My Kindle Ate My Homework

In spite of my desire to be self-sufficient in the food department, I like technology.

Betamax

Betamax (Photo credit: Leonardo Rizzi)

Love it, actually. Can’t always afford it, but I love it. While growing up, my mom was always on the forefront of entertainment technology. We were the first family in the neighborhood to get a Betamax video recorder, and I had friends over every day to watch recordings of late night movies. When we got an Atari, my siblings and I spent hours fighting over who got to play Frogger next. In high school, my mom and I sat for hours in front of the Commodore 64 computer playing what passed for interactive games in those days; not graphics, just a story where you typed what to do next, and the words would turn red, or shake, or a gong would sound, and the story would go on. Jack the Ripper. Zork. I can’t remember the others.

I wish this was my tub.

As an adult, I haven’t been able to afford to step into new technology the moment it becomes available. I pick and choose, and wait for the playing field to level out before investing in something. This Christmas, I finally got my first e-reader, the Kindle Fire. I love it. I don’t have to hold pages open to read while I do something else with my hands or try to walk on the treadmill. It is light and easy to read in the bathtub (yes, I take it in the bath with me.) It has a multitude of other diversionary functions like Suduko and Solitaire. I can transport my documents and make notes on them on the go. There are a ton of free books available, or inexpensive new authors to try.

But already I’ve had a reminder why hard-copy books will never be obsolete. I purchased John Truby’s Anatomy of Story, which I am reading as further education for my writing craft, and I wanted it for my Kindle so I could read in the tub (yes, I work in the tub.) While I was taking notes, the book suddenly went blank. I could see the cover page, but every page thereafter was blank.

I was devastated.

After trying everything recommended online, I called Amazon. They have great customer service, by the way. But the technician couldn’t help me. He told me it was a problem they were having with some publishers, and to give it a few days to resolve itself.

I went back to reading my hard-copy of the book, which I was grateful to own. Once again, I resorted to a highlighter, pen, notepad, and sticky notes. As I searched for the sticky note pad that had fallen into the crevasse of the sofa, I missed the ease of my Kindle.

But I was glad I had a “real” book.

So if you love a book, make sure you own it in multiple formats. You never know when technology might fail you. And speaking from experience, a “real” book is still readable if you drop it in the bathtub.

© Tam Linsey, 2011. All rights reserved.

P.S. I called Amazon again, and this time the tech had me do a factory reset of my kindle. I lost all my music and my personal documents. But I did get the book back. Good thing it’s a book I will read several times. I’m still glad to have it on paper.

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14 thoughts on “My Kindle Ate My Homework

  1. I used to feel that way, that my Kobo would never replace books. But now I prefer (gasp) my Kobo to reading a real live book. I find it easier to enjoy reading (and when I say this I mean library books. I don’t really purchase books, too expensive, since I go through them fast). For instance, there is no putrid smell of the pages to distract me. I don’t have to see or touch ketchup stained pages. It’s like getting a brand new book in my hands. I love that I can go to my “library” at 3 in the morning to browse. There’s no worry of overdue fees etc.
    I just realized the brand you speak of is Kindle, which doesn’t allow you to take out library books. I think you need to get a Kobo! :-)

  2. Clair, I have not yet done it, but I CAN borrow library books for my Kindle from my local library. I had a long debate over which e-reader to go with, and my daughter talked me into the Kindle Fire. You make an excellent point about borrowing abused library books versus getting “clean” books via an e-reader, as well as getting to browse at 3 AM. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I have a Nook and a Kindle, yet, deep down, I’m afraid of losing paper forever (for the exact reasons you mention). And I worry that someday soon, Amazon will control how, when and what we read (shudder). I hope that day never comes. On the other hand, I love not having to store paper books or having to leave my house to find them.

    • I am a little worried about Amazon’s mega-control over everything we read, as well, which was the most difficult hurdle for me in choosing the Kindle. Yet because they have the largest e-collection to offer, it was also my reason for choosing Kindle. Go-figure.

  4. I have the Kindle Touch, and chose it over Kindle Fire, because I only want to read books and manuscripts on it. Don’t care about games and all the rest. I don’t love the Kindle, I find it MORE difficult to read in bed than a book.

    I do love the instant download…I also hate the instant download. I used to plan book purchases within a book budget. Now I get all excited and tap that “buy it now” button before I’ve had a chance to think twice. Oops! Should I have bought that? Should I return it? My lack of self control is embarrassing.The secret shame of book addiction!

    I also ponder: What happens if Amazon gets hit by a hacker and my account gets wiped out? (I am totally sure some computer-hacking demon/terrorist/bankrupted publisher is rubbing his hands together and plotting “death to Amazon” right this very minute.) Yeah, I have all these books on my current Kindle, but have you ever had a computer that lasted forever?

    Veronica

    • I contemplated the “only want to read books” desire when picking which Kindle, as well, but when my iPod died, I decided I might as well get the “all in one” Kindle.
      And as far as a computer lasting forever, that is one of the “Good” things about the cloud – Amazon keeps records of your purchases, so if you get a new device, you can simply upload your library. That is, if Amazon doesn’t get hit by a super-hacker :)
      I guess we have to take the good with the bad. And don’t even get me started on the whole “what if I lose my Kindle” thing.

  5. I haven’t been able to save enough pennies to get an e-reader yet, but I have downloaded the Kindle for PC, and an epub reader. I really like them. Only problem is I can’t take desk top computer in the bathtub ;-(

  6. Hehe – that was my problem, too. And the reason I got the less expensive Kindle rather than the iPad I really wanted. My family pitched in to give it to me as a Christmas gift. Thanks for stopping by.

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