My most recent tech purchase was an Amazon Kindle. It wasn’t an easy one mind you. Life was beginning to get a bit expensive and I was trying to not spend any money other than on the essentials, but with a week-long trip to Juba in the coming week and a near 20 hour plane journey ahead I decided it would be worth the purchase. In the end I plumped for the bog standard, no frills, with-buttons, wifi-only, £89 version. And it only came in grey.
My previous experiences with e-Readers hadn’t been great. I’d tried to use “Books” on the iPad without much success. I even bought Stephen Fry’s most recent book in an attempt to push me into using the device as an e-Reader. This didn’t work. The device is too heavy to use as an e-Reader. I couldn’t hold it for too long before I needed to move my arms, change my position, even rest the iPad on something else. In the end I gave up because using the iPad to read simply became something I didn’t want to do.
The iPad experience did deter me from going back to e-Readers for many months, even years, in fact it’s a sign of this decline to accept the technology that I didn’t get one at launch – as is typical with me and the type of person I am. My peers, friends and family jumped in and raved about them, personally the iPad had pushed me off that course for a while and it was going to take something momentus to get me back into them.
With a long business trip planned I knew I would have to do something. Having recently got back into reading, and also back into reading fiction (something I hadn’t done for many, many years) there was a need to not fill my luggage with books yet I wanted to read so I decided to give the format one last look and got myself a Kindle. My girlfriend sent me an Amazon voucher to get me started and I immediately started looking for books. My first purchase was in fact, bizarrely, a book I’d only just bought as a paperback. ”Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto”, by David Kushner, was a book I’d only just picked up in the local bookshop, it still sits unread on my shelf – yet I’ve read the eBook version through. I’ve since gone on to read:
- The Final Hours of Portal 2, by Geoff Keighley
- The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3, by Geoff Keighley
- The Making of Prince of Persia, by Jordan Mechner
- Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest talks of the search for life, love and fulfilment beyond the Starship Enterprise (Check title) , by Wil Wheaton
- Sunken Treasure, by Wil Wheaton
- An Idiot Abroad, by Karl Pilkington
- Life.. With No Breaks, by Nick Spalding
- Poirot’s Early Cases, by Agatha Christie
And this was all in four plane rides and evenings in Juba with no internet connection or good TV. Over the past week the Kindle has been the most used electronic gadget (baring the laptop which I had to use for work – it was a business trip!) – seeing as I also bought with me my iPad, PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS it’s quite an achievement for one device to have quite such a hold over me.
My only worry now is that in years to come I won’t have bookshelves stacked high with auto-biographies, interesting memoirs and deep, humourful writings, instead it will be very much like the Star Trek spoken of by Wil Wheaton in his stories of life aboard the Paramount movie lots. Books will be on tablets, physical paper will be a thing of the past – in fact, come to think of it, has anyone ever seen an actual piece of paper on Star Trek? (Other than Picards’ books.)