I kind of hate myself for loving my Kindle so much, except that it was a Christmas present from Jeremy so that makes it okay. I spent the best bits of my childhood in second hand bookstores and am gutted to see them close. I love public libraries and the smell of binding-glue, but the fact remains that I have read two library books in the eight weeks since I got the Kindle. And thirty e-books.
Those numbers are probably skewed by the fact that I slept in Sydney, Scone, Barraba, Nana Glen, Phoenix, New York, Orlando and Los Angeles as well as my own bed over the same period. The Kindle wins hands-down when I am traveling – whether it’s having a library to dig into on a transcontinental flight, or streaming audiobooks onto the car stereo on road trips. I used to get a bad back on business trips from the combination of MacBook and library books. Now I have the Air and the Kindle and I feel light as a feather.
All other things being equal, I’d still pick the book over the e-book. Good as it is, the e-ink hurts my eyes, especially at night, and it’s just not as pleasurable to curl up with the Kindle. That said, all other things aren’t equal. When I can order a book from SFPL and get it some weeks or months in the future, albeit free, or buy it off Amazon and read it straight away, it’s quite difficult to resist the lure of instant gratification. The two library books I did wait for – Hilary McKay’s Wishing for Tomorrow and Penelope Mortimer’s About Time – I waited for because they’re not available on Kindle yet.
The selection for Kindle is actually a bit shit. I don’t think my tastes are especially nichey but there isn’t enough Australian fiction or really good history. There are surprising gaps: David Marr’s Panic is on Kindle but his Dark Victory isn’t, for example. I got the whole Casson family series _except_ the fourth of five. Huh?
The selection for Kindle isn’t as shit as the selection for audiobooks, but at least it’s possible to see the point of that: the audiobook for Sabriel, for example, features Tim Curry reading aloud for twelve hours, which has an ungainsayable scarcity value to it. (The audiobook of Sabriel is perfect, by the way, except that Curry’s voice for Sabriel herself is a little too girly. Eventually I decided that Sabriel is a transwoman, which vastly improved the whole book for me. I’ve raved elsewhere about the greatness of history on audiobook, but fiction’s pretty awesome too.) But Kindle books are digital textfiles, and I am Web-native enough to shake a fist at the sky! when told that such things cannot be provided.
Upshot anyway is that I read virtually everything on the Kindle now, love its portability and capacity, am satisfied with its readability in brightly lit playgrounds and have taught myself to borrow Kindle books from the library. Still borrow books from the library but at a much slower pace. Have filled my request queue with graphic novels, which I love anyway, so, win. Love the highlighting feature and wanna figure out how to output it to a Tumblr. Would, honestly, recommend the Kindle to any other voracious reader still hesitating. But please go spend too much money in your local independent bookstore also!