Kindle – Need Advice

So, I won a Kindle last week.

I have mixed feelings about this.

I have repeatedly said that I do not want an e-reader. I love reading paper books, for many reasons:

  • I like books.
  • I like feeling the heft of a book in my hands, and being able to tell how many pages I have left by the width I need to pinch the fingers of my right hand.
  • I like covers, fonts, even the feel of the paper as it varies from book to book.
  • I like to keep books I've finished on my bookshelf, so that I can see them there, revisit them, think about them, and lend them (but only to trustworthy people).
  • I like to support authors and bookstores and fear that the e-book business is harming both irreparably.
  • I like to snoop at what others are reading, which is impossible with a Kindle.
  • I like to strike up conversations with strangers about what they are reading (pretty much the only time I will talk to strangers), which, again, is impossible with an e-reader.
  • I like to get books signed at author readings.

So that's why I have resisted an e-reader. Part of me thinks "why bother? you'll hate it" and part of me worries that I will like it… too much.

Meanwhile a brand new Kindle sits upstairs, unopened.

This is where you come in. Do you have an e-reader? Do you love it? Do you hate yourself for loving it? How do you deal with the bullets I raised above? Or do you just not care about any of that?

You are all readers, like me, and I really value your opinion on this – please weigh in!


  • November 6, 2011 - 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Gayle: First of all, I am very envious of your Kindle win! I wish I had second one, since two of my children use mine. I love my Kindle. I love that I can get many library books on it now, too! All the classics (pre-1932, I believe is the date) are free too. I love that I can adjust the font for my aging eyes. I love that I can take it anywhere and have several books to read at once. I like that I can eat and read without having to hold a book open.
    I don’t think it is damaging bookstores–the economy is what is damaging bookstores. There are very few independent bookstores in my area, and that’s been the way it’s been for a while…well before ereaders became as popular as they are now. Not to mention, I still read lots of “real” books, a good portion of them ARCs and library books, all the time. It is wonderful to have access to so many books instantaneously on my Kindle. And you may find it comes in handy in the next few years for your children…Wylie (my 10 year old homeschooler) and I decided we wanted to read Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and poof–there it is on my Kindle, and it is very handy for reading together! I adore mine. You should give it a try–what’s the worse thing that can happen? Really?

  • ti
    November 6, 2011 - 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Typing this from my phone so I hope it posts ok. My Kindle adds to my reading experience but doesn’t replace real books for the reasons you mentioned. I use it primarily for library brooks and Net Galley books. I also use it for traveling. Sometimes, if I don’t plan well, I like the ease of downloading a book in seconds.
    Books that I know I will want to keep and cherish (and you tend too know which ones those are, 1Q84 for instance) I still end up buying in book form.
    So, try to think of it in those terms. It’s not meant to replace anything and it really doesn’t.

  • November 6, 2011 - 10:57 pm | Permalink

    I have an ipad and I read on it constantly. I actually read quicker on it and I like that I can take books out from the library also.

  • November 6, 2011 - 11:36 pm | Permalink

    I have an iPad not a kindle and have read a couple of books on it, but don’t get the same pleasure as a hand-held book. I plan only on using the iPad for reading on travel.

  • November 7, 2011 - 5:37 am | Permalink

    I’m a lifelong reader. The only think that stopped me from getting an eReader is the price.
    eReaders are not here to replace of paper books, they compliment them. Simply another delivery method and we should embrace them. I’m reading the 1,000 page 1Q84 now and I love it that I don’t have to carry that brick of a book around in paper format.
    Try it, you’ll love it.

  • Susan
    November 7, 2011 - 6:39 am | Permalink

    Gayle – I have a Kindle and love it. It allows me to take a book with me wherever I go. You can buy books instantly. I can read it while on the treadmill. However, I still read regular books every so often – especially when you host a book club!

  • Stefanie
    November 7, 2011 - 6:50 am | Permalink

    I love my Kindle. I treid the iPad for books but found it too heavy, and with the glare outside, it didn’t work for me. But the Kindle–I love it. It is light, and with the cover I have, almost feels book-like, but of course, of the modern day. The reason I love it most is I read SO MUCH MORE now that I have it. I always have it with me–in my bag, and my bag isn’t weighed down. Ever been frustrated that the hardback you’re reading can’t fit in your bag, or is too heavy, etc? Kindle takes those problems away. While you can still highlight on the Kindle, I do miss the paper pages sometimes, mostly when I want to flip back to something easily, etc., but for me the benefits outweigh this. I sort of feel like books are even more precious now–even more of something to collect and cherish when you really love them. But Kindle has been wonderful!

  • Stefanie
    November 7, 2011 - 6:51 am | Permalink

    Also, you can ask someone what they are reading on their Kindle, especially if you are holding one!

  • Susan
    November 7, 2011 - 6:51 am | Permalink

    I was very ambivalent about getting a Kindle for many of the reasons you mentioned, however I have grown to love my Kindle and still sometimes read regular books. I do miss the feel of a book in my hands, looking at the cover and flipping back and forth, however the benefits of being so easy to take along and downloading books whenever I want to have made me love it. I also feel that I read faster on it.

  • November 7, 2011 - 7:48 am | Permalink

    My husband surprised me with a Kindle. At first, I was ambivalent about using it for many of your reasons. I am hooked on it, but I still read paper. My husband has borrowed my Kindle, testing it to see if he likes it well enough to buy one for himself. (He does.) While it’s on his nightstand, I’m reading paper books that have been on my shelf for a while. With Kindle, the instant gratification of buying a book NOW is addictive. However, I miss the cover art and also numbered pages. Knowing I’m 40% along or so isn’t quite the same as knowing which page I’m on. So many books; so little time!

