Kindle vs. Books — The New Literary Battle

by Katy on January 29, 2010 · 62 comments

 

The following is a reprint of a previously published column. Enjoy!

I wrote yesterday about books that support The Non-Consumer Advocate lifestyle. I received this question from “Daniel.”

What is your opinion on the Kindle device? It does save quite a lot of paper and allows for less expensive distribution of books. Just wondering what your take was on this.

Since I do The Compact, (buy nothing new) I’d never even given one minute’s thought to Amazon’s revolutionary wireless reading device. 

My first impulse is to outright dismiss The Kindle. I’m a bit of a techno-phobe, and have repeatedly turned down my husband’s offer to buy me an iPod. 

“No thank you, dear. I’m perfectly happy listening to audio books on my Discman.” 

Or, maybe something far less polite.

So I clicked my way to the Amazon website, where the Kindle is featured prominently on the home page. The cost is $359, with free super-saver shipping. Hmm . . . that’s a lot of moolah, folks.

I read through the description and user-reviews. Once you buy the Kindle, there’s nothing further to subscribe to. You can instantly buy most any book you want for about $9.99. (That is kind of cool.) It holds around 200 books at a time, and you canstore books you don’t currently need on the Amazon site. The battery sounds like it holds up well and re-charges quickly. It weighs less than a regular paperback, yet holds 200 books?

I can see why people are going nutso for this Kindle thingy. 

Wait a minute?! What’s going to happen to all these Kindles in two years when Amazon comes out with a newer, shinier, improved version? (Titanium for him, pink for her.)

Electronic waste is a huge problem in today’s world. Wired magazine had this to say:

“The refuse from discarded electronics products, also known as e-waste, often ends up in landfills or incinerators instead of being recycled. And that means toxic substances like lead, cadmium and mercury that are commonly used in these products can contaminate the land, water and air.”

The Kindle takes a recyclable and virtually indestructible product – a book — and replaces it with a fragile, toxic device that will be obsolesced in a few years. Drop a book and it can get bent pages. Drop a Kindle and you’ve just made a nasty piece of electronic garbage.

But are books perfect?

Not really. Publishers print too many books, many of which then get destroyed. (Recycled? I don’t know.) Few books are currently published on recycled paper, and the inks are usually far from natural. The last Harry Potter book was  printed on recycled paper in the U.K. and Canada, but only partially so here in the U.S. 

And yes, they do have to be distributed to the bookstores.

What’s my verdict on the Kindle?

Thumbs down.

I do see how the Kindle would be a great addition on a long vacation, or a trip to the Mir space station. But for most of us, reading an actual paper book is no burden.

I see each purchase I make as a validation of consumer ethics.

What am I supporting with this purchase?

Am I telling the manufacturers to be responsible?

For now, I’ll continue with my juicy stack of old-fashioned library books, knowing there are no damaging components to poison the land.

Besides, my fancy living room shelves would look pretty stupid filled with electronics. 

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

For information on electronics recycling in your area, click here.

Do you have a Kindle? Let me know how you like it, in the comments section below.

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

Free books for Kindle January 30, 2010 at 12:16 am

I do have a Kindle and I love it. Sure there’s a lot of upfront cost to the environment – but the paper book industry isn’t exactly particularly clean either (few books are printed on 100% post consumer waste so that’s dead trees you’re holding) and you still have to travel to pick up your books from your library.

The other thing – and this is what really sold me – is availability of long out of print books. You can get all of the classics on Kindle – literally tens of thousands of them. No need for wasteful printing of them. Just select them and they are near instantly delivered to you – you don’ t even need to go to library to get them (and some libraries are starting to do ebooks themselves now – no need to remember to return them)

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hubert August 17, 2011 at 5:29 am

kindles are a waste of money, we dont need another electronic device damaging the enviroment, they say a kindle is great for a long trip but what happens when the battery runs out? A book at least doesnt waste electricity

The kindle is almost as bad as the iPad, just novelty, nothing more

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Arthur Denten September 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Dumb, dumb. They said TV was a novelty, too. And when my kindle’s battery runs out I plug it in and recharge it. Duh. Kindles are just better. Get over it.

