And Then My Mom Handed Me a Kindle…

eBooks and I have long had an uncomfortable relationship.

When I first discovered the Kindle app for my phone, I eyed it suspiciously, delighted with the ability to carry books literally anywhere but hesitant about not having a physical book with me. I downloaded a couple of free books. But unlike the pages of a book, the screen glared at me, making me question the decision. It was so bright and unfriendly. Needless to say, I never flipped the first page.

Since then, I had avoided eBooks, not because I think they’re a bad thing but because they didn’t fit me. I like the feeling and the scent of the pages. The weight of the book in my hands. The memories of the people who give me the bookmarks I use.

But a fateful day arrived two weeks ago.

My mom and a friend absolutely insisted that I had to read Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings since its sequel was newly released. The friend even bought me the enormous book for Christmas to ensure that I read it. And I did. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. For a month, they checked in with my progress constantly, seemingly in a race to decide who would lend me their copy of the sequel first.

My mom won. And instead of handing me another thick book, she handed me her old Kindle.

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At first, I was very hesitant. But things quickly changed as I actually started reading on it. There’s no glare. The screen is almost as welcoming as a real page. It’s very thin and light. Especially compared the the paperback version of the book. And after taking it to the gym as a distraction while walking on the elliptical, I decided it wasn’t all that bad.

For the first time, I really feel like I get eBooks. It feels oddly like understanding a math equation I’ve been trying to figure out. (An experience I’m all too familiar with.) And while it’s definitely not a replacement for a nice, thick book with real pages covered in that delightful fragrance, I think we can be friends.

What do you think about eBooks (as a reader)?

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14 responses to “And Then My Mom Handed Me a Kindle…

  • Akriti

    I really like this post . The sentiment your’e trying to convey is so aptly put.
    Well done :)

  • Rebekah Loper

    I really love ‘regular’ books. The feel of flipping pages, the weight of it in your hand… everything you talked about.

    But I love ebooks, too. I like being able to just slide my Kindle in my purse, and know that I can read whatever book I want when I get the chance (I’ve always read multiple books at a time, ever since I was little).

    I’ve also dropped a few murder-weapon books on myself, in my reading career. Books of similar weight and heft to, you know, The Way of Kings. So sometimes I’m very grateful for my Kindle – and that it DOESN’T weigh that much.

    • S.B. Roberts

      I’m notorious for dropping books, especially the 1,000+ page ones, too. Fortunately, The Way of Kings never took a dive at the gym, but my first copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (you know, the whole five book trilogy under one cover) had an unfortunate accident with a full bathtub once, thanks to its weight. : )

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    I am definitely a convert to e-books. Portability (these days my reading time is pretty much when I’m in transit), convenience (like Rebekah, I’m almost always reading several books), and weight are factors. The Kindle is even better for newspapers, for the same reasons. But I’m not really sentimental about physical books anyway, as I talked about here: http://u-town.com/collins/?p=2927.

    The other (maybe even more important) aspect of the Kindle is as a writing tool. I used to print out copies of my drafts, carrying them around with me to review them and mark them up. These days I seldom even use my printer — I just put the drafts on my Kindle and mark them up there. And I have my Kindle read them to me, which is always very educational, both for finding awkward phrasing and for finding actual mistakes (“he” instead of “the” — that sort of thing). (The newest Kindles won’t do that, but, based on the picture, yours will.)

    The other cool thing about the Kindle is the number of old, out-of-copyright books that are available for almost nothing. We were talking about Sherlock Holmes on my blog, for example, and you can get the entire canon for a dollar or two.

    • S.B. Roberts

      Wait, you can use a Kindle to review a draft? Talk about the perfect way to give your eyes a new setting.

      The availability of old books is amazing. That was one of the first hooks my mom used when she tried to open my eyes to the world of eBooks. And now that I’ve found how great that e-ink is, I’m sold. : )

      • Anthony Lee Collins

        You may know all about this, but your Kindle comes with an email address (Settings –> Device Options –> Personalize your Kindle –> Send-to-Kindle E-mail). Just send a Word (or HTML) file to that address and Amazon will convert it and send it to your Kindle. It’s that easy.

  • Eric

    I love the Kindle for comic books, though I still buy real editions of current issues to support the local comics shop. As for normal books, I like that i can search things, especially when it comes to Tolkien’s stuff. But I mostly use a computer for that. So mostly for the funny books.

    • S.B. Roberts

      The ability to search is definitely handy compared to scanning page after page for that one quote you knew you saw somewhere. : ) Seems like a great format for comic books!

  • C.B. Wentworth

    I have a Kindle and I do like it, although I still prefer the feel of a real book. Kindle is perfect for books I don’t want people to know I’m reading. When I’m out in public, it’s nice to hide the occasional romance novel, (Gabriel’s Rapture, for example). :-)

  • hannahgivens

    I’m basically with you — I love them as tools for certain applications, but I also love paper books for general purposes. I have a Kindle Fire and actually use it as a tablet, or more like how people use smartphones (which I don’t have). I very rarely read on it, but I like to keep books on it for when I get stuck waiting somewhere and things like that, and if a book I really want is super cheap (or free) for the Kindle, I’m happy to read it that way.

  • http://theenglishprofessoratlarge.com

    The wonderful news is that we can enjoy both.

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