Buying a Kindle

20:35 Sun 21 Nov 2010
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Despite my love of books as physical artifacts, and my love of simply having physical books around, this evening I pulled the trigger on buying an ebook[*] reader, and I went with the Kindle on the basis of recommendations from a bunch of people I know who have them.

I was motivated largely by space considerations: I already have too many books for my living space. While I could alter that space to accommodate some more books, it’s ultimately unsustainable. In addition, I’ve been feeling more and more that I need to cut down on the physical objects I have (and/or care about), and that a minimalist approach to “stuff” would be healthier for me.

That means at least stopping the accumulation of physical books. Since it’s extraordinarily unlikely that I’ll stop buying books, or that I’ll relearn the habit of going to the library regularly, trying out ebooks is a logical approach to take.

In addition, I’m getting tired of travelling with so many books—I tend to carry several whenever I fly, and that’s also becoming more annoying as airline restrictions and security theater become more onerous. Having a single relatively small and light device instead should be a lot easier.

My appreciation for physical books, and my desire to have books around, means that I am entirely unwilling to tolerate digital restrictions management on my ebooks. The whole point of moving to a digital format is to ensure ease of storage, access and transport. I have no intention of letting Amazon or publishers take those advantages away for their own purposes. Luckily, there are tools (written in Python, no less) out there for removing Amazon DRM from Kindle ebooks, so it will be possible for me to get the books I buy from Amazon into a reasonable format. In addition, the Kindle supports importing books from other formats into your Kindle library. Hence, it looks like import and export are both possible, meaning that I can manage my collection myself and make that collection robust in the long term (and not worry about things like this).

Of course, this will all be moot if it turns out that I hate reading on the thing, but I’m committed to trying hard to get used to it.

[*] I prefer “ebook” to “e-book”, following the pattern of “email”.

2 Responses to “Buying a Kindle”

  1. Gordon Says:

    I recommend the free Calibre software (I use it for all my non-DRMed shook needs. Has built in free news/book sources and I enjoy accessing/downloading to ipad/iphone my library remotely. Not sure if all the ebook readers support all of the newer advanced networking features, well worth checking it out on mac, windows (and maybe linux?).

  2. Graham Jones Says:

    Was your iPad not good for reading ebooks?

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