The fateful day has arrived. I have just taken custody of my first Amazon Kindle, a birthday present from my wife.
But why? After all, I have expressed my love for books here on a number of occasions, and stated my distaste for a hugely popular but soulless phenomenon that has blasted many of my favourite bookstores into oblivion.
But I have also acknowledged that the time would come when I would not be able to resist the inexorable march of the e-reader, in fact when I would only be “cutting off my nose to spite my face” by rejecting its blandishments. Trying to stem the tide of history didn’t work for Canute and it is not going to work for me either.
But this does not mean the beginning of the end of my reading the traditional paper-based books. I’ve only just published one myself – hardback, dust cover, high quality paper – the works.
No – far from it.
I’m not going to suddenly ditch my entire book collection at a stroke. Indeed, neither my buying nor selling strategy should change, other than that I will purchase an e-book where the print version does not exist. Several books have come on the market recently that I would like, but are only available in electronic form. I have no alternative, therefore, but to acquire the means of reading them.
There is an added motivation in that, in this same spirit of “if you can’t beat them……”, I am contemplating self-publishing my next book as an e-book. So I need to join in the game sooner rather than later.
Now, rather than spending weeks beforehand deciding which book(s) to take on holiday, I will be able to download the two or three in contention, affording me the added advantages of not only of reducing the weight of my cabin luggage on the outward flight, but creating space for the addition of “proper” books for the return.
So – Shakespeare, Dickens, Hardy, Maupin, Bryson and company – rest easy, you will continue to have a cherished place on the bookshelves, or wherever I can find room for you in the house. You are no more likely to be destined for charity shops and boot fairs tomorrow than you were yesterday.
And I fully expect that the arrival of my e-reader will encourage me to read much more than, shamefully, I have been able, or rather chosen, to do heretofore.
No more agonising for hours beforehand over which books to take with me to the local coffee shop or on a train journey.
And no more risk of developing back problems carrying too many bulky books around with me just in case I changed my mind as to which of them I wanted to read in transit.
If further evidence were needed of the reluctance with which I’ve taken this momentous step, I have, or rather my wife has, only purchased the basic model – bells and whistles are conspicuous by their absence.
But I might as well buy a fancy leather cover while I’m at it.
Oh……and my first download?
101 Free Things To Do In San Francisco by Daniel Davidson.
Now there’s a surprise.