Craig Rowe

Techlead / Developer

10th July 2011

Falling out of Kindle love

While reading a book the other day (C# in depth if you're interested... I'd recommend it to all you .net lovers out there.. yes you.. both of you) I suddenly realised something. I was holding a book.

Now the odd thing about that of course is that I own a Kindle and that, as we all know, replaces books.

Don't get me wrong.. I was very much on the Kindle bandwagon and to some extent I stillam. I've just noticed something recently about my reading habits and how the Kindle has affected them. So, bearing in mind this is the internet and I have a blog I thought I'd over generalise my personal experience and draw conclusions about the world at large... with no authority or legitimacy. Ya'know, as you do.

When I first got my kindle I was all over it, downloading books willy nilly, starting multiple books at once... but ultimately... not really finishing them. Looking back I was quick to take recommendations and download books that I was, shall we say, 'half interested' in. Admittedly I should probably have gone with sample chapters... but hey... it's so easy to just 'buy now'!

With regard to the book I was reading, I even had it on my kindle... and yet I chose to read it via ink imprinted on the remnants of a dead tree.

To me this is beginning to mirror my initial feelings towards digital music. If I wanted to listen to something I would download it via iTunes or similar, but if I really wanted it I would buy the physical disk. With music this categorisation works out ok as you can consume it differently: from casually liking/listening to really loving and focussing on it. With books this is harder. I mean, can you 'casually read'? maybe for a bit... but you're not going to last the whole book.

To be fair my aversion to buying/leasing digital music is less true now. The ever growing grumpy old man in me has caught up with the cool kids. But I think it's going to take slightly longer for digital books to bypass this.

With music the feeling as a user is fundamentally the same. If you closed your eyes, but for the particularly atuned ear, it would be hard to differentiate the experience. With a book it's entirely different. There's the 'affordances' factor: with a kindle I can't feel it's weight, flick back and forth, hold one page open as I glance back at another or even display them for guests to admire.

And yes... I have many leather bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.


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