To Kindle or not to Kindle

by Jess

I don’t hate the Kindle anymore.

I ranted and raved when they first appeared on the market, but then I came to the realization that a book is just paper and ink; it’s not the vessel that matters, it’s the content that touches the heart and changes you.

But I’m not about to buy one.

And it’s not because I’ll miss shoving my nose deep into the pages and breathing in that booky smell, or cracking the spine, or dog-earing the pages, or scribbling notes in the margin in No. 2 pencil, or finding heavy items (a salt shaker, a napkin holder) to prop open a paper back so I can read and eat breakfast at the same time.  And no, not even their cutesy commercials can change my mind.

It’s because their books all cost $9.99.  Publishers were horrified at the low price, certain Amazon was going to send them all the way of the buffalo by undercutting their costs and actually taking a loss in order to establish a monopoly on the ebook market.  Apple, in league with the major publishing houses, is fighting back with the iPad (touted as a “magical” and “revolutionary” product).

I don’t really care about any of that.  I don’t remember the last time I spent $10 on a book.  I get books for FREE from the library!  The fabulous Riverby Books keeps a $1 book rack on the street by their door, and The Griffin followed suit.  My favorite bookseller of all, Powell’s Books, has all the books I ever wanted, and whenever I get jonesing for a good read, I can just jump onto my wishlist and order one of their used copies for cheap.  I would go BROKE if I had to pay $10 for every book.  Apparently, the ebook phenomenon is still for the forty percent of Americans who read one book or less per year (statistic provided by Steve Jobs).  It’s for Wall Street Journal readers.  I don’t really know who it’s for, to be honest with you.

Listen up, inventors of things: my ideal ebook would allow me to read all the online literary magazines that I love, so I don’t have to be chained to my PC for hours on end, further contributing to the deterioration of my eyesight.  I would pay a subscription fee for this service in order to have literally endless hours of quality, innovative content in a portable format at my fingertips.

The Kindle can’t do that.  The iPad can, I think, but it’s 500 fun-loving dollars.  It starts at $500.  So I’ll let laissez-faire do its thing, and I’ll jump on the technological bandwagon in a few years.  You know, when you can get an ebook reader for $9.99.