There are 10 things my Kindle can’t do.
These Kindle faults show the power of preferring a standard paperback:
- Exist without a Power Source –
Unfortunately, somebody bought out Nicolae Tesla’s patents. As is, we have no Tesla Coils to transmit electricity to our Kindle through midair. I’ve had two separate occasions where I ran out of battery at a crucial junction in a book. One was the climax of a novel. The other was a section I was quoting from a paper. If you’re seriously responsible enough that you’ve never seen your Kindle battery die, please comment below. I’d love to talk to you. This sounds stupid to mention, but get this people: Books don’t have batteries.
- Keep Track of All Who’ve Read It –
I try to keep my library as mobile as I can. I fall short of this often, but on a good day, I’ll pass a book onto someone and say, “read it, sign it, pass it on.” This way when I’m eighty and on my deathbed, someone might bring me a book with a list of signatures of former readers in the front cover. First, I ain’t passin’ my Kindle around. Technically, it’s my wife’s Kindle. Yeah, not gonna work.Second, the only ways to sign your name in the front are (a) sign the Kindle itself in permanent marker. This fails for multiple books. (b) You can create a GINORMOUS note at the start of a book with the names of everyone who reads it. There’s nothing more annoying than clicking on a large note from long ago while in the middle of my reading.
- Survive a Drop from the Top of a Flight of Stairs –
Sorry Pat, but I once dropped The Wise Man’s Fear either from a bunk bed or down some stairs, I’m not sure which. I do remember the sound it made, and the instant assurance that such a behemoth of a book would rest unharmed on the floor. 100,000 words verses10 stairs: words win.There’s not a single electronic device that I’d willingly drop from a bunk bed or a flight of stairs, hear it ca-thunk ca-thunk ca-thunk to the next landing, and breathe a sigh of relief afterwards. You’d better believe that MacBook, Kindle, iPhone, whatever – you’re runnin’ down three steps at a time to see if it’s okay.
- Lay Open a Two-Page Spread, Hands-Free on the Counter while I’m CookingI like a big book that lays open. I can read while I cook, or reference a recipe while I cook. You’d better believe that I’m not bringing my Kindle anywhere near my extra virgin olive oil or buttermilk. My mentor used to call them “change minutes” – minutes that you could spend reading in between tasks. Sometimes I read while cooking, waiting on the dog, waiting in the DMV, waiting in the doctor’s office, driving, using the restroom, etc. These change minutes I then cash in for a full book, a book read in the in-between places. Most of those I can’t do with Kindle – imagine dropping it in the toilet. There’s $199 down the drain.
- Justify Repurchase Easily –
If, for some terrible reason I spilt a caramel mochiatto with extra caramel drizzle, soy milk, and sugar in the raw sprinkles on my Kindle, I’m out roughly $70 or $199 depending on time of purchase and version. If I spilt coffee on a book, I’m out twelve bucks. The second’s a no-brainer:
Bad book? Fuggidaboudit.
Good book? Barkeep! Another round for the boys!
- Look Sexier Over Time –
Technology never ages well. Books do. There’s a whole branch of photography called “book porn.”
- Allow My Finger to Bookmark Three Separate Pages –
Especially with reference books or in-depth fantasy fiction, I love placing my finger in a page, then another finger ten pages later, then another forty pages later and opening to a fourth page. This way, I can flip back and forth between related pages and remember what came before. Comparison often makes a book for me. The best Kindle has to offer is notes and searches. Gag me. I ain’t spending my first read-through searching crap. If I’m searching, I’d better spend my time finding the directions to The Hub: Coffee and Bicycles
- Use Full-Color Pictures without Backlighting –
It’s called a printing press. We still use them. TIME magazine “stopped the presses” to crank out a whole new issue when Steve Jobs died. Magazines have full color pictures that don’t hurt your eyes. Photojournalism and coffee table books use lucid images that don’t hurt your eyes. What electronic device can we say this about?
- Take up Shelf-Space in my Library –
How else am I gonna decorate my study/library/den/fireplace room without my motley single-file line of book spines standing guard over my bookshelves? You know what men in uniform and book spines have in common? Women think they’re sexy. The ladies dig it. How do you think I landed Kiddo? It wasn’t a military uniform, I’ll tell you that much right now. The rainbow of book spines might have had something to do with it, though. When it comes to decorating a library, my Kindle’s spineless.
- Flip to a time-worn page –
Don’t miss this: great books break in their greatest pages.Today, I wanted to reference a quote from a book I love for an article I was writing. I own it both on Kindle and hardcover. I couldn’t find my hard copy, so I flipped on the Kindle and searched for it. And searched for it. And searched for it. Finally I gave up and wrote this post instead of the article I should be writing right now.Great books break in their greatest pages. I can flip to my favorite quote from Dostoevsky instantly. I know right where it is. The book almost falls open in my lap, no hyperbole required.If I’m guessing right, the people who read consistently out of holy books like The Bible count on those pages to be worn in. They count on those books in moments of pain and suffering to flip open to the right page in a moment. It’s more than just a bookmark or a note they keyed in at some location. It’s the way the pages fall. It’s how some passages stick together while others bear lose-hanging wear from decades of rumination. When all falls down in their lives, these books fall too right down in front of them, falling open to that page, those pages, that they have always counted on.Kindle didn’t do that today.
- BONUS: Let an author sign my favorite page in a first edition copy.
cover images by: