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.