The opinions represented in this article do not necessarily represent those of the staff of CUIndependent.com nor any of its sponsors.
Editor’s note: This opinion is part of a point/counterpoint opinion feature about e-readers. Read the counterpoint, “Deleting a culture,” by CU Independent Breaking News Editor Emily Zarka.
At first I was apprehensive about the whole e-ink, e-reader, e-book thing, and when Amazon.com introduced the Kindle in November 2007 I wasn’t impressed.
“Give up my books? You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought.
Then it happened. Try flying with eight books in your suitcase, two of which are in your carry-on. Those damn books just take up too much space. They can get heavy, too.
It all started with a tweet. I asked the good people who follow me on Twitter, specifically those in Boulder, if anyone had a Kindle I could play with for 15 minutes. I just wanted to try the thing out and see if I could ever see myself using such a device. I was aided by a warm journalism professor from CU who graciously let me borrow her Kindle and take it for a test drive.
At the time I was reading “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson and my demo Kindle just so happened to have the same book on it. I managed to find where I was in the book—albeit, it was a little difficult with the goofy progress bar rather than page numbers—and I continued reading.
After I was a few Kindle pages further in my book it was decided—I wanted one.
Over Christmas break I put five books on my new Kindle and proceeded to read faster than I had ever read before. Suddenly reading was new. It was fun again, just in a different way than it was before. Now it was fun in a new, digital kind of way.
Reading was now more efficient than ever as well. I could fit more books into one tiny space without loading my backpack with extra poundage. 1,000 pages, 200 books, millions of words, whichever came first—it didn’t matter; it all weighed no more than 10.3 ounces.
Romantics will complain about how they would miss the feeling of the book in their hands and the paper cuts they get from awkwardly turning the pages. They’ll boast about how they can take their book in the bathtub with them, drop it in and not lose 200-plus dollars.
Some will call e-readers the savior of the print industry. They’ll boast about how digital readers will bring back the Rocky Mountain News and provide possible business models for dying print publications. These hyperbolic statements are unfortunately just that.
What e-readers will provide is an all-in-one venue for your must-reads. Your favorite novel, newspaper and PDFs can all be accessed in one place. It’s quite nice but not the solution to all of our journalistic woes. Craigslist, blogging and 24-hour news put more of a hurting on print media than the Kindle, iPad or any other e-reader can possibly undo.
Let’s face it; books aren’t going anywhere nor am I calling for the demise of books. I love the Kindle because it’s a solution to a problem. I still love a good book in my hands but for traveling, for bringing more than one thing with me, the Kindle is a savior.
Contact CU Independent Social Media Editor Zack Shapiro at Zashapiro@colorado.edu.