Monday, January 04, 2010

eReader: Life Will Never Be the Same

Ronie Kendig has a BS in Psychology and is a wife, mother of four, and avid writer. Her first espionage thriller, Dead Reckoning, will be release March 01 through Abingdon Press, and her military thriller, Nightshade, will release July 01 through Barbour. An active member of ACFW, Ronie volunteers in various ways and teaches creative writing at her local homeschool co-op.

Visit Ronie at her
website or her blog

My husband is an awesome man, but he's also a budget Nazi. No kidding. When we considered how much money we had to spend on each other for Christmas, my dreams of a Kindle (or any other e-Reader for that fact) vanished. So, I realigned my gift wish ideas to accommodate the new budget. I knew that even going halfsies with the in-laws on an e-Reader wouldn’t squeak out enough for our budget, so it was a lost dream.

Christmas morning, my middle daughter played Santa and passed out everyone’s gifts. I loved watching the kids (both grown and young alike) oohh and aahh over the wrapped presents. It wasn’t until I looked down and realized I only had two gifts in front of me that my heart palpitated. One was from Amazon. Surely not, I thought. Surely . . . nah, had to be that NYT hardback bestseller I asked for.

But it felt too light. And too . . . square.

I opened it.

And what to my wondering eyes appeared?
But a Kindle e-Reader
from my in-laws and hubby dear.

I’m still getting over the shock. My husband broke budget. I mean, seriously broke budget. I think he might need therapy in 2010. And I have a Kindle. *squeal* Without missing a beat, I plugged in my Kindle, and began searching the online store. An entire book—no, hundreds, possibly thousands—on a device that weighs less than a box of Ferrero Rocher? I mean, seriously people!

And that is where it all began.

You see, I was so taken in by the beauty of the Kindle, downloading books, clicking to turn a page (score!! No more carpal tunnel, right??), and online browsing of books that are entirely too easy to buy with just a few clicks that I became immersed in a technological euphoria that blinded me . . .

Yes, I was smitten. But then, the joy unraveled as I realized
the gravity of the situation, of all that I was losing by stepping into the vast e-land of the digital age.

You see, I’m involved in an ongoing love affair. I confess. And while it’d be the right and Christian thing for me to show remorse for my action, I must be honest—I’m not sorry. When I walk through the door and feel the moisture sucked from my nostrils, as I inhale the dry, musty aroma . . . I fall in love all over again . . . with hardback books.

They consume me and I lose all sense of propriety and responsibility. I mean, who needs to eat? My kids don’t need clean underwear. But that new bestseller--I have to buy it. John Grisham—every book, in hardback. Dee Henderson—yep, same thing. Ted Dekker—yep. I’m hopelessly in love with the sturdy and expensive quality of those books.

Alas, you can’t purchase a hardback for your Kindle.

That’s just the beginning of the heartache for me. You see, I’m also going to miss the sticker goo. You know what I’m talking about—the sale sticker on the front, the clearance one on top of that, and the barcode one on the back . . . and none of them peel off easily, leaving that filthy, gooey mess. The kind that makes your fingers feel like you’ve super-glued them. Or that adheres that Victoria’s Secret receipt to the hardback you just loaned Mr. Boss-man.

Nope. No sticker goo on the Kindle.

Then I realized . . . reading via e-ink also means no more coffee stains on pages where I’d paused to savor a particularly eloquent passage or poetic prose. Or dog-eared pages (caused by my children, of course—I know better than to abuse the pages of a novel in such a way). Or broken spines that come from repeated readings of novels that have undone my cynical side and propelled me through a breathtaking story.

Let’s also consider all the chiropractors these fancy, lightweight e-Readers are putting out of business. In an economy like this, is this really what we want to perpetuate? Point in case: I went to visit family with an entire bag of books—I never know what mood will strike me, so I always bring an assortment. And I’m a writer, so I also bring research books. By the time I delivered the bag into the house and to the back bedroom, my shoulder ached and spasms roiled through my back. Since it was the holidays, I skipped the doc and downed some ibuprofen.

Now? I have ten books on a device that weighs little more than my blackberry. Those poor chiropractors and backpack makers and pharmaceutical companies. How will they ever recover?

Probably the most devastating aspect is that I feel like I’m cheating. Is it fair that I can have umpteen books on my device and sit comfortably reading, while my poor children are fumbling with thick books and nearly worn-out pages?

Sigh. Some of us must make sacrifices to pave the way for others. To help my sense of guilt and grief . . .

I’ve downloaded another book.


lynnrush said...

I'm torn. Some days I want one, some days I don't. I read your post and I teeter back to the "I want one" notion. . . Ahhh, but the feel of a book, I--

Nope, I think I'll start saving my pennies. . .

Great post. Happy New Year.

Ron Estrada said...

As a teenager, I was a nerd. I loved--loved I say!--walking through the stacks in our Navy base library. Just looking at spines. I hope those days aren't disappearing.

Joyce said...

Ronie. Congrats on the Kindle. Here's the thing. The Kindle is not going to spell doom for "real" books. At least not for a while. I too love love love books--the whole experience of books but I can certainly find room in my heart (and my handbag) for the Kindle and contraptions like it. Not only is it incredibly convenient for people who always have their nose in a book but the advent of E-Books is great for authors. My novel, The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow was made available as a FREE Kindle download for one week and it did phenomenaly well--so well that people who "purchased" the free edition turned around and bought the physical copy or gifted the Kindle version to someone else. It's a great way to get your book into the hands of people who might not otherwise buy it. So no,don't feel guilty or grief, Ronie. The Kindle is here to stay. It's a great idea that will only improve. Your husband and in-laws deserve many hugs for getting you one. Enjoy! Now go forth and download.

Sheila Deeth said...

I'd never miss the sticker goo. Wonderful present. Congratulations.

Richard Mabry said...

Since I'm so far behind in the tech revolution that I don't even have an iPhone (gasp!), I suspect the Kindle will be well down the line for me. If you still love yours by the time my Luddite personality lets me consider one, I may go over to the dark side.