Saturday, 28 January 2012

Kindle or Books?




There has been an argument over which is going to win for some time now. Kindle enthusiasts say there is no contest, those of us who love the feel, the small, the weight of the book say we will never give up. Now I see that this year 'the bookcase' is set to become a new best seller in the furniture shop. So it looks as though ' you pays your money and you takes your choice.'

I have just spent a week clearing out my study and disposing of all my embroidery books and materials because I know I am not going to use them again. I am pleased to say that most of them have gone to a very enthusiastic new home.

Now I look to my books as maybe the next thing I should make a start on. If I were to suddenly 'pop my clogs' as they say, some poor sod would have to go through all my books and decide what to do with them.

But when I look at them I know that I really can't do without them. They are an integral part of who I am. You will see that I have three book cases. I did think of tidying them up well before I took the photographs (taken five minutes ago) but then I remembered my policy of always presenting myself as myself on this blog - what you see and read is what I am - so here you see them in all their glorious messiness.

The top shelf of one bookcase is all poetry books. In the last week three friends have given me poetry books they don't want any more. As I have nowhere to put them they are stuffed into the top of the poetry shelf awaiting sorting. Would you believe, when I first purchased that bookcase about a year ago, I filed my poetry books in Alphabetical order by poet?

The other bookshelves, which are an integral part of the room (an old-fashioned cupboard with the doors taken off) contain a lot of travel books and mostly art books which belonged to my previous husband, who was a painter. I think maybe I could get rid of some of them, as I rarely look at them. But then, suddenly, I am talking about a particular artist's work to someone and I reach up and get a book down and we look at his work. So I know I can't part with those either.

My third set of bookshelves is in the kitchen. The top shelf is mainly reference books, because it is here - in my armchair - that I tend to do my crosswords/sudokus/word puzzles etc. Below that are two shelves of cookery books which I use so regularly that they are tatty (not helped by the fact that Tess, when a puppy, chewed the backs of one or two (well maybe three or four).

How could I possibly get all that lot on Kindle? I have a friend who travels to London regularly and Kindle is ideal for his reading material on the journey. Me? I prefer the good old fashioned book. I could do with another bookcase, but there is nowhere to put it and I dare not raise the subject with the farmer. Have a good weekend.

31 comments:

Gwil W said...

Believe it or not I'm playing with the idea of a Kindle. But I probably won't get one till I've seen one in action so to speak. My sister's husband has one and she says he swears by it. You could take that two ways ;)

I'm looking forward to reading any Kindle-user feedback you get.

Bovey Belle said...

I can live without a kindle, but cannot live without my books. I always look for more books when we're at the car boot sale (or better still, at Hay-on-Wye!). I collect old books, quite often out of print, and I love the thrill of the chase! I love the feel of a book, the illustrations, settling down in bed to read one (can't imagine doing that with a kindle) and as I said, the search . . .

izzy said...

Oh I could and will not give up my books! I share them; and a few never come back. I too have 3 (huge) book cases- plus my cook books and a number of in coming or borrowed piles...Yes I try to give away some I am no longer in need of- yet most are non fiction and so reference books!

George said...

While I prefer the old-fashioned book, I have a Kindle and find that it is useful in certain situations—reading books I have no desire to keep; traveling lightly with good reading material; and quick access to something I want to read immediately.

Rachel said...

I buy books mostly at the charity shop so my reading tends to be dictated by what they have got in and a Kindle doesn't come into the equation. However I am not averse to having a Kindle and if I go travelling this year I might buy one for convenience. Also I think if your eyesight is poor it must be marvellous to be able to increase the font and actually be able to see the words without struggling. I like books, and having them there to refer to.

BilboWaggins said...

BOOKS, every single time. I've tried a Kindle on more than one occasion, a good friend, learned and well-read, loves her so much she is evangelical about it but I am still not convinced. I've concluded I hate the bloody things. OK, if I was to spend 8 hours on a plane I could see the point but I don't intend to, so there is no need.

They don't feel right, there is no soul, no connection to the written word.

Nothing can replace the sensuous joy of handling a new book, or flicking through the pages to get an overview before you start reading, of numerous slips of paper marking special pages.

A Kindle can never emulate seven or eight gardening books in organised chaos across the floor, my lap, the side table as I plan and research.

Before we moved there were 30 bookcases in our previous house. Husband and I cut down a lot when we were packing but it's creeping up again. I never intend to stop buying books!

Sandy said...

We love books and have them in every room in our home. We just bought some more Billy Bookcases from IKEA which I recently blogged about. I'm not ready for a Kindle yet but we did download the eBook app on our iPhones. We have a couple of books downloaded that are now copy write free. I can see using that app while waiting at the doctor's office etc if I run out of magazines to read. LOL! Meanwhile I like real books that I can hold in my hands!

Von said...

Why choose, there's a place for both?

Maggi said...

I couldn't live without books, the feel, the smell and the comfort of turning the pages.

Pondside said...

