Why I’ll never buy a Kindle

5 Sep

I admit it: I’m slacking this week because I’m working on a series of posts for LISNPN, so you get something that’s been in my head for a while but is not high-minded at all.

I have a prejudice.  I honestly don’t like ebooks.  I’ve tried them, I like the idea of getting public domain works for free, but I’m just not that into them.  I don’t necessarily hate them, so please don’t think that.  It’s that I can’t find any reason to spend over $100, so I can spend more money rebuying books I’ve already purchased, or barring that option, dealing with the division between print and non-print books.

Maybe this is a cardinal librarian sin, this prejudice against non-print books, but if so, it’s one I only have in my personal life.  In libraries, they serve a very valuable purpose and I’ll be happy to disagree with HarperCollins regarding their ebook licensing policies anytime you want to talk about it.  Personally, though, I like the feel of a paper book.

I’ve always known that if I were a millionaire, billionaire, or Melinda Gates, I would collect rare books and incunabula.  It’s amazing and awe-inspiring to realize the level of craftsmanship that went into books when they were young.  We have books from 1550 we can still read, but a paperback from 40 years ago is falling apart.  Books are art, even the cheap ones, and I love them for their weaknesses as well as their strengths and information.  Ebooks (leaving aside DRM…) remove a lot of the weakness from a print book, leaving something less charming in its place.

What would it take for me to get on board with ebooks for my personal use?  Barring the possibility of all print books no longer being printed, probably a free Kindle/eReader/Nook.  If I could somehow lower the investment cost to something I’d spend on a paperback I’m not sure I’ll like, then I’d give it a shot.  But I’d need to  live with it, since playing with it in a store won’t be enough exposure to overcome my initial negativity.  I can find complaints galore playing with Nooks in the store, and the sales people aren’t very convincing spokespeople when dealing with prejudiced persons like myself.

Maybe I need to go on a few more dates with a Kindle/eReader/Nook…maybe our first date was one of those really bad, leaves-you-with-an-awful-impression encounters because I showed up in a cocktail dress and the ebook came in pajamas.  I just can’t bring myself to call them back and go out again.

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