22 November 2019

Getting a Kindle?

We’ve just had a few friends over at our place for dinner and as we were talking about things we’ve read recently, one of them began extolling the virtues of the Kindle, which was just in time, since I’d been considering getting one myself.

My resistance against getting a Kindle has been quite deep-seated. Apart from the reports that reading on an e-reader/screen leads to lower reading comprehension and retention, there’s always been something in me that refuses to accept that an e-book was on par with a real, physical book. I could not bear to part with the idea of a large physical library, or with the feeling of a new book sprawled over my hands.

Then there’s Amazon, the behemoth that I’ve grown instinctively to distrust, to the extent of not ordering books from that website anymore. Ring, Alexa, its treatment of workers, its power over the Kindle library, all of these worry me substantially.

But I am aware that a large part of that is because I have the privilege of having a relatively large living room where my books can be housed. And a part of that is also that I can spend on many physical books (which, on the whole, are still more expensive than Kindle books). A large part of that connection to the physical book is also inculturated, rather than of any intrinsic worth or value, and certainly comes with a sense of elitism — surely the Kindle is for the casual readers who pick up steamy romance novels rather than for serious reading?

My resistance against Amazon also has its limits, ethically and practically. I cannot avoid using Amazon Web Services — many websites and services end up relying on Amazon’s cloud hosting, and cutting those out of my diet would be nearly impossible. It also does not make sense to focus in one just one company, when so many other companies which produce products I use (and enjoy) might well have worse labour practices (which we don’t see as much because they are hidden away in other countries).

So will I be getting a Kindle soon? It appears more and more likely.

Kindle Technology Productivity

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