Daily Archives: January 25, 2010

Capitulate: look it up on Kindle

I love this word.  It must have something to do with my head and how hard my mom claims it is.  I stubbornly hold out followed by un-gracefully giving in.  Not that I don’t know how to compromise, because I do.  I’m actually a trained family mediator.  I’m also a middle child.

My MO is to either compromise immediately or capitulate after I’ve been worn down.  For the most part, I’m pretty easy going (I wouldn’t ask my mom or DH about that, because they’re liars).  I’m also laid back and flexible about most things.  But not with the idea of e-readers.

In the wake of the e-book hype, I have spent a lot of time researching the pros an cons and what that means to authors.  All the while I maintained my stubborn mindset that I would NEVER buy one.

NEVER was shorter than I thought.

Last Friday, after becoming increasingly more fond of the idea of a portable library, I capitulated and ordered a Kindle.  I blame it on my sister.  Because I can.  She’s 1,300 miles away from me and can’t duct tape me to my chair so I can’t type.

But really, it is her fault.  She bought one first–after more than a year of deliberating the pros and cons with me.  Finally, the temptation was too much for both of us. 

Author friends, please wait to cringe until after I share with you my reasons (as a writer and a reader) why I would contribute to the “demise” of the printed word.

  1. I love my husband.  I swear my main motivator was his back.  Last time we moved, 17 tubs of books made their way down the basement steps to the storage room.  I can move my Kindle all by myself.
  2. I love an uncluttered house.  My bookshelf (a beautiful, solid oak, expensive bookshelf) is currently housed in our storage room, as there is no other place to put it.  It holds less than fifty percent of my kids’ library and none of mine.  I can store my Kindle library on my nightstand.
  3. I love books.  I have an addiction.  As proven in #1, I have way too many of them.  I don’t borrow from the library, I buy (good for the author).  Some books make my perennial list.  My all-time faves are already (stupidly?) on my Kindle list.  I love them so much, I want them with me all the time.  This equals two author sales-hardcover and electronic.
  4. Other books are never read again, which makes me sad, but doesn’t inihibit my addictive splurges.  I can give never-to-read-twice books away (which doesn’t benefit the author) or sell them at a garage sale (again, at no author benefit) or stop buying them (right, no bennies).  But in case I didn’t mention it, I love books.  I will continue buying, which will exacerbate DH’s back pain and the home-clutter issue.  Enter my Kindle and I don’t have to feel remorse for packing unused novels into totes.  The Kindle doesn’t look half bad on my nightstand.
  5. Which brings me to another point.  I can be selective about my hardcover books.  I can buy beautifully bound  hardcover perennials rather than paperbacks.  And they will fit on the real bookshelf.  This method of hardcover after Kindle will ensure I love the books I’m buying.  So much so that I can display them on my desk shelves.  The author bonus is a multibook deal from me–and a hardcover instead of paperback to sweeten the pot.
  6. As a reader, I did worry about the feel and smell thing.  I will never replace reading a printed book soley with ebooks.  For one-time reads, the Kindle is great.  It is super easy to read, comfortable and a cinch to manuever.  Besides, I read one-time-wonders so fast I’d read them on a toilet paper roll and not care.  In the end, I think this will heighten my hands-on experience with my favorite hardcovers.  Reading them will be a treat in the literary and physical sense.
  7. I love writing–obviously.  I am excited about reading my “books” on my Kindle the same way I read other books.  I’ve heard from agents and editors who download manuscripts that the experience is different and it makes them feel the marketability of a piece a little better because the medium levels the playing field.  I can’t wait to find out if that’s true. 

What I take away from all this is that I am not going to quit reading.  Nor will I quit buying books.  I love the instant gratification that Kindle offers me.  I no longer have to drive fortyfive minutes to the nearest bookstore to make my purchases.  Likely, the ease will increase my splurges and broaden my reading tastes.

To me, the Kindle is a bookshelf, not a book.  It’s a mega shelf that lets me carry 1,500 books with me at all times.  It was far cheaper than my oak jobby and a heck of a lot lighter.  It also takes up less room. 

I capitulated, but after much deliberation.  And I’m glad I did.  So far, I love my Kindle.

How about you?  Are you contemplating an e-reader or are you still dead-set against them?  Do you own one and love it or wish you hadn’t spent the money?