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Dear Maggie,

So, I’ve been reading a kindle. You know me—this is a shocking event. Family members come into the room where I’m reading and stop in stunned disbelief, saying I look weird reading that little piece of plastic.

Some explanation may be necessary.

My mom accidently won the kindle (it was a door prize at an event). We thought winning it was hilarious because we were both staunch real-book supporters. As a result of our aversion to reading on screens, the little kindle sat on my shelf gathering dust for the past, oh, two years.

Sherlock Holmes saved my kindle from disuse. I watched BBC’s Sherlock and became extremely mildly obsessed* and, needless to say, was inspired to read the originals. After a bit of Internet sleuthing, the Arthur Conan Doyle fans informed me that I should start with the short story compilation The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

I decided Sherlock Holmes would be a great test subject for my foray into using an electronic reading device because, out of all the (public domain) classics, it seemed one of the least sacrilegious to read on a screen. Holmes was pretty up the to the minute, technology wise—he wouldn’t be offended by being read in digital form, would he? (Yes, I worry about these things) Also, they are short stories, so I would only need to survive the kindle for short periods of time.

So, I read THE KINDLE…and was pleasantly surprised. As advertised, it is easy to carry around, it keeps my place well, and I was able to start reading instantly. However, reading takes some getting use to. I find it oddly hard to hold and I keep accidently clicking the next-page buttons. I’m frustrated by not being able to easily flip back to reread or flip forward to see the length of a story. I’m also constantly babying it: cleaning its screen, wrapping it up, keeping it away from water, etc, etc.

And my Kindle is already way, way out of date. What with the Kindle Fire and many of the lower-end ones now with fancy touch screens, mine has become an embarrassment. Whoever heard of a book becoming obsolete?

But I get it now, I really do. I understand the appeal. I will no doubt read some more ebooks (I can see library romances with truly embarrassing covers in my kindle’s future). In fact, I’m in the Digital Publishing class at school and a member of the Digital Department at Ooligan Press because, whether I like it or not, ebooks are important to publishing’s future. Even so, I don’t see myself converting to buying only ebooks nor do I believe paper books will completely disappear. I like my purchase to result in a tangible object that I can put on my shelf and admire, get signed, lend to friends, read in the bath, or sell back to Powell’s (and so many more reasons, which I will spare you for now). Rather then seeing a future completely comprised of ebooks, I see a hybrid one.

Have you read an ebook? Have you, *gasp*, pirated a book? And, the most pertinent question of all, does reading fanfiction count as reading an ebook?



PS Sherlock Holmes is good.** You probably already deduced that from the over-130-year-old fandom. I’ll read The Hound of the Baskervilles and A Study in Scarlet here at some point. Stay Tuned.


* AWESOME SHOW. You, reader who is strangely not Maggie: Go watch it. Now. I will forgive you for not reading the rest of this post. It is on Netflix instant, so no excuses. No Netflix? You can find it by nefarious means out in the wild and wooly Internet. Go. You’ll thank me.

** I enjoyed it enough that I went and bought a paper copy. That’s how I roll. Having a public domain copy on your kindle just doesn’t feel REAL. It’s like you dreamed you read it.