Discovering the joy of the Kindle

I’m what some would call a late adapter to technology. I just upgraded my “dumbphone” to an iPhone this year, and I hate to admit that if it’s not music-related, I’m probably behind. So I suppose it makes sense that I was incredibly against e-readers and e-books in general.

In retrospect, I couldn’t even really argue about the matter since I wasn’t really reading anymore. I used to read a lot – newspapers, magazines, the back of shampoo bottles – whatever I could get my hands on. I could easily go through a book each week. Then I got to college. I kept buying books and writing lists of “must reads,” but I realized I was hoarding them instead of reading them. The only New Year’s resolution I’ve made in the past five years is to start reading again.

I got a Kindle as one of my Christmas gifts last month and was hesitant at first. I truly wanted to start reading more, but I just didn’t see myself reading from a screen. I mostly thought I’d miss the “smell and feel” of the paper. How would I take notes or highlight? What if I wanted to lend the book? And there’s always that judgmental side of me that would judge people on what they were reading.

But as I waited for my plane back to Marquette with a bag about 10 pounds lighter, I ventured into digital-book territory for the first time and noticed it wasn’t that bad. Sure, it felt weird at first, but once I got into the book I focused more on the words rather than the surface it was printed on.

Having a Kindle doesn’t replace my love for books; in a way it increases it. It allows access to a large library and could open me up to some texts I would have never read otherwise. It’s convenient, and who doesn’t love convenience? I’ll still buy “real” books; there are a bunch of titles that aren’t available in a digital format, and nothing will ever replace the feeling of wandering through a bookstore. MP3 may have killed the CD, but at the same time, vinyl is making a comeback. People have iPods, but record sales have actually gone up over the past couple of years. Just because one new format exists doesn’t mean it has to completely displace the other, and I’m excited to live in an age where I have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of both.

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