Going Kindle…

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ˜‰ 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 ;)?

56 thoughts on “Going Kindle…

  1. Congrats!

    That nook looks like the nook color, a tablet, not an ereader. You’ll find that serious users of ereaders only accept eink devices as ereaders and everything else simply isn’t. I don’t recommend manga on the ereader, the screen is just too small. Depending on your reading usage, you should get a week or two out of each charge. Why is the difference in wifi a thing for you? I’m assuming then you don’t connect it to your computer with a cable to communicate with calibre? When it comes to my kindle, I’m in old school Battlestar Galactica mode πŸ˜‰

    Glad to hear that Malazan is working out for you this time. After my last re-read of the series, I’ve realized Gardens is the one book from the series that I’ll probably re-read multiple times and let the rest of the series go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      Thanks πŸ™‚

      I want things to work perfectly. And Kindle only syncing in parts of my apartment that are close to my old router is not perfect. I also use Calibre, and that works great, this such a wonderful piece of software.

      I liked that Nook more than Kindle versions then available, the solution with small color touchscreen was pretty smart, obviously the device aged. In a few years e-ink will be full of color and that problem will be gone πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhhh syncing. Yeah, you’ll need wifi for that. I don’t use that feature so it’s never been an issue for me.

        I remember the nook color was the first mass produced affordable tablet for everyone who couldn’t afford an ipad πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Piotrek! I also own an ereader, a Kobo, and I am quite happy with it. I still read most of my books in paper, though. For larger books I tend to go for a paper version, but small books I read on my ereader. With large books, I just like to see how far I am into the book instead of seeing a progress bar and have it lying around, while short books are like throwaway articles on my ereader.

    The sand between the paper in Deadhouse Gates is very appropriate, hehe. I am nearly 3/4 through the book, will probably finish it within 4 or 5 days. I am also on Mike’s discord server for the Malazan read along and I see that Mike has a lot of trouble getting through DG. I expect a not so enthusiastic review from him, but I take it that everyone is still committed to reading the whole series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      I thought about Kobo, but for them I’m in the “rest of the world” category, and Amazon i close by (coming to Poland this year, even).

      I’ll see how it goes, right now I think availability will dictate, which books I read in which form…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What scares me obviously, is the fact that you don’t physically own squat. The wrong kind of teradactyl jumps out of the sky and everything is gone for digital. A similar fear strikes me when buying something like a discless Xbox. Just sort of feels like we are being stripped of liberties in that particular way. Not to say I don’t use it or like it, because I do! I read on a kindle fire device with minimal apps for concentration and that only happened just this past year in 2020. I went to buy the paperwhite and was displeased with the size of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      I wanted to say I only buy files I can backup on my own drive, but there is an exception – Steam. Books, though, I’m going to download to my machine, and backup on the cloud, so even the unlikely bankruptcy of Amazon won’t deprive me of my content πŸ™‚
      Yup. the screen isn’t huge, but it’s almost the size of mass market paperback… I ‘ll cope πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Geez, I hate to hear about that including the person’s pride that very well might have went with it! But, you are very true, kind sir. In that scenario, of he would have bought the digital copies, all would have been fine, huh?

        Like

        1. piotrek

          Oh, I’m so sorry, this, or a fire, is my deepest fear… I hope you’ll find the nicest editions of all your favorites!

          Like

  4. You’d be surprised how liberating a good trim of your liberary could be. I trimmed my books 2 times over the last decade because of 2 moves, and in doing so I had to acknowledge I had accumulated lots of junk too. Where I live now I plan on staying for the next 30-35 years at least, so when my shelves will be saturated (will happen somewhere this or next year) I will simply use the next algoritm: whenever a book is added, another one needs to go.

    Luckily, since I moved here, I’m already more strict about what I add to my permanent library, and I sell about 2/3rds of all the books I read, I only keep the 4 or 5-star reads.

    The same goes for cds btw, I have a collection of 3 or 4000, I lost count along the way.

