I bought a Kindle a couple of months ago. Part of my thinking was that I would read newspapers and magazines on it, and that would save paper, solve storage issues, etc. That’s worked nicely, although I dropped my NYT subscription after the trial period because I didn’t want to pay $19.95 a month. I’m thrilled with the New Yorker for Kindle, not least because it arrives on my Kindle at the earliest possible moment–the Monday one week BEFORE its cover date.
But I also Kindled up because I have too many books (a huge antilibrary) and had run out of room. I knew I wouldn’t limit my book-buying solely to electronic books–among other things, there are many books that appeal to me that aren’t on Kindle yet–but if there was something I wanted to read immediately I could get it right away and not worry about shelf space.
Except, for the most part, I haven’t bought a lot of Kindle books. I’ve downloaded lots of free books. And I’ve bought a couple. I got one the other day by a friend because I was keen to get it, even though I know it will be a little while before I read it (simply because I have some book review deadlines). Price is a factor. One friend’s book came out recently in original trade paper. Amazon sells the physical book for under $9 (a 40% discount off the cover price) but the Kindle price is $9.99. I simply don’t understand that. So I haven’t bought the book yet, I’m sorry to say, and I’m not sure I will until I’m absolutely ready to read it.
Which brings me to the real point of this post. I have all my life collected books. I like owning them. I like their potential. But I also like looking at them and knowing they are physically there. Since the house is full of them, I don’t need any more books to feed that acquisitiveness, but hoarding books on the Kindle isn’t going to give me the same satisfaction. Yes, I’m downloading free classics, but that’s in part so I can box up the hard copies on my shelves. I’m no longer the book slut I was.
Unless they’re free. I recently moderated two panels at the Virginia Festival of the Book. The actual moderation during the session was fun and easy, but one is supposed to prepare, and I was given a stack of books to read. I did (um, mostly; didn’t make it all the way through one of them). And now I have to find some place to put all those books!
Too bad they didn’t give me the Kindle editions . . .
By the way, one of the books on my Kindle is my own, and I have to say it looks great, and it’s a bargain at $3.99. You can buy it here: In an Uncharted Country on Kindle. Just sayin’.