The Dark Side

I’ve gone to the dark side. It isn’t my fault. It was my husband’s idea. He’s the one who went on Amazon and ordered the Kindle. He thought it would be a nice Mother’s Day gift. It was. And now I’m hopelessly in love with an e-reader.

I suppose it isn’t fair to blame my husband. I had mentioned once or twice that I might like to have a Kindle and he’s always game when it comes to electronics. I knew that before I said anything. In my defense, I had no understanding of the power it would have over me once it wormed its way into my heart and home.

I’ve always loved books. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of lazy summer days spent curled up on the couch, immersed in the magic of Frank Baum and Edward Eager. I not only loved the words, I loved the look and feel of the books themselves. There was something immensely satisfying about the heavy, thickness of a hardbound epic novel or the yellowed pages of an old, dog-eared paperback. Every book I owned had its own personality and that was part of the joy. 

I’m ashamed to admit that for all the joy books have given me, I abuse them terribly. The first thing I do when I purchase a book is crack the spine. I also crease the pages, underline passages I like, stamp the back with circles of coffee and carelessly leave them out where a little green parrot named Herbie can chew on the edges.  They take the abuse without complaint. My books are devoted companions. How could an e-reader compete with that?  

It seems Amazon knew what they were doing. Lightweight, compact, the Kindle fits my hands like a pair of fine-leather gloves.  I don’t know how to explain it other than to say it feels really good when I hold it. It has other advantages, too. I don’t lose my place because it takes me right back to where I left off when the phone rang. I can highlight passages I like without picking up a marker. The Kindle doesn’t pile up on my bedside table, and I don’t have to deal with the embarrassment of those ridiculous covers if I’m in the mood to read a romance. (Don’t kid yourself–the little cloth bookcovers for your paperbacks don’t fool anyone.) The convenience is wonderful. I don’t have to go anywhere. I don’t have to wait on a mail delivery. I don’t have to do anything but push a couple of buttons and read. Instant gratification is bliss.

 I apologize to those book lovers who have pledged to preserve the printed page. It’s a worthy cause. There are too many things that an e-reader can’t do. It’s impossible for an author to sign a e-reader, you can’t lend out one book at a time, and if you leave it on the bus or in a restaurant, you’re screwed.

I can only hope this honeymoon phase with my Kindle will pass and I will no longer be completely smitten with that slim, compact little body and the lure of instant gratification. The world is ready for e-reader and printed page alike. And with time and perhaps a little counseling, I will be, too.

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About Diana Douglas

Diana Douglas, author. Coorganizer of the Arizona Novel Writers Workshop. Member Arizona Historical Novel Society, Member BooksGoSocial Authors, Transplanted Texan. http://www.meetup.com/Arizona-Writers-Workshop-com http://twitter.com/#!/themodernscribe
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9 Responses to The Dark Side

  1. Eric Pflum says:

    I too stamp the backs of books with circles of coffee (and rings of ice tea) but feel a certain amount of shame in doing that. Are you saying there is no shame with a Kindle? That’s no fun. I don’t think I could give up the shame; we’re such good friends.

    Amazon should pay for your testimonial. I enjoyed reading about your journey to the dark side. Hope you come back to visit sometimes.

    • Eric, I haven’t left shame behind. In fact, my shame has multiplied. Everytime I use my Kindle, I feel like a traitor to hard print and to those who love it.. I can only hope that one day, I’ll pick up a real book and the old feelings will return. If not, I can just order it on my Kindle.

  2. Cynthia says:

    Awk! You traitor. I hope Herbie poops on your kindle and your battery dies or you drop it in the tub. LOL!
    No, honestly, I will probably get one someday. When one costs $25, or they give them away free. And then I will only download free books to it.
    Good post, Diana 🙂

    • Cynthia, I knew once I came out of the Kindle closet you would feel betrayed. Try not to hate me. I tried to fight it but I just wasn’t strong enough. I’m sure I’ll reform, but in the meantime… the dark side is pretty cool!

  3. You are a brave, brave woman to post this expose of your affection for the Kindle. You paved the way for many of us “closet Kindle fans” to proudly take our e-book readers from the darkness of our large purses and lap top cases, flip them on and read with turning pages. I love it!

  4. rhoagenda says:

    Fun post. Be warned though. The Kindle is an addiction that is hard to kick. I have two, a normal and a DX, Carol (my wife) has one, and my mother-in-law lives for hers … she can read with the large print setting. And for those of you suffering busy-mind syndrome at night, the kindle text to speech option will even read you to sleep. Carol has always questioned my refusal to part with treasured old books (and I still won’t), but now they are like what Chief Dan George said of his pretty rock candy in The Outlaw Josey Wales … “not for eatin’, just for looking through.”

  5. Don’t you miss the smell of the books? Reading is such a tactile experience! I’m trying tooth and nail to stick to books but I think my husband is being wooed by the dark side!!

  6. 1 1 webmail says:

    Hello, each time I go to this particular webpage I almost consistently get this error message 403 Internal Server Error; Just figured you would want to know.

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