    The key is that phrase about your identity in your post: I’ve noticed that my reading identity changes quite significantly over the years, and I don’t necessarily want to keep books I wanted to keep 10 or even 5 years ago. Getting rid of those feels liberating, and an ongoing attempt at curating a personal library that contains only the best of the best, and not so much a library that is focused on being a full personal history, although that last thing is obviously part of it too. It feels good to ditch things I don’t like anymore, and as such kind forge a better image of my past tastes πŸ™‚

    That said, I guess there might be a time when physical books become too expensive indeed, we’ll see, but I guess that’s still a decade or so off. Until then, I might still consider going digital, and buy only the 4 or 5 star reads on paper after I’ve read them digitally. That might be less expensive than the way I do it now, as I only get 2 to 4 euros for a book in the second hand bin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      I had a nostalgic moment this week, as I sold a few of my sociology books I decided were overly theoretical for my current needs, to a young student that was quite enthusiastic about them πŸ™‚ Yes, it actually felt good, but I’m not yet ready for the 1-in/1-out rule. And I’m keeping some of the books that are just reminders of my past, just not all of them πŸ˜‰

      Well, I have more space for books, as all my compacts are actually visible on the photo… two stacks, and rarely used, I have them ripped in lossless formats, but mostly listen to Spotify.

      The vision of my library burning… it’s a dreadful thought that sometimes comes to my mind, that would be the single most devastating loss I can thing of that does not involve a close person dying…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t have a computer hooked up to my stereo anymore, I’ve digitized most of my cds a decade ago, but not lossless at the time, and to do it now it would take me many months to do so without a direct benifit. I use Spotify to check things out, but buy them if they appeal to me. It’s a fetish obviously, maybe I should invest in some decent kit to play digital stuff. Another part of the equation is that some of the stuff I listen to isn’t on Spotify, and I’m anal enough to want just one medium, so I stick to cd’s.

        I do think my collection burning down would also be liberating, in a way :). Anyhow, I’d save my cds before my books, I’ve spend much more time collection those.

        Part of it also is building a kind of legacy for my kids: they’ll really have decent collection to dig into when they’ll be old enough. I look forward to that and kinda would be disappointed if music of books wouldn’t interest them.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. piotrek

          The last paragraph… I have three nieces, no kids of my own. I try to get them to enjoy the fine things in life (books), with some visible success, and I try not to play favorites when one of them is more enthusiastic than the rest… if I had a kid, the pressure would be enormous. It must be tough to accept that your children might not share your dearest passions… and so rewarding if they do.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. So far, I’m prepared for it not to work. I love them either way, and I’m sure they’ll find something they’ll love too, they seem to have similar enthousiastic/inquisitive personalities like me, so that’s the most important thing – not so much a similar taste, although that would be a bonus for sure.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post mate. I dipped my toes into digital formats when i got my first second hand iphone from a friend six years ago. It didnt pick up by a lot for two or three years after that when i started using Net Galley. I love how i can store books on kindle on my phone now and have quite the variety of BL novels stored on my phone but i still find that i tend to read through a pyhiscal book quicker than on my phone. There are just so many things that can distract me while i read on my phone. Still, great to see you easing into a new avenue to save some space. I love your book shelves! It looks like it can tell some great stories about you.

    If ever you would like to try out maybe getting something from over here i could pop it in the pist for you. Shipping to poland from here should cost too much? Like let me know if there is a specific thing you are looking for and i can see if i can get an english over to you. Even beter, hoard it all till i see you when we come to KrakowπŸ™‚.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      Thank you! I believe you are right, my library is the extension of my self to a degree, my past and my present, I could just point to specific parts to tell you my life’s story πŸ˜‰

      Funnily enough, I read faster on Kindle or phone… I celebrate the act of reading more when I have a paper book in my hands…

