January 11th was my Kindle’s first birthday. I’d bought it for myself using a Christmas 2009 bounty of Amazon.com gift cards, and with each book I kindle I remember those who gave them to me with increasing thankfulness.
I admit that I had an author’s motive with buying a Kindle at first, and not purely a reader’s. I was long overdue in getting Managing with Aloha reformatted for e-reading, and I wanted to understand the entire Kindle phenomenon as I set about to get the chore done. The first book I downloaded to read on the Kindle was Daniel Pink’s Drive, the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” oh the appropriate irony of it all.
You don’t curl up with a Kindle compared to a book, at least I don’t, but it’s still great reading. It’s a different experience, one which is more lightweight-mobile and focus-efficient for me, and I now shake my head at the scarcity thinking when I hear the separate camps of those who defend the timeless honor of “real books” versus those who delight in being completely ebook savvy: Why not enjoy both?
“When the only tool you own is a hammer,
every problem begins to resemble a nail.”
A year later, ‘kindle’ has become another verb for me: I’ll say I kindle a book to mean I road-tested it (being able to sample books on Kindle is a fabulous feature), and then opted to buy the complete download for the fast (and still satisfying) read without much die hard annotating: I don’t add many notes or highlights to my Kindle books — I’m iPhone spoiled, and not a fan of the Kindle keyboard.
I initially expected I’d have all fiction on my Kindle and keep buying my non-fiction choices, feeling there was more to study within the art and science of business, but no. That’s a statement which gets fiction lovers everywhere to scoff at my small mindedness — and they’re right. Unless it’s of the pure trash variety, all reading is likely to teach you something. Miraculously, it’s often teaching you more about what you think — revelations about your personal values abound.
I still buy books for three main reasons, and I’m quite sure I’ll continue doing so:
- I suspect they will be real thought provocateurs, those books I want to keep as a mini filing cabinet of my annotations
- They are books which are beautiful for hand and eye: They have more poetic journal potential, or are visually inspirational
- They are impulse buys from sales tables (even though the Kindle price may still be cheaper). You’ve gotta let books come to you as they will. Sometimes this works the opposite way too: I preview the book somewhere, then decide it’s one better kindled.
There is a 4th reason too: The book will be a gift I share with another reader.
If you give a reader a Kindle (or Nook, or another e-reader) do load it up with a book or two so they can try it right away: You’ll move quickly from them thanking you for the gift, to having a conversation about the book, and that’s the cherry atop the reading.