I never thought that it would happen but I have recently acquired a Kindle.
Speaking as someone with a profound love of books, who reads a lot, I must admit to having been extremely anti eReaders of any description in the past.
How can a small electronic device ever replace the look, feel and smell of a new book? Or an old one for that matter – who has not at some point entered an antique bookshop and marvelled at the musty, dog-eared treasures to be found there?
You cannot read an eReader in the bath or on the beach unless you are extremely careful but, judging by the state of the paperbacks we brought back from holiday last year, in our case it’s a definite no. Neither do you get the satisfaction of watching the number of pages you have read build up into a meaty wedge (although a Kindle does chart your progress so that you always know how far through a book you are).
Another great drawback is that you cannot easily give an eBook as a present and it’s nowhere near as satisfying reading the children’s bedtime story from a flat metallic platform.
But, having said all of that, I am a convert.
Having acquired my Kindle strictly for work purposes, I have found myself using it more and more. It fits easily into my handbag so that wherever I am, I always have a book to hand without being weighed down by paper. It has a huge storage capacity so that I can carry a variety of titles, ideal for trips away or travelling and it is simple to operate.
Without the risk of sounding like an advert, there are drawbacks. It is not as easy to flick back through the pages to check on a missed point and you can’t mark-up interesting or useful passages in pencil, but it is a great way of carrying a large volume of reading material.
For me, eReaders will never completely replace traditional print books. I still like the look and feel of books and one of my great pastimes is browsing in book stores. I also like being able to pass on to other people books that I have enjoyed and being given them in return. My bedroom would simple not be the same without the rickety stacks of books piled up in every corner.
However, I must confess, for someone who is not a great one for gadgets, my Kindle has proved to be an unexpected success.