I’m not a techie. In fact, I’m the slow/reluctant/kicking and screaming kind when it comes to adopting new technologies. When digital cameras came out, I shrugged, and pursed my lips. I’d keep my old fashioned camera with its roll films, thanks very much. My husband, Gadget Man, wisely ignored me, bought me a digital camera, and… waited. I grumbled thank you, showed mild, polite interest in that new “thing” (so much smaller, so easy to carry, so easy to use), and after a few months of dwindling resistance, I not only adopted, but soon embraced the new technology.
Same thing when the iPod came out.
And then, the Kindle was born. Again, I went “Nah!” How could e-books possibly replace the real thing – the feel of a book in one’s hands, touching the paper, smelling it, looking at the cover, searching the inside for pictures, illustrations, designs, photos… ? And once the book is read, hold it a while longer, find its ideal place in our library (genre, author, theme ?), and then look at the spine and remember the story, how it made me feel, where I was when I read it, from time to time take it out again… How could a Kindle give me all that ?
Well, it cannot.
But… if you live in a place with barely any bookstore, and so poorly stocked you come out feeling depressed (oh, how I miss the book stores in India ! They were often disorganized, chaotic, with piles of books crowding the floors, but I never went in, and came out empty- handed), the Kindle suddenly becomes an object worthy of worship.
Do I read a review of a novel that has me feeling impatient, eager to read it ? All I have to do is find out whether it’s available for Kindle (and more and more, they are) and in a few minutes flat, there it is.
Of course, I’ll continue buying books. But I can be more selective. I’ll even buy a book that I’ve already read on my Kindle (something I did for Monique Roffey’s The White Woman on the Green Bicycle, because that’s one novel I want, and need close to me). But I get the best of both worlds now. Speed. Convenience. And lightness – not to be underestimated, when you travel a lot. Imagine being able to carry several novels in a single, slim e-book the size of three iPhones.
Of course, that brings me to the next gadget I’m now lusting after. The iPad.