Sign My Kindle?
I’m going to start by disclosing my bias. I love books. I read all the time, and getting rid of a book is one of the hardest things for me to do. At one point, I had several hundred books all neatly arranged in my basement office and others scattered around the house. I’ve always felt that a book was a treasure — something to be valued and held on to.
I’ve always enjoyed reading books, but they are not perfect — in fact, they are far from it.
For starters I lost that entire collection when the basement flooded. Even the books that did not directly get wet absorbed so much moisture that they were swollen and musty. Then there are the books with spines so tight that you wind up breaking the binding just to see what’s on the page. Books don’t have sizable fonts and they don’t come with their own lights for night reading. Books collect dust, turn yellow and get brittle with time. Books also take up quite a bit of space.
On the other hand, E-books readers don’t take up much space, are easy to dust and your entire library can be backed up and carried around. They pretty much succeed in every way that books fail — provided you remember to keep the batteries charged. But as I was reading a kindle file on my Droid X today and I thought, “I wonder if I’ll meet this author at the convention next week… I could have them…. Oh Crap.” No. I cannot have them sign the book, because I don’t own the book. All I have are these bits on a hard drive,
Suddenly, the kindle file I was reading became very impersonal. I realized that the very nature of an e-book, the thing that makes it so handy, so compact, so easily replaced keeps it from being a treasure. Keeps it from having value beyond the words and pictures inside. No, e-books are not trophies and don’t have much value as collectibles. Like so many things in this new world, they are just bits that you use up and then erase.
With this realization, I also realized that I wont stop buying e-books. I’ll always want a portable reference library in my pocket and the convenience of reading in otherwise inconvenient places, under otherwise inconvenient circumstances. So for me, there is a place for kindle, even though I’ll always prefer books. And I guess if an e-book is good enough, I could always say “Excuse Mr. Author. Will you sign my Kindle?”