The Kindle Commandments

So a few weeks ago I woke up to surprise gift… a Kindle. Now as someone who has rather infamously said that he doesn’t like them (I even had one once that I gave away) and what they could be doing to the publishing world and that he would NEVER get one. Well, technically I didn’t get it as it was a gift, but that is by the by. I know quite a few of you were surprised, though not as surprised as me I would imagine, by the new addition to my reading world. I found myself very conflicted indeed.

Kindle and Co

After getting to know it a little better for a week (I still can’t find where you change settings like brightness and stuff) I decided I need to set up some reading rules and regulations or, as I am calling them, The Kindle Commandments…

  • Thou shalt use this device as an accessory and not a replacement to the printed book.
  • Thou shalt not go bonkers and fill it with free classics or daily deals that thou never really wanted to read and just sees as a bargain.
  • Thou may by copies of thy favourite books just in case they end up stranded for eternity down a man hole/in a train tunnel/on a desert island/in a nuclear bunker… and because Dovegreyreader said it was wise.
  • Thou shalt not buy ‘20p’ books unless already have the printed book* as am not sure how good it is for the publishing industry or the author.
  • Thou shalt not accept e-book proofs from publishers unless they are classics that are no longer in print or the e-book arrives at the same time as the printed book (I am all for having an e-copy of a book that I can put on my shelves for real afterwards, if you see what I mean).
  • Thou may buy favourite authors ‘e-book’ only treats yet only once, maybe twice, a month.
  • Thou may join Netgalley but may only ask for books thou hast in print or short story collections/overseas advance books that thou will most likely, ok definitely, get when in print in the UK.
  • Thou must not download facebook, twitter or games onto it as the Kindle is for reading, and thou hast a phone brimming with these distractions already.
  • Thou shall not covet thy neighbour’s Kindle Fire cover and start buying them willy nilly because they want them to match what they are wearing or just because they saw a pretty one someone else had.
  • Thou must not us thy Kindle to watch endless episodes of She-Ra (or any other on demand TV series) every morning before they wake up.

I have technically broken one of these rules already I have to admit as *I bought John Lancaster’s ‘Capital’ for just 20p the other day. The excuse I gave to myself was that it might be good to have one new random book on my Kindle should I ever end up caught somewhere for eternity as stated in one of the aforementioned commandments. This is a one off. Though maybe if/when I have read it I should replace it with another, or is that me sliding already?

Two weeks later and having spent some time with it, though nowhere near the amount I have spent with books, I can see some perks to it all. I can switch it on in the night, I have become quite the insomniac, and indeed it has been on some travels with me when I was nearing the end of one book and there was the benefit of me having a few choices without filling my man bag with five possible choices of the next read. It seems to be becoming a reading accessory rather than a book replacement; nothing will replace the book for me.

I am quite chuffed with my Kindle commandments, what do you think?

19 Comments

Filed under Random Savidgeness

19 responses to “The Kindle Commandments

  1. I really liked my kindle – just have the keyboard one that came out first. I also hated the idea of them at first – but became convinced by my a friend of mine, who at over 70 and suffering from macular degeneration was still able to read because of it. But I read far afar far more “real” books than I do Kindle books – despite having about 60 books tbr on it. When consiering my TBR by the way I never include my kindle books – I can’t really see them so they don’t count and that way I avoid a complete TBR nervous breakdown. I usually read on my kindle when away from home – so I don’t have to pack 5 books for a week away.
    i bought Capital today for 20p – but I hadn’t realised it was 20p I nipped over to Amazon – like you do – to buy it following a great review by my friend Liz and was amazed by it being 20p. I have often bought £5 or £6 kindle books on a complete whim that remain unread as yet. One thing that kindle does – and we could argue the merits of it back and forth all day – is to democratise publishing – supermarkets are driving what gets published so much nowadays that kindle allow writers to self publish, and there have been many writers who do well out of it. Yes there is some ummm dare I suggest rubbish out there – but there is also a lot of interesting stuff that would otherwie never find an audience.

    • Laura Caldwell

      “When consiering my TBR by the way I never include my kindle books – I can’t really see them so they don’t count”–you are SO right!

  2. carolee888

    I bought the cheapest one three years ago. I read print books 12 to 1 over the e books. I didn’t read any of them at first but then I joined an e-book challenge. So now I read one a month. I signed up for a newsletter that announces the FREE books every day. So I have about 3,500 on my computer library. At first I loaded 70 of them on my plain Kindle. Now I am down to 58! I like that if the book turns out to be a deep disappointment in the first few pages, I can delete it! Also, if I am sick and feel too bad to read I can turn the sound on and have the robot read to me! Plus, there are some books there are great and only on Kindle. It is my pleasure to post my reviews everywhere and maybe they can someday be in real books!

  3. I love the Commandments, I would only add one:

    Thou shalt not haunt Manybooks.net and download far too many free out of copyright frankly weird travel books (Across Finland in a cart by A Lady), justifying it by the fact that you would buy these books for POUNDS in Hay on Wye but you never find them so it doesn’t count and then never read them.

