Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why I'm not buying an e-reader

I am not going to buy a Kindle. Not even if print newspapers disappear and "print" news is available only on such a device. Not even if paperbacks and hardcovers go away and all new books are issued electronically.

My obstinance in this regard is not from a tactile need to feel and smell a paper book, nor because I love getting black ink on my hands every morning when I read the Washington Post. The reason I won't buy a Kindle is the same reason I never buy anything but Dollar Store sunglasses anymore: I'm sure I would lose it. I would set it down on a Metro seat or leave it at someone's house and that would be the end of it. Not such a bad thing when you lose a paperback book that costs five bucks, but near tragic when the device you're reading it on costs more than $100.

Perhaps it is because I am a kleptomaniac when it comes to pens—my drawers are full of pens I've permanently borrowed from stores (to sign credit card receipts, etc.) and from friends—that the universe requires a balance. Thus, I constantly lose sunglasses. So many sunglasses that I now buy five to ten cheap pairs at the start of the summer, and feel lucky if I can get to the end of the summer with one pair left.

So, when the Kindle sells for a dollar, or it's as cheap as a pen and friends don't mind too much if I absently take it from them, I'll be glad to have one, no matter how temporary.

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