Books vs. eBooks

I love books.

To those of you that know me, this would come as no surprise. To those of you that have ever borrowed a book from me, this would come as even less of a surprise. (Don’t bend the spine, idiots!)

There is something special about a well designed object that, looked after properly, can be used again and again, and be handed on to future generations, as so many of my collection have been.

Why then, did I ask for, and receive, a Kindle for Christmas?

1) Space – Books take up room. We have 4 large bookcases and 3 small bookcases in the house. Of these, 1 of each are taken up with DVDs, CDs and Wii games. The rest are filled with books, and, sadly, the overwhelming majority are mine. (2 of the large and 1 of the small are entirely my books, the rest are a mix).

It’s got to the point on two of the large bookcases where books are double ranked; stacked in front of other books. If I were to receive or purchase a new book, I’d really struggle to find room for it, once I’d read it, and I’m sure Becky will thank me for not cluttering up her dining room with more stuff.

2) Availability – Once upon a time, I worked in the centre of Manchester. I’d think nothing of popping to one of the big bookshops or local independant bookshop in town at lunchtime (or even the further away WHSmiths if I was desperate) and buy a book, especially if I knew there was something new out by one of my favourite authors.

Now, I work in an industrial estate in Wythenshawe. My nearest WHSmiths is in the hospital, and is more suited to gossip magazines than literature. Yes, I can order online through Amazon or Waterstone’s*, but then I’d have a wait before I’d get to read my book, meaning I might have to read yesterday’s Daily Mail at lunchtime, or as they call it, today’s Metro.

3) Convenience – On my Kindle, within 24 hours of first turning it on, I had the complete works of Charles Dickens, the complete Sherlock Holmes, 2 Bibles (NIV & ESV for those wondering), and various free classics. I already own the complete Sherlock Holmes, in a paperback book that is the size of a breezeblock, and somewhat cumbersome. My Kindle fits in my work bag, leaving room for my lunch…

4) Samples – How do you know if you’re going to like a book? Read a sample! That’s all very well and good, if you’ve got time to sit in a bookshop, but I don’t. Two or three clicks on the Kindle, et voila! Like the sample? I can buy the book there and then, and have it in my sweaty palms before you could say “Happy World Book Day”. It beats the effort involved in going into Manchester on a Saturday

So there you have it. I love books. I also love my Kindle (and my wife, who bought it for me). I have books that I’ve been after for years, but haven’t got around to buying before. I have samples of books that have intrigued me, but I’ve not had the chance to look at in a shop.

I’ll still buy physical copies of books, providing they’re by Terry Pratchett, Henning Mankel or Stephen Lawhead, and I don’t fancy reading graphic novels or sheet music on a small screen, but, for the time being at least, you can consider me a Kindle convert.

Where do you stand on this?

*I’m keeping the apostrophe in, even if they aren’t.