I was a book purist for the longest time. "I only read paper books,"I sneered to coworkers, friends, and family. I hoarded my thousands and thousands of books (taking up a stupid number of bookshelves in my house) and prided myself on their covers, their contents. In 2012, I started an endeavor to reread every book I owned -- which I successfully did, thankyouverymuch -- and found myself, well, bored.
I bought more books to read, but that got expensive. I started going to Goodwill to buy books for cheap -- somedays, they offered buy one, get one free or for 50 cents days, which is irresistible to book lovers. But in a small town, the book selection was slim. They had, easily, about 20 copies of all three Shades of Grey books and hundreds of Stephen King novels, as well as a surprising number of Harry Potter books, but that was about it alongside a multitude of cookbooks from the early 1990s and self-help books featuring women with shag haircuts on the front.
Occasionally, I would find well-worn copies of great books I'd always wanted to read -- like Possession by A.S. Byatt or Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Usually, I walked out empty-handed, wondering if I would need to reread Harry Potter for the 72nd time.
Then, in November, I got a Kindle. It's not a fancy kind -- it only downloads and stores books, not movies or anything else. It's black and white only. Simple. I expected to use it occasionally.
I did not expect to use my Kindle as much as I do -- which is nearly every day. I've ready over 20 books on my Kindle since I received it, a truly insane amount. I now read every night for at least an hour.
Mostly, I find myself reading books I normally wouldn't read. When I buy physical copies of books, I'm often buying paperbacks of books I've always wanted to read. On my Kindle, I read books I can't find in stores, old books I've wanted to read forever, and new releases for less than the copy of a hardcover. The variety of books I read is greater, which makes reading much more fun.
I'm not 100% sold by the Kindle though. It's definitely improved my reading habits, making it easier for me to read on the go or at the gym. But there is still something about opening a physical book, the feeling of the spine, the pages. I like writing in books, underlining and highlighting and taking notes. The cover art and font choice lends to the book; it's a piece of physical art to hold a beautiful book in your hands. So what about a Kindle?
Using a Kindle isn't as much as physical experience as a physical book. But a Kindle lets most people read more books easily -- and when it comes to reading, more is always more, you know?