Chapter 290 The Amazon Kindle — One Month Later, Or, TBR Anxiety

I’ve had my Amazon Kindle for a month now. I first posted about it here, and now I want to tell you what I think after a month of using the much touted (even by Oprah Winfrey) electronic reading device.

First, the good things about the Kindle:
+ Because I am purchasing e-books on the Kindle, my physical stack of books waiting to be read has not grown (but my electronic, invisible stack has). This is good because Thoughtful Husband has no idea how large the TBR (to-be-read) stack is actually getting. He can’t roll his eyes, sigh resignedly, and say, “Another book?” because he can’t see that I have indeed gone out and bought another book (several of them actually). Those new books are all stored in the unobtrusive Kindle. Tee hee. 🙂

+ I have subscribed to my favorite blogs in Google Reader and I can log onto that from the Kindle. Thanks to the Kindle, I can now read blogs anywhere at any time, and am not chained to my computer to do so. For short, digestible e-content, the Kindle has a good format.

+ I can read only the sections of the newspaper that I like to read. No longer do I feel wasteful as I throw the Sports section on my living room floor, unopened and unread.

+ For $9.99, I can buy a book for the Kindle I’m not sure I want to own forever in hardcover. That usually saves about $15 dollars per book. If I read it on the Kindle and really enjoy it, as with Richard Fortey’s Dry Storeroom No. 1, I can then go buy the physical book.

+ I can read a sample of a book I’m not sure I want to buy. Amazon will send to the Kindle a few pages of a book for no charge. It’s akin to (but not the same as) being able to flip through a book in the bookstore for a sample of content before purchasing.

+By carrying the compact Kindle in my purse, I can choose to read from many sources. I no longer have to carry a heavy book bag when I travel (not that I travel much, anyway).

Now for the downside:

+ Many of the books I want for the Kindle are not available in the Kindle store on Amazon. If I want to read a bestseller, it’s always available on the Kindle. But if I want an older book, a bibliography or reference book, or a cookbook, it’s generally not available. I read some bestsellers, but that’s not usually the type of book I buy.

+ I wish the Kindle navigated the internet better. I know it’s not meant to be an iPhone, but I keep comparing it to the iPhone in my head. I would love to be able to send email from my Kindle and to download and listen to music as well. (There is a feature for MP3 files, but it’s “experimental” — read: doesn’t work intuitively.)

+ I wish the screen was backlit so I could read it in the dark. That said, the screen, while not backlit, looks remarkably like a printed page.

And now for the worst thing about the Kindle:

+ I have developed a new form of anxiety — TBR (to-be-read) Anxiety. This is not Amazon’s fault; it’s mine. I just can’t keep up with everything I want to read. There are so many worlds yet unexplored in books that I have not yet read, print or electronic. I now have so much to read I am foundering in a sea of print much as a tall ship in the doldrums. I feel overwhelmed. This is not how my books, which sit on a shelf or table until I have time make me feel. When I turn on the Kindle and see seven books and many days worth of a newspaper to read, I feel an acute sense of anxiety. I realize this anxiety may be the sole domain of the already sick bibliomane. 😉

Here’s are pictures of my TBR stack(s):

Those are just the actual books I have to read. I currently have about seven books in the Kindle and get daily electronic delivery of The Wall Street Journal. It’s starting to (electronically) pile up. I start wondering when I will ever finish reading all of this information. I begin to despair. I’ve decided to name this feeling TBR Anxiety.

What’s the cure for this disorder?

Bookselling.

The books I gather for re-sale do not need to be read; they just need to be sold. Hence, they are shelved in an orderly and organized way. I feel much better when I open my armoire of double-shelved books and see neat, orderly rows that will eventually go into someone else’s TBR pile.

I feel better now.

Some things Amazon might consider:

+ Add cookbooks to your Kindle store. I would love to look up a recipe and take the grocery list right from the Kindle screen when I am out and on-the-go. It would very much help with last-minute menu planning.

+ Add reference books and obscure bibliographies. If I could access such books when I am about to purchase an old book at a library or estate sale or book fair, it would sometimes save me from making a mistake.

+ Add a color screen. I know that the plain, non-backlit Kindle screen is supposed to be easier on the eyes, but I’d rather see the color screen. Quit trying to be a book and become a new format for delivering text to the reader.

That’s all for now. I like my Kindle, but I really don’t think that its current incarnation is going to be the Killer App that puts the codex out of commission.

For more thoughts on the Kindle, check out the fellows at Book Patrol.

See you in the stacks!

I’ll update on the Kindle again in another month or so.

