That really is the question…
For a long time, I’ve been fervently anti e-reader. As far as I’m concerned, an unyielding piece of plastic just can’t compare to the wonder that is a bound book. I’m passionate about books; I love the way they feel in my hand, I love the way they smell, I love turning the pages and I love sitting in bookshops for hours, browsing and reading a little here and a little there, piling books up beside me and wishing I could take every single one home, and I love the process of deciding exactly which ones I’ll be buying this time round. (Inevitably, I take home more books than I think I should but far fewer books that I’d like to.) I love the bookcases in my room that are filled to bursting with the books I’ve acquired over the years, and every time I visit the study in my parent’s Somerset home, I look forward to the day when I have my own house and can create a study lined with books on all four walls, floor to ceiling on each and every one. Every time I open a much-loved book, I remember where I was when I read it for the first time or where I bought it – and I know how I felt then, and it’s like sitting down to get reacquainted with a dear friend.
The thought of losing all that is heartbreaking.
I live in a shared house in London. While I’m lucky enough to have a room large enough to accommodate my large bookcases and my several hundred books, I’ll be lucky to find something similar again within the same budget. London houses are small and expensive. Apart from taking up a lot of room, they’re very heavy to move around with me. They’re also expensive (not that I begrudge spending on books!) but most of all, I know that I want to move abroad for a period at some point, and I know I can’t take all those book with me. That last fact is what’s made me finally consider a Kindle.
Logically, a Kindle is a great idea. A lot of the books I have on my Amazon wishlist (there are hundreds) are cheaper in Kindle form that as paperbacks, although some aren’t yet available in Kindle form at all. If I get a Kindle, I can load hundreds of books onto it and then take them all with me, wherever I go in the world. I won’t be filling up space I don’t have with books. I can buy more books for less money. Almost everyone I know who has a Kindle loves it, so surely they can’t be that bad. Plus, I can still buy any exceptional books in paperback form in addition to/instead of in Kindle form. No loss.
Then I won’t have any books.