Yeah, I know it’s shocking. I have spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not I should take the step and buy an e-book reader – any e-book reader. But last week I’d gone and finally did it so at least I can stop thinking about it now.
I had already decided against a kindle in my earlier musings, to be sure. One of the deciding factors was that I don’t have wifi and I already knew that it would be close to impossible to work the kindle without it. Unfortunately, money is an issue and so when I went to the mall the other day with the fixed intent in mind to buy an e-book reader, I knew it would be an inexpensive one. Who would have thought that the cheapest one would be a kindle? Not me.
But I still bought it. That was only the first step on my adventure to being an owner, though. Because to actually use the kindle you have to set it up. And make no mistake, they make you set it up. I hooked the kindle to my laptop and even though I’ve already used the kindle app for pc, this did not allow me to just skip the registering and copy and paste my kindle-books from my laptop onto my kindle, no way.
I thought that might happen so I scheduled a day on the town to find the one wifi-hotspot that would allow me to set up my kindle. It only took me three hours to find it, half an hour to actually have my kindle connect to it and another twenty minutes to finally register. I can be quite patient when I’m working on something that I want – and I wanted my kindle to work. It does now and I just finished reading my first book on it.
You may wonder why this is important enough for me to share. Or maybe you wonder at the kind of inept tech-amateur I am, you’re welcome to. I tend to make my life more difficult than it should be, that’s probably why I’ve gotten so resigned about it.
I’m a reader. I’m actually a literary theorist. I buy a lot of books throughout the year, I read a lot. I own different versions of the same book. I LOVE literature. While they tell you not to put reading under interests on a cv, I always think: but I read. Buying an electronic device that lightens the weight of my luggage when I travel, makes a lot of sense for me. Not to carry around three, four, maybe as much as six books when I visit my parents makes a difference… It’s a big step for people like me to buy an electronic device that is supposed to… maybe replace books. And I do see the benefits for the ecology… but does it have to be so difficult? I feel a little let down by the fact that amazon does not trust me enough to simply copy my legally purchased books from one of my devices to the other without them knowing about it.
Don’t get me wrong, the device works, I like it – I actually love pushing buttons and readng stuff on that thing and the fact that once again it only took me days to finish a book when reading has been slow all year, it delights me. But, you know… books. They stand on shelves, they look unobtrusive, they tempt you with their colorful covers, they make you remember when you see them in book stores or somebody else’s hands. Turning pages, smelling the glue that holds them together, feeling the indentations of the title on the cover – it’s almost porn (oh, let’s stop pretending, it is porn). This feeling is never deminished by some company wanting to know about your reading habits, you pick it up, you open it, you emerge. The sheer beauty of reading a book.
My kindle doesn’t give me this feeling because the first thing I had to do is worry about overcoming obstacles to get what I want from it.
Maybe I’m too sensitive, maybe I’m fetishizing books and reading too much. Maybe I’m just a crazy old book-person and everybody else is super-happy with their electronic devices. I don’t care, to me it’s not the same.
I still like it, though. I’ve given it a name, dressed it in an ugly-colored cover and will probably be taking it everywhere for the next few weeks. It’s cute, and it’s functional. But it’s not a book.