As you may have heard, the Amazon Kindle has finally come to Canada. Chalk up another late victory for the digital content ghetto that is our sprawling nation. We join the likes of Kyrgyzstan, Libya and Oman as countries able to use the gadget.
I’ve played with a Kindle a couple of times, and they’re pretty nifty things. You can store about 1500 books on them (have I read that many books in my life? Surely not) and the battery apparently lasts for two weeks worth of reading. Amazon offers about 300,000 books at US $12 or less, and you can get a bevy of newspapers and magazines online as well.
And yet, I don’t want one.
Cost, Backlog and Snobby Appeal
First there’s the cost. With taxes and import fees, the Kindle is going to cost at least CAN $325 before you buy a single book. Given that you might save an average of $10 per book by buying digital versions, you can start realizing cost savings after buying about 30 books. I wish I read more, but 30 books represents at least two years worth of reading. And who knows what options will be available by then?
Yes, it’s thrilling that I could carry a ton of books with me on the go. But, I don’t have a too-many-books-to-carry problem. I have a not-enough-time-to-read problem. I have at least five or six Audible credits waiting to be used because I’ve got a backlog of audio books which I haven’t listened to yet.
Plus, I’m totally unexcited about yet another electronic device which requires recharging. Plus there’s the ‘valuable object’ problem. If my bag gets stolen and there’s a book in it, then no big deal. If my Kindle gets stolen, then that’s a bigger problem.
Finally, there’s the snobby appeal of having your walls lined with bookshelves, and those bookshelves lined with books.
It’s a cool object, and I can see why lots of people want one. If I ever go back to school, for example, the idea of having all of my text books on one device sounds awesome. Still, I’m not salivating about yesterday’s announcement from Amazon.
Do you want a Kindle?