    Thou shalt not buy the collected works of Hardy because well it’s all that for 79p and it’s a faff trying to find all the separate ones for free, for verily you will get exceptionally irritated doing your friend Ali’s reading challenge and finding you do in fact like to know where you are in a book, not that you’re 12% through the whole of Hardy.

    That’s all!

    And they’re good for holidays, although I still take real books, too, just in case.

  4. I LOVE your commandments and even though I was chuckling there is much wisdom. I have the early keyboard model and like you regard it more as an assessory and for example I buy those bookgroup reads I would not be interested in having on my shelf otherwise and this in turn saves me money. I have noticed too that many of the free classics have crappy translations. As a case in point compared Crime and Punishment and went back to my Penguin classic real book because of the translation as it proved free does not equate to quality. And I find the Kindle handy for when I am at work and out and about as I hate shoving a nice book in and out of my bag to its certain detriment. I will always prefer reading real books:)

  5. I don’t have a Kindle, but I was bought an iPad mini for Christmas. I don’t read many books on – for me, print is the thing – but it is useful to be able to download those e-only prequels and extras that are proliferation these days.

    Agree with the Commandments.

  6. I’ll be totally honest here and say “just use it as you wish”. Why invent a whole set of rules for yourself and then immediately “break” one of them? One of the (very few) advantages of being a lot older than you are is that I have realised how futile a lot of what I did when young actually was. I’m far, far less rule based (immoral?) in al sorts of ways than I was when I was 20 or 30 years younger. Perhaps I’ve moved from Knox to Wilde in the last 25 years.

  7. Laura Caldwell

    Love your commandments (esp. the third and the last ones), but commandments require strict obedience or repentance- are you ready for that?

  8. Jo

    I can see where you are coming from with this and can see why you are thinking of such things – but are you just over thinking the whole thing?

    I have one and had it for at least three years, and I can go weeks not picking it up and reading actual books and then have a splurge of reading on there. If I see a book I want then I download it, whether it be free, 20p or more, then its there ready for me at some point. It really is reading on a whim. As Dark Puss says just use it as you wish, that’s what I do and it works.

  9. I think these are fantastic commandments🙂 In fact, I believe you just wrote the ereader bible :p

  10. I would also say just use it as you like. Some things are good to download for free or 20p regardless of whether you already have them. The free ones are kind of like using the library and you could always buy the paper copy if its available if you love the book afterwards.

    I use my kindle for watching a LOT of tv shows. shows. Bit addictive, but so easy to curl up in bed with a cup of tea and the kindle balanced on my knee. I find the backlight a bit hard on my eyes if I read on it for too long.

  11. Such fun, but those rules are just asking to be broken😀

    I generally use my Kindle on journeys etc, so not often then when I’m not driving, but have only loaded it with free or 20p books. I like that it’s there, but have no urge to use it reading in bed etc.

  12. I bought a Kindle the day after I came home from a business trip with a bad shoulder from carrying too many books to get me through a long f’light. Next trip saw me with just one paperback (well you have to have something to read during take off and landing) and my Kindle. I loved the Kindle for its portability and lightness. But then someone bought me an iPad and the reading experience is so much better that my poor Kindle has become neglected.

  13. David Nolan (David73277)

    An entertaining post. I hope that was primarily the intention, rather than burdening yourself with a set of rules as DP warns against? The She-Ra bit was particularly amusing. I also think there is a rather sweet irony in “Capital” being virtually given away for 20 pence. Personally, I still don’t have any device (aside from my PC) that is capable of running ebooks though, being a radio addict as well as a book lover, I am tempted by those tablets that would allow me to run Radioplayer.

  14. becky yamarik

    Hey Simon, I love your commandements. . . altho since I live in the US and don’t have a kindle, I’m not sure I completely understand them all, but I think it has to do with fear that the authors won’t get their due share if you buy kindle stuff instead of real stuff? I think that’s a great way to be. . . but my husband who’s an economist wd disagree in some grand statement about “Let the market decide!”

  15. hamzafey

    Nice commandments, I got a kindle around a year ago and I think it’s great. The search tool is so useful for finding quotes without having to search through lots of pages, very handy for my english essays.

  16. Doris LaFayette

    I think you protest too much. I don’t know what the siituation is in the U.K., but here in the U.S. we can use readers to borrow library books. It’s great. One doesn’t have to leave the house to get the books, and one never needs to worry about overdue books because they are automaticaly deleted when expired. What could be more convenient?

  17. JoV

    I wasn’t that strict with my Kindle so I am enjoying it a bit more. I love all those to-be review books from Netgalley as it is introducing me to books that I would never read nor buy but there were many wonderful surprises. I also bought books from Amazon and my only commandment is never buy books which costs more than £2! “The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared” is another one that I bought with 20p (offer expires) and so is Life of Pi (get it quick!) Good luck and enjoy your Kindle!

  18. Janette Watson

    Ha ha ha! Me thinks you need to eat a little humble pie!! Glad you have found a happy compromise x x

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