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evilgiraffe

The strange world of the Kindle

Hello all!

I am a new (and somewhat sceptical) owner of a Kindle.  So far, it works, it's not as inconvenient to cart about as a decent-sized paperback, so all is well, I suppose.  It amuses me that I've only got it because A Dance With Dragons won't be out in paperback for ages, and I refuse to read something as unhelpful as a giant hardback.

The really odd thing I find with it is that it just doesn't seem as engaging as a real book.  I knew I spent a lot of time ruffling pages and inhaling papery smells, but I hadn't realised how much this sort of thing embeds me in the "reading experience" - when I'm reading on the Kindle, I feel a stage removed.  I'm so used to being completely lost in my books, and for people to struggle to get my attention when I'm reading, that to feel so loosely attached is bizarre.  Does anyone else find this with an ebook reader, or am I just odd?

I'll stick with it, and continue to get paperbacks in preference to Kindle editions, but it'd be interesting to see what other people thought!  I can't fault it for reading fanfic though (I know I know I've sold my soul to the dark side) - much easier than reading on my laptop.

I have made a discovery today, too - you can "jailbreak" your Kindle so you can have your own screensavers.  It's BRILLIANT, I now have Winnie the Pooh and the White Rabbit, and Harry Potter, and William Brown, and the Stark direwolf, and all sorts - much more "me" than Emily Dickinson's mad staring eyes...
Green Jay

I don't possess a Kindle (yet) so can't comment, I'm afraid, but I was wondering what 'fanfic' is exactly? It's mentioned in the novel I was reading, Blueeyedboy by Joanne Harris, which is all about writing on web journals, and also in her acknowledgements at the start - "all my friends in fic and fandom". I am quite bemused as this is all new to me.  any explantion gratefully received.
Evie

Evilgiraffe, very good to see you!

I swore I'd never buy or want a Kindle, but then decided that as I thought I would be away from home for a coupe of months, it would solve the dilemma of which books to take with me, and give me lots of choice.  I do love it now - as you say, it doesn't replace the experience of reading a book, but I have found it has its own charms - it is so light and the reading surface is lovely, and it's nice being able to browse my library and just pick something, or dip into something else.  I didn't end up going away, but am glad I didn't know that at the time, because I'm glad I bought the Kindle!

Nothing will replace that engagement with the physical pages of a book, which I share with you as a real joy, but I have come to love my Kindle.  And as you say, can be useful if you don't want to wait for the paperback but don't want the hardback either.  I *love* reading hardbacks, but they are a bit of an extravagance.

I also love the screensavers they have - lovely photos of writers.  I doubt if you will ever love it as much as you love books, but I am sure you will like it more in time.

There is a discussion on here somewhere about e-readers generally - can't remember where - but lots of views and opinions there, on other technology, not just the Kindle.
Jen M

Here is the e-Reader thread:  
http://bigreaders.myfastforum.org/about98.html

I also love my Kindle - although I still love books, especially new paperbacks.

The advantages are that it is small and light to carry around - very useful for holidays; and many books are cheaper in the Kindle edition - which means I mind less risking an unfamiliar author.

I still read books - I have too many unread books so will go on reading books; and I read library books, as my reading group meets there, but I am slowly building up the content of my Kindle.  I don't think it will ever completely replace books for me, but it gives me another way of enjoying them.
evilgiraffe

Jay, fanfic is something of a guilty pleasure of mine.  On the other hand, it's shared by a good deal of other people!  Urban Dictionary defines it as:

Quote:
A piece of fiction within a fandom utilizing characters and situations from a pre-existing work including (but not limited to) books, television programs, films, and comic strips.

Typically separated into het, slash, and general genres. Often used to play out AU scenarios and/or various romantic pairings not found in the original work.

Distributed via mailing lists, blogs, and zines. Heavily archived online.


Fanfiction.net is probably the biggest collection of stories online.  I think the first fanfic to exist in any great numbers was Star Trek fanfic - particularly the Kirk/Spock pairing.  I will admit to being a huge fan of Harry Potter fanfic (because Harry and Draco are destined to be together, whatever JKR says), and read some Twilight fic too...  There's an awful lot of terrible writing out there, but a lot of it is beautifully written (a good deal of the Twilight fic is better than the original novels).  I hope that helps?!

Evie - good to see you too!  I'm quite conflicted about the Kindle - I don't want to love it, because it feels like a betrayal of "real" books!  I can't fault it for the stuff I'd otherwise read on the laptop though, and like you say it's obviously a good choice for travelling.
priscilla-of-padua

Thank goodness someone else got this one started. I am toying with the idea of getting one - my own stuff has been put on by the publisher apparently - which is just as well because all are long and heavy. I must ask if the price can be reduced because somehow it sort of feels a cheap option.

