According to various articles I’ve read on the interwebs this week, the Kindle was ten years old on 19 November 2017. I’m in the UK, where we didn’t get to join the party until a couple of years later, but still. Only eight years! Feels like a lifetime.
It’s the season for counting our blessings, and while the invention of the Kindle is by no means the best thing that’s ever happened to me, it transformed my reading life and I am exceedingly grateful for it. Here’s why:
I can buy books by authors I never could find in my local bookstores.
Even though I live in a capital city (London), I always struggled to track down books by authors I wanted to read—mostly fantasy and romance authors, often American. Even five years ago a very well-informed publishing industry figure told me at a conference that writers like Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips ‘don’t sell’ in the UK. I have no idea how true that was, but I’m glad I don’t have to rely on publishers to make that decision for me anymore.
Kindle opened up the world of publishing to indie authors and enabled them to connect directly with a readership.
The explosion of indie publishing means writers can take a risk on all kinds of niche genres that would never suit a mainstream publishing house. It has led to wider choice for readers (in the old world I’d surely never have read The Last Hour of Gann), free books, box sets, and all kinds of price promotions.
I can take my whole library with me when I travel.
In the past, when my husband and I went on a trip, packing was a nightmare. We’d have one suitcase for clothes and one for books. Those were my fall-back choices. I’m a fast reader, so I’d buy another four or so at the airport based on whatever the bookshop wanted to sell me and leave those on the plane as I finished them.
I can keep my whole library in more than one place at once.
On a Kindle in my handbag (purse), and on another one at home, or the Kindle app on my iPad. No more transferring the book from handbag to sofa and forgetting to put it back in my bag the next day.
As long as there’s a phone signal or WiFi, I’ll always be able to buy a book.
I used to travel a lot, and I’d always research bookstore locations before I left so that I knew where my next novel was coming from. No longer. I remember the day I bought a book while sitting in a hot tub on the balcony of a hotel room on Vancouver Island. For me it was a greater luxury than champagne, flowers, chocolates, or silk sheets.
The book buying experience is immediate.
Before Kindle, if I found a stash of good US romance novels in my local Borders, I’d buy six or eight at a time because I never knew when I’d be able to top up my supply. I still have a TBR collection, but now it’s from choice rather than necessity.
I can upload my manuscripts, and those of my friends.
A simple email to the device, and Kindle will convert and upload my Word documents at no cost. Perfect for beta reading!
I know not everybody feels the way I do about e-books and/or Kindle. Where do you stand? Why?