I’m a voracious reader, the type who will read cereal boxes if nothing else is available. For me, the Kindle has been a godsend. Books are available at the touch of a button, and the bookstore is nearly infinite. Yeah, there’s something to holding and reading a real book. It feels and smells good, and it’s a work of art on its own.
But with a Kindle I can carry over a thousand books anywhere I go (it’s actually more if you consider the “Complete Works of…” collections I have that are listed as a single book).
I don’t have to hold the pages of a Kindle open with a weight while I’m eating, and if I’m eating ribs or something I can turn pages with my wrist. Also, the Kindle wipes off better if food gets on it. The new Paperwhites are waterproof now, have 32 GB of memory, and an illuminated screen for reading in bed.
The downside is that it’s so very easy to get a new book online. Imagine a regular bookstore where you can buy a book just by tapping it on the shelf. I’d have to bring a wheelbarrow.
And what do you do when your favorite authors aren’t turning out work fast enough? (Or are mostly dead, which is another issue). Then you have to give some new authors a try. With the Kindle online store, they will cheerfully shove large numbers of new works in front of you at every opportunity, with algorithms designed around your previous purchases and clicks. The free sample option makes things even easier. But how do you make the final selections?
In my younger days, there was a somewhat crude term called “Beer Goggles.” It’s when you go to a bar, looking for company, and the night wears on. After enough beers, and enough time, those sketchy-looking people you didn’t really want to approach when you walked in start looking a lot better.*
Same for online book buying. When you are really hard up for something new to read, and recent books from your favorite authors aren’t available, some of the lower tiers start looking a lot more interesting. You know … “Book Goggles.”
Hmmm…maybe this one about a leprechaun private detective would be okay. Or a garage that repairs flying saucers. Dragon romance? Sample looks acceptable. 99 cents? Okay, I’m there, man.
You can strike paydirt this way. The book turns out to be pretty good, and if you’re lucky, the first of an already-existing eight-book series. Or something pops up out of the blue. “What? Ray Bradbury wrote noir detective stories?”
And however your Book Goggle shopping turns out, it sure beats a cereal box.
* I didn’t go to bars when I was young, or drink beer, but I got the concept.