I enjoy having a book to hold - and suddenly come across on a shelf and reread or lend. On the other hand there is free list I gather and muc h that i want to read probably on that. William Brown, yes, now that attracts.

I had a sort of William childhood and was very much in tune at the time. As I recall the books were well written - a child's judgment may be faulty I admit. It will be interesting to find out.

I shall certainly be buying Kindles for family who always seem to be on the move, on holiday or sat before a screen. Maybe a gadget might rekindle a lost interest in books.

Sorry about that - it sort of slipped out.

Regards, P
Green Jay

Thank you, Evilgiraffe, for explaining that. Clearly there are worlds out there I know nothing of! All very clear now, though I don't think I will be exploring that one. I read an article on Joanne Harris's website in which she refers to going through a bad period in her life where as a means of escape she spent a lot of time anonymously on-line in fanfic forums, so I understand far better why exploring this world in a novel interested her. Sadly, the result just did not interest me.
Green Jay

priscilla-of-padua wrote:
.

I had a sort of William childhood and was very much in tune at the time. As I recall the books were well written - a child's judgment may be faulty I admit. It will be interesting to find out.

P


Hi Priscilla, I think you will find that the William Brown books are very well written. I tried reading them to my children as I had loved them but found that, unless we were listening to tapes of the Martin Jarvis radio readings, the writing was a little too good for my children! I was much more of a reader as a child, and could obviously cope with the irony and the surprisingly involved and erudite vocabulary in a way that they could not. Or pehaps it just passed me by at the time, though I don't think so. I did love William's character so I must have got the jokes. Perhaps they were too young or just too immature as book imbibers when I tried, and the tapes in the car came later. Not that I would ever have suggested my children read the books themselves (they were very poor readers for years), just listen to me reading them.   Confused Or maybe it was just me and their dad enjoying the stories in the car!
Apple

evilgiraffe Wrote:
Quote:
The really odd thing I find with it is that it just doesn't seem as engaging as a real book.  I knew I spent a lot of time ruffling pages and inhaling papery smells, but I hadn't realised how much this sort of thing embeds me in the "reading experience" - when I'm reading on the Kindle, I feel a stage removed.  I'm so used to being completely lost in my books, and for people to struggle to get my attention when I'm reading, that to feel so loosely attached is bizarre.  Does anyone else find this with an ebook reader, or am I just odd?
*RAISES HAND* You are not odd I felt like that too - I don't like them and am pretty convinced will never own one. Which is odd as I am quite the gadget fanatic, a friend of mine has one and tried to win me over saying you could get rid of all your books and just have this its brilliant etc etc. After having a play with it I have to say I didn't like it and it just didn't feel right, it was reading but not as I know it, the feel of the book in your hand, the noise as you turn the pages, the smell of the paper, you get none of that with a kindle.  Reading a book is special and different this device just brings it to the level of an ipod, laptop or mobile phone. The reading experience just isn't right with a Kindle. Plus I didn't like the screen and felt if I sat for an length of time reading like I do with a book sometimes I'd end up with a stinking headache.  Also another point it wouldn't fit in my handbag but an average sized paperback does.
blackberrycottage

"You could get rid of all of your books"  Shocked The friend would be out of the door before the books! Wink
Evie

This is a link to a longer thread about e-readers and e-books in general, including the Kindle, for anyone interested:

http://bigreaders.myfastforum.org/about98.html
Evie

PS - I agree, blackberrycottage.  Some people just don't understand!
Green Jay

I just posted a reply but it didn't go anywhere, then disappeared!  Sad

I absoluely agree about books in a house - mine would not seem civilised without them.

On another note, does anyone have any comments on the newer, lighter (cheaper) Kindle, as I have been looking at them and think it may be my Christmas present this year. At least I'm being steered that way by a loved one who thinks ?present = gadget = sorted!

I know it has no keyboard but you can bring one up on the screen. I just wondered if anyone knew what it meant in terms of battery life (reading time) and book storage, in proper terms not just advertising ones.

Another thing, you don't have to keep plugging a book in to recharge it! I was a bit shocked when in the shop to see a shelf full of digital picture frames. What a good idea, I thought, since I never get round to getting my pics printed out since I went digital and fail to pass them on to older relatives who don't use pcs etc. Then I realised the damn things have to be plugged in all the time. We desperately try to save the planet in small ways, while at the same time acquiring more and more things that will wreck it.  Confused Does anyone think about all this stuff as they worry about their energy bills?

I've just talked myself out of a Kindle!
Evie

I don't know about the new Kindle, I assumed the only difference was the lack of a keyboard - but I so rarely use the keyboard anyway, apart from the navigation buttons.  Then again, I imagine at some point it would be useful to make notes, so I think I just haven't got round to using it all properly yet.

