Saturday, 11 August 2012

A change is coming...

So I finally did it; I finally caved in and bought a Kindle. It was a long and arduous internal struggle, but in the end I found I had to jump aboard this bandwagon at last. There was a brief period of um-ing and ahh-ing (otherwise known as procrastination) in which I tried to decide between buying a Kindle or a Kobo, the main competitor of the Kindle. For a while there I was edging towards the Kobo - it's cheaper, you can download from loads of places, it has a capacity to increase the memory and comes with 100 classic novels already installed. But in the end - as a friend so aptly, if bluntly, put it - 'Kindle is boss, there's a reason it's the best selling one'. After all, if you're going to do something, you may as well do it properly. It wasn't easy though; even as I processed the order through Amazon, there was still an almighty urge to click 'back' and end the whole thing entirely. And once it had gone through, and I got the confirmation email, I felt a bit sad; in a way, I felt like I had betrayed my own principles. I've spent so long raging against e-readers, firmly insisting I wasn't interested that to finally turn tail and back up on myself... well, I imagine this is how Nick Clegg feels on a regular basis.

But now it's happened, I sense a change in myself. Already I'm adapting, planning, thinking Kindle. I've gone bookshop browsing a couple of times recently, and I've left both times without buying a single book. This in an occurence that even a month ago, would've been laughable; I am, or was, almost physically incapable of walking into a bookshop without buying something, and it's not like I didn't find anything in there that tickled my fancy. Instead, I found myself thinking, 'Ooh, I can download that on my Kindle for my next holiday'. This happened before I'd even bought the damn thing, and already I was planning what to download on it, and speaking about it as if I already owned it. 

I've even found myself looking forward to certain little joys the Kindle will bring; for example, I can finally start carrying a book around with me all the time, which was a habit I was trying to get into, but failing at - a battle of size of handbag vs size of book being the main barrier. Now, though, once it arrives and I've started downloading, I can carry my Kindle with me wherever I like, and be able to read whenever I like. Bliss. It'll also help me pack my bags efficiently when I go on holiday again next month, and as it was actually a holiday that made me start to consider buying a Kindle, what with all the heavy books in the suitcase and losing my passport between the pages of a book in my handbag, this will be a nice little bookend to the whole saga. Also, something I've just thought of - don't you just hate it when you're on holiday, lying in the sun, reading a book, and a sudden wind comes up and whips all the pages about unexpectedly? Not for me this time!

It's also got me and the boyfriend talking about literature again; a few nights ago, when I announced (somewhat dramatically) that I was going to do it, I was going to flipping well get on that computer and buy a Kindle, it led to a discussion on the book world; the boyfriend, very aware of my struggles over the issue, earnestly put forth the idea that Kindles were actually encouraging more people to read. However, I quickly countered with actually, it's just encouraging people who like reading, to read more, which is not the same thing as increasing literacy levels - if you're not a fan of reading or books, you're not going to go out and spend a hundred quid or so, plus the cost of the e-books, just to give it a go. This then led to the boyfriend mentioning Penguin Publishing's new money-making scheme, Book Country, a self-publishing kit for new authors (though it's clearly cashing in on the fear that more and more people like E. L. James will go ahead, self-publish, make a mint out of it and cut out the middle man entirely). It was nice to start talking about books and the world of literature again; I've been less attentive to this blog of late, so I've been missing out on my chance to vent my opinions. 

Also - it's just occurred to me - having a Kindle will also allow me to read new authors who maybe weren't given a chance by traditional publishers, so took the DIY approach, and that's a good thing; bookshops can be restricting in that their only literature is going to be what publishers have deemed good enough to publish, which does not necessarily mean that all the good books have actually been published. The Kindle will allow me to read these authors who didn't quite make it through the traditional gauntlet, which in turn will allow me to support and encourage new authors.

That's not to say that the advent of the Kindle to my life is all sunshine and roses. There's still that clawing guilt in me that I've betrayed print books - currently I'm sat next to a bookcase, and I feel like all the books on there are judging me - and I am worried that already, before I even own a Kindle properly, I'm not buying books anymore. One of my biggest fears about buying a Kindle was that I would stop buying print books, and that's started happening already. Sure, it's probably not entirely a bad thing - even in the new, bigger abode, bookspace is at a premium - but I'm a little bit ashamed that I so easily succumbed. Then, of course, there's the fact that I am a bit of a technophobe, and a Kindle is technology; I had a look at a friend's Kindle the other week and I have to say I was a bit flummoxed by it all, as it seemed opening a book on a Kindle was a bit more of a deal that taking one off a bookshelf. I'm also concerned about money; I may not be buying print books now, as I'm saving them up for e-books, but here's the thing; if I'm not physically handing over cash, or putting my card in a card machine, it's a bit easier to spend money, because it doesn't really feel like I am, so internet shopping can be an issue for me. As a result, I think downloading e-books is going to be surprisingly costly for me, especially as it'll be linked to my Amazon account, so I won't even need to put card details in or anything. Yep, this could be a costly mistake.

I thought making a decision on whether to just buy one or not would help calm my inner battle over this; once I'd committed, I could just move on in the direction I'd taken. I was hoping I still wouldn't be agonising over the pro's and cons of the whole thing, but here I am, still blogging away about it. I guess there has been a change in the waters in this; before, I was just staunchly resisting Kindles, but now it's more a case of guilt over the fact that actually, I'm really looking forward to my Kindle arriving, and quite excited about the ease in which it will allow me to access books; I just hope I can remember to buy print books too, from time to time!

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