----------- soulful transformation through the stars. -----------

14 Oct 2011

to kindle or not to kindle

Well, quite simple really, it's a luxury that none of us need.

However, if it's in your budget and you're a bibliophile, is it a worthy purchase?

Several of you want to know my experience, and Kirstin also asked, Wondering how you are feeling about reading without the touch of paper, without the front cover in your hands, and without the opportunity to mark sentences?

As far as cost, well if you get the basic one (and now there's even a cheaper lighter version), you get your money's worth if you download and read about 30-50 free books.

Here's what I love about it and why it's useful to me:
  • Note-making is super easy. I love making mental notes but am lazy at getting up and finding a notebook and pen to jot things down.
  • Highlighting is super easy. As above, I love taking snippets out but rarely do it.
  • I can search within all my books for specific words or words in a passage I might remember.
I'm a lover of quotes and beautiful prose so being able to quickly keep a record of quotes, make notes, and search within books is very useful. For that last reason I've downloaded books I already own.

 wish I knew the source

  • The Kindle allows me to read books that I doubt I would bother owning. For free books this makes total sense - read on an e-reader and buy it if you loved it.

Although I've always loved the idea of a house full of books toppling over each other or well-shelved, these days I'm big on de-cluttering and have reduced my owned books to only those that I really love or find useful. This is the biggest selling point.

  • As an onliner, it's fun that I can quickly rate my book and then share it on Twitter or Facebook straight from the device. An improvement for me would be contact with Goodreads.

I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want.
And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life.
And I am horribly limited.
Sylvia Plath

I would suggest a book-like cover. That is, one you open up. This means you hold the device like a book. Just holding the Kindle alone would be awkward to me. When I got stuck into my first read, I went to turn a literal page several times!

Also a book light. I've heard lots of troubles with the Kindle cover+light from Amazon. I have a light that's made for an e-reader but also can be placed on books. It uses an A battery which is many times better than others that use those little round ones which I've forgotten what they're called.


I think it's too easy to fall into the trap of desiring every new gadget out there. An e-reader is really for only two types of people - those that travel a lot and like to read in transit, and serious bookwhores.

I am in both categories. Not the least that we live somewhere without an English library or English 2nd-hand books.

People get a bit hung up about digital versus paper I think. It isn't like we buy e-readers and all books are subsequently burnt. It's not an either/or situation.

Once upon a time some Luddites shouted down digital cameras, and they love to say how they will always stick to film. Good luck to them. Me, I just love visual candy. I'm thrilled that digital cameras and iphones have introduced or opened up photography to a slew of people. And I've heard countless times how e-readers have caused people to read more. Excellent!

I champion non-exclusivity and infinite possibilities.

I'm a lover of the book as an object. I swoon at photos like the above. I also like to own especially loved books in editions with beautiful covers.

But still, what comes first is.... the story, the words.
I adore books, what I can't live without is reading.

Bring it on!


  1. Great review Mon, you make a great case for it and in the end, you are so right, it's all about the story. I LOVE that about the highlighting, I didn't know that you could do that. I hate earmarking pages and that's what I've done to remember a passage...I wonder if I would have the same capabilities with an iPad as the Kindle....
    (still love the romance of being surrounded by 8 feet tall bookcases)

    ps. schools are headed in this direction already btw, professors hand out pdf files instead of texts and kids are buying their textbooks digitally. Imagine not lugging 10 pounds of books to class like we use to....

  2. I totally agree with everything you said. I have my Kindle for 4 weeks now and am already up to about 150 books, two for which I paid. I travel a lot, I move houses a lot and I read even more, so the Kindle was almost unavoidable. I still buy art and design books, or novels I love and adore and will re-read in the future. but I'm glad I don't have to worry about the tons of paperbacks that kept piling up everywhere.

    I also wonder if it's not somewhat environmentally friendly. it saves paper, printing, shipping and distribution. how many crappy books get printed and shipped all over the world and no one ever reads them. some people may object that this costs jobs in the long run. but as with your example about digital vs. film photography where probably many jobs were lost as well.

    I agree with you, it's not an either or decision and e-books are not going to replace real books.

  3. MJ, that's an excellent point about school books. it'll save a lot of backs!

    Petra, i'm not sure on the eco value. i would like to say it saves trees, but electronic gadgets present a different environmental impact. so not sure.
    The Mr is very happy about lugging less books whenever we move again, lol

  4. Thank you Monica, I am so flattered that you took your time to answer my questions. This will definitely make me linger towards following progress... so maybe I will own one, one day... I do read at all spaces and at all times and could keep the shoulder weight a bit down...:)

    Have a lovely book "Whorish" weekend.. and I will be there with you in spirit!!

