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the awesomely average life of a girl like all others

I’m a grandma (and other thoughts on using a kindle)

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So… ebooks, eh? I’ve seen a number of articles recently talking about how ebooks are outselling print books on amazon.com. At first i thought ‘pff, no biggie. they’re probably including ebooks in that number’. But apparently not. So that’s quite substantial.

I spent about one year (I kid you not!) contemplating buying a Kindle but I couldn’t make my mind up about it. So Chris bought me one, mainly to shut me up about it, I think.

I struggled with the idea for so long because I’ve always been a real bookie and have always spent quite a bit of money on books and I felt like getting a Kindle would be like giving in and joining the dark side.

I have now been a Kindle user for a couple of months and my idea of it has somewhat changed. What I’ve come to realise is that my fear of the Kindle completely replacing print books was unfounded. The fact is that they can co-exist and I don’t actually feel like I must buy the kindle version of books rather than the print version, if I do want to have the print version.

All in all, I am a true convert. I’ve read a few books on the Kindle and the user experience is fantastic. That screen is perfect for reading (please spare me your comparisons to tablets – they are completely different devices), the battery life is amazing and the device is so light that it is a real relief, especially if you carry all your worldly possessions in your handbag like I do.

However, there are a few things that need to improve:

  • I can buy any print book I like from a number of different websites and have it shipped to NZ (in some cases, at no extra cost – win!). However, some kindle ebooks are not “available in my region”. This is as stupid as the DVD regions and the publishing industry really needs to sort its shit out and get rid of this region bullshit. If an ebook is not available in my region, I’ll buy the print book.
  • I can only buy books from amazon.com, not from amazon.co.uk. I found an ebook that was cheaper on the UK site than the US version but, being in the Asia Pacific region, I have to pay more if I want to get that ebook delivered to my Kindle, since it has to be downloaded from the US Amazon site. Seriously, people, that is not the point of the internet. So if a kindle ebook is more expensive in the .com site than the .co.uk one, I head to Book Depository and order the print version with *free shipping worldwide*.
  • Some kindle ebooks are more expensive than the print version of the book (even the hardcover). What is this I don’t even! I mean… why? Why? Once again, when that happens, off to Book Depository I go, to add the print version to my shopping cart.
  • Kindle ebooks seem to take longer to be released. This isn’t normally much of an issue for me, except with a handful of authors whose books I’m always exciting to get my hands on.

In spite of all this, a couple of days ago, I gave in and bought my first non-99c kindle book. Up until now, I had only read free ebooks or 99c ones because I still have a giant pile of print books to read (and therefore couldn’t justify investing in any others). But the real reason is that I have a big issue with paying for something that I can’t hold in my hands. It’s a generational think, I guess. Maybe younger generations (oh dear lord!) are probably okay with this, having grown up with iTunes and all that.

I still find it hard to accept paying for something that used to be an object but now won’t materialise into anything in my living room. Chris thinks this is just another sign that I am an 80-year old lady trapped inside a 26-year old body and maybe he is right – at least in the sense that it’s part of my mentality and something that takes time to adapt to.

So, yes, yesterday the grandma caved in and gave Amazon US$9.90 for He Died with a Felafel in His Hand. I told myself it was okay to spend double digits (in NZ currency) on something I wouldn’t get to hold just because the print version, for once, was more expensive. To me, this purchase marks the beginning of a change of mindset. Maybe I will get used to paying for books I can’t hold. But I know, for sure, that will not stop me from buying print books. Not until the publishing world gets their shit together about prices, release dates, regions and assorted crap. And I’m not even sure I want them to.

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