Do Kindles make bookshelves obsolete?

    Just as much as they are heavy and bulky to carry around, nothing proclaims progress than having two books you've finished reading neatly stood up on a bookshelf.

    Home Office Bookshelf
    I have two beautiful cherry bookshelfs in my home office filled with books I have read over the years. I love the feel, look and smell of books.
    Home Office Bookshelf
    I have two beautiful cherry bookshelves in my home office filled with books I have read over the years. I love the feel, look and smell of books.

    I am happily reading my third book on my Kindle 3.

    Author Stieg Larsson can claim the most austere title of the only author whose books I have read on my Kindle to date. The first book I read was Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and of course after becoming hooked on the character of Lisbeth Salander, the rest is history. There is a part of me that regrets missing the movie when it screened during the Cinequest film festival this year.  At the same time, I am glad the first encounter I had with Lisbeth was through the words of Stieg Larsson, as translated by Reg Keeland.

    I wrote a while back about my initial impressions of moving from paper to digital with the Amazon Kindle 3.

    So what is the verdict after polishing off two books and well into my third?

    Firstly, I do love my Kindle. It is simple, dependable and the battery life is something I wish I could achieve with all my electronic devices (Apple iPhone?). Having traveled recently to Tallahassee Florida to speak at a digital government summit, I did look at passengers with large wads of paper between their hands and marveled that at one time, I too read books in such a manner. Yes, I have averted the fate of becoming a Luddite.

    Having a new gadget is also like purchasing a red pair of shoes. All of a sudden, it seems everyone else in the world has one as well. While in the lobby of the hotel, I noticed two other travelers with Kindles. One did have the older generation and I both delighted at having the new slimmer, lighter version and there was a bit of anxiety knowing this fate would soon befallen on me.

    The Kindle is also so convenient and slips nicely into my laptop bag. In fact, it does this so well one time I panicked thinking I had lost it because it didn’t leave any perceivable bulge in the side pocket.

    What I do miss more than I thought though is the sense of accomplishment of having completed two books. Just as much as they are heavy and bulky to carry around, nothing proclaims progress than having two books you’ve finished reading neatly stood up on a bookshelf. With the Kindle, I have no such trophy. No dog ears on pages to say, “Loni was here and read this book.” No, when I am done a digital book, the words look just like they did when I first approached them, clean and crisp.

    Perhaps I need to create some digital bookmarks. Alas it is not as easy to do this as it is to take a pen and underline or fold the top corner of a page over.

    I glance at my bookshelf in my home office. I know it will be a long time before I part with such a sentimental artifact and my need to leave a mark.

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