On books, in print and on my Kindle


Commenting on James Gleick’s New York Times piece on the future of book publishing, bibliophile and Kindle owner David Charbuck writes:

“Like Glieck, I am delighted Google is digitizing the world’s libraries, giving a second life to millions of titles doomed to acid based paper and the physical barriers of getting inside of the Widener Library at Harvard. On the other hand I envisioned myself retiring, a wealthy man, into a lavish library with a leather chair and a roaring fire, and no other responsibilities in my dotage than to read my collection while getting sipping expensive eau de vie and shuffling around in my smoking jacket, a snoring terrier at my feet. Instead I get a glowing panel casting, in the words of Tom Wolfe, a “tubercular blue glow.”

David has other keen observations on his conflicted views of his Kindle. I share his pain — and un-pain.

Traveling last week, I was able to haul along a shelf-full (in a metaphoric-virtual way) of books I’ve been wanting to read recently. And the $9.99 price of most books, even newly-published best-sellers, has broadened my reading choices for the year, as well. But I am discovering that after I spend a few days reading a wonderful book, I miss having a souvenir to remember it by.

So during my year with a Kindle, I’ve read some books I later purchased in print, including one over the weekend: Jon Meacham’s American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. In fact, Meacham’s book is the first I’ve ever purchased in three different formats. First, in a spoken-word format via Audible.com. Second, as a download to my Kindle. And third, as a hardback so it could sit on a shelf next to my collection of books by Robert Remini — there patiently waiting for me to one day retire and be re-read while I’m wearing a smoking jacket.