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Justin Embler April 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Damaging the environment is the key point, but on a lesser note… what of the personal cost? I looked around Amazon at books I want. I can buy a NEW HARDCOVER copy of Einstein: His Life and Universe from a seller for $5.96(US). Or… I can purchase an intangible Kindle copy for ONLY $14.99. Wow, what a deal! This is FAR from the only case… just look around at book versus Kindle prices, much less what you can get the book for from an outside seller. Ha ha. Yes, and the television is still here, surviving in it’s basic form – but benefiting from modern technology and sleek design. No one has (yet) designed a better instrument for in-home audio/video entertainment. But comparing the Kindle to the television? Good God, did you at one point compare the “Snuggie” to the automobile? I guess they were abandoned too, when people realized there was a stack of blankets in the closet. Either way, I will be happily turning pages while you curse the Gods that your “books” are now only readable files on your computer… try not to burn your eyes. Then again, due to your in depth and intelligent commentary, I’m sure your Kindle will hold out long enough for you to read your Stephen King novels and copy of “World’s Best Fart Jokes”.

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Hollis November 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Take it from a IT it’s better to have a balance of what tech you want and what tech you don’t need. A Kindle is good for people who just are always on the move and don’t have time to sit down.

A book on the other hand is something that can be shared and handed down through centuries. Imagine having a book on your kindle that you read to your kids, then your kids grow up and want the book you read to them but you don’t have it anymore.

Many people don’t think of the long term effect of what’s hot now vs longevity. A book if taken care of correctly can last a lifetime. A kindle, or your amazon account can easily be hacked, and thrown away.

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Preston December 5, 2012 at 12:30 pm

First off, the Kindle has up to one month battery life. We have unlimited electricity as well

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Kristen@TheFrugalGirl January 30, 2010 at 3:50 am

I’ve never been interested in a Kindle so far because I think I really prefer the feel of a real book. I don’t really want to read on a screen, you know? Plus, it does cost a LOT of money…way more than it costs to get library books for free. 🙂

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CC January 30, 2010 at 4:50 am

I’m not interested in an electronic book. It sounds interesting but as you stated they always have the new and improved. Look at how often our computers and cell phones get replaced. Besides all of that I don’t know how I could read to someone and then show them pictures all cuddled up together with this. Also I don’t know how many times I’ve fell asleep and dropped the book I was reading.

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Carlin January 30, 2010 at 6:08 am

I work in publishing, and my company certainly likes the idea of e-books. They are more cost effective for the company and use fewer resources. As a reader, I still prefer a physical book to using a Kindle. The decision between the e-waste from e-readers and the consumption of resources and damaging substances leaked into the environment from traditionally printed books is a difficult one. Full color books are often printed in China, where it’s most cost effective, partly because the environmental standards are much less strict, so the environmentally unfriendly ink & other chemicals can be disposed of more easily. China is also where many electronics are sent for “recycling”, for the same lax environmental standards. Using the library is the best option, I think!

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jill January 30, 2010 at 6:40 am

I have been working at the Compact for the past 3 years and am also concerned about the current E- waste so this is not a product for me, however I do see the potential for high school, university and grad students as an afforadble, accessible and portable source for text books.
The ideal situation would be if manufacturers would see this not as a quickie fad but as the future in education , a great source of revenue and get together to make a long lasting, recycleable product.
Parents, school systems and universities could be a major force in getting this out there.

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Jean January 30, 2010 at 7:12 am

I love the smell and feel of a real book. I could never give that up and for sure in a few ears a new and improved version will come along and the old one will be waste.

I have been reading lately about how China mines 97% of the rare earth minerals that are used in so many of our electronic gadgets and that by 2012 they will no longer export these. There are worries about serious shortages and the effects this could have on our entire high tech dependent society.

What will happen to the cost of a Kindle?

What happens if you drop a Kindle and you can no longer get to your books because it is broken? Do you loose your books?

I will stick with my beloved books!

