Last summer, my roommate got a Kindle Fire HD for her birthday, and needless to say, I was simultaneously horrified and intrigued. Disclaimer: I’m a book person. I browse used bookstores whenever it’s physically possible, which ends up being roughly three times a week. I like being around books. I can’t really explain it, but I have this need to fill my shelves until they have every genre, all the classics, and of course, each Harry Potter book (in hardback, naturally; I’m an HP purist). That being said: I saw my roommate playing with this strange, beautiful device—she was flipping through bookshelves with a flick of her finger!—and I felt a strange longing. I wanted one.
Enter my relationship with Kip, the graduation present from my parents, which is, in the common tongue, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9. I was enthralled, hoodwinked, and utterly taken in. I was curled up in the personal haven of my bed, wearing sweatpants, and purchasing books with the immediate satisfaction of seeing it in my library. The origin of Kip’s name is simple word association, and has grown to be the title of this blog series. Kindle led to kindling, also known as fire fodder, which developed into Kipling, as in Rudyard. Kip, for short.
I love Kip. Kip is also a tablet, so I’m free to access social media, games, and all the amenities of the world wide web, which I will do my best not to pair with my thoughts about e-readers. Let me revisit a fact about myself I mentioned earlier: I am a book person. I love groaning book shelves. I love turning pages, and I love that strange, sweetly pungent smell of an old paperback. Nothing makes me happier than an overstocked bookstore—you know, the ones where you have to precariously pick your way through the aisles so you don’t disturb the stacks on stacks of best-sellers from the 1990s? I also love Kip. Kip is convenient, and most e-books are pretty darn inexpensive, even compared to used bookstore prices. My favorite feature of Kip is that while reading, if I come across an unknown word or a phrase that is vaguely familiar but the true meaning escapes me, I simply highlight it and Kip brings up the full definition, including derivation, etymology, and archaic uses. It’s pretty freaking cool.
I’m torn. I love books, and I believe I will. However, I see the positive elements of having an e-reader, and I take advantage of them every day. So here’s my call to action: this blog series has one purpose, and that’s to delve into the debate between paper books and electronic books. Both have their niche, and both are incredibly prevalent in today’s society—clearly, books have in no way disappeared since the introduction of the e-reader. Anyone who considers literature to be an important facet of their life has an opinion about this—even if their only conclusion is a benign apathy. Indifference is an opinion, people.
I encourage readers of this blog to comment below or send an email to me about this important topic of discussion—I’m curious. Are you a purist, like I thought I was before I held the power of a bookstore in my hands? Are you indifferent? Does your e-reader make it easier for you to finish books, or harder? Like I said, I’m curious. And I’m one of the main contributors to this blog, so I get to ask the questions. If you would like to share an opinion on Kindle or Kindling that might be more fitting as a guest blog post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org—the more discussion we can generate, the happier I will be.
[Editor’s note: The Kindle or Kindling Series will continue with the views of the CQ team]