Posted by: Jenny | Monday, 12 September 2011

Why I love my Kindle … but not exclusively

Recently I followed a link on Twitter, to read a blog post entitled “Why I hate my Kindle”. What I’ve observed is that people seem to have extreme views about Amazon’s e-reader: they either love or hate it.

Well, to begin with, I prefer not to call it ‘my Kindle’. It’s only a bit of technology. I don’t get passionate about MY washing machine. But I find that life with Kindle is quite as agreeable as life without this device, and perhaps more so.

The washing machine analogy only goes so far. I can and do read books, magazines, newspapers, letters, e-mails, online content and anything else that is written and which captures my interest. Some of it is in electronic format, and much of it is not. Whereas, although I know how to live without a washing machine, I prefer not to. Sometimes I choose to do laundry by hand, and I almost always allow my laundry to air-dry, but life without a washing-machine holds little appeal for me. Kindle, on the other hand, is a technology that I could live without.

Nevertheless, here are some reasons that I like Kindle:
(1) It is light to carry around and light to hold when reading;
(2) Unlike reading on a screen, it does not strain my eyes to read, especially in bright light;
(3) I love to be able to carry round with me a choice of reading material, so that I can for instance lay aside the novel I am in the middle of and pick up a short story, even one from a large collection that would be too heavy to carry around (such as the excellent stories of William Trevor);
(4) No longer must I grapple with ridiculously heavy luggage. Or if I do, it’s shoes rather than books making up the weight.

Some things I don’t like about Kindle:
(1) I can’t download foreign-language publications from Amazon, even when they exist;
(2) Though classics such as the novels of Dickens are readily available in free and paid versions, many important books from the 20th century are not available at all. How absurd is it that you can’t read ‘To kill a mockingbird’ in a Kindle version. Some enterprising folks have tried to redress this and if you hunt around, you can find electronic versions of many books – but some of these are deeply unsatisfactory.

With the abundance of free titles available (and ‘almost free’ ones that give you a cleaner text and table of contents for a dollar), I have set myself the challenge of reading one such title for every full price or new book that I download. Furthering my education by reading or rereading some wonderful 19th-century novels is an exhilarating experience.

I could go on – but I’ve got a book to read!



  1. I like what you’ve said about Kindle. Haven’t gone for it myself yet but it’s still a possibility . . .

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