I don’t seem to be the only one struggling to decide if Kindle is the way to go at the moment. So far I have managed to resist the temptation, but I wonder if there will come a point where the decision will be taken out of my hands? There are a few authors whose series of books I have come to relatively late and I want to buy the third or fourth book in a series of perhaps seven or eight titles. It seems that the chances of being able to walk into a shop and buy these is getting smaller and smaller. I work in Westminster and up until a year or two ago I had a choice of bookshops to visit between my office and the station. Now it’s either WH Smith at Victoria station or nothing. So I must make a special effort to go to a bookshop (which by default will no doubt be a Waterstone’s) or order my book on-line (so that must be Amazon). But even a bigger Waterstone’s can’t stock enough titles (dedicating a large amount of their space to the top 100 titles) and getting books delivered through the post isn’t ideal. If it won’t go through the letterbox you have to drive somewhere to collect and helpfully our local Royal Mail collection depot no longer has parking.
So what’s stopping me sorting this out with a Kindle? Well for me part of the pleasure of owning books is having them in rows on our bookshelves. Once I have a book it’s very hard for me to part with it, not only do I have all my old books, including many from my childhood, but also a fair few of my late father’s – however uninteresting the topic! Although we’ve finally moved our CDs out of the living room as everything is on the PC, I can’t imagine not having physical books on our shelves.
Don’t get me wrong, I can see the advantages of a Kindle. As well as a huge number of paperbacks we also have a number of authors who we always buy in hardback and I’m never going to manage the commute with a hardback Stephen King in my bag – so a Kindle copy to take on the train would be a great option.
Oddly the least of my concerns is the experience of reading with a Kindle versus a conventional book – but I assume from the number of people converting to e-books that this isn’t really an issue. I was actually trying to think of an analogy between other media which have changed over recent years – vinyl to i-whatever, video / DVD / Sky+ – in fact the mechanism for storage has changed for these, but not so much the way you actually watch or listen (although we did eventually put my Wharfedale speakers away in favour of something much smaller). Even so I still don’t think the reading experience would be an issue.
I think I will carry on resisting the Kindle for a while yet, but I fear that it’s a route that I will eventually be forced down – whether I’m willing or not.