This week I bought a Kindle.
I’m still over the moon knowing that I bought all twenty of Émile Zola’s Les Rougon-Marquart series plus the Les Trois Villes series for – get this – $4.99.
I still can’t believe it. I have read most of the series over the years (and they ain’t cheap) so this is a real treat to have them all together so cheaply.
If I had had a Kindle while getting my BA and MA in English at the University of Toronto those degrees would have cost me a hell of a lot less money. I specialized in 18th Century literature (like Clarissa by Samuel Richardson and Tom Jones by Henry Fielding) which were quite expensive to buy due to their small printing runs… since no one studied 18th Century literature (unlike 19th Century lit like Jane Eyre or Great Expectations which have huge printing runs). But now all those titles (18th Century and 19th Century) are in the public domain – thus are often FREE on Kindle.
But the Kindle wasn’t all that high on my list of things to get. Though I did want to get an e-reader before the Husband and I headed off on a Mexican cruise in October. And truth be told, I also wanted to get an anthology called Truth or Dare from Amazon that I contributed a piece to (available here from Amazon.ca).
I’m not sure when the tide changed and everyone suddenly wanted an e-reader.
Apparently they have been different forms of the ebook for years… going back to The Project Gutenberg back in 1971. Skip ahead to 1993 and Digital Book offered the first fifty digital books in floppy disk in Digital Book Format (DBF). In 1998 the first ebook readers, Rocket ebook and SoftBook appeared.
But it seemed no one cared.
Did people need to have paper between their fingers while reading books? That is what some experts told us as the public turned their noses up at ebooks en mass.
But then something happened.
In 2006 Sony Reader came out and in 2007 the Kindle appeared. Then at Xmas Oprah made the Kindle one of her ‘favourite things’. Suddenly the things began to pop up on the subway. At first we chucked at these folks. Nothing will get rid of the book.
But it seems we may well be on our way toward getting rid of paper books. Just look at the data:
The International Digital Publishing Forum collects quarterly US trade retail eBook sales in conjunction with the Association of American Publishers (AAP). The IDPF has aggregated quarterly statistics from the AAP’s program and earlier IDPF statistics program represented in the graph below.
But after having the Kindle for only a few days… I have to admit that I love it. It’s easy to carry, the font can be changed for older guys like me whose eyes are going and you gotta love the prices of ebooks. In addition to a few novels, I’ve also subscribed to the New York Times and Times Literary Supplement.
And for a Luddite… I feel so cutting edge.
So do any of you have an e-reader? Tell us about it.
Jeffrey, The Gay Groom.