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hubert August 17, 2011 at 5:56 am

Very good attitude. I agree, soon there will be a Kindle V2 or something and the original will be outdated

Sticking to paper books is much better, the Kindle, although has a few slight advantages, is really just novelty. I’m a 23 year old guy and my friend says I should get one (as its the latest thing) but I prefer sticking to real books

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Julie January 30, 2010 at 8:04 am

I love reading a “real” book. The process of turning pages, feeling the paper in my hands, it has a homey, comforting feeling to me.
That being said, my husband really enjoys his Kindle. He can carry a library with him in the space and weight of a single paperback. He has been able to download old favorite books no longer in print and has rediscovered the joy of reading. I love the value of purchasing the complete Anne Shirley/Avonlea series for $0.99 and the complete works of Charles Dickens for $4.69 (and we don’t have to dedicate shelves to storing the physical volumes). Whether at the doctor’s office or on vacation, it’s all there and available at a single touch.
Amazon keeps a record of your library. If you ever run out of space on your Kindle, you can take books out of your active device memory and reload them later. If the Kindle gets broken or you leave it at home, you can use the Kindle for PC feature and read any book from your library via any computer with an internet connection.
Just as we would seek out proper recycling centers for used CFL lightbulbs or any other spent computer, we will make use of proper electronic recycling channels should the Kindle ever be rendered unusable.

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Belleln January 30, 2010 at 8:13 am

In July 2007, at the VA station for the auto-train, I was approached by a man doing a survey on the Kindle. I was reading at the time and noticed he only went to people who were reading.
As I told him, it didn’t interest me as I couldn’t take it to bed with me where I do most of my reading, it would probably be damaged if it fell to the floor (something that happens more than I would like as I fall asleep reading), and as I never buy a book new – I use the library, the internet and on really rare occasions a used book – I would not think of paying that kind of price.
So, except for the student with textbooks, I would never consider it. By the way, how do photos, illustrations, etc come thru on the Kindle? Lots of books I read are for gardening, cooking, quilting that, for me, require full color photos for clarification.

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Shannon January 30, 2010 at 8:53 am

I have another spin on the Kindle and e-books: just another reason to consume more “media.” As it is, with paper books, we are encouraged to buy far more books than we can ever read. I sometimes find myself spending far more time looking for new books to read and goofing around on goodreads than I actually spend reading. I think if I had a Kindle, I’d load 200 books at $10 each, and maybe read ten of them. That’s a net loss of $1900, plus the cost of the device. Plus, when I clean my bookshelves and decide I have books I’ve either already read, I can sell, donate or pass them along to friends. And when the book reaches the end of it’s life span, it can be recycled, or at least will biodegrade.

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Raffaella January 30, 2010 at 9:11 am

You and the previous commenter have raised the best points, I think:
– drop a Kindle and most probably it’s history
– books are biodegradable

I’m not a technophobe at all and actually I think eBooks have many advantages, for example the variety and easy availability, but I’m too fond of real books. And a Kindle is still too expensive – I get books free, I buy used, I swap and sell them…

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mw January 30, 2010 at 9:46 am

A Kindle is an investment much like a computer is; except that it is a small hand held reading device. I have one and I don’t see the harm in anything that encourages reading. Some of the most popular books on Kindle are ones that you can download for free. I haven’t bought a single book on it yet, but I use it a ton. I still patronize the library, and I still love paperbacks and hardcovers, but what matters to me is content. I don’t care where or how I read a good story, as long as I am reading, I am happy.
I received mine as a gift, but I also bought one for my husband, because he loves to read and has little time to go to the library. (I believe it was 259.00.) I will have the device for a long time and don’t find it wasteful. If anything, it is not at all lacking, it is full of substance.

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Karen January 30, 2010 at 11:00 am

I have really enjoyed reading all the pro-con ideas re Kindle. As with everything, Kindle isn’t all bad or all good. It does strike me though that using Kindle tends to isolate people, just like much of our technology does. We end up behind screens, alone, even if we are in a roomful of people. One can be alone with a book too, but those of us who read a lot tend to also share books. Physical libraries are communities.

