...I really, really want a Kindle. Has anyone not heard of the e-reader that has been in the back of my head for about seven years now? I remember the first time I saw a picture of it - in a magazine about seven years ago. I was instantly fascinated by it and vowed that one day I would own one. At the time, they cost approximately $750 and I decided that this would not be a prudent investment at the time, particularly given that it was a first generation technology at that point. In the years since then, I've read many little tidbits about this lovely hand-held electronic wonder that can hold approximately 1,500 books in a machine that looks to be about the size of the paperback I've been reading on this trip and the weight of something considerable less heavy.
Then, on Sunday, on the flight from Vancouver to Los Angeles, I felt a blinding surge of envy as I beheld a man standing in the aisle, waiting for the restroom. In his hand was something that surely could only be one thing: the first real life Kindle I'd ever seen. It was somewhat disguised by a soft cover wrapped around it like a leather bound book, but there was no fooling me - I've been wanting one for years. As the man edged closer to my seat, my eyes remained riveted on him and his book, and I saw with horror that my hand had unconsciously reached out towards him. Quickly I jerked it back but it was too late - he'd seen me. I asked him if it was a Kindle and, when he said that it was, I asked him if I might please hold it for a moment because I'd never seen a real one. Of course, he didn't have a chance to refuse my request with my hand reaching again for it - but he was gracious anyway and handed it over. I must say that once it was in my hand, I never wanted to let it go. It was beautiful. The revolutionary electronic paper display screen that I've read about looked, in reality, remarkably like a page out of a real paperback. It weighed only a few ounces and I was reminded sharply of the five heavy books that were sitting, at that moment, in the suitcase below the plane - books that I was lugging across two countries in order to feed my reading addiction. All too soon the man held out his hand for return of his Kindle - I was hard pressed to part with it.
I know that many avid readers scorn the prospect of owning a Kindle, vastly preferring the real pages of a beloved book. I, too, love a library full of books - this comprises a significant chunk of my life. I am in no way averse, however, to the prospect of being able to tuck 1,500 books into my purse for the next time I'm on a plane, or delayed before an appointment or wanting to read in bed without disturbing my mate with the light on my bedside table. I just want to read - and the more conveniently I am able to do this, the better!
When I asked the lucky Kindle owner how he liked it, he said that he'd owned it for a year and that he absolutely loved it. He said that prior to owning it he read, on average, one book a year. He said that he currently had twenty books stored on the Kindle and that he was just in the final pages of reading the last of them. For him, this was just the thing to get and keep him reading.
I'm not quite ready to buy an e-reader yet. This spring, Sony is coming out with their new version, and Apple will be introducing their version of the e-reader; in addition, a few of the existing manufacturers are in the process of upgrading their models. As a result of the increasing levels of competitions and the anticipated upgrades in the technology, prices are expected to decline. So...I'm willing to wait...for a while. I sense strongly, however, that an e-reader is in my future...and I can hardly wait!