The Kindle is an interesting device.
I've had mine for a couple of years now, and I'm still happy with it. It's everything I expected. What surprised me though, was the way it changed how I read books.
I'm not a great browser, I'll be honest. For the nerds out there, I'd say I was the IE6 of book browsing. I tend to stick with authors I know. In a bookshop, I'll check for the location of the Pratchetts and Palahniuks, knowing full well that I already own them all. And then I'll cast my eye disparagingly at all the other books, and walk out.
On the Kindle it's actually even harder. The books store simply says: Fiction (100000). Great. Thanks.
So you look up the authors you know. Maybe something, maybe nothing. Ok. What now? I look around the bus. Obviously I'm on a bus on the way to work, that's the only chance I get to read. Unlike before, I have no idea what all the Kindle and iPad owners are reading. Bugger.
Amazon have created a chart, so I can see what the nation as a whole is reading, but I can't get a feel for the vibe on the bus. Remember that year when everyone was reading Da Vinci code? I want that.
Maybe there could be a little screen on the back with the book title. Or maybe they should have Bluetooth, and let you sample nearby readers' libraries.
So I found myself just flicking through the charts and I found ... Asimov. I have never read Asimov. Science fiction as a whole puts me off, simply by the thickness of the volumes involved. But on a Kindle, that's not so scary. I don't have a heavy book, and I don't feel like I'm embarking on another Lord of the Rings.
Before I realise it, I'm almost done with Asimov. What should I read next? War and Peace? Shakespeare's complete works? Harry Potter?
The size doesn't bother me. The covers aren't off-putting, and I can even read the Pornographer's Diaries (Danny King is a favourite author) without embarrassment. The world is my oyster.
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