I am curious about the out of print books one can get via Kindle. The availiability of OOP had not occurred to me, and this I could see as a real selling point for those of us who do research.

I do love “real books”, and specially love the physicality of holding hardbacks, but I could see how Kindle might be a good choice for some. The worst aspect for me is the environmental one. I cringe at the possibility of people getting an upgrade every couple years.

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Lisa January 30, 2010 at 11:04 am

I have the best of both worlds. No Kindle, but a free talking book machine supplied by the Arkansas State Library. Every two months I receive a catalog listing available audio books for rent free of charge through the Library of Congress. I’ve always loved to read but got to the point that I couldn’t due to becoming legally blind. So this new format (though it took some getting used to) has been a godsend.

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theresa October 14, 2010 at 4:10 pm

my brother used to do that because he has dyslexia. although he never used it much it still is a great idea. God bless you! 🙂

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Kris-ND January 30, 2010 at 12:19 pm

I am torn on this. My library offers Netlibrary, so I can get e-books and audio books for free, but I will admit that it would be cool to be able to download a book, cheaper than the paper book would be, at midnight the day it comes out, vs waiting. Yes, a kid at Christmas 😉

My mom wants to buy me a Kindle for my birthday, but I am not sure that I want it. I think, if she insists on spending that kind of money, I would rather have the high quality cookware set I have drooled over for years…lol

It would be nice to have a Kindle when we travel, but like others here have said, I often drop books at night, and I would always worry about dropping the Kindle, or it gets some kind of bug and dies.

That being said, my daughter starts college in Sept, and she said something about using an electronic device for textbooks. I didn’t catch if it was a Kindle or a laptop, so I will ask her to find out for sure. If it is a Kindle, and they don’t offer them, then I guess my mom could buy that for her birthday vs mine.

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Deb January 30, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I’ve given thought to Kindle over the past year as well, but as scatter brained as I can be, I know the first thing that I would do with a Kindle is either lose it or drop it.

I agree with Karen about the isolation issue. We used to talk to one another – at the bus stops, on public transportation, at school, over our fences and at the market. Now everyone is absorbed in their own electronic devices. Recently while at the PSU campus, I was amazed at the number of students who are so preoccupied with their electronic gadgets – busy texting, busy with their Kindles, busy on their cellphones – that they are not even interracting with one another in real life! I can’t decide – does that still qualify as socializing, but in a much less personal way? Are people really connected anymore, or just artificially connected?

I think Kindle is probably great for those who travel a lot, or for those looking for less expensive means for out of print books. But the e-waste is a big concern for me – and I can’t swap/trade/resell a kindle book. I’ll always be a fan of words on paper pages.

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Raffaella January 31, 2010 at 9:33 am

But if you read a paper book, you isolate yourself all the same. 🙂

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Stasie January 30, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I often wonder what technological devices like the Kindle will do to the Publishing industry and if I am going to be out of a job soon.

I am so happy to hear how much everyone here loves to read! I work at Dover Publications. Dover is know for cost effective books and we publish books in a variety of categories. Most of what Dover publishes was previously long out of print. For instance we recently published Alice Starmore’s book of Fair Isle Knitting. I think it was out of print for about 10 years.

I work in the Production dept. and would like to let you know that we print all of our books in the USA and when possible we use paper containing post consumer recycled fiber. Could we get 100% recycled paper? Probably but it would be very expensive….and it would have to be trucked a very long distance or shipped from overseas. Not exactly environmentally friendly. As our backlist titles come up for re-print we are making them green. We try to only manufacture what we need based upon historical demand. Our company has a green initiative, we use printers that are doing as much as possible to reduce waste by making things digital, they are using low VOC inks or soy inks. Check it out for yourself….http://www.courier.com/green/

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Kris-ND January 30, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Thanks for the post. I am a staunch reader, and have no problem buying books(in moderation 😉 ) Books last forever if taken care of, and the electronic age imo, is going to leave future generations with a less rich sense of history.

There is NOTHING like picking up an antique book, or reading letters that your ancestors wrote 100+ years ago, and have the actual pages to touch and know that your great, great, great whatever touched the same papers. Gives you a connection that an e-book or email isn’t going to give you.

