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After having resisted for years, I finally caved in to the pressure of the amazon front page kindle advertisements. Every time I accessed amazon over the past months, they’d show me their kindles (I don’t know why that sounds dirty). The other week, there was a 20% off-offer on kindle cases with a built-in reading lamp. That finally did me in. I bought myself a kindle touch for the low-low price of 129 €, and a case with a light for a discounted 43,99 €.

And I love it! I now spend whole nights perusing the collection of free, public domain books, unashamedly buy “romance” novels for under 3 €, and what I think I really almost enjoy most is the genius case with that built-in light. I’m fascinated by the fact that I will never have to change its battery because it is powered by the kindle that’s hooked up to it. Gone are the nights of reading under the flood-light illumination in my room, keeping Hubby awake into the early morning hours. And the case is a perfect fit, too. It almost doesn’t seem like a case at all. It’s like it’s part of the kindle. And it feels like one of those fancy, leather-bound old books your grandparents never let you touch. I think it’s because of that nostalgic haptic sensation that I don’t feel too guilty about my betrayal of all the beautiful and well-loved books that live in my book cases. Every time I touch the kindle’s screen to turn a page, I half expect an actual page to turn. I’m still a little surprised when no page appears and the letters just re-arrange themselves. That’s how much it actually feels like a real book. It’s fascinating. And just gorgeous!


I don’t think I will ever read its price in e-books, since they’re really not that much cheaper than the paperbacks. It’s not even that much lighter than a normal paperback. Let’s face it: It’s just one of those fun gadgets that feel like the future and make me happy for some reason.

The people at amazon do their best to make owning a kindle a lot of fun. I’m still in the process of discovering new features of the kindle store every week. I just found the German kindle blog (the Kindle Post), where book reviews and short interviews with authors are posted, and also a discounted book is promoted every day. I got a book on positive psychology for 99 cents today.

The comments on some of the free books I already mentioned are hilarious, too. The books are free because they’re so old that their copyrights have expired. Books enter the public domain 70 years after the death of the author, or 120 years after they’re written (depending on the country of origin). German orthography has evolved since then, of course, and some of the classics have previously been re-published and linguistically updated to facilitate reading by people used to current orthography and terminology. It seems that the free kindle editions, however, have not been updated, probably because there’s also a copyright on linguistic updates and translations (I could be wrong about this, but it would make sense). So the books are full of “spelling errors” and “funny expressions”. Evidently, this makes them impossible for some to understand, and they whine about it in their comments, and give those vintage masterpieces one-star-ratings. Hilarious!

Of course, there are also some free versions of books out there that have been edited beyond recognition. The Count of Monte Cristo, for example, is available for free only in a version with ~150 pages. When I saw this, I glanced over at my book case, where one of the shelves is sagging under the weight of my paperback edition of T C of M C, and decided to leave it. Some of the fun in reading books from another time, for me, is discovering the author’s infatuation with certain details that seem utterly boring and unimportant from today’s point of view. I’m sure the edited book was rid of lengthy ruminations on the nature of steel bars and their resemblance to a long-forgotten breed of greyhound or something*, and I’m sure this happened with the best intentions. I just prefer reading the book that was written the way the author intended, not the dumbed-down reader’s digest version that has lost all of its original heart and soul.

However, that’s just me, and it seems like there’s something for everyone in the kindleverse.



* There might not actually be any mention of greyhounds in the book. I haven’t read T C of M C, yet.

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