Monday, March 7, 2011

Paper v's Kindling

I have a brother who's into IT, he broke open my communion money bought spectrum zx many moons ago and spent that summer happily soldering away at the chip board. He has since spent his life trying to make up for it by gifting me the latest high tech gadgets, such as a Palm Pilot for my 21st (a blackberry when people still didn't even have emails) and now a Kindle...
So now it's time for my verdict, bug gave hers a month or so back, so pop over there if you want an alternative view - most of the below is nicked from an email I sent to a friend who wanted to know what I thought:

The kindle was great for sitting around in public places, nice n light and compact, I like the way you look up the meaning of words you don't know instantly, and never have the fear of running out of book, since you can always get another if you run out - classics are sometimes free, which I know because I got The Idiot by Dostyovsky. Anyway I'd deffo miss the texture, the feel and the smell of paper, and it's sad how no one can notice what you're reading and say to you "That's a great book" (which only ever happened me once in my life, maybe in a dream). Also sad that it's not as sharable/ pass on able as real books (though husband likes the idea of less towers of physical books cluttering up the house), also less readable while in the bath, shower etc... It's far likelier to get stolen on you too. On an emotional attachment front, I'm only into my first read so don't know how i'll react to having a completely different voice coming from the same physical object. Real books are handier for scribbling on, more flick-through-able, you've a better idea of how far through you are (who knows what 52% really looks like in paper?) and a real book never runs out of batteries - how maddening could that be?
My biggest worry about e-reading is that book shops may disappear. How will new generations get lost in the possibilities, fall in love with reading, discover random new titles, wile away the half hours waiting for their companions to finish shopping? I used to endlessly pick up the first pages and have a read in the shops... losing that is pretty terrifying, reducing the experience of discovering new books to the whim of the website...

check out this guy by the way - wouldn't like to be the one telling him that books are no more...

14 comments:

Domestic Oub said...

Hmmm, interesting, interesting. Never would have thought of half of that....

Peter Goulding said...

What's a book?

Dominic Rivron said...

Saw a friend's kindle. Didn't like the idea at all. It's just another way of repackaging something so that people can sell a lot of junk, if you ask me. Long live the book. It aint broke and if it aint broke dont fix it. And I'm probably a bit of a computer nerd by most people's standards.

I like to have a feel for how much more I've left to read, too.

Did you say you read in the shower??

davidmohan said...

I can see the points about being light and portable and environmentally sound - all of this makes sense, but I think a real book has its own aura, whatever. Something would be missing for me - I love the sensual object of a book and I love books with stylish covers and I am not a gadget person so no to kindle for me (for the moment).

My feeling is that book people don't tend to be hugely impresssed by gadgety and this and the next few generations won't be too easily lured wholesale into abandoning books - but I think the clincher will come when you have generations who have grown up as children with kindles and been educated on computers etc - they won't have any earlier associations with books as nostalgic, emotion-laden objects. I would try one as an experiment, but I really hope the books survives alongside it!

The Bug said...

Well I've read about 5 or 6 books since I wrote my review and I think that I will use it for books that I would usually get at the library - in other words that I don't care whether or not I own. That way I have the best of both worlds - entertainment that's portable, easily read in bed (& the bath, actually!), & then my bookish entertainment that I can flip through (but have to wear my reading glasses to read).

Niamh B said...

Glad you enjoyed Oub :-)
Peter - check out Lulu - there's loads of em there.
Dominic - only paperpacks, they stick nicely on the wall.
David - true on the sensual front too - forgot to mention the kindle misses you out on all those choices like paper thickness, smoothness etc that the publishers make.
On book people not being impressed by gadgetry though, I'm sure they say the same about music lovers, yet where are the record shops?!
Bug - you're obviously less prone to dropping things than me, baths would be a no no for electrical equipment and me.

120 Socks said...

If I can't underline and squibble, then i don't want it! Great review.

Maura said...

I got one too. I have mixed feelings too. I agree with your points but I do like the fact that I will always have something to read. Just finished Skippy Dies and I missed the satisfaction of putting it back on the over crowded shelf. The jury is still out me thinks...

Titus said...

I kind of know in my heart that it's not for me. I flick incessently back to what I've read, do most of my reading in bathrooms (peace!) and can remember whereabouts in a book a favourite bit is spatially (ie about here, checking thickness of pages before and thickness of pages after). Thus, brilliant review.
Saucy brother!

Niamh B said...

Well socks, you could underline it once, but only once, not much good sure it's not.
Maura - what did you think of skippy? I can't imagine it vanishing into the air like that, how annoying!! It's a brilliant book.
Titus - I know, I just worry that we all said this about the mobile phone, and then cameras in mobile phones, and etc etc...
Re the saucy brother - it all goes with the job description doesn't it?

Titus said...

Cameras in mobile phones?! When? How?

Maura said...

Skippy was good, I guess that's what goes on in secondary school these days? I feel really old!

LilyS said...

I wouldnt have an e-reader even if it was free. although im off travelling this summer so i might change my opinion. I love books and more to the point I love book shops and libraries.

Niamh B said...

and yet you have the internet Titus!
Maura - great read, hopefully it's not true in too many schools!
Lily - I knew alot of people who said that about mobile phones too. Technology is sneaky though... But definitely with you on loving the book shops and librarys