I will always be a bookie, and if money was no option, I would buy a Kindle for when we go camping, etc, but I will never get rid of my books 🙂 Plus, I like the fact that books are almost always printed in the USA! It is one of the few industries that still have the “made in the USA” label kwim?

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Katy January 31, 2010 at 12:14 am

Yay for Dover!!!! I love Dover books!

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate

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Shannon January 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm

One addition to this after talking to my husband. He’s a computer programmer, and reads tons big, pricey books related to his field. These are books that are outdated in a year or two because of the speed of the technology. For him, an e-reader would probably be a better bet than the large stacks of outdated O’Reilly books that seem to populate every corner of our house. For me, though, a casual reader of mainly classics and some pop fiction, the library suits me fine.

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Caroline January 30, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Don’t forget that the Kindle is not the only version of an ereader out there. I got a Bebook for Christmas. It is awesomeness and I cannot tell you how much I love it. It reads all kinds of files, so you can buy your books from anywhere (I get heaps of AU$4 books) and like the kindle, it comes with a ridiculously large selection of free books for download.

I love to read and am reading a lot more now I have the Bebook. It’s great having a library with me for whatever I’m in the mood for and not lugging lots of books around. I can’t wait to travel with it.

When buying technology, the trick is to research well and fall in love, flaws and all. (I love my creative zen so much, that I bought a spare version of the outdated Vision W that I’ve had for two years, to replace it with when it dies).

Anyway, I wasn’t sure about the book vs ebook debate but am now totally converted.

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Christopher January 30, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I support those who want a Kindle, and their reasoning seems pretty sound. I especially encourage them to dump/donate all their old books to the library book sale/local thrift store, so that I can then seagull through them and pick them up for next to nothing (I love books, especially funky old books)!! There was a perceptible time (after DVDs truly took over) when everyone dumped their VHS; a lot of realllllly cool VHS, I might add (now owned by me, for next to nothing & with the thrill of the hunt/find). Now, about the I-Pod; let Dale get you one! I have filled mine (gift from Rachel, which I thought I didn’t want) with great CDs from the library (just checked out an old obscure Miles Davis today). I’m converted. Not interested in the Kindle yet though.

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Katy January 31, 2010 at 12:10 am

Christopher,

I do have an iPod, which is a hand-me-down (up?) from my 14-year-old son. It stopped working and my husband was able to fix it. However, I’ve never used it as I keep forgetting about it. Maybe I should download some audio books or podcasts.

It looks like a gramophone next to my son’s iPod Touch.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate

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BarbS February 3, 2010 at 11:50 am

OK, I know this post is about the Kindle, but I had to weigh in on the iPod…

I thought I didn’t want an iPod either, but got one for the 2008 holiday season. I am now a complete convert. I load NPR podcasts on it, and listen while cooking dinner, while waiting at the doctor’s office, while waiting to pick up the kids from Hebrew School, etc. It’s small and easy to carry around, and I am up-to-date on world news, arts, etc. And now, I never miss an episode of “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” which is my very favorite broadcast show (including radio and TV).

The one place I rarely listen to my iPod: on the train on the way to work. I prefer to be sociable with my fellow train riders 😉

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Elizabeth B January 30, 2010 at 8:32 pm

There’s one insurmountable problem with the Kindle: Amazon controls the platform absolutely. They can remotely wipe books you’ve paid for off your Kindle; in fact, they’ve done it at least once already, to everyone who bought a particular edition of 1984. All of the content a user buys is stored on Amazon’s servers, so if anything happens to Amazon, all of those books are lost. And they just yesterday took all Macmillan titles down off their website because Macmillan, post-iPad rollout, wanted to talk about a new pricing structure.

So for me, the Kindle is a nonstarter. On the other hand, in a few years, when the price for the iPad comes down, I may buy one–not for the e-book capabilities, but because it’ll be a super-light way for me to carry all my lesson plans and class materials with me to class.

