I have a confession to make; I like books. I like reading books, I like owning books and I like looking at books. I know it’s strange, but I like the fact that we are running out of bookshelf space (again). When I visit someone’s house, I don’t look at the family photos on the wall, I look at their bookshelves. I like books!
However, despite being a confirmed librophile, I also love my Kindle e-reader. It’s a fantastic bit of equipment which has revolutionised my reading habits. The Kindle has a number of things going for it:
- Though it is small, it can hold a huge number of publications. I am a quick reader and on a trip away from home I can easily read three or four novels in a week. In the days bk (before Kindle), I would have to pack a few paperbacks into my bag. Nowadays, I just carry the Kindle and can generally get a week’s luggage into a carry on.
- It is easy and inexpensive to find stuff to read on the Kindle. Many mainstream novels are significantly cheaper when you buy them electronically and some books, such as those by one of my favourite authors, Anthony Price, are only available in this format. There are also services such as BookBub which keep you up to date with offers of cheap or even free novels by new authors. It has to be said that I’ve come across some real rubbish this way, but I’ve also encountered some really excellent stuff.
- It is easy to record quotes from books on the Kindle. If you use the Kindle highlight feature, everything you mark is made available online at your Kindle account. This means that you can highlight things on your Kindle and then cut and paste them into documents or note-taking software on your computer. I use Evernote to store the things that I read this way. This is a huge benefit to academics and writers.
However, there is a downside. I’ve just finished reading the excellent Understanding Christian Mission: Participation in Suffering and Glory by Scott Sundquist. I bought it on Kindle, because it was significantly cheaper than a paper copy. I’ve marked up some highlights (and cut and paste some of them into blog posts) and will be able to search and refer to these passages later. It’s great! The problem is, that I can’t remember the overall structure of the book. This might just be me, but when I read on Kindle, every page looks the same and complex study books lose their shape and become a series of sound-bites or quotes. There is something about print that just works better for study – even though you have through the tedious business of making your own notes as you go.
I will continue to use my Kindle for leisure reading, but I’m not convinced that it works all that well for study. Does anyone else have any thoughts?
I realise that not everyone is happy with buying from Amazon and using their products, such as a Kindle. I also realise that other e-readers are available – it’s just that I’m only familiar with the one system. Please feel free to comment on your experiences using a Nook or Kobo reader if you have one.