Friday, 17 September 2010

An E-Reader-Sceptic Reviews his Position

I hate the concept of e-readers. This is something I have felt strongly about for some time. I mean, what's wrong with a book? You don't need batteries, you can read it in the rain, or the bath. It is portable. It is an age old design that does not need any modification. If it aint broke don't fix it – this is a valid rule.

But, I suppose, when something is out there you should try it before you can really rip into it with gusto. And it's geeky tech, and I suppose I am a bit of a sucker for geeky tech. Up to now, though, nothing has really fired my imagination. The Sony looks okay, but okay is just not good enough when it comes to parting with two-hundred quid. But when the new Kindle was launched in the UK I thought about it for about ten seconds, then pre-ordered on the first day. Because it looked kind of cool.

I've been driving the Kindle for about two weeks now. I had a raft of imaginative and colourful metaphors ready for a sizzling blog-attack on all the things it did badly... and I can't use any of them.

Because I like it. No, that's a bit tame. Oh dear, the truth is I LOVE my Kindle. There, I've said it. After just two weeks I don't know what I'd do without it. I have books for research. I have samples of books I may buy, probably will buy. I have some of my own stories on it, because, hey, it is wonderful for reviewing post-edited drafts that need a final read-through. If I'm writing a story that needs a specific area of research (and UK libraries are generally about 15 years out of date on its cutting-edge research material) well then I just buy the book. There and then. Within 15 seconds I'm reading it. Technology is a wonderful thing. (Mind you, I shudder to think what my Amazon account is going to look like next month.)

But there's another thing.

When Borders went bust my sole source of US SF mags like Analog and Asimov's went with it. Yes, I could subscribe for a year, but I don't want to subscribe, because I don't want the stress that comes from being buried by the things popping through the letter box after I've just gone and bought Interzone, or when I'm three weeks behind on my New Scientist reading and there's three second-hand novels that I just bought while on holiday. It can be overwhelming. With Kindle I can pick and choose. I can make notes on which stories I liked and why. And they don't pile up in dusty corners of the house.

So there. Damn it all, I've switched camps. I'm a convert.


No comments: