My Kindle arrived yesterday. All I can say is that I was PPPing: Positively Peeing Pants. God help the postal system if the parcel had been delayed. It has taken a while for me to succumb to the future. Having worked in publishing for over 12 years, the so-called ‘death of print’ has always been a sensitive topic, but as I see more and more projects at work move from paper to pixels I’ve finally reconciled my guilt and gone all 21st century. I’ve got down with the kids. Not without a couple of flinches and shakes though, I might add.
The age of the ebook has been a very, very, very long time coming. I was forced into dabbling a few years back when my husband bought me a Sony Reader. I didn’t like it and to be honest I felt like a right ponce getting it out in public. (Bear in mind these were the days when mobile phone were still being used to make phone calls.) Year after year the ebook was going to be the Next Big Thing. No one would want books anymore. “Yawn, yawn” was my response, “I like my paper.” Yet lately when I’ve got a paperback out on the train I’ve felt like I might as well be wearing crinoline and lace collars.
It was a giant leap forward then when I ran up to bed last night to choose and download (*shudder*) a book – nay, an ebook. I had a spring in my step in the same way I do when I finish a book and plan my next trip to the bookshop (of a bricks and mortar design). And it was with even more anticipation that I settled myself on the train this morning knowing that I had my Kindle in my bag and it was full of goodies. Ironically, today the people sitting around me were all reading paperbacks, not a drop of electronic ink in sight. Flipping typical. Suddenly my £89 purchase felt like a vanity.
The pangs of guilt resurfaced. I felt jealous of their paper with its squashed flies, food stains and tatty edges. Worse than that I felt embarrassed. Not embarrassed of my shiny new gadget. Not embarrassed by the smug expression I’d probably had as I reached into my bag. No. Embarrassed because I thought everyone was thinking I was reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Being a woman of a certain age what else could I possibly be reading? In fact, when the book I was reading included a bit of saucy talk (literary saucy talk of course), the typesize seemed to quadruple and flash neon and I very nearly skipped the page in case the person next to me spotted it and jumped to the inevitable conclusion. Believe it or not, I’ve not bought a Kindle so that I can be titillated privately in a very public place. Or indeed titillated publicly in a very private place.
Now, where’s the vibrate option on the Kindle?