To kindle or not to kindle?

Posted: May 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

I was packing last night for my flight back home, a long vacation, and this is what my luggage looked like:

This is not counting the first layer of library at the very bottom.
I had to close it and sit on it and bounce on it a few times to be able to bring the two edges of zip together. My roommates are always immensely amused by this ritual.

Some of my friends were like, what is wrong with you? Buy a Kindle! I’ll admit that the Kindle, I think during the time it just broke into the market, appealed to me — the idea of being able to have a thousand books in your bag without carrying the weight, the options available when you’re commuting, or travelling out of the city, the prospect of reading books you can’t find at the local store.

But at the time I was thinking all this, I was going through a temporary no-time-to-read-books phase.
When I got back into reading a new book every two days, I decided that yes, the Kindle was an excellent invention, and it’s great for people who are constantly on the move and still want to read a lot, but…

1. You can’t smell a Kindle
I do some really weird things (this goes without saying if you’ve been a regular reader of my posts, but still) one of which is going to the bookstore and sniffing books. The smell of a library gives me a high. When I’m walking back home and I’m in a bad mood and I happen to be passing by Makeens or Vijitha Yapa I’d literally walk in to take in the scent of bound pages to cheer myself up. The store managers know me well as the weird Muslim chick who sniffs books and leaves. Kindles smell like dry plastic.

2. You can’t turn pages with your fingers
I like the feel of paper between my fingers, and turning the page, and folding corners or reaching for the bookmark lodged in the middle of a chapter. The Kindle has a button for page turning. Now, usually I love pushing buttons (the elevator button, telephone buttons, calculator buttons) but in this case even buttons < manual page turning. Plus, the plastic barrier keeps you from marking out your favourite parts with a pencil or pen. Also I think you have to keep scrolling up and down a page no? What a pain.

3. There’s no last page
You know, that feeling of coming to the last page of a book, with the hard cover in your right hand, and you’re like, damn that was a good book or what kind of stupid ending is this or I wish there were more pages or phew glad that’s over or you’re thinking other deep thoughts? A book in a Kindle ends with an anti-climax, with probably just a defunct Next button to indicate it’s over, or an abrupt Back to menu option. It just isn’t as satisfying.

4. A Kindle can’t have creases or turn yellow
Now, normally, one would assume this is a good thing. But what’s better than new books? Old books. Creases in the cover, frayed edges, pages yellowed with time, the smell of old paper – this is what my Harry Potter collection looks like, from reading them 5-10 years ago, and I love the nostalgia triggered by these signs of age. The books in a Kindle show no trace of aging, the pages you look at when you are 40 will show no sign that they were turned when you were 20 and first setting off on that naive expedition into that story.

5. Kindles just aint good lookin’ 
Any book enthusiast will understand the pleasure of looking at a shelf stacked with books, of different colours and ages and sizes. A Kindle is a plain grey slab.

So basically, I’m an old fashioned godaya. I think it’s because I’ve been a lover of books for two decades now, with too much sentiment and nostalgic love attached to the form and feel of a book, that switching it for a Kindle is like throwing all that away. So I think for now, I’ll settle for stuffing 20 books into my luggage and bouncing on it.

  1. Tulie says:

    Haha – you are right! I have the kindle and wrote about it for Teen Inc a while back!

    Agree with most of your points but having a Kindle doesn’t hurt on certain issues like downloading FREE books and sharing files 😀

  2. I thought the same too but once I got a Kindle, I realised it’s actually much better. If you like reading books because of the literature/knowledge, then the Kindle is for you. If you prefer the reading experience more than the story you’re reading then stick to books.

  3. Frank Booth says:

    I didn’t like it either at first. I need to feel the book. Once I started on ze electronic device it’s so much better and practically take no space. Have never looked back since!

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