      I might take you up on that kind offer, when the world opens up again and you’ll be able to travel to my beautiful city, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love your library!
    I don’t really have a space problem. My library is filling up, yes, but in a few years my kids will really move out. Lots of space for shelves, then. And I won’t ever move again.
    So, why eBooks? I started more than 10 years ago, committed to Kindle (I have my fifth now, some because of crashes, some because of battery). That was planned, because I went for a very long work vacation to Tenerife. Transporting some 20 physical books would have meant paying for luggage. And worse: knowing in advance what I would want to read in 3 or 4 weeks. Not doable. So, that was decided.
    Now, whenever Iβ€˜m bored (waiting in queue, at the doctor, etc), I can read on my phone (kindle app synchronizes with the Kindle device).
    One tip: you can always strip off DRM from an ePub and convert it to mobi using Calibre. That saves me reloading from NG.
    Doesn’t mean that I don’t read physical books anymore. It’s just another medium like audiobooks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      Thanks! I like your shelves more, but what I have makes full use of the space available in my apartment… and I don’t have any prospect of getting more space, so I need to slow down my acquisitions.
      I’m very careful with my devices, it might be some time until I’m ready to risk taking the Kindle to a beach…
      Calibre is great, I need to research its functions a bit, but I’m definitely going to use it on the library of epubs I got when I was actively using my Nook, thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It wasn’t a beach where I first crashed a Kindle. It was a stupid plane seat. Iβ€˜ve been on a business trip to California, some 8 hours flight, fancy business class. When I woke up and uprighted the seat, there was an ugly crunch and the Kindle – which fell into the seat’s right wing when I fell asleep – was gone.

        Another one got broken in my back pocket when I hopped on a high desk, because I was super cool.

        Never ever had problems with pools or beach reading. You are super careful there.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats! πŸ˜€
    I’ll be interested in regular updates regarding your buying habits πŸ˜‰

    I’ve had Kindle for years – first, Kindle II (I think) with a small keyboard and buttons, then Paperwhite which I use now more than ever thanks to NG πŸ˜‰ My reading habits are such that I rarely buy books before I’ve read them, so I end up with paper versions of only the best of the best πŸ˜‰ But that’s the undoubted advantage of having a well-stocked library nearby! πŸ˜€

    I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying Malazan. My favorite is Memories of Ice, no 3 if I remember correcty. Deadhouse Gates is quite tough, very ruthless and miserable; I like to think of it as alternate more realistic GoT – what can happen to a privileged “princess” in the desert πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      I stopped at around 30 ebooks (average price $1.5!), started exploring Gutenberg and its Polish equivalents, and now I’m waiting to see what special offers will there be on Kindle in March πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My first e-reader was a Cybook (I believe I bought it in 2010, after seeing the one a friend owned) and since then I’ve been a staunch believer in ebooks – because, you know, “space, the final frontier…” πŸ˜€
    Since then, after the Cybook died on me, I bought a Sony, which lasted far longer, and when that one’s battery died for good I went for a Kobo – the one that seems to enjoy a longer life-span so far. Apart from resolving the space problems, I hear you on the instant gratification: when I see a title I’m interested in, the buying process is practically instantaneous and particularly during the first lockdown it allowed me to keep reading without running out of precious books. And then there is the added incentive of NetGalley’s e-ARCs, not to mention the possibility of going on vacation without having to bring with me a few kilos of books! Once I learned to keep a dedicated USB drive for storage and backup, I believe I solved all my problems… πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I absolutely agree. I live in Turkey but read mostly in English and I can’t afford books buying original books anymore. Damn shipping prices and for Turkey ridiculous exchange rates. Got my Kindle Touch in November and I love it. Can’t say it lowered my expenses I still pay the same amount but for a lot of books =)) Amazon has incredible deals sometimes. Resisting is so, very hard.
    I hope you enjoy your kindle as well!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      Thanks! I do, so far… I need a few months to judge if it’s more cost effective, but it certainly makes it easier to get foreign books fast. Of course, it’s not enough to spend less on content, I need to also offset what I spent on the device… I keep thorough stats of my spending, I’ll be able to calculate that πŸ™‚

      Amazon intends to officially open its Polish page this year, that will be interesting… but too few details are known yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Nothing beats the look and feel of books. I completely agree to it, however, I also extensively use a Kindle, there is no harm in it. After all – all I want to do is read, so I keep myself flexible to the medium.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Congrats on flipping over to the dark side (or is it the brighter side???). I used to be like you. A proud preacher of paper books. Nothing beats it, and it still doesn’t. Of course, there are some truly exciting qualities to e-readers though. It was only back in fall that I embraced the universe of e-readers but I didn’t go with a Nook or Kindle, I preferred the opportunities that my Samsung Tablet offers, and what really pushed me in that direction is how to read comic books. The format of my tablet and processing power makes me love it more than I could with any other e-reader too. I do hope you have a good time with your new device and that it lightens up your load (on top of saving a gazillion dollars too). πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      Thanks!

