I’ve been a proud Kindle owner for a year now (and a sneaky borrower of my wife’s Kindle for two years prior to that), so I thought it would be useful to set out my thoughts on the subject. I’m going to rank these three media, starting with my least favourite.
3. Hardback book
I don’t like anything about hardbacks. Here’s why:
- They are too big for their intended purpose. Why do they have to be so big? There is no rational reason.
- They are too heavy to hold comfortably. I do regular weight training and I still find hardbacks too heavy.
- The jacket cover comes loose and gets all creased.
- They cost more than paperbacks, even though they contain the same number of words, arranged in the same order. They are basically a scam for publishers to charge readers more for the same thing. I hate that.
- They take up too much space on the shelf. At our house we have bookshelves in almost every room (kitchen, dining room, lounge, bedrooms, study, etc.) but we’ve still managed to fill them up. Hardbacks are greedy consumers of space. Greedy.
I have mixed feelings about the Kindle. I like it because:
- Kindle books take up no space.
- Kindle books are often cheaper than paperbacks. In fact the Kindle store contains many books that are free. Sometimes those books are free for a reason. But seriously, free books.
- The Kindle is the perfect size for reading.
- I can highlight and save text, especially useful when reading non-fiction.
- I can look up the meanings of words I don’t know. I use this a lot when reading Stephen King to find out what root beer is, or a spigot, or a gurney, or the hundreds of other baffling Americanisms that fill Stephen King’s world.
- You can buy snazzy covers for your Kindle.
What I don’t like:
- I can’t easily flip back to a chapter or paragraph I read before. I have to do a search. I’d rather thumb through randomly, hoping to stumble upon the section I’m looking for before I forget why I was searching for it.
- I don’t bond with a book when I read it on a Kindle. That’s because it always opens on the page where I left off, so I never get to see the front cover. I like front covers. Show them to me, Kindle!
- Where are the books? They don’t actually exist. That bothers me a little.
- You can’t take a Kindle to the beach without worrying about sand getting inside. I don’t actually go to the beach (ever), but if I did, it would bother me.
- Sometimes Kindle books don’t cost any less than paperbacks, even though they have zero marginal cost of production. I hate that. Sometimes greedy publishers actually charge more for the Kindle version. That makes me incandescent with rage. Of course, it is not the Kindle’s fault. I get that.
1. Paperback book
For me, the paperback is still the perfect form of book. I cannot think of anything I dislike about it.