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Kris-ND January 30, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Ahhh, yes, forgot about that. That is a HUGE problem for me, and how ironic that it was 1984 they removed ..lol

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Katy January 31, 2010 at 12:16 am

I think the Kindle is something that I can criticize as a non-user, but would probably grow to guiltily love if I owned one. Luckily, they are cost prohibitive for me, so this dilemma will continue to be hypothetical.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate

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magdalena January 31, 2010 at 5:32 am

I’m so not into electronics! I haven’t even bothered to figure out everything I can do on Wordpress, and they charge me nothing! I don’t buy books very often, unless they are under $1. There’s lots to be found, borrowed and sometimes rescued. My reading material is esoteric, and even Amazon isn’t going to be bothered with some of it.

Now, having said all that, I could see where the ebook platform would have been great when I was a student, and needed textbooks I would never use after the course. If I could have “rented” them from an eBook vendor, it would have been a great savings, since purchasing and reselling was always a net loss.

Because I have some extreme mold allergies, I have to be careful with used books. A book with a moldy binding once put me in the hospital. You might get a virus on your netbook, but not penicillin mold.

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Julius January 31, 2010 at 5:48 am

I’m afraid I need to go off into geek politics for a bit here… my main issue with these things is that the books are all encrypted and copy-protected by Amazon. This sounds reasonable enough at first – we don’t want people going round pirating books all over the place – but there are plenty of flaws in that argument. Firstly, it’s ineffective – people are already pirating books (you can get illegal digital copies of a LOT of books if you know where to look), as it’s simply not that much effort to simply scan a paper book and run it through text-recognition software. Even if paper books disappeared completely, it’s no huge deal getting the text out of an encrypted e-reader somehow. Just find a few hundred fellow geeks and re-type one page each, if all else fails…

And secondly, this copy-protection contributes to the issue of waste – if there are several independent e-book retailers, say Amazon and Apple, you can bet they will make the readers non-interoperable, so potentially if you want to read all available books you need one of each type of reader. Worse, even if all books are available for one reader, what if yours breaks? You’ll be locked into buying the same model again, because the e-books you’ve already bought won’t work on the other brand’s reader. If you want to switch from Amazon to Apple, you’ll have to re-purchase ALL your books. That kind of lock-in, for me, is the deal-breaker.
(And to be honest, even on an intuitive level, the idea of my books being proprietary, encrypted digital files, that Amazon or Apple tells me what I can and can’t do with, is abhorrent to me. If my books are going to be digital, I’ll have unencrypted text files please.)

Erm, seems I’ve just repeated/rephrased some of what Elizabeth B said above…

That said, reading books electronically isn’t bad – I have an e-book app on my iPhone that I’ve used to read Cory Doctorow’s books, which are available for free as unencrypted text files from the author’s own website. With open, unprotected formats, I can use whatever I like – and repurposing an already existing device to also read books on it counts as frugal, surely? I used to read books on my Palm Pilot ten years ago. If that thing hadn’t died on me, I might still be using it as an e-book reader…

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Linda January 31, 2010 at 7:25 am

I love the idea of going on vacation with one “book” but loaded with 200 books. I have a tendance to take 5 or more books with me on vacation. Since my idea of a vacation is sitting on a beach reading, this would be a great bonus to take my whole library with me.

But, with the Kindle, you can only buy content from Amazon. I do not want one company being responsible for all my reading material. If I were to buy a reader, I would buy one that could read different types of files.

One great bonus is the weight of the reader. My daughers are going to have serious back problems when they get older because of their load of books they need to bring back and forth to school. My husband even said they are too heavy.

If they could have all their textbooks downloaded to a reader, it could save them many back problems in the future. My daughter is a sophomore in high school. When she gets to college, I will suggest she get a reader for all her textbooks. How many of us actually refer to our old college textbooks?

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Hillary aka Deal Squirrel February 1, 2010 at 9:35 am

Okay, let’s just short circuit this nonsense. Why not just download the free version of Kindle for PC? You can do this at:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=1000426311.
It downloads quickly to your computer and if you have a laptop you will not have to buy the actual device. One less device to haul around is good. There are several free kindle books as well. You can search them by typing: kindle freebie in the search box. Free kindle+ free books= less waster and happy trees. I like this math!