Two bookcases in the room I'm in right now - the TV-computer room; one in the kitchen, two in the living room, two in one guest room and one in another. I can't live without my books - I know where each one is and I go to them when I need them, for reference, for pleasure, whatever.
I received a KOBO for Christmas and haven't done a thing with it yet. I feel bad about that as it was given with such excitement, but I just can't get excited about a black tablet that I have to scroll.
Not the same at all and not a very good substitute. I'm going to try loading a book this weekend for next week's work trip - jury's out til then!

Heather said...

You can't beat a real book! I can see that a Kindle might suit some, but not me. I love the look of books, the feel of books, the smell of books and the sight of them too. I have far too many and like you, I need to reduce the quantity but you never know just when you might need a particular one. I think every room in our house has books in it, apart from the downstairs loo!

BilboWaggins said...

The thing I forgot in my earlier anti-Kindle rant is that when a user pays (sometimes) as much or more for the digital version of a book than the paper version they are NOT buying the book.

They are buying the right to view the digital version until such time as Amazon withdraws that right .....

If you don't know about the problems this has already caused, Google for 'Amazon Orwell Kindle' and see what happens when copyright and contract issues raise their head.

Sal said...

Kindle...not for me!!
I love books, the feel of books ,the covers of books etc.. and there's nothing like a good, long browse in an old fashioned bookshop! ;-)

Crafty Green Poet said...

I'll always love books. My bookcases look quite like yours. i have too many books definitely, but like you would find it very difficult to get rid of many of them

Mac n' Janet said...

I have a Kindle and 5 sets of book shelves, it takes that to deal with my reading addiction. I recently did a clear our of nearly 200 books, mostly older books we used for reference, we now use Google and Wikipedia, so these books were expendable.
I like reading heavy books on my Kindle, and I do tend to read big books.
But I buy a lot of used books to save money and you can't buy used for the Kindle.
I've been keeping a reading log since last August and I've read more than 60 books since then and if I kept them all it would be a disaster.
I keep those that are near and dear and will be read again and again.
My husband also sorted his books out, it seems to be harder for him to let go of books than for me. But he reads less and is much fussier about what he reads. I'll pretty much read anything except "Chick Lit" and romance novels.

Eryl said...

I have both. The kindle for content, it replaces the paperbacks which otherwise litter the place once they've been read, and paper books for content that is better viewed on paper. Yes, I love a great deal about actual books but am wary of fetishization, and am delighted that since being given a kindle my house is much tidier.

For Gwil W who is interested in kindle-use feedback: the kindle is great for standard prose texts (novels, short stories, academic stuff), but pretty useless for poetry whose formatting it can't seem to handle (no doubt that will be sorted at some future stage), and no good at all for texts with pictures. I find it very useful for research purposes as you can search words and phrases, thus identifying patterns, themes, etc, and freeing one of reliance on sticky notes and other bookmarks that tend to fall out. Lack of page numbers bothers me, slightly, as does not being able to tell the size of a book at a glance and thus gauge how long it will take to read.

It's most obvious benefit is the ability to have the content of three thousand books in one small, very light, package. But possibly my favourite thing about it is that when reading outside, which I do a lot in summer, I don't have to battle breezes in order to keep my place.

H said...

Both! No contest :)

I haven't bought myself a Kindle yet, but I will at some point. Like you, I love the feel and smell of books, but the Kindle will be useful for when I go visiting (something I hope to do more often after Ben has finished college in the summer).

Elizabeth said...

I'm with Eryl on this one. I have both, and, on the whole, prefer REAL books, but the kindle is bliss and light to read on the train and you can get all the classics like Moby Dick FREE.
Kindle is useless if you want to highlight things and make notes ( I know you CAN do --except I can't......)
so no good for poetry.
But so easy to use when traveling.
Of course, I'm in heaven when I wander into the treasure trove of a real bookshop......
Having moved so often, I have learned only to keep books I realy love or would want to read again.

Toffeeapple said...

I have a Kindle but I am not in love with it, I might but not right now. It is a useful thing but not a lovely thing as a book is. I could not live without my books.

Loren said...

I love my books. I love my Kindle.

I've developed an allergy to book mold, so I've been throwing out paperbacks for years. Since we moved into a smaller house six years ago, I have to throw out a book for every new book I want to keep.

I still browse poetry books a the University of Washington book store, buying real books when I can.

For all the rest, I buy as many as I can on Kindle. At my age I'm unlikely to read any again so I don't have to feel guilty when I get rid of them after I've read them.

Penny said...

I bought my husband a kindle and he loves it.I have rooms full of books, I love books but am also toying with the idea of a kindle as obviously I will never get near the other one. Very good for travelling.

Dartford Warbler said...

I have tried out a friend`s i Phone Kindle and can see it being useful if you are on a train or waiting around somewhere. I have also heard that the full sized Kindle is invaluable for people with poor eyesight. So, yes, it has its place.

For me though, nothing could take the place of my well loved bookcases full of old friends. I am now rereading some of the books I read in my teens and twenties. Such memories they bring back. Not just of the story, but of the time in my life when I read them and of the people and places I knew then.

Grizz………… said...

Since my book collection is several thousand volumes strong, I won't even get into bookshelves and the joys of moving. But the Kindle issue is something that keeps cropping up, as friends will say, "Why don't you get a Kindle and get rid of all these books."

