I too, am one of those who love a room full of books. I used to be one of those people who leaned strongly in favour of printed books, over any digital device. Recently, I got a Kindle, or, I should say, I got Kindled with a new kind of enthusiasm. Overnight I went from being a skeptic of such devices, to a convert. Though I still love printed books, the convenience and wonder of the Kindle make it hard not to love it.
For starters, it is delightfully light to hold. It is the size of your typical paperback, and weighs around the same. Unlike most digital objects that scream 'glossiness', the Kindle is sober. It patiently wears its black leather cover (optional), and assumes a very bookish appearance, almost like a 17th century diary. The best part of it is its screen surface, unlike any other. It is not hard on the eyes; in fact, it looks exactly like ink on paper. Unlike computer screens or tablets, the screen is not lit from within, which creates a strain on your eyes after many hours of viewing. In every respect, it looks and acts exactly like a real book. It also allows you to change the font size and line spacing to suit your vision. It has an audio option that reads to you if you like. When traveling you don't have to carry heavy books, but can just load thousands of them on it and voila, you are ready to go. Reading on the computer can be full of distractions, with other links and tabs all waiting to be clicked, but reading on the Kindle is a very different process. It is as soothing and absorbing as sitting down with a real book. Downloading books onto it is also easy as pie. It has a surprisingly long battery life. It is the only device out there, that is purely dedicated to act of reading, and that's why I love it, even though I never thought I would.
If you are a voracious reader, it's a thing worth investing in. Many of us are so attached to books, that we assume these devices are threatening their long legacy. But they may even encourage reading. And book lovers will always buy printed matter. Certain kinds of books, such as illustrated material, or high-quality printed books, will always be preferred in print. A lot of everyday reading can be easily and smoothly transferred to the Kindle.
Ever since Gutenberg invented printing, the book has stood for centuries as a revered, almost sacred object of our culture. It is the symbol of intellectual pursuit. It is one of the few mediums that are capable of conveying long, complex concepts and thoughts. Until the last few decades it was the main way to transfer knowledge. Now its physical form is changing faster than some of us would like, but it is still, inherently, the same thing. Even though I read a lot on the Kindle, I still regularly read printed books. There is a charm in holding and handling a tangible object; that you know can't be deleted at the press of a button. And of course, even with a thousand Kindles, a wall full of books remains the ultimate delight.
The author is co-founder and Director, Content Design at Steta