Thursday, 19 January 2012
Last Saturday my wife surprised me with a lovely present. After the clan had demolished the bacon and eggs served up for our now traditional Saturday morning brunch, we cleaned the yolk out of the one-year-old's hair and fed the dog his share of the leftover bacon. Then I was handed a little cardboard box from Amazon. I knew what it was from the dimensions right away as me and my siblings had chipped in and bought one for my dad at Crimbo. Plus the product name was stamped on the box. It was a Kindle!
My wife thought it was a bit mad that I was pushing my novel, WEE ROCKETS, only available as an ebook, when I didn't own an ereader. And to be honest, I felt a bit bad about that too. I'd bought a few ebooks for the Kindle app on my iPod Touch but they were a pain in the arse to read that way. And while I tried out the Kindle for PC app, I found that wasn't for me either. But this thing... wow. I'm currently blazing through Anthony Neil Smith's All The Young Warriors (bloody brilliant it is too) and have lined up a host of exciting ebooks when I'm done with it. Yesterday I was able to eat a big sloppy sandwich and read at the same time as the Kindle sat on my desk without me having to battle a paperback spine with my thumb. And I love the font size I picked for my poor, punished eyes.
I say all this a little grudgingly, though. I'm usually a fan of the underdog, and these days Amazon is the alpha in most consumer packs. Maybe a different brand of ereader would salve my conscience a little, but I hear Kindle is simply the best in the price range, so why bother messing with an inferior product? What I can do, however, is support writers who haven't landed that mainstream publishing deal but are very much worth reading. Writers published by Blasted Heath, for example. That makes me feel a bit better.
I don't think I'll ever give up on real books, though. It's a different product than an ebook. Its packaging is part of its charm; part of the reading experience. And the feeling of calm I get simply browsing through a bookstore? It's a mini holiday for me. So, whether or not I'm a little giddy with techno-joy, I'm still a bibliophile at heart (but not really a book-sniffer).
If you think Kindle is the devil or that books are a dead god, do share your views. My interest in the subject is peaked right now.