First off, books are actual objects; a Kindle is an object, but a Kindle book is just an electronic file. I like the feel of a book, the tactile proof I can heft. Books look good merely sitting on their shelves in a room; they often tell you something about the person. Books on a Kindle—well, who knows if there are one or a hundred, good fiction, poetry, biographies, histories, or trashy novels?

Books are portable, and yes, so is a Kindle—but books are more portable. I can stick one on a jacket pocket, glove box, pack, suitcase, under a boat seat—practically anywhere. Books are easy to take along; a Kindle requires consideration.

Books are certainly way more durable. I often toss a couple of novels into a box along with several well-worn fields guides and such when I go camping—and put the box in the back of the truck along with the rest of the gear. I don't have to take special care in handling, on the road, at camp, etc. Drop a book on the ground? No problem. Leave it sitting on the picnic table in the sun for a few hours? It's fine. If a little dew falls on it because I forgot and left it on the chair by the campfire—it might be mildly warped, but it will dry out and still be completely usable. I don't take valuable books on the road. At home when I'm sitting at the hearthfire reading, I might fall asleep and the book tumbles onto the floor. Doesn't matter. If I'm reading in bed and miss the nightstand as I lay my book aside and switch off the light…it bounces onto the floor and I retrieve it the following morning.

Then there's the thought that suppose I have my backpack stolen, my car gets broken into, my suitcase gets lost by the airline…or I simply lay a book aside somewhere, get distracted, and forget it? I might have a dollar invested, or twenty-five, but certainly not the cost of a Kindle, not to mention the electronic book files thereon.

I don't don't find reading on a Kindle as pleasurable as on a book, though that's just me and is really minor. I do keep a few dozen books on my iPod, because I can stick it in my shirt pocket and have something to read while I'm waiting in an office, car, wherever—plus plug my earbuds in and have music to boot! My wife has a few books on her iPad, a better reading platform than the iPod, though not by much.

The Kindle has a place, but to me it's just another electronic device and no substitute for the real thing. I'd rather watch a real bird than an image of one on a screen, look at a real piece of art, and talk with my daughter in person than by Skype. I prefer reality over some substitute.

Frances said...

This is the second site that I've read today with the ebook/book question being raised.

Let this comment be similar to the one I left elsewhere. I just love the way that books appeal to the various senses, sight, scent and touch. There's something just a bit chilly about Kindle.

I make extravagant use of a wonderful place, The New York Society Library (www.nysoclib.org)
that does have reasonable annual membership dues that entitle you to any new book published (just ask) and the freedom to roam the extensive stacks for all sorts of rarities that I doubt Kindle will even deem worth adopting.

If I traveled extensively, I might test out a Kindle. I don't and won't, yet.

Mary said...

I refuse to come within sight of a Kindle or whatever other readers there are out there. Love, love real books but have just dispensed of most of mine in case we do decide to move house, or, God forbid I 'pop my clogs' in the near future (love that saying, thanks for sharing).

I've kept a few favorite novels/biographies I read over and over, my decor books and most of the cookbooks, the others are gone. But, guess what, I stopped at the used bookshop on Friday and brought a few more home - on knitting, Asian cooking, and a fabulous book about Tasmania because I loved visiting there. No Kindle for me - but always more books even if they only stay a while.

Hugs - Mary

angryparsnip said...

I think if I was younger, in school, riding trains or buses to work I might get a kindle. But...
I don't like the way they feel in my hands and I would rather listen to a book than hold a kindle.
Most of my books are visual. Books on art, poetry, haiku, pottery and illustrated children books.
I can't even tell you what joy it is to be able to pull a book down looking for something and then spending time just looking.
You can't do that on a kindle.
So for me a Books always.

cheers, parsnip

Hildred and Charles said...

I have a Kobo, - cousin to a Kindle but it also accepts library ebooks, which it recovers magically from the screen when lending time is up (3 weeks) I keep it by my bedside where I find it much more convenient than handling a heavy book for before sleep reading. If I traveled a lot I would take it along as well, but as it is we only travel short distances and the camera gets to come instead of the ebook reader.

In the last five or six years we have done two downsizing exercises on the bookcases, but we are still overwhelmed with Lancaster and military books, a fair number of genealogy books, lots of older books I can't bear to part with, and just recently three blog2print books of daybyday...

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

You can of course have both. I said I'd never swap to CDs, I'd never buy a computer, I'd never want a mobile phone.... I refuse to be caught out like that again!

Gwil W said...

After reading all the above I think I'll stick to books for now but maybe get a Kindle later. I like to stick a book in my pocket as Grizz said on Comments but also I like to scribble and make notes in books and underline passages and interesting words and expressions; except in library books of course, although many library books have light pencil underlings and margin notes and I don't mind that.

Dave King said...

I'm slowly coming round to e-readers, though I don't have a Kindle, but one from the massed ranks of the opposition. Doreen remains implacably opposed.

jill said...

If I got a kindle and got rid of all my books I would have to start collecting something else to fill the shelves and space,dont think hubby would be up for that so Im sticking to me books to save money save my marriage and cos I wouldnt give them up for all the money in the world.Love Jill xx