I had delayed buying an e-reader for a long time. It wasn’t that I was a “physical book I can hold in my hand or nothing” kind of person. It was more “this isn’t a priority right now.” I knew I did not like reading a book on my desktop computer. But Father’s Day was coming, and I solved my wife’s problem for a gift by saying I’d like to have a Kindle.
In due course, it arrived, “it” being the Kindle 3G. A friend at work had an earlier version. He had recently upgraded to a 3G, which he said was a vast improvement over earlier models.
Having the Kindle in my hands, I had to test it out. Immediately. The instructions were simple, and within seconds I had my first e-book, Gravestone by Travis Thrasher.
Oh, my goodness.
Press a button and it’s here.
Okay, so obtaining a book was easy. What would it be like to read one? Would I like it, or would I discover that that Father’s Day present was destined to sit on a shelf, gathering dust?
Gravestone was surprisingly easy to read. It was a good introduction to reading an e-book – fast paced and engaging, I’d read a page, press the advance button, and keep going.
I finished Gravestone and said, OK, that was all right. But what about poetry?
Right about that time, Maureen Doallas over at Writing Without Paper had a feature about poet Julie Kane, and noted that her first book of poetry, Body and Soul, was only available on Kindle. Ah, ha, a test! So I downloaded the poems, and found that poetry was just as easy to read.
Since then, I’ve two more, the suspense novel The Undertaker by William Brown and Underworld: The Modern Orpheus, poems by Matthew Duggan. And I took advantage of two promotional specials I ran across, one on Facebook and the other on a blog, and downloaded the English Standard Version of the Bible and another mystery/suspense novel, both of which were free (there may be no such thing as a free lunch, but there is such a thing as a free book) (and the ESV is still available on Kindle for free, as least right now). And I downloaded Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination, and Spirit by Luci Shaw, just in time to start reading it for the weekly book discussion at The High Calling.
Two novels and two books of poetry later, I can say that I really like this little e-reader. I like it a lot. It’s easy to use. It’s back-lit, so you don’t get a lot of glare. It’s easily portable. And it can carry up to 3500 books. That last factor alone wowed my wife, who sees a solution to the bookcases that threaten to overwhelm our house.
It’s not better or worse than reading a physical book. And there are going to be some books that simply won’t work on a Kindle; I’m thinking here of books like The Four Holy Gospels, illustrated by Makoto Fujimura, which is more like a work of art than books.
But for the vast majority of books, the Kindle will work fine.
As I sit here, reading on my Kindle, that with the cover weighs less than 14 ounces, I’m beginning to glimpse one of the forces transforming the book publishing business.