Monday, 7 May 2012

Baffled, Kindled and Frustilated

I got a Kindle for my birthday. After a day of skull sweat, dealing with an on-line helper who at one point remarked that 'well, it worked, but I don't know why' and squinting at a miniaturized screen, I got the device working, downloaded a few books, and happily began reading.  And, of course, not doing housework, not blogging and staying up far too late at night.

This ability to get a book any time I want it is like a dream come true. We live half an hour from the nearest second hand book store and library and while I own a lot of books that I love, there are only so many times that you want to re-read something. When we moved out here, I set up an office with a wall of bookcases and into them I put all my reference books, non-fiction hard covers and fiction hard covers. I  also have two shelves devoted to picture albums (so 20th century) and cases for maps and travel material. This left me no place for my eight large cardboard boxes full of paperbacks to be unloaded.

At the time (1996) this did not bother me, as there were lots of spots around the unfinished house where more bookshelves could be installed. In the interim, the boxes sat in the basement and I dug around in them if I needed something. When we partitioned that end of the basement, the boxes moved to the (unheated) cabin we used before we built the house. And there they still remain. Until we put a ceiling in the basement, I cannot install more bookshelves.

I go to the cabin occasionally and sort through the books for something I want. There are bookshelves over there and so some of the paperbacks are shelved. Some are stacked on the bunk beds, some still in boxes. The whole of the cabin needs to be gutted and reinsulated. The paperbacks, most of them quite old, have not improved by being stored in a place that is freezing in winter, hot and humid in the summer and damp most of the time.

Imagine then, my pleasure at discovering that a lot of these paperbacks are available as ebooks. Some for as little as $3.00. Since I got the machine, I have been digging around, finding them and loading them onto the Kindle. I can archive them after a while and throw out the brown-paged, unglued hard copies. And empty out two rooms in the cabin, ready for refurbishment.

Except, the last time I went searching for some of my favourites, I found the first and third book of a trilogy but not the middle book. The Kindle store has every other book by this author that I ever heard of, but not the one I want. I have discovered other sources of ebooks where I might find it, but that means more skull sweat, more tiny screens and, I suspect, more dealings with sweet voiced young dolts over the telephone.

Grama is being hauled, sweating and swearing, into the 21st century, but she is not loving all of it.


  1. I just had a talk regarding this over the weekend. I was saying that the only thing that might get me into an e-reader was the fact that the huge, heavy hardbacks I favour are so awkward to read in bed. My hands and arms get cold; I get tired and uncomfortable trying to hold those fat books, and like you, I am running out of room.

    BUT--I do so adore the look and feel of my hardbacks in general. Ah...what to do?

  2. Oh Mary... :) I'm resisting the digital pull of the kindle, although when we went to Alaska last summer I bought a few kindle books and read them on my computer or R's ipad. I just like actually holding a book and turning the pages myself too much... And I'm sure I would read in really WAY too low light if I used a kindle ;)

  3. I have been, as you know, a convert to Kindle for some time although I do still read traditional paperbacks too. I like being able to go to sites like Project Gutenberg and download out-of-copyright books for free - I have been avidly filling in gaps in my "classic" reading this way. I have also found some older writers (early 20th century) that I had not heard of by rummaging around on the bookshelves on Gutenberg and since you can download for nothing, you can try and see if you like them. Books on tap! Heaven.

  4. Good for you! The kids and Istill make weekly visits the the library, but I am feeling more convinced I'll have one eventually.

  5. Nance, I will never get rid of my big, heavy hardcovers! But the ereader only requires one cold hand. FM, yes, books are TheRealThing ... but $7.00C for a new book is also nice.
    Loth, thanks for the tip.
    De, long way to the library here - and it's a small town one. I still go, but i'm into instant gratification too, not being tenth on a borrowing list.

  6. So far I've resisted getting a kindle, but I can see how the instant gratification would be appealing ....

  7. With a Playbook, I am limited to the Kobo platform, and from the sound of it, their books are more expensive. At least I haven't found too many bargains. They're cheaper than the real thing, but still ...

  8. I've been indulging my current passion for Austen-esque works on my iphone/ipad's kindle. Some of them are only available digitally & most are way too obscure to be readily available locally (either at the library or a local bookstore). PS I recommend Margaret Sullivan's There Must Be Murder, super cute story.

    I hear you on the annoying purchasing experience. One of the worst user interfaces in the world is Amazon's Kindle books' iPhone purchase interface. I have abandoned purchases, actually, because it was so annoying.

  9. loved this post :) You'll get the knack of it and then wonder how you ever got along without it.