Late night, Thursday, 21 April 2011.
The Australian dollar had reached $1.07 against the US dollar.
Thanks to my employer’s foresight, I’d gotten next week’s pay five days earlier than normal to avoid the banking chaos predicted for next week with the back-to-back Easter Monday and Anzac Day public holidays.
No major expenses were looming.
So I wandered over to a certain website and yet again considered a product I’d been mulling over for the previous few months.
I mulled over it yet again – and finally, I decided to take the risk because now was as good a time as any.
So, much earlier than I thought I would – “later this year” had been the vague notion for the past few months – I bought an Amazon Kindle.
For years I’d considered buying an ebook reader, but lately I’d been thinking about it more and more because of factors like better technology, changing life experiences and my 10-Year Plan.
All my life I’ve loved books, and along with food they’re what I purchase the most. If you were ever under threat from me – which would be very unlikely, admittedly – the best way to distract me is point and cry, “Hey, look over there – a book-sale!” and make your escape.
But although one or two books are highly portable, hundreds or thousands are not – especially if you want to de-clutter your life and live in simpler circumstances.
As well, books can take up valuable space when travelling – and if you go to great book-selling cities like Canberra or Melbourne, and especially book-junkie paradises like Clouston and Hall Booksellers in Canberra, you often return with much more luggage than when you left.
Also, books in Australia are expensive for several reasons, and there are many interesting-looking foreign titles that never reach Down Under – which of course you can still order from overseas, but often the postage and handling costs are greater than the price of the book itself.
I don’t want to rid my life completely of books – some of them are golden oldies that may never ever have ebook editions, and there are the pleasant memories that their physical presence evokes (when and where I bought them, and – with the all-time favourites – that thrilling experience of the first read). I won’t ever stop buying them – but to save money and especially space, I must buy much less of them.
I first saw a Kindle in late 2009, and I was impressed – although at the time, the range of titles available to Australian readers was very poor (the person who owned that Kindle often sent hers to US friends who’d purchase ebooks with it on her behalf and mail it back). That limited range back then was a major factor why I didn’t think much about getting a Kindle or any other reader at the time.
When the Borders Kobo came along, I was quite tempted by that – and also by the iPad when it arrived, although for other reasons besides using it as a reader.
By early this year, I had decided that if or when I was in the position to do so, I would like to have both an iPad (desirable, but not essential) and a Kindle (essential) – but I didn’t really see myself obtaining a Kindle until at least “later this year”.
Even despite Roosh’s interesting post last month about his Kindle – and the accompanying hilarious video – I stayed in the mind-frame of “later this year”.
But that night back on 21 April, those several factors came together and the time became now.
It took less than a week for the Kindle to arrive from the US, but I didn’t take it out of its box until almost three days later.
That was because of yet another frantic work period – and as well, I knew that if I started playing with the Kindle during that time, I would get even less work done.
So I waited patiently until last night, Friday night, and finally out it came.
My OCD and anal-retentive self even enjoyed the efficient and sleek packaging that the Kindle came in, and that part of me wants to hang on to it – but, no, out it will go to the recycling bin. Yes…it will.
Soon, I had the Kindle up and running, and I returned to the wishlist that I had been assembling at Amazon.
I could have gone berserk there, but I didn’t.
I restricted myself to just two purchases. One of them was Blake Crouch’s intriguing-sounding horror novel Run, the premise of which reminds of David Moody’s gripping and unnerving Hater. As a paperback here in Australia, Run could have set me back more than $20 – but via Kindle, I paid only $2.77.
The other purchase was Andrew D. Blechman’s Leisureville, which I first learned about from an amusing interview with Blechman at James Howard Kunstler’s KunstlerCast. In an Australian bookshop, the paperback version would most likely be around $30 in price, and a few weeks ago local bookseller Dymocks had the paperback available online for $21 – but via Kindle, it was only $7.41.
I’m still amazed by those savings.
Shortly after my purchases, I gave the Kindle its first roadtest by reading Chapter 1 of Leisureville in one of my favourite reading locations. It worked fine.
But don’t worry – after completing my toilet, I washed my hands thoroughly (as my OCD self always does) before I picked up the Kindle again.
Until next time, stay well and take care 🙂
UPDATE: My exciting adventures as a Kindle owner continue in this instalment