigh much for two 6-7 hour flights.

  13. Pat, I hate to admit it but you're probably right. I hope that 'real' books go the way of the vinyl record - still loved by enthusiasts and freely available but less common and an easy way to distinguish 'true' connoisseurs from the masses :p

    Christine, I love the idea of being able to order a book anytime. There have been SO many times that I have read a recommendation on a blog and thought 'Oh, must get that. . .' and then completely forgotten the title as soon as Im in a bookshop or on Amazon and can't find the post (or in some cases, the blog!) again. Books on demand - yay :D

    Ann, I imagine with you dividing your time between Ireland the US the Kindle is great. It looks very comfortable and pleasant to read on, I can't wait!

  14. Denise, I'm so glad to hear that you guys are unharmed. We're getting a lot of news over here about fatalities and missing persons in the floods in Australia so it must be a very difficult time nonetheless. Hope the waters keep receding and things start to re-open! How are you for supplies?

    I really don't want to see the demise of print books either, and I will always keep a print collection too. But as you say, the space issue is a very big one. I recently moved back in with my mother and had to merge my old, pre-moving-out collection with the new one. Effectively I had to put an apartment-load of books into an already-full house. It was not pretty. 65 books have been sold on and you cannot even see a difference.

    I would recommend you start with the de-clutter, it may free up enough space that you can put off the e-reader purchase for a couple more years until the market is clearer!

    Would love to check out the publication party!

  15. Aine, I'm the same, I couldn't see ebooks taking off because e-readers aren't common in Ireland yet, but when faced with the mountain of books in my house I just thought - OK, they're definitely for me. No question! And now I'm surprised to find how many people are interested in them. . . Btw, I left the fada off your name because I can't figure out how to type them on this computer - rest assured I am not normally lax about fadas, especially in people's names!

    Anonymous, we'll keep you in mind I'm sure!

  16. Thank you everybody.
    I usually use the net to read English but it is very tired.
    I love touching the cover of the books.
    My library is very small.I have just some old and cheap editions bought in the net. Things like The four feathers, Agatha christie,study in scarlet and so on. It is very difficult find that kind of books in English in Spàin.

  17. Of course, what I have forgotten to mention is that I have got books in Spanish. If Someone is interested we could do some changes.
    Thank you.

  18. I got an iPad for Christmas and have a Kindle app installed on it. I love it!!! It doesn't mean paper books are dead because I will still by the hard copy versions of my favorite authors. The portability and the font size adjustment is just too hard to pass up though! :)

  19. Ellen,

    Interesting stuff. I'm thinking of getting a Kindle too, for similar reasons. But I'm sure I'll still read the paper sort too ...


I love comments!