So, somewhat recently I did something that I never thought I would end up doing, I purchased an ebook reader. It was for very practical reasons. I make part of my income through audio book narration and it was getting very impractical to print all the pdfs I was getting for my work. However, having owned a Kindle for a few months now I have noticed some interesting side effects.
I have always been and still am a true lover of books, not just the stories, but the feel and the smell, the way it bends, the texture and thickness of the pages. The sensual aspects of a book have always had a huge impact on how I feel while reading it.
At first, the Kindle was a little strange to use, it’s much lighter than most books, and it requires a much different style of grip while reading. Also, while the pages are very close to printed text, they’re not quite the same. Eventually I got used to it and now find it just fine to read books on. For the few months that I’ve had it, my use of printed books has dropped drastically, mainly because ebooks are cheaper, or even free.
Today, for the first time since buying my Kindle, I went to Powell’s City of Books. If you don’t know of this place, and you like books, you really need to come to Portland, OR right now and visit it. Powell’s City of Books, aptly named, is a four story building, occupying an entire city block, full of books. To me, it is one of the most magical and incredible places in the world. I realized tonight, how much I truly missed wandering its seemingly never ending shelves of books. But while I sat and perused my potential purchases, I noticed something. I found that holding the books felt much different than usual. I was even getting annoyed at having to hold the book open with one hand, and at the fact that it was harder to read the words printed near the crease of the book. It was a strange experience when I noticed this happening. What has this Kindle done to me!?
I ended up buying a book from Powell’s, the first printed book I’ve bought in months, and will be reading it in the coming days. I am interested to see how the experience goes after having only used my Kindle for so long. Will I regain the incredible, sensual relationship I used to have with books, or has the Kindle ruined me for printed literature?
We shall see, we shall see…