War of the Words: Kindle vs. The Humble Book

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As the new Amazon Kindle HD and Paperwhite e-reader went on sale last week for the first time in the UK, I thought that it was only appropriate to join in with one of society’s hottest debates. To Kindle or not to Kindle?

According to an article by The Guardian, most are the former, with Kindle e-book sales over taking Amazon print sales for the first time this year. And can we be surprised? The Kindle is light-weight, sleek, can be read in any weather, can hold hundreds and hundreds of books and my personal favourite, it is oh so secretive. The reader alone knows which guilty pleasure they are indulging in, a particular advantage for those members of society who want to be able to read 50 Shades of Grey without feeling the eyes of every commuter on the tube scrutinising their every reaction or expression. So I fully understand the Kindle craze, you can read almost anything, anywhere and at any time. Perfect for the traveller, the student, the business man, the list is practically endless. But not perfect for me.

I am one of a dying breed, those who are not ashamed to stand up and say, ‘I hate the Kindle’. A phrase like this is rarely heard in an age obsessed with technology, and a time where everyone has to have the latest Apple product and scream from the rooftops how our lives will never be the same.  But yes, it is true, I can think of nothing worse than the devilish Kindle. In all honesty, the whole thing baffles me. The traditional romantic scene of snuggling up on a cold, rainy evening, with a cup of tea and a good old fashioned… Kindle? I think not.

Don’t pretend that you don’t love the smell of an old or new book, we all know that there is nothing quite like it, and it’s perfectly normally to flick through the pages and give it a good sniff. But smelling a Kindle? Not only would you look like a weirdo, you’d also be horribly disappointed, unless of course the smell of plastic gets you going, each to their own I guess. But a Kindle has no character, no individuality, and once again technology is causing us all to look the same.

I find that reading on a Kindle throws off my sense of progress, I love to see how far into a book I am, how much further until all will be revealed, something that is not well represented by that pesky percentage bar. It’s also particularly depressing when reading a tome of a novel to click ‘next page’ about 100 times, only to move up one percent. Embarrassingly enough, I have also found myself not knowing what the title of my book even is, as I am always directed to my last read page and never get to see the cover. A sin for any avid reader.

Also, a Kindle can never be truly loved like an actual book. And yes, I am referring to true love. That absolute favourite book that you’ve read so many times that every page is dog-eared, contains a plethora of tea stains, a few rips and crinkled edges from that one time where you dropped it in the pool or bath… Books have the ability to evoke memories and feelings that personally I just can’t get from an austere looking piece of plastic.

Obviously I’m fully aware that most of you will be reading this thinking, ‘This girl is crazy, she needs to get a life or better still a person to love rather than her book collection.’ And yes, you’re probably right. But for those of you who have a secret book traditionalist inside you, desperate to get out, know that you are not alone. There are some of us fighting on the side of the humble book in the war of the words, and who really would rather lug War and Peace around instead of becoming another technology clone.

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4 Comments

  1. avatar

    The Kindle Fire has really made my life a lot easier. I’m absolutely in LOVE with this thing! It is very user friendly so I didn’t have to go searching the internet for tutorials. Here’s the one I got on Amazon http://amzn.to/QdkqCN. If you’re looking to get a tablet I’d recommend the Kindle Fire over the other tablets, it really blows them away. 🙂

  2. avatar

    Dear Olivia, I can totally see where you’re coming from, especially the book sniff, haha! I got a Kindle from my boyfriend this September, and have decided to give it a go, without knowing for sure that I would like it better than a book. I was particularly skeptic about having to look at yet another screen, but overall I’m quite satisfied with my Kindle I have to say. Having finished 2 books now (and, yes I was also put off by not being able to physically feel the progress I made) I think the biggest reason for me to keep using the Kindle is my habit of reading in bed. You know the feeling when you actually have to turn the book (or even switch hands/sides) to either read a right or left page? Not a problem anymore. And the screen? Just like reading a paper book. And the last thing that will keep me using my Kindle, the prices, and sometimes earlier release dates of the books. But of course if a good deal on a paper book decides to come along, I’ll not hesitate for a sec and still buy it!

  3. avatar

    The kindle vs book debate is one I had difficulty with myself. Once id gotten into my head that I really did want a kindle, due to my bank breaking book buying habit, I got the simplest one. When it first arrived I loved it. I thought it was amazing! Every book I wanted was on there instantly and for half the price. Also the fact that I was now carrying twenty books in under the weight and size of one. However, after possibly seven to ten months I realised that the lack of satisfaction from the Ebook was not worth the reduced price. I didn’t get the pure joy of receiving a new and pristine book, free of spinal bends and folded pages, and then that strange feeling of pleasurable guilt as I made the first crease of the spine. I also realised that my lack of literal possession of the book meant that I was buying used copy’s cheaply online of the books I had already read, so not the budget saving innovative kindle I had hoped for. So I ditched the kindle in favour for the real thing, all though my technological friend will all way have a place on my ever growing book shelf.

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