Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Up in Flames

Oh, the irony!
Let's get something straight.  Kindles are not books. Books have pages. Real ones. Made of paper. Each one is different, an individual facet of the book's personality. Some of them might be crinkled or folded, the covers are probably worn and torn a little. The spine or binding is almost certainly destroyed, depending on how gentle a reader you are, but when you look at that book, you remember reading it, or lending it to your friend, or finding it under your bed. You remember the story, because that story is the only story inside that book. And when you open the cover and flip through the pages, the smell hits you and whether it's a new book or old book smell, or whether it just smells like mildew, it's the best smell in the world.

What does a kindle smell like? Plastic.

Kindles are cold, heartless, lousy impersonations of books. They lack personality and individuality. I know that the words are the same no matter how you read them. The experience is not. Haven't we let technology encroach upon enough of our lives? I am especially disappointed with the success of this invention because I had faith in my fellow readers. I imagined us standing strong, defying Kindles and all of their disrespect because we would never sacrifice the experience of reading a book. A real book. We, I thought, would halt this attack on our reader's integrity.

But I've been abandoned. I stand, seemingly alone against this massacre of books. Borders is bankrupt. The one near my house has closed and been replaced by a glorified flea market. I will not buy a kindle.

Ray Bradbury couldn't have been more right.  No, we're not literally lighting up books and watching them burn, but I mean come on; it's called a Kindle for Pete's sake!  And it gets better.  Do you know what the latest installment of this irreverent little machine has been dubbed?  The Kindle Fire.  

The Kindle FIRE.

If the comparison felt forced before, it sure doesn't now.  Bradbury himself said, "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture.  Just get people to stop reading them."  Well, Bradbury, people are not reading books anymore.  They're reading screens.

So if I am solitary in my resistance, so be it.  I shall not be moved.


  1. Good for you Raz I won't buy a kindle either, If I go out and know I will be waiting somewhere I will take a book that I am reading not a collection of books I may want to read, to me a kindle is like treating literature like mp3s.

  2. aw, I have to say I love my kindle. I also love my books. I was one of those people who made sure my books stayed in pristine condition. No broken spines, no bent pages, no torn covers. But then I ran out of room to store them. I got a kindle last year and haven't looked back. Now, when I read a real book, it feels clunky.

  3. I won't buy a Kindle. Somebody told me Nook is better, so yeah. . .

    LOL just kidding. Books are way better than the electronic versions of them in terms of reading experience. Those readers who decided to go buy one are just wanted to get in on the trend. With a Kindle, you can't flip a page, you can't fold the corner of the page to make a bookmark, you can't touch and feel the words like they're bits of historic artifacts. Aaahh, it's just different the way you read a book. Although I might be hypocritical since I read ebooks in my laptop too, but oh well I still love reading books. They don't hurt my eyes.

  4. I love books, but just like I moved on from my walkman cassette player to an mp3 player....I had to make the move from a book to a Color Nook. I see your point, but times are matter how hard we hold on. Interesting blog.

  5. Excellent post.

    I can't imagine buying a Kindle. I love real books. I don;t like gadgets (I don't even have a mobile phone).

  6. @Dan... I like your point about treating books like mp3s. It cheapens it somehow.

    @Lynda... I understand the practicality behind digital readers. It's the total lack of sentimentality that bothers me. Nice of you to take good care of your books though.

    @Dennis... I'm glad you find my blog interesting :D I can't deny times are changing, I just wish we could slow it down a little. :( At least you bought a Nook. Those are by Barnes and Noble, which means that's at least one bookstore that's secure for a while. It's still a digital reader, but it's not doing as much harm as far as I'm concerned.

    @craftygreenpoet... Thank you! Glad you liked it! And glad you agree haha! While I am a traditionalist in most respects I do admit to having and regularly using a rather hi-tech cell phone. Guilty as charged.

  7. There are several reasons to love books.

    a) If you drop one in water, it costs about £5-10 to replace, same if you lose one.

    b) They are much easier to lend to anyone that can read, whereas sharing e-books with someone who doesn't use technology much, is rather difficult.

    c) No one will steal a book off of you on the late bus but an e-reader can be sold for good money.

    d) Catching sight of a book spine can be what prompts you to reread it of hundreds you own. Less likely to happen scrolling through an extensive list of texts.

    e) You don't need to charge a book to read it.

    f) Technology changes and the kindle may well become obsolete in ten years but a book will always be readable.

    g) E-readers can have software issues - a book is a book and is never confused!

    h) Books can decompose in rubbish heaps when they are no longer wanted - e-readers can't, which slightly negates the whole 'svaing the trees' aspect of e-readers.

    The only plus sides of e-readers are it's easy to switch between different books without adding any weight to your bag, and seeing one page at a time might encourage lazy kids to read compared to looking at a full book.

  8. @captaincupid87... can we be best friends?