Do You Love the Story or the Physical Book? Or both?

Here’s a provocative article by Joe Queenan about his 6,128 favorite books.

As for me, I love books in all forms. Even though my bookshelves       hold some memorabilia and knick knacks, in general, they are filled with books and for a relatively small apartment, I have many bookshelves.  I fought the idea of a Kindle or Nook in the beginning, but as with many others, I caved when I was getting on an airplane.  What happened to my reading?  It exploded.  Exactly as Jeff Bezos at Amazon hoped it would.

As quoted by Peter Osnos in this recent article in the Atlantic .    “During a BBC interview the other day, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, in an uncharacteristic moment of revelation, disclosed that the company makes no profit on its various Kindle devices. “We sell the hardware at our cost, so it is break even on the hardware.” Why then is Amazon is so aggressive in its development of ever-more refined e-readers and tablets? “What we find,” Bezos explained, “is that when people buy a Kindle they read four times as much as they did before they bought the Kindle. But they don’t stop buying paper books. Kindle owners read four times as much, but they continue to buy both types of books.” The Bezos strategy is clearly aimed at driving profit margins through hard bargaining with publishers, whose dependence on Amazon as a principal retailer has been growing significantly each year.”

I’m more a story gobbler than a paper/ink/spine lover.  So here’s how I “read” books these days. I read fiction either on my Kindle or in a physical book. I listen to nonfiction books as a devoted audiophile.  I am selective about who reads my audio books and prefer English male voices like John Lee or Stephen Fry. Often they put me to sleep better than a tab of Ambien, but they also allow me to inhale information about historical characters or events that I never would take in through my eyes.  If I miss something in a nighttime listen, I “rewind” and listen again.  I listen to books when I’m walking, when I’m cooking, sometimes when I’m sketching.  Here are a few examples of the non-fiction books I’ve listened to recently: THE RIVER OF DOUBT by Candice Millard, THE WORST HARD TIMES by Timothy Egan, CITIZENS OF LONDON by Lynne Olson,   THE IRREGULARS, Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant, AGENT ZIGZAG, DOUBLE CROSS and OPERATION MINCEMEAT by Ben McIntyre.  These are just a few entries in a very long list.

I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon (I won’t go into that here), but I have to admit that, on this score,  Jeff Bezos is right.  Since I bought the Kindle, I’m reading/listening at least twice as much.  Perhaps because virtual books in one form or the other get delivered to my bedside table so quickly and seamlessly, it has “rekindled” my love of reading and my voracious appetite for story.

Leave a Message for Elizabeth

  1. Elizabeth, I might be a geek but I am addicted to physical books. I don’t have a kindle and maybe that would help me shift but I love non-fiction books that often feature images and until kindle improves images then Ill stick to paper, the only paper I really like