I first bought a Kindle almost ten years ago. It was the third edition with a small keyboard at the bottom. After about a year I accidentally stood on it, breaking the screen. I contacted Amazon who gave me a good discount on a replacement. Last week, after many years of service, it died on me. The screen froze and no amount of tricks could bring it back to life. Once again Amazon gave me a good discount on a replacement, a tenth edition. In the photo below, the new one to the left, old one to the right.
How does the new Kindle differ from my old one? For one it has a touch screen, which I’m still getting used to, especially when trying to navigate back to the home page. I miss the page turn buttons on the side, but apart from that there is very little difference, although it doesn’t feel as solid as my old one. Time will tell.
There is nothing like the feel and smell of a proper book, but a Kindle does have some advantages. If you’re going away and don’t want to carry loads of books then a Kindle is an excellent choice, especially if weight is an issue, for example when me and my beautiful wife go cycle touring, or if you were to go for a multi-day walk. I also like how there are loads of books available for free, often from some very good authors.
Another plus of a Kindle is that it’s immediate. You search for a book, buy it, download it and start reading within a couple of minutes. The last bonus for me is that one of my favourite authors, F. Paul Wilson, had written a couple of ‘mash-up’ short stories, collaborating with other authors, where his most famous character, Repairman Jack, collided and interacted with the other author’s character. All great fun, and these shorter stories were available for 0.99p, whereas buying them from a local bookshop would be nigh on impossible.
I’ll never give up totally on ‘real’ books, especially as sometimes publishers try to make too much profit from e-books. A Dance with Dragons, the most recent Game of Thrones book from George R R Martin, released in 2011, was almost the same price for the e-book as the hardback version. I bought the hardback version. (As an aside, could Mr Martin please hurry up with The Winds of Winter).
I love my Kindle, but for me it will never totally replace books, as I love browsing in bookshops and reading a ‘real’ book.
Other e-book readers are available.