Kindle doesn’t make a good present for a Literature lover, does it?

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I hated the Amazon Kindle. What did this cold piece of plastic, with its electronic ink, have on my wonderful old books, or new books for that matter? There is nothing I liked more than bending back the pages of a brand new book for the very first time and feeling the perfect, unblemished pages. Or even rummaging among the shelves of the bookshop of that beautiful leather bound book that has been enjoyed by many before that has that unique smell that can never be reproduced, especially not by Amazon’s new creation.

Photo by John Blyberg

I have been one of the greatest advocates against this new technology that was killing books and literature in one fell swoop. True lovers of literature would never use such a thing, reading is not just about the words but the experience, are all thing I could be heard saying all the way up until Christmas Eve.

You can only imagine that look of horror masked by a courtesy smile when, on Christmas Day morning, my father passed me a box which contained said book killer. I now had a major dilemma, did I confess to my hatred of his gift that he was extremely excited about giving to me? Or did I grin and bear it, but still smuggle my growing book collection into the house so as not the let on? So as not to upset my father who thought he had got the perfect gift for a literature student, I feigned excitement and let him show me how to use it.

Even more to my horror, he’d downloaded much of my reading list for this year at a fraction of the price of the print copies, there was no getting out of it now. But before Christmas dinner was served I didn’t want a way out, I was hooked. So many books for free or only 79p. I could have an entire library in my hand. My inner geek emerged when I found that I could take notes and underline any section and upload these notes on to my mac (perfect for writing essays). Yes, not the coolest points ever but the Amazon Kindle far exceeded my expectations and was actually useful. And what’s the big fuss about books anyway, we were okay replacing records and CDs with our shiny new ipods.

By Boxing Day I felt the weight of my ever growing guilt. My books where sitting in the corner of my room, untouched, whilst I was reading on my Kindle and loving every moment. I’m become one of those people, the converted; had I too betrayed books forever? Could I justify spending nearly a tenner on a book I could buy for pennies on Kindle? And I wondered how many other book lovers where struggling in the same predicament. On the one hand the Kindle is hugely practical and noticeably cheaper but on the other books are part of the whole experience of reading and if we all turned Kindle they would be lost forever.

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