Bohemian Ballot: To Kindle or Not To Kindle?

by Derwood Hunsdale-Talbot on July 30, 2008

That is, to bastardize Hamlet, the question. This is the ultimate bookworm dilemma, and we at Written Word are trying to reach a consensus. On the one hand, if we do Kindle, what will happen to quiet libraries full of gilded, dog-eared, underlined, inscribed, beautiful, man-handled books? What about the physical expression of smelling, holding, falling asleep on, the book, or picking out festive bookmarks to place between the pages before you go to bed each night? Is it even really possible to bury your face in a “revolutionary electronic reading display” as the Amazon site describes it.

On the other hand, with increasing baggage restrictions and the rise of the mp3 player, is buying a Kindle an inevitable trend that only the most anachronistic could ignore? A Kindle has some cool features, like allowing you to compile all your publications, prose, and poetry in one sleek 10.3 inch package. As someone who never goes anywhere without the aforementioned “literary trifecta” of magazine, novel and poetry volume, that’s pretty appealing. Also, you can download and read first chapters, making the first page test easy-peasy.

Pretty compelling. As someone who moved seamlessly to Itunes for all her music and movies without so much as a backwards glance at her local Easy Street, I don’t know why I feel so much more trepidation about wireless for my daily word fix. Is it because I worry I will meet my bohemian bookworm death by attempting to Kindle in the bath tub? Is it fear of the dreaded Online Shopping Under the Influence (the same awful phenom that caused me to accidentally purchase a Paris Hilton single six times.) Should I just wait for a bathtub-proof Kindle with a built-in breathalizer? Maybe…and yet.

There’s just something about the physical being of books I’m not prepared to lose. I’ve moved a million times, tossing denim, dishes, pictures into the dumpster like the bohemian I am, but the bookworm in me caused me to carry every single precious paperback, hardback, poetry volume, red-faced and grumbling up mountains of stairs, to be placed pristinely once again on the shelf. So as for me, I don’t know if practicality will ever overcome precious sentiment when it comes to reading material. What about you? Take our ballot below!

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