So I got a Kindle for Christmas last year, and I have to confess: I don’t really love it.
Lord knows I’ve read the effusions of converts across America, people who can’t believe how much they don’t miss holding an actual book in their hands. People who could give a shit about cover art, whose singular joy comes from text alone, from the story that gets planted and flourishes in their head. And I’ve mulled it over, wondering what’s wrong with me that I don’t like clicking pages as much as turning them. Certainly I’ve enjoyed the advantages of traveling with eight books loaded into a machine the size of a single trade paperback, and of being to download something new to read while standing in a 45-minute-long line for airport security. There’s no disputing the miraculousness of literary instant gratification, if you can afford it.
It’s just the act of reading on the stupid thing that bums me out.
And I’m not one of those people who also mourns the death of vinyl, cassettes, 8-tracks, reel-to-reel tapes, and CDs, because iPods fucking rule. I don’t need a shelf full of shitty plastic cases or warped cardboard sleeves that were shredded by a cat who’s been dead in the cold, cold ground for longer than half of you have been alive; I’m glad to be rid of it all. Turntables sucked. Anything you have to tape a penny to in order to function needs some serious rethinking.
But books didn’t need rethinking. Apart from them being flammable, I guess, but what isn’t?
Amazon’s now selling more Kindle downloads than actual paper-and-glue books (which is why they’re not cooperating with libraries)(my local library is able to lend e-books to Sony and Nook owners only).
I get that it’s Greener to magically send books through the air than it is to cut down trees, toxically process them (paper mills are the worst), dye their jackets with God knows what, load them into a truck that gets 7 miles to the gallon, and drive them to my house. I also understand that despite the lack of satisfying graphics I can still electronically underline stuff I want to remember and e-mail whole favorite paragraphs to myself. I know they’re working on a function that lets your friends “borrow” a book when you’re done, and the fact that they don’t have to touch the same pages you sneezed on as you read them is a victory for germophobes the world over, I know, I KNOW.
You’re going to tell me to get an iPad, aren’t you? Jesus.