8 Comments

Filed under A Bookseller's Education, Book Finds, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Chapter 290 The Amazon Kindle — One Month Later, Or, TBR Anxiety

  1. tomlinton

    I have found the cure for TBR
    after 11 months with a Kindle
    My dead tree pile is gone
    and won’t be added to
    I have three partners on my account
    and they add books
    I only want to sample
    I don’t subscribe to blogs
    newspapers or magazines
    although I’ve tried them
    I RSS to the computer
    and decide on Google Reader
    from the headline
    I hardly use the Kindle SD Chip any more
    1Gb could store 1111
    Instead books I’m not reading
    go back to storage on Amazon
    until I’m ready
    to download them again if ever
    Sweet and Simple!
    I wish I could say it in Latin
    :>)

  2. A pile of clothes next to the books for sale. An interesting contrast.
    Are you sure you want to sell those books on the top shelf? They look like they have library stickers on the spines.

  3. The books on the top shelf are wrapped in mylar dustjacket protectors. If there is a sticker on a book’s spine, the sticker is on the mylar dustjacket protector and says “SIGNED” to remind me and customers at book fairs) which books are signed.

    Generally, I don’t sell ex-library books unless they are quite rare in any edition.

    Chris

  4. My Latin is horrible, but for sweet and simple:

    dulcis quod simplex

    or something like that?

  5. matthew

    I was going to ask about the top shelf books, too 🙂 – I don’t own a kindle yet, but I do use my iphone for catching up with my blogs and the news.

    However, a sign that I’m getting old — I like having the rooms full of bookshelves. I like having a physical library that I can run my fingers over, determining what I might like to read. And, to this day, I get a more satisfying emotional reaction from a physical book. I suppose it’s like people that prefer coke in a glass bottle because it “just tastes better”

  6. Thanks for the comment on my blog. Coke does indeed taste better in a glass bottle! 😉

    And I’m with you. I like being surrounded by my books. It’s when I see a huge list of them, as on the Kindle, that I think, “I’ll never read all of this.”

    Thanks for reading.

  7. Pingback: Chapter 351 The Kindle — Five Months Post-Purchase, Or, Amazon, Are You Listening? « Book Hunter’s Holiday

  8. vizma1

    LOOKING AHEAD by Wally Dobelis

    Collecting signed Ernest Hemingway books
    In a recent trip, chatting with fellow-passengers about the books we carry, an Ohio schoolteacher denounced paper reading material as obsolete, and non-green. He only reads Kindle books and free newspapers on Internet (NYTimes was mentioned). His wife chimed in that library books spread germs.

    All that made me sick, no fault of germs, and turn green (nothing personal, fellow environment cherishers). Old books have been part of my life, and libraries were my playgrounds. People collect old porcelain for its beauty and old paintings for their grace and history, and old books because that’s where knowledge resides. A New Yorker writer recently examined Kindle-available titles against his library and found very few meaningful authors electronically represented. A matter of time, you say? Eventually the libraries will be superfluous and un- necessary? Maybe, and so will be brains and thought processes, since all knowledge and opinions (qualified by polls or ayatollahs) will be retrievable from data bases and TV.

    I admire books, old, particularly those signed, touched by the author. It is like shaking hands with the mind I admire. My particular mental puzzle is Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), a man with a consistent handwriting, easily recognizable and forgery prone. What was in his mind when he turned the gun on himself in lonely Ketchum, Idaho? Whenever I visit a rare book show, I study the copies of his titles. He seemingly inscribed many books to unidentifiable friends and casual way companions, but had only one , his best remembered book, A Farewell to Arms, published in a 510 copy limited signed first edition, encased in a tight box, guaranteed authentic .

    Speaking of boxed limited signed editions as a whole, they are pernicious to the survival of the book in a pristine condition; taking the copy in and out is destructive of the vellum or cloth spine. I never dare to do it without permission, for fear of making an inadvertent perilous move.

    Speaking as a collector, of the 510 Hemingway’s 1929 first edition Farewell to Arms limited signed copies only a few have survived in fair condition, and only one in pristine condition, with the box fully complete, an important point. It is for sale at Glenn Horowitz’s book emporium in New York. I have wondered whether the book’s condition survived because the owner broke the edges of the pristine box and restored them more loosely, to gain access to his own treasure without damaging it. (Glenn Horowitz, incidentally, is an internationally known dealer who finds homes for Presidents’ and authors’ personal collections, accessible by appointment).

    Alas, the pleasures of collecting treasures are scary in a recession environment. People are looking for values that will resist the inflation lurking around the corner that certain economists warn us about. I have a neighbor who talks of relying on gold, incessantly, in elevators and in the building lobby. Old paintings and porcelain are part of the thinking; many modern pieces of art have not been time-tested, and some of the most avant-garde ones are made of organic materials that deteriorate, and should really come with a restorer’s guarantee, essentially an insurance policy. I will stick with the old values, old books from the 1600s and 1900s are surviving pretty well.

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