The new Kindle Fire and Google’s new tablet have aroused my interest in the latest technology. However, I’m stuck somewhere in that generational Neverland, between youngsters who are super technology savvy and old timers who are 100 percent non-digital.
I bought the bare bones Kindle e-reader sometime back and discovered its manual button technology is hard to grasp after having used an iPad. I keep touching the screen, expecting it to do something. I’m having trouble figuring out how to turn off the WiFi so it doesn’t run down the battery looking for hot spots.
After getting the Kindle, I quickly bought a few titles. That part of electronic reading is great. I don’t have to go to the bookstore or order a book and wait a week for it to come in the mail.
I can even purchase e-books on my computer, and they automatically pop up on my Kindle. I don’t know how that’s done. It may have something to do with cloud computing, a concept I’ve yet to completely understand. I’ll file it away with other things I don’t understand, no matter how often they’re explained to me: fantasy sports, second cousins twice removed and how the day for Easter is determined.
But hitting a few buttons and seeing the e-book on my Kindle is like a miracle. It’s good and bad. The speed is good, but it makes it too easy to spend money because it is so easy to complete a purchase.
The first thing I did after getting the Kindle was to buy a little, padded, book-type case for it. That way it doesn’t get smashed up and it still fits in my pants pocket, like one of the old, small paperback books.
What a great invention. I can quickly download any book I want to read and carry it around in my pocket and read it anytime I have a few spare minutes.
But somehow, I can’t quite get into e-reading. My Kindle sits with two downloaded and unread books. In the meantime, I’ve read two books from the public library and purchased a couple more.
I guess I have ink in my blood. I remember Herman Giles, publisher of the Bristol Herald Courier, the newspaper where I started many years ago, telling me that ink would get in my blood. I guess it did. I’ve stayed with newspaper writing and still prefer to read my books in ink.
I can’t really explain what makes a printed book better. I just like to have something that I can hold, turn the pages and smell the paper and ink. I have to admit that printed books soon create a storage problem, necessitating bookshelves. In my house, books often get left on tabletops or any other flat surface that will hold them.
I still love to visit libraries and browse the rows and rows of books. It’s a much more pleasant experience than flipping through computer screens. And libraries remain the number one best bargain in America. It’s probably the last place you can get something free. Just remember to return the book in two weeks or renew it, and you pay nothing. Of course, there’s small fines for overdue books, but that’s nothing compared to the cost of new hardback books. I just priced one on the store shelf, $27.95. That’s a lot for a fiction book that will get only one reading.
Maybe I’ll give my Kindle another try, or maybe even try one of the audio books.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to patronize the library with the realization that writing will go on forever. It just won’t always be read in an ink format. But right now, that’s still my favorite method of reading.
Jones is a Carrollton resident and reporter for the Times-Georgian.