Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Krazy about the Kindle

As this is my first blog of the new year and decade, I wish you, my dear reader, a very Happy and a Wonderful New Year!

I remember a class in school once in which we envisaged a future world in 3000AD that would have kids having no more books and them scribbling on tablet like computer devices. Well, with the advent of the e-reader and tablet devices, I believe, we are slowly getting there. Imagine, kids not having to carry those heavy satchels that we once did. One device would do it all.

eBooks started way back in 1970 with the advent of Project Gutenberg that still works to digitalize and preserve books. From a limited selection formerly available to a limited audience, eBooks have come a long way in threatening the paper and pulp books. Amazon can be credited with developing the first hardware to read e-books, the e-reader. The Amazon Kindle is a product that I cannot help eulogizing over and over again to anyone who will or will not listen.

At a tiny 8” x 5.3” and as slim as a 100 page notebook, the Amazon Kindle has a capacity to carry 3,500 books, if one can read that many in a lifetime! It is a miraculous device with benefits that totally outweigh real books. Reading tomes such as Tolstoy or Tolkien feels much lighter than it actually is! I can read in the flight, in the train, on the beach, in the park, in the gym and what’s more, I never fall short of choice as I can carry my own personal library wherever I go! If I want more, I can simply browse to the Amazon store and buy books wherever I am to be delivered within seconds! If I am driving, and can’t read, I can make it read aloud to me. I can increase the font while in the gym and make it autoscroll. The embedded dictionary as a super fast reference certainly helps my vocabulary. The Kindle apps in various other devices, help me flip between devices as well. I can highlight, book mark pages,  share them over facebook and twitter, make notes and read more than I ever did!  What more could a book lover really want? Unlike backlit devices such as the Ipad and other tablets, this magic tablet doesn’t even strain my eyes anywhere, and it beats me, why one would read in the dark anyway!

I can almost now imagine an exam question now. Cite the differences between an ebook Reader and a real book in a history lesson in the near future! Well, the pros I have stated above. The only thing I do like in books not available in the Kindle , is…is… well there is nothing I can think of now!

Those individuals, who smell the paper in old books, love the sound of turning pages, enjoy delicately handling crumbling paper, cringe about e-ink and decry the new eReaders and eBooks should just have a reality check and check foolish sentimentality. It wouldn’t hurt to think of all the paper and trees that will get saved as more and more books go the e-way. eBooks and eReaders are here to not just stay, but to take on the real books. Maybe I should just start collecting hard copies of books now. They probably will be very rare a few years down the line and might sell for a fortune!

Cheers to the New Year and  Happy Reading!


  1. I will help you with this:
    "Unlike backlit devices such as the Ipad and other tablets, this magic tablet doesn’t even strain my eyes anywhere, and it beats me, why one would read in the dark anyway!"

    In India, even today, when you travel by bus on long journeys; there are lights on your seat which don't work,the cleaner switches off lights for others to sleep (not caring if you aren't sleepy) or play a movie in which you are not interested at all! These backlit devices are the best help people find then.....:)

  2. @Sarvesh: I see your point. But its even worse, reading from glaring gadgets in the dark. I mean, reading in the dark is strenous on or off a backlit device.Is it not

  3. Richa, you do not know how much grateful I am to you for gifting a Kindle to your mother. Since then, she is busy reading on it and me watchint TV news peacefully :).

    Jokes apart, it is a great device especially for avid readers like you, your mom and many more ( with hundreds of classics compressed in a smaller than a notebook size). Keep reading. Milind

  4. that sounds wonderful. I must ask one of the brats to gift me with one too :)

  5. @Baba: I am glad it is of use to both you and Aai! I guess, by reading all those free classics, even the cost has been recovered by now besides it being such a pleasant companion.

  6. @zephyr: You certainly should get one. I gifted one to my mum, and she can't stop reading! I am sure, the Lord will be as pleased as my dad is!

  7. I agree with you...these devices are so handy too..imagine stuffing a big fat book into your hand bag...its so annoying at times especially when ladies purses are as such eternally overflowing :) Infact talking of technology..even look at face time ..I mean so so unimaginable at once...I like the questions you have thought of for kid exams.

  8. @Tanvi: I know! Now its just a mere thin device, that even goes into my jacket and weighs nothing! My reading during the commute has certainly increased now. The next in line, would be I reckon, colored e-ink for the ereaders. Nook has already introduced this feature. I guess, it will develop the same way that black and white phones developed into color phones!

  9. Hi Richa,
    Very informative post for an "old world" bibliophile like me. I just can't imagine like without paper books - their feel, their aroma, the browsing experience. But then, I guess, things are going to change, and like you said the convenience is for the better. You are right about our foolosh sentimentality too - it's time to move on. After reading this, I am thinking of getting a kindle now. Loved your blog too and am going to be a regular reader.

  10. hey.. i had done a post on my blog about this very topic... but a counterview :) check it out..

  11. @Vikram: Welcome to my blog. I really appreciate your feedback. I am a big fan of the ebook readers as you must have already gleaned from my blog. I gifted a Kindle to my Mom who had the same inhibitions as we all did earlier, and she loves it and now utterly agrees with me that it is definitely for the better!

  12. Lovely to watch and know about you Richa-you have a lovely name.

  13. interesting... for long I'm in double minds, whether i should go for it or not... i am definitely a book lover... by that i mean BOOKS not ereaders, for the sheer fact that I love the smell of books, the sound of turning pages...etc...which you dismissed calling foolish sentimentality ;)
    one last query, how much doess it cost in India?
    I'm dying, but so are you all

  14. @ Arpana: Thank you!

    @rrajiv: Well, if you are a book lover, a light convenient e-reader is something that you should consider buying very strongly. My reading has multiplied due to the sheer convenience of carrying this device around everywhere and having several books with me for every mood at any time! Well, its expensive in India at this juncture unfortunately, but I am sure you would have plenty of friends abroad, who probably wouldn't mind sending it to you from the US where its only around Rs 6000. Buying it from Amazon, and having it shipped to India will be more than double that amount.