23 Nov 2015 16:45 IST

A year on my Kindle

One would think we have given up on books, but I realised otherwise

It’s been only 11 months, technically, since I bought a Kindle. Between shrinking space in an apartment-home, a local lending library that now only rarely stocks the books I like, and a life in danger of being overtaken by hours of immersion in the Internet, I began to think of buying it.

I did, a couple of months later, when the thought refused to go away. (Here's a piece of marketing philosophy I live by: If you want to buy something, think about it for a while. Only if it haunts you, get it. And if it's out of stock by then, it wasn't meant for you.)

Get a handle on

The Amazon Kindle has not consumed my life like the computer or the mobile phone has. Nonetheless, a couple of months ago, I found myself stabbing at a word in a book, waiting for its meaning to come up, as it does in the device. I haven’t explored all its features, such as its limited ability as a browser, but this is the best feature so far.

My version is the Paperwhite, which comes with a backlight. But I often forget and turn on the light in the room. I came of reading glasses-age about three years ago, but adjust the text size, and you won’t need them.

I was slow to realise I could do it, but what joy when I could buy a much-loved book that I lost on the Kindle! (I found it safely ensconced in my collection at home recently when I did some cleaning.) Other things I have discovered: When you have short arms, it’s as difficult to read a Kindle lying down as it is a book.

Many books are cheaper, even new ones, on the e-reader, than they are in the flesh, to put it in a manner of speaking. A book that cost $20 in the US cost me just Rs 349 on the Kindle. Also, the ‘sample’ feature has saved me from many unwise purchases.

Books are books

I haven’t given up real books, though. I have read more books in paper and binding than digitally this year. I even read a crumbling, 54-year-old edition of a Telugu classic that belonged to my grandmother and found myself wishing it was available on my Kindle – only because it wouldn’t have crumbled and rained its brittle fragments on me every time I held it in my hands.

In my universe of books, physical and electronic, it’s been my library that I have shed, to some extent. The bookstores are disappearing, too, but the book buying has revived.