      Yes, for comics I’d also go for a tablet, definitely. What I have might perhaps be used for some manga, if that.

      As to saving money… well, I only bought one book this month πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I totally get needing to find alternatives due to running out of shelf space. I recently ran out of shelf space and decided to expand by getting a book cart and cut back on spending and maybe unhaul a few books (but am holding out on having to do this last bit).
    I read e-books on my Ipad. I only purchase them when they are discounted because I can’t accept paying full price (or anything over $9.99 for an e-book). I’ll buy the physical copy instead if the e-book is that expensive. The majority of e-books I read, however, are borrowed from the library, so that’s what my Ipad is for β€” to play games and read library books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      Yes, definitely, I’m not ready to pay for a full-price ebook. Sadly, libraries here have very limited selection…
      We recently bought a bedside table and I found one that is actually a thinly-disguised bookshelf πŸ˜€ But I also got rid of around 30 books this year, already, and I plan to read some that had been waiting for their turn for years, hoping some will be bad enough to warrant donating them to a library πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Your shelves are beautiful!! 😍 But welcome to the dark side!! I am a great lover of ebooks, even if the physical books are… Better in many ways, and the ownership is not the same. I mean I feel a book really mine if I have it on my shelves, while the ebooks are more vague things. But I get to spend way way less (and since I love NetGalley this helps a lot, too) and to need less shelves space. And this is always a good thing. Also, I always suffer from back aches and taking with me just my eReader when I go around save me some pain! If I have a proper luggage I would put at least a physical book in there, but when I am going around with my pursue (that is a small portable black hole) I usually take only the e-reader with me.
    I hope you would enjoy this experience more this second time around!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      Thanks πŸ™‚ They’re my pride, and the rest of my apartment is organized around them… but yeah, the books are heavy, and often pricey. Now I have some price alerts set, I follow Humble Bundle and I browse Gutenberg… lots of cheap or free resources.

      And I have to admit I am enjoying this now, I’ve been reading mostly ebooks these last two weeks, to try different formats and genres, and I think this time eReader is here to stay πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My husband bought me a kindle. I was not at all pleased, in fact I was deeply vexed. At that time. Now, I rarely read physical books. The kindle is light, it’s back lit, I can highlight chapters, names, places, quotes, with ease, I can make notes without defacing a real book, I don’t need bookmarks any more, I can take 1,000 books on holiday, I can shop from the comfort of my own living room and have the book instantly. I still love physical books and the main setback for me is related to not physically turning pages or the simple feel of a book in your hand. But, for all the benefits, I’m a total convert – and, on the plus side, reading the ebook first allows you to be a bit more picky about the ones you line your shelves with – you can then buy the physical book when you know that you love it.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      I might be going where you already are, but I need some time to get used to it. Good thing I started so early in the year, that way in January, when I analyse my 2021 reading stats, I’ll have a better picture.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. While nothing can replace reading an actual book by the fire, it’s great having a portable library that you can carry around with you! I’d be interested to hear how you get on, it does take a bit of time to get used to Kindles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      I plan to report on my progress in a year-end post. Right now, I’m reading ebook after ebook, but as soon as I finish the current one I want to go back to paper Malazan.

      My transition into electronic books might be helped by the fact that fireplaces are illegal here, for environmental reasons πŸ˜‰

      Like

  16. Tai

    I don’t own a proper e-reader, but instead a tablet. I’ve been reading books on my phone more than physical copies for a few years now, and I decided to repurpose my unused Amazon tablet into an e-reader. There’s a few issues I had with it (mostly the OS), so I ordered a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 last week and got it yesterday.

    I moved recently and realized I had WAY too many physical books in my bedroom. So in preparation for the move, I got rid of almost my whole library. Only keeping books that do not have an ebook form. At this point, I guess most of my reading is in “e”. Though I’m unsure about what you meant about the mobi part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. piotrek

      Nice, for me, a reader is better for regular books, but tablet has colours, and that means comics and illustrations… tough choice πŸ™‚

      Well, by “mobi”… I meant when I only have a file in my Kindle library, I don’t feel I own that book the same way I own a physical copy on my shelf πŸ™‚

      Like

  17. Pingback: Two months with Kindle – Re-enchantment Of The World

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