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Lisa February 1, 2010 at 11:18 am

This is a bit late but hopefully will catch your attention. I read today that the price of Kindle books is intended to rise to match the prices Apple charges for their ‘books’. My source is http://www.tiphero.com/

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Tracy Balazy February 4, 2010 at 5:50 pm

I still like the library. I live within walking distance (one a good, brisk walk, the other two a bit further; I sometimes ride my bike to those) of three good libraries within my own city (Dearborn, Michigan, where Ford Motor Co. is headquartered) and a fourth in a neighboring city, so that’s my pick!

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Maniacal Mommy February 9, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I am a big fan of actual, tangible books. They just feel like they are meant to be shared. I use our library alot, but I have friends who send me their paperbacks when they are done. I pass them on, and the books probably have a more exciting life than I do with all their travel. Electronic just isn’t the same. And one friend told me she would send me the latest Stephanie Plum book, but it was on her Kindle! Bah.

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theresa October 14, 2010 at 4:13 pm

i love books. i love the smell, the feel, carrying them around, buying new copies, going in bookstores, making notes on them, showing them off…:) i adore everything about reading. also, if someone wanted to borrow a book from you, and all you had was kindle, you would not be able to read.

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Sherry November 2, 2010 at 10:34 am

I love going into the library or used book stores to get paperbacks for less than $5. One library I love to “shop” at has used books for 50 cents. Can’t do that with a Kindle.

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Genie November 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I soooooooooooo appreciate having read all of your comments. I could “hear” the different personalities coming through. My kids have been stealthily trying to find out if a Kindle or other brand of e-reader might be a birthday/Christmas idea for Mom. I had my own opinion, but was very happy to confirm that it is shared by others.

Bring on the hardcover and paperback versions of books for me!!!!!!!
I’m not a frequent air traveler or college textbook user, etc. I can see many uses for the new format. But not for me!!! Give me a new Pat Conroy, my afghan, and a cup of tea.

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Pat November 20, 2010 at 4:02 pm

As a Kindle owner and also still an avid book reader, I find that I still prefer reading a hardcopy book over reading on the Kindle. I went on vacation to the Bahamas and just brought my Kindle which I had loaded with several books. Well…… the Kindle died and I wound of borrowing my friend’s books to read. Amazon certainly made good on the defective Kindle . Within two days I had a new Kindle and had sent my defective Kindle back to Amazon cost free.

But I definitely miss seeing the color pictures in a hard book. I downloaded Keith Richards’ autobiography on the Kindle and when my Kindle died on vacation – wound up buying the hardcover – WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!

In the future, I’ll probably only use my Kindle occasionally and continue reading mainly books.

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Jane January 25, 2011 at 12:06 am

Um…I would rather pay $9.99 and up for an e-book than purchase a used book from Amazon for around $3-$4 (shipping included) and resell the book when I’m done? No way! It costs the publishers basically nothing for these Kindle books yet they are more expensive than most of the used physical, hold it in your hand” resell or trade in, books. It’s highway robbery if you ask me and people actually fall for it.

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Jules Fredrick February 28, 2011 at 11:37 am

I just got back from a writers conference. As a children’s picture book writer, kindle concerns me. For now, I am a hold-out on electronic readers.

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johnnh March 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Books are much better, the kindle is a waste of money

I work all day on a computer and reading a book relaxes my eyes, kinda takes the purpose of it away when I am reading again of a screen

Books are much better

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Maureen April 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm

The normal Kindle costs $139 and there is a consumer version that costs a whole $114 (it has advertisements for sleep screens which you can easily ignore as they are not on when you are actually reading) now. Perhaps the cost you were looking at is for the DX (a larger screen designed for textbooks)? Or perhaps it is simply from several years ago? The current Kindle will hold 3,500 books on its hard drive and the battery will last for more than a week with the wireless function turned off. It is also recyclable, not that you’ll need a new one with its long life span and the amazing variety of decal skins available to customize colors for those fashion forward consumers… Maybe an updated article would be good for those consumers that you are looking to influence. I’m not saying that the Kindle is for everybody. But the product mentioned in this article is no longer the product available and isn’t attractive to anyone. It isn’t really a fair to your readers to have these sorts of things brought up in internet searches. (top hit, by the way: good job)

