In 20 years time, our bookshelves will look something like that. And children will ask what’s a book?
I finally succumbed to the Kindle. I bought it for Bryan because he wanted one for his birthday but I resisted using it, despite it having a red leather cover of my favourite shade. I told everyone that I will remain loyal to the traditional paperback because I love the feel of paper as your finger brushes across each page, the tautness of each sheet as your index finger thumbs the corner. the smell of a new book that wafts to your nose when you run your thumb across the edges like a flip book (yes I used to take a deep breath whenever i stepped into the now defunct Borders). I will line up the same book across 3 prints and compare which font type I preferred, even paying $10 more for the same book by the same author only because the font pleased my eyes more. I’m less discriminatory with the colour of pages. I don’t just love reading, I love books.
My dad constantly asks me what am I going to do with all the books I’ve read. I always say give away to the library or something but they never leave my shelves. Books not only take up space in your head, they also take up space in your house. No matter how you stack them this way and that, the bookshelf will eventually be filled up.
Bryan went Kindle coz he loves gadgets and things like that. I turned my nose up at it because until the Kindle can mimic the texture of paper and intermittently spray whiffs of the scent of paper, my reading experience isn’t complete without a real book. Nevermind that a Kindle can hold hundreds of books in the palm of your hand, I avoided the thing like plague.
Until a few days ago when a friend instagrammed a picture of a book The Puppies Diaries, my first instinct was to drive to the nearest bookstore before closing time to get it. I checked the location and operating hours and was mentally plotting the route when a small voice in my head asked, “why don’t you just get it on Kindle?” So Bryan went on Amazon, bought the book and within seconds, I was cozying up under the blanket with the very book in my hand, on the Kindle. I read all 100% of it in 4 hours and was mightily satisfied with myself.
What was my first Kindle experience like? unlike the computer screen which gives off light and tires your eyes, the Kindle tries to keep to a non-lighted background like that of paper good for long hours of reading. Ours was the Kindle 3 so the cover came with a little reading light that was kinda cute but not very efficient. There was no smell of paper, and I kept thumbing the top right corner of the Kindle to flip the page. pressing the button took some getting used to.
The Kindle also tracks the progress of your reading by a percentage marker at the bottom. It didn’t give me a sense of how many pages I’ve read (unless it’s marked somewhere that I retardedly cannot find, and therefore couldn’t update my GoodReads account), nor a sense of physically how much more of the book I have left. Also, the percentage marker gave me the same sort of anxiety I experience when playing an RPG game; it’s always a personal quest to maximise the percentage bar, usually in the form of experience points, to get to the next level. Perhaps this is a hang up that only gamers may emphatise with.
So while the actual reading experience was rather meh to me, the purchase experience was fantastic. Right after I finished The Puppies Diaries, I went back on Amazon and immediately purchased A Dog’s Purpose and an Ellen Degeneres book. It was so quick and easy with Amazon’s 1-click button, there was no need for detours to the bookstore anymore! Amazon also has reading samples of a couple of pages of every book for you to browse before purchase which is great because not only do I judge a book by its cover, I also judge it by the first few pages. If I can’t get past the 1st page, the book is a no go for me. And now all this can be done without me having to even get dressed! How great is that! I started to randomly download samples from critics’ lists and new york times bestsellers list. The world of reading is suddenly this much more convenient!
Will I ever switch permanently to the Kindle, probably not since it does belong to Bryan and he has dibs on it. I still love paper too much to give it up totally. If only they could invent a Kindle that feels and smells like a book. or an Amazon website that spits out real books through a portal with just 1-click.