Well here is a debate I never thought I’d have! I’ve always been an advocate of ‘real books’ and the wonderful feel of paper between my fingers. I love picking a book up off my shelf and feeling the texture, smelling the print and the pages before gently pulling it open, curling my legs up and diving in. I can safely say that that is something that will never, ever, die.
…I got a Kindle for Christmas. Bear in mind that I’ve been debating buying one for some time and talked about this to my mother, at length. I was stunned to realise that she had one and that she was using it (bad of me, I know; why the hell shouldn’t she?), but that conversation made it all the more clear that I did indeed want one.
I was all geared to buy one myself – hell knows when or how – when I open my third pressie on Christmas morning to see the lowercase logo of Amazon’s most favoured product to date. kindle. Squeee!
Well… anybody who has been keeping up with my Twitter feed will already know that on that first day, I downloaded 23 books to my new toy. For those who don’t know me all that well, or who are fascinated as to how I had so much money to spend in such a lump, let me explain:
I am an impulsive, compulsive buyer. It gets me into trouble all the time. However, with upcoming changes to my utterly selfish and self absorbed life to date, I’m doing my absolute best to curb the urge to spend my hard earned £s on tat. So… my method, my aim, my goal, my plan (pick which sounds best) is to completely and utterly bore myself with downloading books. Free books. Once I’m bored with it, and the novelty has worn off, then and only then, am I allowed to buy a book through Amazon’s ebook store.
So… yes… while I have downloaded
23 25 (I just found another couple of cool classics!) to my Kindle, I haven’t paid for any of them yet. They have all come from the free section
Now… there, immediately is a plus verses the ‘real book.’ I can’t think of many places where I can get that many printed books for free. However – and I’m loathe to say it, but I’ve got to – the quality of the printed books I buy is such that I really don’t mind paying for them. In fact, I want to, because these authors have done such an incredible job that they deserve to be paid. That is certainly not to say that the ebooks I’m reading are awful, but of the two I’ve read so far, there is a very clear difference between those books that might make it into book stores in the traditional way and those that simply can’t and won’t without a bit more polish.
Part of me feels awful for saying it – what right do I have?! – but it does serve to make the facts all the clearer to me; the competition is stiff and I have to work HARD to ensure that someday, somewhere, a reviewer isn’t making the same comments about my work.
I’ve drifted a bit… so… ebook. Well, as I write this, I’m ill. I’m in my dressing gown, with pyjamas underneath and my hair wrapped up off my face. I have a sweet drink at my side to ease my cough and a long time to go before I’m allowed any more paracetamol (no antibiotics thankfully; not sure how that would effect my babbas!). But technology allows me to write this from my bed – I love my laptop – and, when I’m done, gives me the option to roll onto my side (damn I miss lying on my stomach!) and pick from a selection of 25 books without moving. They’re on my Kindle. Otherwise I’d have to pop next door, pick a book off my shelves, bring it back and curl up beneath the sheets again. My Kindle gives me immediate freedom and choice and, to be honest, as I lie here, if I decide there’s a book that I want that I don’t have, chances are I can get it in the next five minutes. Gotta love ebooks, right?
But ‘real books…?’ Notice how I keep putting quote marks around this phrase? That’s because to call a printed book a ‘real’ book, in my mind, is unfair. Yes, they came first, and there is very little in the world to compare to the feel of a physical book in your hands. My double stacked bookcase (and four waist high stacks of unshelved books) will attest to that. But in terms of storage, portability and ease of reading… well… read back over what I just wrote. I’m running out of space to keep my books. With the twins on the way, I really can’t give up the space required for another case or shelves. I can only carry one at a time in my handbag and the weight of the thing (my books are MEATY) means that its a strain on my shoulders these days. Going on holiday with three books (that’s my minimum as a rule) is a real pain and I don’t relish having to pick.
But, like I said… there is nothing like feeling those pages between your fingers.
Besides! How on earth are you going to get your favourite authors to sign your Kindle?! I have at least four books signed by Shaun Hutson (treasured, much loved and well looked after items) and I want more. Definitely can’t do that with a Kindle.
Anyway, I think all this post has done is tell you that I love both mediums. Which is true. And now that I have both, I’m not going to give up either. Hell, certain books you can only get in one form or the other anyway! So why cut yourself off from one author just because you can’t decide? Be greedy… works for me! ^_^