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Maureen April 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Also, you can put any pdf or doc file on the device for free. You can just as easily read any digital book you can find online on your kindle, including anything from project gutenburg, archive.org, or manybooks.net. Anything that is not in the proper format can be sent via email to your device and will be converted to the correct file type by Amazon for a nominal fee ($0.50 – $3) per book. There are approximately 2 million free books available online. Just look for them. Amazon is actually the only company offering an e-reader that isn’t demanding that you buy content exclusively from them.

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KSG May 26, 2011 at 10:44 am

my concern with e-books is more from a historical standpoint: what happens to e-books as the technology evolves? in a hundred years, nobody going to be able to pick up a kindle and obtain the documents on it. the kindle will have lived its life, therefore taking with it to its grave all the words, thoughts, inspirations, criticism, dreams and debates of the authors entrapped inside the defective device.

in fact, there is even a likelihood that with technology advancing so quickly that e-books may not even be compatible with kindle or such devices in even a decade.

i know i am weighing a lot of ‘what if’s’ into my decision, but i truly feel that we will be risking losing a lot of history by entrusting books to devices rather than paper copies.

i think there can be a happy medium, a blend of both worlds. but my concern is that this trend will eventually turn us all paperless.

but language and writing is one of the most universally sound methods of preserving history. just think of how many authors, scientists, mathematicians and brilliant minds were discovered upon stumbling across hard copies of their completed work?

the same could not have been said had anyone tried to open an old, uncharged, dead battery operated kindle.

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Sabrina July 15, 2011 at 5:29 am

Okay, this all seems so silly. Fighting the neverending war of two types of reading. My father bought and financed me a Kindle for my birthday, and I still buy and currently own over 300+ paper books. Most of which I bought at flea markets, dollar stores, and Goodwill (because on the small allowance of a teenage girl you can’t really afford to pay full price for a brand-spanking-new book just off a hot press). I think we should just coexist with our technology. Books have been around for a long time. I don’t think we should just kill a whole medium over some new tech that will just keep getting upgraded after the day you bought it. I’ve got an iPod Nano gen 1 and iPod Classic gen 5 (old even now) but that doesn’t mean I’ve gotten rid of my few hundred CDs or portable CD player from 5years ago. Or my cassette tapes or VCR. Why should we kill something so monumental as books just because some new fangled tech came along and impressed us?

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E August 28, 2011 at 1:17 am

I like paper books, I can get them two for £1, sometimes new, in the charity shops near my home. I can then take them back and they’ll earn more money for the charity. Even bought new, the £3-4 I will pay for a book is better to me – I drop books all the time, and if I dropped a Kindle I would lose it all…

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joey October 9, 2011 at 6:07 am

Kindles, nooks, books….what’s the difference, it’s still reading, and I don’t think we should be debating which is better. C’mon, our valuable time would be much better spent planted in front of our TVs, watching deep, profoundly meaningful reality shows like “Big Brother”, “Jersey Shore”, and “Real Housewives of (take your pick of locations)”. Do you think Snookie or one of the real housewives would ever be caught up in a frivolous debate like the one going on here?

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Brittney May 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm

i dont know why we must fight. honestly everyone has an opinion. its their right to have one. so trying to change it is not necessary. i have shelves of books, yet i own a kindle. both of which are very easy, and enjoyable to read from.

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Kristin June 11, 2012 at 2:13 pm

So love my eco-buddies sharing this wonderful struggle about what’s the least-harm path: cutting down trees or contributing to e-waste? So how about we all actively lobby Amazon for the ecokindle, *made of* recycled plastic and recycled electronics? This would help support the market for recycled materials and cut down on landfill. Of course, it will, at least initially, be more expensive but, as all here know, we have to do our part to pay down our massive and growing environmental debt.

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