This morning I decided I wanted to reread some of O.Henry’s short stories. I reached for my copy of his Complete Works and found it was heavy to hold. So heavy that I had to sit down with the hardcover copy I own because my hands were straining under its weight. As were my eyes because the print was so tiny it was uncomfortable to read. I usually have no problem with seeing normal print but this collection was impossible to enjoy.
So I went online to Amazon.com, downloaded “The Complete Works of O.Henry” for $1.99 to my Kindle electronic reader (E-Reader for short) and now I have no problems with the bothersome weight of hardcover books or microscopic fonts.
I am surprised by how I much I enjoy my Kindle because I’m not a naturally technical person. But I had to make the decision to give it a go when I found that the paperback edition of Dickens’ “Little Dorrit” was too awkward to manage. Holding it was a drag and turning the pages was cumbersome if you were trying to read in bed.
The Kindle is easy to use, easy to hold and can store a great number of books. Holding it in bed with one hand is a cinch, turning the pages is effortless and you can make the font as large or small as you wish. It is also marvellous for travelling or when you are sitting somewhere and waiting for an appointment.
I could go on forever about its virtues, but what I really want to say is that books cannot compete with the E-reader. No printing expenses, no transporting of books, no storage in bookshops and how about the price?
Books in Australia are ridiculously expensive and have always been dearer than overseas because of some arrangement with publishers. The end result of that arrangement is that the public has been ripped off for years. I used to go wild in the U.S and buy as many books as I could fit into my luggage because they were half the price that they cost in Australia.
Buying books online was the next step for me and I indulged in it. Did I want to support Australian publishers? Not for one minute, since they were quite prepared to charge us the Earth.
When E-Readers were introduced I did not rush out and buy one immediately. I thought about them for a while. Finally, I decided that the time had come to try one. And I haven’t been sorry. Now I can get all the famous literature for free because it’s out of copyright. I even pay for some books e.g “The Finkler Question” which won the Booker Prize this year. It cost $5.75. Wow!
There are several brands of E-Readers on the market and some have more features than the Kindle. I just happen to have chosen the Kindle for the time being. But even better E-Readers are coming and when they do I will not hesitate to invest in one. It’s still much cheaper then paying for the hard copy.
I imagine that the smaller I-Pad with illustrations and internet would be worth considering. At the moment the I-Pad is a bit too heavy, but if Apple can make it smaller and lighter as they have been suggesting I would be keen to get one.
Meanwhile, I will cuddle my Kindle in comfort.