But in terms of recharging - the battery lasts a long time, especially if you don't have the wifi switched on (and you only need that if you want to download a book) - it's not like a mobile phone or a laptop, it really does last a while - I think they say a month, I haven't actually tested it, but recharging is not a major issue (unless you leave it on when you aren't using it...), and it recharges quickly.  But yes, it is another electronic gadget to add to the increasing pile of them!

And the point about having all your books on the Kindle and not as physical objects...if you lose or damage your Kindle, you have lost all your books!  Much more likely than your house burning down.  Though they are re-downloadable if that happens.

I really wouldn't have bought one if it weren't for the fact that I was expecting to do a lot of travelling.  But I do like having it now, and enjoy using it - it becomes a different reading experience in its own right, not one that I would ever want to replace real books, but still fun - unlike Apple, I find the screen very readable, just like reading a page of a book.  I only download things if they are cheaper than in hard copy, or better still, free (and there is a lot of free material), and it is amazing just to be able to click on something and it is immediately delivered to your device - so sometimes if you need something quickly it can be helpful too.

I'm also not sure why it wouldn't fit in a handbag if a paperback will - it is no bigger than a paperback, and considerably slimmer, and very light.  I am surprised to be a convert - though only as an adjunct to real books, it will never replace them for me.
Apple

blackberrycottage Wrote:
Quote:
"You could get rid of all of your books"   Shocked The friend would be out of the door before the books!   Wink
Yes I know! thats exactly what I thought as well, although I think she was joking, just trying to make the point that the amount of books you can fit on it  Very Happy

Evie Wrote:
Quote:
I'm also not sure why it wouldn't fit in a handbag if a paperback will - it is no bigger than a paperback, and considerably slimmer, and very light.  I am surprised to be a convert - though only as an adjunct to real books, it will never replace them for me.
I tried it and it didn't although possibly because it was someone elses and I didn't want to damage it, because it was rigid I didn't feel I could pack in all the stuff I "have" to carry around with me as well as the Kindle whereas I can with a paperback as its more flexible.

But that doesn't alter the fact I personally just didn't like the thing and I doubt I will ever be converted.
Evie

Oh yes, I can see that, Apple - about not wanting to damage it, I mean.  I have a soft case for it, but a more robust case does also increase the dimensions - obviously - so that it becomes the same sort of size and weight as a paperback.

But that is an important point, I think - if a paperback gets damaged, it really doesn't matter much - if a Kindle gets damaged, it's expensive to replace, plus, as I know I've already said, you lose all the books on it, even if only temporarily.

I see it as a gadget rather than as a new way of reading - I am sure it will become more of the latter in time (in general, I mean, not for me personally), but I see it as fun because I like gadgets and because of the travelling issue, not because it is an improvement on books - it isn't.  The humble book is still one of the finest pieces of technology available to us!

Plus, even with the travelling thing, I do like to see what other people are reading...not easy if they are reading a Kindle!  Unless you decide to get a bit more intimate than most strangers would like...
Apple

Evie Wrote:
Quote:
Oh yes, I can see that, Apple - about not wanting to damage it, I mean.  I have a soft case for it, but a more robust case does also increase the dimensions - obviously - so that it becomes the same sort of size and weight as a paperback.

But that is an important point, I think - if a paperback gets damaged, it really doesn't matter much - if a Kindle gets damaged, it's expensive to replace, plus, as I know I've already said, you lose all the books on it, even if only temporarily.

I see it as a gadget rather than as a new way of reading - I am sure it will become more of the latter in time (in general, I mean, not for me personally), but I see it as fun because I like gadgets and because of the travelling issue, not because it is an improvement on books - it isn't.  The humble book is still one of the finest pieces of technology available to us!

Plus, even with the travelling thing, I do like to see what other people are reading...not easy if they are reading a Kindle!  Unless you decide to get a bit more intimate than most strangers would like...
If you lose all the books on it do you have to pay for them again to get them back when your Kindle is replaced/mended? (I think I have asked this question before somewhere, but I can't remember)

I like gadgets as well so I am more than surprised that I don't like the Kindle, and so is my husband, he was convinced he would be buying me one at some stage when they first came out!!

I hate it when people try and see what I am reading when I am reading a book in public, I think it's down to the fact at work I have literally had the book taken from my hands by people who want to see what it is I am reading, instead of just asking!! I have also had people sit and read over my shoulder as well in past which is seriously irritating!!
Evie

I haven't tested the system, but Amazon claim they keep all the things you order so that you can retrieve them for free if anything goes wrong with the Kindle.

As for what other people are reading - I do agree that intrusiveness is horrid!  But I always check out the covers of books people are reading near me on the train - and feel very frustrated if it isn't visible!  Just very nosy...  :0)
Ann

My kindle got damaged on holiday and Amazon replaced it immediately at no cost and I was easily able to download the books again. I was impressed - though I do prefer books and the fact it got damaged makes me wary of it.

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