  5. I really value your insights and opinions on this. I just checked a boatload of books out from the library -- but I'd love to have them all with me on an e-reader. Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. I think then that a kindle would be perfect for me. I am a serious bookwhore!

  7. i got a kindle a while ago because i always have to have several books on the go; this way, you only have to carry one little item with hundreds of books at yoru finger tips. i mean how cool is that! i love my kindle.
    i’d equally love that library in your picture!!
    xo sandra

  8. Ah, I'm so glad you wrote about this. I'm a frequent traveler and bookwhore, too....and I've been talking myself out of getting an e-reader ever since they came out. Something about the "electronicness" of it all bothers me....but I'll be heading to Europe in december and I remember all too well what it was like to haul three hardcover books around multiple cities.

  9. Sounds kind of cool! I may just have to get one for my mom. Thanks!


  10. i'm against the kindle. i may not be a big book reader, but i always enjoy having books, the look of them, the smell of them, and just having the hard copy. have to keep the print alive!
    xo TJ

  11. I have a Nook instead of a Kindle, but same idea, and although I still find myself mourning the feel of print books (and the fonts and all that), I have ended up pretty much where you are on it. It's very empowering in a way, all this info right at your fingertips (although can be very addictive also), and so portable. And let's face it, humanity doesn't go backwards, this is the wave of the future. Our kids will every likely do most of their reading in this form, whether we like it or not.

  12. What?!?! I did not know about the note making, high-lighting, and searching. That alone is fantastic! I love quotes, and I'm forever writing things down in my journals. Unfortunately, I have to have several journals because I can never find the "master", so they're scattered about. Then if I want to reference something, I have figure out which journal it's in. Frustrating!

    Great review! Love the Sylvia Path quote, too. Going to jot it down in my journal. If I can find one of them. lol.

  13. I have no experience with kindle...guess I should check it out at least. I am one of those people who loves the crack of the spine, the feel of the pages turning, etc. All my books are dog-earred and smell like the coffee stains spilled within them.
    Ohhhh, and Syvia rocks!...one of my favourite quotes is that one. (My writing desk is affectionately named Syvia, as well as an old gas oven in one of my former apartments - yes I'm a bit demented that way)

  14. I`ve had the to kindle or not to kindle debate for a long time and this week I became the proud owner of one in a lovely apple green cover. I could have written this post as I would have made the same arguments for and against. What really made my mind up was the lousy baggage allowances these days and the fact that I can`t buy English language books here - it`s so expensive to bring books back and when i downloaded my first book and it arrived before I could switch the kindle off truly amazed me. Enjoy your kindle - I`m loving mine.

  15. thanks! this book whore has been resisting, resisting, resisting, something about holding those pages, the smell of books, seeing them piled on my bedside, but i've been considering it more as my best bibliophile friends and family have been getting them...

  16. like i said, it's not an either/or situation. i'll always have my book piles. :)

  17. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Kindle, Monica. I have been thinking on whether I should get one myself, but I am sitting on the fence till now. I loved that Sylvia Plath quote. I loved your comment - "Once upon a time some Luddites shouted down digital cameras, and they love to say how they will always stick to film. Good luck to them." - it made me smile :)

    Thanks again for this wonderful post! I will let you know if I end up buying a Kindle.

  18. I forgot to add one more thing. I love the new look-and-feel of your blog. The font of the header, the subtle and intricate design on the background - they are so beautiful!

  19. That intricate pattern on the sides gives an impression of moving slowly when compared to the text, when we scroll down the page. So beautiful!

  20. wow now that library is a place i would love to spend my afternoon in!



  21. You have simply made Kindle even more appealing to me. Don't know when I'm getting one but it's definitely on my list. Just out of curiosity, did you get the 3G one?

  22. Excellent review, and I am enjoying my kindle. I have the cover with the light and it doesn't light the entire page.

  23. I go back and forth on owning a kindle. I get most of my books from the library, so free isn't a problem. But I'd love to have something lighter than a book to carry around in my back, especially when I'm almost finished with one and about to start another...I never know what to do there and carrying two books seems silly.

  24. that sylvia plath quote hit me right over the head like a stack of books. i often feel like there's just not enough time in a lifetime...

    as for the kindle or books debate, we do both. it's easy to fight technology but there's so many redeeming things about the kindle, like ease of travel. on the flip, there's also something to be said about the sensation of holding, smelling + feeling a book in your hand as well (+ cool jacket art). embracing both is recieving the best of both worlds :)

  25. Thank you for the article, I'm on a tough decission now, still not sure if I should buy one or not. :)