Digital Bookshelves: Reloaded

Although I’m currently on my 2nd Kindle, you may recall there was a time when I was reticent to make the jump to a purely digital library. I was an English major, after all, and no stranger to the appeal of tangible literature. There’s an almost ineffable feeling of accomplishment that comes with finishing an immense tome like A Game of Thrones that simply doesn’t exist in the ebook world. At least that’s been my experience. You also lose the social aspect of books – yes, books can be social – when reading digitally. Our taste in books can connect us, sparking conversations and friendships alike, but only if others can read the jacket or spine of your latest literary obsession. I frequently lament the loss of those serendipitous meetings with like-minded strangers now that no one can see what I’m reading.

However, the convenience of reading books on my Kindle (or tablet or phone) far outweighs my desire to continue buying all my books IRL. I may never have read the entire Song of Ice and Fire series – among others – if I had to lug around each prodigious volume with me everywhere. Plus, I can’t imagine storing physical copies of all the Kindle books I own; my bedroom is cramped enough as it is! Still, every so often I enjoy a book enough that I feel compelled to buy a 2nd copy for my shelves, which is why I now own a old paperback edition of Game of Thrones and a copy of Ready Player One signed by the author.

Rare though they may be, that means I’m buying some books twice, and where’s the financial sense in that? Even as a younger man, I knew this was hardly an ideal scenario.

“In a perfect world, I could buy a physical book and get a digital copy for free (or for a couple dollars more). A small premium would be worth the convenience.”

Clearly, I should have patented that sh*t. Amazon – my ebook retailer of choice – launched a new service called Kindle Matchbook not too long ago, which gives users digital copies of the physical books they’ve purchased over the years for free or for a couple dollars more. I’m not saying that Jeff Bezos got the idea from my blog specifically, but I am heavily implying it.

I should really stop giving away all my best ideas for free. Who knows what other bit of brilliance might be pilfered in the not too distant future…