Monday, February 18, 2013

Kindle Love, Part 2 - Post Mortem

Last week, my Kindle was officially pronounced dead. After trying everything I could think of to get it to start, I went on Amazon and put it through their paces. Finally, I chatted with an online representative who had me repeat the restart detailed on the site. No dice.

When I first got the Kindle, I wondered about its place in my library. Would I really eschew the printed word for its digital cousin? Would I stop going to the library, stop buying books?

As it turns out, the answer I predicted (no, of course not) turned out to be correct. Much as I loved my Kindle, there were some books I simply preferred to hold in my hand in their printed form. I can't really tell you which ones - it's more of a feeling. And as silly as that may sound, I think that notion perfectly reflects the aesthetics of the digital vs. printed word experience. Some books we just need to read in their printed form. While I've discovered that I'm more likely to read non-fiction in digital form and novels in paperback (or even the occasional hard cover), I've also learned that there are exceptions to both of those rules. When it comes time to read a book, I just know what form I want to read it in.

Still, using a Kindle has inspired some lasting changes in my reading experience. The biggest one is the way I choose books. As a Kindle owner, I discovered that the phrase  "Try a Sample" was just as tempting on the Amazon website as it was in a Godiva chocolate store. Consequently, many books made the cut (or not) based on the sample I tried.

I've made discoveries as an author, too. Since I now know that I'm more likely to purchase a book that offers a sample than one that doesn't, I know I'll want a sample of my work available to prospective readers. My own experience with ebooks also made me certain that I'd want my novel available electronically, and therefore played a part in choosing - or being chosen by - a publisher for my novel.

Until I replace my Kindle, I can use the Kindle app on my iPad to read the newspaper without getting my hands inky, flip from one title to another and back again without putting down my reading material, read through the many, many samples I have accumulated, and - most important of all - carry an entire library of books around in a device the size of one book.

Much as I love my iPad, though, it's not the same. Its screen isn't anti-glare. It's larger and heavier than my Kindle. I can't download the Every Word game onto it.

My Kindle was a good Kindle, and after I complete the appropriate period of mourning (otherwise known as saving up enough discretionary cash), I'm sure I'll venture to Amazon for another one. Until then, I have plenty of books of the old-fashioned variety to keep me occupied.

How about you? Do you have a preferred e-reader, or are you a book purist?

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