Having added a Kindle to my list, I was excited to get to my stocking on Christmas morning. The box size gave it away. I’d seen two postmen carrying them in the street already.
Opening carefully, I lifted the light reader and smiled. After sniffing it out of habit (no odour), I turned it on. As the words appeared like a magic slate I was hooked. Within 5 minutes I’d connected to my Amazon account and ordered 3 books and an eclectic music magazine subscription by mistake. Fortunately it’s just as easy to cancel purchases. In the next half hour I tried to catch it out, searching for books I thought I’d never be able to download and a couple that Waterstone’s had said they couldn’t order. But they were all there, waiting to instantly appear. I bought 2 books I did want (Jay Griffiths, Wild: An Elemental Journey; Padgett Powell, The Interrogative Mood A Novel?) and decided on a few I didn’t (Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap; David Nicholls, One Day) with the handy sample download feature. I now have 40+ samples and am considering stitching them into one novel and selling it back through Amazon.
By now the present giver had realised the error of giving a gift that keeps on costing. It’s too tempting to a reading junkie to touch that buy now button. As subsequent purchases I’ll probably never have time to read showed up on my email, it was time to download for free. I got some fantastic titles from Grimm’s Fairy Tales to Homer (the Greek not Simpson) and some early Buddhist texts ensuring I will never be bored on the 281 again. Unless of course I run out of charge, but the cable sits next to the one for my mobile and this hasn’t happened yet.
So has the novelty worn off yet? No. A kindle is for life, not just for Christmas. For me there’s something wonderful about having most of the poets I love and all their work in my handbag (which is quite small as they go). A thin, compact comfort blanket. And I say most, because I’m sure the others are out there. It seems there is no end to what I can access from Project Gutenberg and libraries around the world. Unless of course the powers that be remove the bonus function that appears under Experimental on the Kindle’s home page. Right now I can use it anywhere (I got the 3G version) and log onto the web – which includes my email – and search away. How long can they keep that up?
Even if I couldn’t use the net, I would still need my Kindle. I’ve brought it a neat red leather jacket – one that stands the device up whilst I lie down in bed (no hands!). There is even a Diana Von Fustenberg range. I’ve introduced it to all my friends and am hoping to share soon. I’ve highlighted the best lines of the books I’m reading and can access my own documents and lists when I want. What could be better? So what if an article in the Sunday Times last week said that the typeface on digital readers made the content too easy to read? Can reading ever be made too easy?