  • November 7, 2011 - 7:53 am | Permalink

    I use both. But the best use of my Kindle is when traveling. I can load up several books and still pack just the skinny little Kindle in my purse. I also love that I can download previews of books (the first chapter or two). I don’t have a bookstore near me and I have been ordering most of my hardcopy books from Amazon, sight unseen. The Kindle lets my experience be more like a bookstore where I would read the first chapter and see if I like it first.

  • Heidi
    November 7, 2011 - 8:21 am | Permalink

    I’ve had a Kindle for several years now (2nd generation). I adore it. Here’s the good news…
    I read more than ever. I buy more books than ever. I even read more hardcover books than ever (if I don’t want to pay kindle e-book prices). I have struck up many conversations with other readers simply because I was using the kindle. They ask how I like using it; I ask what they read!
    I can understand your reluctance, but dip your toe in. It doesn’t have to be an either/or experience. Much more like changing from CD’s to an ipod.

  • November 7, 2011 - 8:55 am | Permalink

    I don’t know that I have anything different to add. I have a Nook and an iPad with the Nook and Kindle apps. Different situations call for different formats. It’s an easy way for me to keep track of different books I’m reading at the same time. Give it a try. If you don’t like it someone will love receiving it as a gift.

  • November 7, 2011 - 9:50 am | Permalink

    I have a Nook. I love it. It has not replaced books for me at all – it actually is a companion. There are books I buy the hard copy of and ones I don’t mind downloading to my Nook. And I love that it’s always in my purse, so doctor’s offices, lines, etc are easier…but especially vacations. I have a choice without overloading my bag!
    So, for me, it’s become another tool to use as I read…not one to replace anything. I don’t know anyone who has converted and never bought another hard copy book!

  • Tuvana
    November 7, 2011 - 11:37 am | Permalink

    I have been using IBooks and the Kindle App on my Ipad – for some reason I cannot read fiction on an e-reader but for essays and other non-fiction it is fine! I think the most important thing for me is being able to hold the book and have a sense of where I am (how many pages in) is vital- e-reader is very disorienting for me in that regard. I am sure there is a way to turn off the feature that highlights passages others have enjoyed but that drives me crazy.

  • November 7, 2011 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    You know in the film version of “Gone with the Wind” where Scarlett cries “I’ll never be hungry again!”? That’s how I feel about my Kindle, except: I’ll never be bored (caught at Jiffy Lube, the dentist office, etc. without a book) again! Bottom line: it’s just easier. The best metaphor that I can come up with is that it’s like if someone told you they would never start using email because it’s so important to hear people’s voices. Well, sure it is. But somehow we’ve all learned that email is good enough 90% of the time, and the other 10% of the time, you call or meet face-to-face. Yes, real books still matter, and there are real books you will still buy. But Kindle simply makes reading more accessible. Also, funny that you said you needed to be able to see a book to gauge how much you have left, because one of my friends gave up midway through “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen and I did not, and I’m convinced it’s because she had hard copy and I had the e-book and so I couldn’t visualize how darn long it was and how much I still had left as I was reading!

  • November 7, 2011 - 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I love my Kindle and prefer to read on it (I can’t afford to totally, but between library books, ebookfling, Edelweiss review copies and NetGalley, and a little money each month, I’m getting pretty close). For me, reading is so much for comfortable. When I read a book, particularly a hardback, there are very few positions that are comfortable for me (and I say that as a young person!) I find the screen on the Kindle to be crisper than a book, so it’s actually easier on my eyes when I read in long doses. I also find I can read more quickly because the reading area is smaller. I notice it now when I read a print book–my eyes dart around the pages sometimes, so I enjoy the smaller screen that lets me focus. It’s ultimately a matter of personal preference. I have friends who love e-readers as much as I do and friends who don’t. Many of the reasons you mention may hinder your enjoyment. You totally can snoop at what someone’s reading, it’s just a bit harder. As someone who reads a lot on public transportation, I find *more* people talk to when I read my Kindle than when I have a book. People are curious about it and often just ask what I’m reading. Either way, I’ll be curious to see how you feel after reading your first book on it!

  • November 7, 2011 - 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I have several e-Readers and rarely use them – I just don’t love them. Most of the members of my book club have a nook or a Kindle and they all love theirs, so I think I’m the odd one.

  • Elisabeth
    November 13, 2011 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    I am a hold out. I have an iPad and love it, but don’t use it to read books on. I am just not ready to make the transition. My son has a nook and loves it but I’ve noticed he still occasionally reads a book as well.

  • November 14, 2011 - 10:13 pm | Permalink

    I have had a nook for about two years. I occassionally read from it. When a galley is sent to me, on ereader form. I still like reading a physical book to flip through the pages as reference, it is bothersome to do it on my nook. But, I think the ereader is great when traveling. Because of its light weight, and you can house so many books on my nook. Instead of carry a lot of books I can just take my nook and go on vacation.
    The down side I can’t showcase my books. Can’t go to a book signing with it.
    I will tell you that I got a new perspective of book publishing since the author and I have been conversing. Something I did not realize that was happening in the publishing business since digital books came to the scene. There ares some authors that would never have been known if it was not for the digital books. There is a publishing house called Open Road Media. That only publishes digitally because, too expensive for warehouse to house books so, they went the digital form. Luckily, for some authors, it is less expensive, and another route for authors to get the written word out for them. Thinking out of the box.

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