I know it does not make me an early adopter in 2021, but I decided to buy a Kindle this month. It was a decision long time coming, so I decided to make use of a special offer on Amazon.de – one that we need to use in Poland, to get our stuff quickly, cheap and duty free. Curse you, Brexit…
Why an e-reader? Why Kindle? Why now?
I’ve been observed to loudly preach the superiority of paper books. The feel, the smell, the look of these physical objects are unmatched by anything the devices might offer. The books that are really important to me, I will always want to have on my shelves. My library is more than a source of reading material. It’s the extension of my self, my identity, a statement you can’t fail to notice when you enter my flat.
And I don’t even need e-reader on my vacation, I happily carry huge volumes to the beach.
But lets face it, I’ve read an occasional epub on my phone and it wasn’t super-comfortable, but I still had fun. That’s how I read a few Warhammer novels in 2020. And, full disclosure, I actually was a relatively early adopter, buying a Barnes & Noble Nook almost exactly 10 years ago. There weren’t many e-readers in Poland back then. I read a couple dozen books, buying some from Kobo, and receiving a disc with free e-books from Baen, with my first Honor Harrington hardcover.
In the long run, it did not take. Most of the e-books were not priced significantly lower than the proper versions, not all were available to me. I could not buy them from Barnes & Noble, my device’s producers, as they did not sell to my country. Kobo was the only option back then, and they were ok, but I preferred to pay for physical object, not files..
My Nook is a good looking gadget, and it still works just fine, although battery has deteriorated significantly. It’s slower than Kindle Paperwhite I bought, and does not connect to wifi any more, but I can get books there through Calibre. I could still use it to read epubs and solve the biggest issue that forced me to turn my attention back to e-readers – lack of shelf space. Because in true the person most happy about my new acquisition is my fiancee, who does not see a way to fit any more shelves into our apartment. She’d want more space for her books on the existing shelves, actually.
I could stay on my current course for a year or two, squeezing in my 80-100 new books per year, or sell some, move some to the cellar and prolong that to perhaps a few years more. But if I change my habits to buy half of that in electronic form… you see the point.
And if I get a Kindle and access to Amazon’s vast catalogue, I solve another issue. Polish e-bookshops are extremely friendly, they don’t use DRM and offer most books in multiple formats, including epub and mobi. Their books can be read on almost anything, including my old Nook. But I do 80% of my reading in English. It’s been getting more expensive to buy English books in paper lately, with shipping going up. Long gone is the golden period when I could get free delivery on any order over 25 pounds from Amazon.co.uk. And Amazon.de that is within my reach has higher prices and smaller catalogue. I blame Brexit, but it’s been a trend for some time. Going electronic is the smart choice to save money, and get access to all the books I might want to read.
My new Paperwhite is light and pretty, has a battery that lasts ages compared to my previous device, and more than enough space for books. 8 GB model would not be ideal for comics, but on a small black and white screen I’m not going to read them, maybe some manga. One thing that is not perfect – Kindle is using old 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi exclusively, and my home network is 5 GHz. I have a secondary 2.4 GHz network, but it’s much less reliable.
Paperwhite IV I bought was designed a few years ago and maybe I should have waited a few months… I’ve read there will be a new model this year, probably with 5 GHz compatibility, and I’ve noticed first colour e-readers are coming to market. Comics are one thing, but I would also love to have the covers in colour.
Still, a proper e-comic reader would need to be much larger and thus heavier and less handy. And more expensive. I will use this for a few years and we’ll see what happens next.
After a week of having my Kindle I bought multiple books, mostly from Amazon and Humble Bundle. It’s so much easier to buy ebooks, and the gratification is instant, no need to wait for the package. And the constant deals are irresistible. I went through my To Be Bought list and bought multiple titles that were significantly cheaper in electronic form. I set up alerts for promotions on stuff from my wishlist. I hope to get this under control before it becomes as costly as my addiction to paper books. But I still paid less for 32 ebooks bought this year than for 6 paper ones. If I refrain from buying fully priced ones, the long term effect on my wallet might still be beneficial!
And now for something completely different… I started reading Malazan Book of the Fallen, this time for real. Volume one finished, Deadhouse Gates started. Gardens of the Moon were better than I remembered from my previous attempts. Definitely getting better and better with each chapter, but even the early parts that discouraged me previously were great. I’m impressed by the scope, fascinated by the world and its mysterious rules, engrossed in the mythology, loving the characters. And want to see Laseen dead, so much (no spoilers please). My thanks for Jeroen for inspiring me to finally pick it up! He mentioned a readalong taking place on Mike’s Book Reviews, I’ve watched Mike excitedly talking about starting the series… and something clicked. Of course many other people praised the series throughout the years, and it’s the cumulative efforts of all of you that got me there 😉 We have an excellent review of the Malazan on Re-E, by Ola, it did not got enough love as it was published in our early years of obscurity…
A funny observation – I definitely still prefer paper books, but the used copy of Deadhouse Gates I started yesterday happens to have a lot of sand between its pages… previous owner read on the beach, which I applaud, but somehow I’m able no to get dirt everywhere when I do it. That is not going to happen with an ebook 😉 Altogether, I’m much more comfortable with reading books that way that I believed myself to be.
And you, guys? When did you get your first e-reader? Do you read mostly in “e” now? When you have a mobi on your reader, do you feel you own a proper book ;)?