Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kindles and Consumption

Earlier in the week I installed Kindle for the PC onto my computer, the second step of mine on the dark side that will eventually end in my possessing – gasp – a gadget.  I’m thinking about it seriously, not only for practical reasons (my library now lends e-books) but because of the variety of titles which are electronic only. Some are quite cheap, and they don’t take up any space on my sagging, groaning shelves. So…I will probably have an electronic device within the next couple of years, and considering how much business I already do with Amazon, it will presumably be a Kindle of some kind. What kind, I don’t know:  I had been planning on going with a basic model until I realized to download library books I’d have to hook the Kindle into a PC.  The library’s training Kindle has an internet browser,  so I’ve been spoiled on the ease-of-use.  Part of me is slightly mesmerized by the idea of the Kindle Fire – ooh, it can do so many things! – and another part of me is repulsed by the being mesmerized bit.

Yesterday I stood for ten minutes in front of two “ActiveWear” shirts. One was a shiny Nike, one was a not-so-shiny other brand.  I wanted the Nike; it looked better and felt better, but it had that Swoosh on the chest and if I’m going to advertise someone I insist they pay me for the privilege, not the other way around.  The clincher was that it cost twice as much as the off-brand. In the end, I ended up questioning: why am I even looking at these shirts?  Not because I  need another running shirt, when I have a drawer full of boring cotton t-shirts I used for the same purpose, but because these were Real Running Shirts, made with fancy-smancy materials that magic away sweat. I ended up buying neither at all, and the experience makes me doubt my increasing interest in the Kindle family, especially the lure of the Fire.  Again I ask myself: what am I ultimately looking for? A small, portable device that can store e-books.  The browser might be nice,  but do I need it? And do I need a device that can do computery-things? Not...really. Frankly,  considering that I just purchased a cell phone for emergency purposes, I might have been best off looking for a phone with a wide screen, wireless access, and the ability to use Kindle/Adobe Digital Editions applications. I assumed, though, that such  phones were only offered with monthly contracts and data plans, so I didn’t look very far into that. I just bought a tracphone that lets me buy minutes and then work through them at my leisure.

Aside from these thoughts, it’s been a quiet week: not because I’m not reading, but because I’m in the middle of an 832 page biography on Alexander Hamilton, which will kick off my Fourth of July tribute. There are some smaller titles I also have an interest in, but The History of Money will take priority considering that it’s an interlibrary loan book and they’re so very attached to it that they sent along a note: item may not be renewed.


  1. You know.. I have an old school Nook Color. I like it. I don't need the Nook HD I have a laptop. My suggestion to you would be to go with a simple reader one. Not a reader that is too fancy. Though I would get one with a backlight. You never know when you are going to want to read when it is dark or the light isn't so great.


  2. Did you go with the Nook over kindles any other readers for any particular reason?

    Thanks for the recent comments, by the way. Your ability to compose a poem with book titles is impressive! :)

    - Stephen

  3. Getting a Kindle has been recommended to me more times than I can remember. On the face of it it's a good idea. After all I read a lot.... [grin]

    But - I have lots of books already waiting to be read. I'm certainly not going to cash them in and buying the download version a second time.....

    Then I have some problems with the way Amazon treat the books you've supposedly bought from them an now own.... such as editing them after you've bought and downloaded them... and deleting them off your Kindle without your knowledge or permission after they had been withdrawn or some such. In my world such actions are totally unacceptable.....

  4. I'm certainly with you there: that's the reason why I no longer buy new PC games. Everything I play, and everything I intend to play, was produced before 2004 or so. I can't abide by games that demand I be connected to the internet to be registered or played, nor will I tolerate programs that update themselves without my permission and acknowledge. I can't imagine having that hostile a reaction toward a kindle because I won't be investing much of "me" in one. It would be used for library titles and free or good-as-free books, more like an access port To books rather than "a thing I keep my books on".

    This conversation is definitely steering me back to the simpler models.

  5. I also like the feel, the heft and the smell of books - both old and new. Electronic books lose, I think, something almost indefinable in the translation from one media to another.

  6. That came up today at breakfast -- someone mentioned he was reading "The Game of Throne book", and I asked, isn't that a huge series? He said, "Well, it's on Kindle."

    Honestly, what's the fun of reading books that massive if you can't hold all that Presence in your hands, smell those pages?


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