I’m Stephen Haunts, and I’m a Kindleaholic. I keep buying books on the Kindle, and I can’t help it. I wasn’t as bad with paper books—OK; I bought a lot. The problem, if you can call it a problem, is that whenever anyone recommends a book they have read, I look it up on Amazon, and read the blurb and reviews. Before I know it, I have clicked the buy button and ten seconds later the book is sitting on my kindle ready to read.
Before I get accused of being an Amazon shill, the same issue exists with other e-readers, such as the Kobo or the Nook. The instant gratification of buying a book without having to go out anywhere is addictive. I started using a Kindle back in 2007, so I have built up an extensive library, which locks me into the Amazon ecosystem. Vendor lock-in is a bad thing, but damn; I just can’t help myself.
I also love physical books. I love the feel of them in my hands, and I love the smell—yes, I am a book sniffer. The problem is, I don’t enjoy getting rid of books I have finished reading. I don’t sell them or donate them. I see each completed book as a badge of honour, and I like to keep them on a bookcase. This becomes a problem when you read as much as I do. Books take up a lot of space.
I don’t know if I have a point with this post, apart from admitting I find the Kindle (or any other e-reader) addictive. A vast library of books, in my bag constantly. I now pretty much only read novels and non-fiction books in a digital format now. The only physical books I buy are those large, glossy, coffee table books. I’m a big fan of books about the art of movies, or about how movies are made. This type of book will always be better in physical form.
As a writer, the proliferation of the e-reader leaves me conflicted. I like my own books to be released as physical books. I always get that twang of excitement as I open a box of freshly printed books for the first time, but I know that realistically, I would probably buy the ebook version myself as a consumer. Ebooks are a problem for book shops. Only a few companies control the digital marketplaces for ebooks, locking out bookstores and smaller independents. I feel bad for them, but I still can’t stop buying my books digitally. Does that make me a bad person? Especially as a writer? Probably, but I seem to have become addicted to the digital crack cocaine that is the Kindle digital marketplace.