Gift of Kindle Brings Personal Dilemma

December 28, 2010

I love books. My childhood home was full of them. My father’s home office housed 1,000-page biographies on U.S. presidents and generals, as well as volume after volume about the Civil War. The bookcases in my bedroom were filled with the The Chronicles of Narnia and every book Judy Blume wrote. Today, I treasure the moments when I can sit down, uninterrupted, and crack open a good book. In fact, it’s the cracking of the spine on a new book, or turning through the dog-eared pages of a beloved classic, that make books so magical.

Yet for the past year, I’ve had Kindle envy. Every time I get on a plane, a fellow passenger is pulling out one of the sleek, flat devices while I lug my latest read. Or worse yet, I’ve left my book at home because I can’t cram it in my briefcase. Knowing of my longing for an e-reader, my husband gave me an Amazon gift card for Christmas along with the promise that I would soon join the ranks of Kindle owners.

Not even a week later, I am wrestling with the issue of print versus digital. If I give in to the lure of an e-reader, will I contribute to the demise of so-called “dead tree” books? Or do I accept the fact that society is already way ahead of me on this and pay $140 for a Kindle with built-in Wi-Fi and unlimited access to 775,000 titles at the click of a button? Earlier this week, Amazon announced that Kindle 3 is the best-selling product in company history, surpassing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I’m apparently not alone in my angst. In a recent online Mashable poll of 2,143 people, 41.9 percent said they prefer paper books to e-books; 34.8 percent said both formats have their advantages. Will I give in to the Kindle? Probably. But I’m not taking my great aunt’s copy of Gone with the Wind to McKay Books anytime soon.

Do you prefer paper or e-books? You can share your thoughts in the comments section.


5 Responses to “Gift of Kindle Brings Personal Dilemma”

  1. Ha! I went through the exact same thing. I got a Kindle this year for my birthday, so excited, couldn’t wait to order the first book. But wait, if I get the book on Kindle, how will I share it with friends? It was the third book in a three-part series and I already had the first two in paperback so how will I complete the set? The answer is quite simple — there will be books that I want to read on Kindle and others that I will want to add to my collection, likely there will be times when they are the same book. So be it. For book lovers, you can never have too many books and if that means some are digital and some are print then that’s just way it will be.

    So go ahead, take the plunge — buy the Kindle and start downloading. You won’t be sorry.

  2. Virginia Roberson Says:

    I have a Kindle app on my Droid phone. I love being able to read a book while waiting in line at the grocery store, while sitting on a plane, or kicking back at the beach. It’s quite legible in sunlight, like the full-blown Kindle.

    However, I still prefer reading an actual book whenever possible. I visit McKay’s often and treasure my used book collection. A paper book is often my companion in bed before sleep.

  3. Katie Hill Says:

    I’m on the same page with you (bad pun intended). We now own a Nook — Barnes and Noble’s version of the Kindle — and while it’s a sleek, cool piece of hardware, it will never be able to replace the feeling or smell of a real book. The Nook and I have yet to come to an agreement about this, so we spend a lot of time staring at each other from across the room.

  4. Chantel Minish Says:

    I’m also with you on the hard copy and have not even considered the world of digital books. I just can’t bring myself to that point yet. Call me old fashioned…

  5. One advantage to paper books is the reader’s ability to annotate the paper with a pen or pencil, or insert sticky notes with the annotations on the exact page. While I believe it is possible (I don’t own a Kindle, Nook, or iPad so I don’t know for certain) to make notes in the digital copies, you simply can’t beat being able to see instantly the quote you need to hammer home the point in your thesis, or scan the color coded sticky notes (if you’re that kind of person 🙂 ) in your pages.

    It’s amazing that in the 5 years since I graduated High School I now find myself defending an aspect of paper books that I once detested vehemently.

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