Sunday, January 1, 2012

Getting a Kindle Fire or, Why I Feel Like a Sell-out



Today - the day I've been waiting for for weeks - comes. My Kindle Fire will arrive and I am so excited to start playing with my new shiny toy. I'll be able to use apps, watch videos, store pictures and most importantly, read ebooks.  Plus, I'll be able to stop bugging my sister to play on her I-pad.

However, I'm also feeling a bit like a sell-out. I'm an avid reader of books in print. I adore holding a heavy hardback in hand and I love flipping through bendy paperbacks. There's this smell to new and old books that just gets to me every time I read. It puts me in the book. I used to promise I would never go digital, because it would be like turning my back on a big part of what made books books. Then I got into blogging. 

I heard all the hype. Ebooks were good because they were cheaper, more eco-friendly, portable, and gave authors an easy way to publish short stories, special features or entire books. But, there was a massive dark side associated with ebooks as well. Since it was so easy to publish ebooks, some "writers" started letting the quality slip just a little bit. They decided to produce low quality (as in books making no sense with very little correct spelling and punctuation) but extremely cheap stories. It was better for them to make a buck and be published than provide a quality literary experience. When certain readers and bloggers realized this, an instant mistrust of ebooks materialized. It was hard to tell if the books were actually good, or someone wanted to make a profit, or didn't want to put in the work of making their story something fantastic.

I unfortunately decided to believe most of the bad things about ebooks. I still do. I fully admit to being a book snob. I trust traditional publishers and their commitment to quality far more than an unknown author or even an obscure ebook publisher. The thing is, I expect ebooks to be the books I won't enjoy. I understand it's unfair, and it's probably made me pass on books I would have loved because of their format. There's always that one exception, the Amanda Hocking who wrote the wonderful book series, that no one paid attention to until a traditional publisher decided to pick it up. I get that. However, I want people to understand that is not usually the quality of author who requests I review their book. I've been burned before and am not inclined to let it happen again. 

So, if I have all these problems with ebooks, why am I getting a Kindle Fire? It's simple: space, price and Net Galley. I have over 1,000 books, in my room, at this very moment. I feel like I barely have room to breathe. It's gotten to the point where I feel like I'm collecting and not reading the books I get. I have at least 5 series that I don't read but I still collect the books. As wonderfully romantic and dedicated as it is to have books stacked all over your room, bursting from every single nook and cranny, I can't live like that. I like having floor space and room to put other things. With the kindle, I can get a very high number of books without producing any more clutter. Ebooks also tend to be cheaper. I am hemorrhaging money, way too much, in print books. Any and all money I can save (even if it's only a few dollars) is very welcome. Net Galley, bless whoever made Net Galley. As a blogger I can get books in advance to read for no cost as long as I review them. It saves so much money for me right now. While I know I'm still going to buy the books I love in print someday, Net Galley is a good way to feed my book fix immediately and hold off on buying the in print books until I have more money. People often don't realize how expensive being a blogger can get if you want to keep up with all the latest releases.

Even though I know getting a Kindle Fire is exciting and (in the long run) will be better to support my book habit, I can't help but feel like I'm trading the soul of books for a bit of convenience. I have to make myself remember the magic isn't in the form, but in the story. 

"I don't care how people read, I care that they read."- John Green

Happy Reading, 

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