On Wednesday, I downloaded my first paid-for ebook: An Introduction to Social Constructionism by Vivien Burr. I’d just finished reading Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself, which I found free on the Kindle Store when I installed the Kindle for Android app on my phone. I wasn’t sure whether I’d happily read a whole book from my phone but we seemed to get on pretty well, even reading from a small, backlit screen.
I rather like the crisp freshness of physical new books and the battered usedness of secondhand books, with their mysterious inscriptions from owners (or libraries) past. I also quite like having physical books on shelves; I grew up in a household full of bookcases and I’m easily distracted, when visiting friends, by the contents of their bookcases. But our current small house can’t really take many more shelves.
I’ve found that having a pile of books-to-read by my bed doesn’t actually make me read them any more quickly. And the weight and bulk of them prevents me carrying one around with me on the off-chance that I might have a spare moment to read it. I read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl whenever and wherever I had the chance: on the train, on the station platform, on car journeys, at my in-laws, in the living-room waiting for tea, in the kitchen whilst cooking tea, in bed, in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. In short, anywhere I had my phone and some free time. And I carry my phone everywhere.
The problem with my phone is that it’s not that comfortable to hold for a long time and I’m a bit wary of straining my eyes focusing on such a small, backlit screen. Handily the Kindle automatically syncs your reading position (in the book; not your posture) to the Amazon server and your other registered Kindle devices. So if I had a Kindle, I could read it at home or on the train, and then, when I don’t have the Kindle with me (eg waiting to be served at the takeaway), I could carry on reading the same book from my phone.
So a Kindle is now on my Amazon wishlist. I’m not keen on the closedness of it as a system but I do like the user experience. Just got to patiently wait for my birthday to come round now…