Sunday, March 6, 2011

COMMENTARY: Kindles, Nooks and Other Literary Crooks

If you check out my little “About Me” on the sidebar, you will know how much I love holding a good, old and dusty book in my hands. I love the way the pages feel, that old book smell, the crinkle of the dust jacket. I just love books!

So now the new reading rage is e-book readers. There are a variety of readers, the most popular of which seem to be the Kindle and the Nook (both costing roughly $150 retail). There are quite a few versions of each, offering a variety of different features. But the basic premise is, you have this nice little device you hold in your hands that you’ve paid a gob of cash for, then you pay another chunk of cash (not as much as a hardcover book, but more than many paperbacks) every time you download a book to your reader. The reader stores the book for you and allows you to access it at any time. You can hold thousands of books in your hands at any one time!

But wait. Don’t you ever read a book and think it’s so great that you want to loan it to a friend? I love my friends, but I’m not sure I’d be willing to loan my $150 electronic device to a friend for a long enough period of time for them to read it (especially when there are children and dripping sippy cups to contend with). Apparently, however, there is a feature offered that allows you to share your library if you have a friend or family member with the same e-book reader. They just have to register it to your e-book reader. Sounds a little complicated, probably not worth the trouble, and just not as nice as handing them the book in person so you can gush on about how good it was.

And of course, neither the Kindle nor the Nook will allow you stare lovingly at a bookshelf, tracing your fingers along the spines of these stories you love as you decide which one you want to read again. Nor do they allow you to flip through the pages as you reminisce about how much you enjoyed the story held therein. No. They merely keep the story in an electronic database forever. So these stories, whether you loved them or not, will most likely be relegated to the same fate as those thousands and thousands of digital photos you’ve taken and stored away on the hard drive of your computer, never to be viewed again.

And what about the kiddos? Are we going to get to a point where we sit down and cuddle together on the couch to read our bedtime stories from an electronic screen? I think not. I want my child to turn the page. I want her to see the pictures. I want her to learn to love holding books in her hand just as much as I do.

So consider this my official declaration that I will NOT succumb to this little fad. Any errant gift-givers out there beware; if a Kindle shows up on my door, I will return it…….and use the proceeds to buy about eight beautiful hardcover books for my shelf.


  1. I feel the same about books and I didn´t want a Kindle,a month ago I left my job and guess what they gave it to me....a Kindle,still in the box :s

  2. Yeah I'm getting sick of people thinking those electronic things are better than the real deal. I honestly too love the smell of an old book. Hell, I even love the smell of new books. No smell is better than the smell of a bookstore. I'm afraid that one day books may no longer be. I hope this never comes to pass. Also, I have a friend that I'm about to loan some books to who is going to loan me some books as well. So I totally get the loaning thing.

    Don't forget that staring at a screen is worse for your eyes than staring at pages of a book.

    I too will not succumb to this e-reader crap. I prefer books. :)