I used to be an English grad student. I like books. A lot. And although there’s something to be said about the feel of a bound book, the smell of paper and the cracking of spines, there’s no denying that the digital revolution is now in full swing when it comes to reading.
I might have left my PhD, but I still love my Kindle. Here’s why:
1. It’s tiny
My Kindle fits in my smallest purse. Imagine reading, let’s say, Ulysses, and having to carry it around in your bag. Even in paperback, Ulysses is a mammoth. My Kindle is a tiny mouse. It’s great for going on vacation too: instead of having a separate suitcase just for your books (and I’ve seen that happen…), you just need one thing, your tiny Kindle.
2. It carries more books than you can read
You can put something like 3000 books in your Kindle. Getting bored with your read? Just choose another one in your list. It’s quite awesome. It also reads text files like .doc, .txt and even PDFs, so you’ll never be out of reading material. You can never, ever be bored if you have a Kindle with you.
3. It’s customizable and shareable
Organize your books in categories, keep an eye on your progress, take notes and share your favourite quotes on Facebook and Twitter. I chose the Kindle over the Kobo mainly because you can write up short notes that are linked to passages and either keep them on your device or upload them to your computer.
4. You get instant access to Amazon
You may not be a fan of Amazon, but I am. I once ordered all my books for a semester at Concordia and saved a boatload of money. But with the Kindle, no need to wait for UPS anymore. Choose a book, pay for it, get it instantly on your Kindle. It’s instant gratification for nerds, and I’m totally addicted. (And given the current weakness of the American dollar, totally financially worth it.)
Some people might have issues with Kindle’s proprietary format and the fact that it can’t read books formatted in Epub. However, most books in Epub are also available in Mobi format, and the Kindle does read Mobi. Or you can get a program like Calibre and transfer format if there’s really no other way (be careful about copyright infringement).
I know a lot of hardcore literatis who don’t want to give up their paper habit, and I will never completely stop reading paper copies, either. But as a literary person, I like the idea of having a wider access to texts, especially scanned stuff in the public domain. And as a techy person, well, I get a kick out of having people oooh and aaah when I take it out :) It’s a great conversation starter!