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TSS: To Kindle or Not to Kindle?

August 22, 2010

The Sunday Salon.comHappy Sunday, all!

I have a bit of travel coming up in a little over a month… quite a bit. I’m flying to Australia for work, then to New Zealand for a little bit of vacation while I’m on that side of the world, then back home. I totaled it up yesterday, and over the course of two and a half weeks, I am going to be spending more than 54 hours on a plane, plus all of the associated time in airports for layovers, etc. Obviously, some of that time is going to be spent sleeping, watching movies, etc. However, I anticipate a sizable chunk of it will be spent reading, and the idea of packing enough books in my carry-on to make sure that I don’t get bored during 54 hours of flying (not to mention the time on the ground) is a little bit daunting.

Enter the Kindle. I don’t have an e-reader, and quite frankly, I don’t really want one. My reasons for this are two-fold. First, at current count I have 266 unread paper books sitting around my house, waiting for my attention. I don’t need to acquire more new TBR books in electronic form, and the idea of paying to get what is essentially a second copy of a book I already own is pretty off-putting. Second, I don’t often buy new books in general. The vast, vast majority of my books are used, either from the library booksale or bookmooch. It’s rare that I’ll spend more than $3 on a book, and the idea of paying more than three times that for a book that I don’t actually *own* any physical proof of, can’t lend to a friend, etc., is also pretty distasteful. Basically, it boils down to the fact that I am both a book hoarder and a cheapskate, and those two things in combination are kind of antithetical to everything an e-reader represents.

BUT. 54 hours on a plane. Limited carry-on luggage. Ability to carry many weeks’ worth of reading in something that is lighter than a single fatty-fat mass-market paperback. I’m torn.

What say you, readers? Is it worth getting a Kindle if I’m only going to use it for travel? Or should I suck it up and just pack a few of the books I already own, knowing that if I run out, it’s not like there are no bookstores in the Southern Hemisphere?

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2010 7:49 am

    I asked for and received a Kindle for Christmas, right before the iPad came out! I still use my Kindle, a lot, but would rather have an iPad. My objections with the Kindle have nothing to do with it’s convenience as an ereader, though. For travel – an ereader, imho, is indispensable. Plus, there’s an added advantage to having a dictionary on board to quickly look up a word I don’t know. You’d have to be able to plug it in for recharging, I think. I’ve never timed how long a charge lasts, though it’s pretty long if you don’t turn on the wifi. I also use it for audio books, though it only uses audio files from which is EXTREMELY offensive to me.

  2. August 22, 2010 7:54 am

    eReaders will NEVER replace real books for me, but I love having an eReader and if you get the Kindle, I think you will find yourself using it more than for just travel. There are some free or inexpensive eBooks which are pretty good, you just have to keep your eye out.

    Good luck – I say go for it!

  3. August 22, 2010 7:59 am

    I love my Kindle and am anxiously waiting for my new model. I don’t use it everyday or even every week, but I so love it for traveling. I also like to take it with me when I’m out and about. I think it would be a nice addition to your trip. Just my two cents. :)

  4. August 22, 2010 8:16 am

    That’s a tough question! I wish we lived close so you could borrow mine.

  5. August 22, 2010 8:40 am

    I received a Kindle last year and although I don’t use it regularly, I do always take it with me while traveling. I usually never purchase new books (and like you spend $3 or less for the ones that I have) but it is exciting to be able to immediately read a book no matter where I am and not have to pack a gazillion different novels because I never know what I’m into that day.

  6. August 22, 2010 9:21 am

    I say, hesitantly, yes. I bought a Kindle when they first came out. I have an iPad. I have a mini computer. Strangely, I rarely use my Kindle. Instead, I buy books for my Kindle app for my iPad! I like that best.

  7. August 22, 2010 10:11 am

    I am so completely with you on not getting a Kindle for regular reading purposes. I am also a book hoarder and a cheapskate, and I’ve listed the same reasons you just did for NOT getting one myself.

    BUT if I was going to have the kind of travel you have coming up, I’d probably get one. I’ve even considered getting one just for the 5-day cruise I have coming up in November. It would just save SO much hassle of carrying books all around vacation, stressing about my suitcase weighing too much, etc.

    And they are very reasonably priced right now, too. So my recommendation is get one just for the travel benefits. :)

  8. Erlinda permalink
    August 22, 2010 10:12 am

    I don’t have a Kindle, but I have a Nook (the Barnes & Noble e-reader). I have tons of “real” books (six bookcases is a small NYC apartment) so I’ll never give up “real” books. Now, I have about 70 books on my Nook. My nook is about the size of a small notebook. Some of the books on it are free, and the most I’ve paid for a book is $9.99. My only concern is, whether you buy a Kindle or Nook, make sure it will work in Australia. I think they only work in the U.S. (not even Canada).

  9. August 22, 2010 10:17 am

    The iPad tempts me, the Kindle does not. So I’m waiting for the iPad price to come down myself.

    I say take a few paperbacks. I typically take ones that I won’t want to keep so I can just leave them on the plane when I’m done.

    I am also a big fan of airport bookstores. I think it’s because they force me to look at books I would normally never consider. They’re part of the adventure for me.

    And if your suitcase gets to heavy with books, you can always mail them home.

  10. August 22, 2010 10:31 am

    I have a Kindle for the very reasons you mention – travel. I put in 60+ hours every month on airplanes or in airports. BUT I still have so many paper books, I hate buying more Kindle books, but I do love it. It makes packing much easier and lighter (though I still bring way too many books).

    I would ultimately say if it is just one trip maybe pack books you don’t mind leaving behind and pick up a few more when you are there. If you expect to be travelling a lot then it would probably be worth it to get the Kindle. If that makes sense!

  11. August 22, 2010 11:29 am

    I agree with everything you’ve said in this post. I can totally see how a Kindle would be practically necessary for this trip, but would I buy a Kindle just for travel purposes? I’m not sure. If I had the money, I would buy one and only pull it out when I went on trips. :)

  12. August 22, 2010 12:14 pm

    I have a SONY reader and I maybe use it twice a month, if that. I have so many physical books to get to that my eReader just falls by the wayside. I will say it is awesome to travel with though.

  13. August 22, 2010 12:33 pm

    Travel would be my main reason for getting an e-reader, but for some reason I instinctively balk at the idea of getting an e-reader for one particular trip. What I usually do with long plane trips is find a long, dense book (or two or three) I suspect I will not mind losing, and then discard it when I reach my destination, and replace it with some new books bought at bookstores while on vacation. An e-reader is expensive, and if you’re not sure you’ll want one forever, it may not be worth it.

  14. August 22, 2010 12:33 pm

    I have a Kindle, which I got for my birthday three years ago. I have found that I prefer paper books to e-readers although, in certain situations, an e-reader is a great solution. The biggest problem with my Kindle though is that I do not want to pay $10+ for a book, which is a problem unless you read classics, which can normally be acquired for very cheap. There is a lot to think about and consider!

  15. August 22, 2010 1:50 pm

    If I traveled more I definitely would get one! It’s just not possible anymore to load up all that weight when you have so many other things to take along because of all the restrictions!

  16. Erlinda permalink
    August 22, 2010 4:33 pm

    The only drawback is finding out if it would work in another country. The beauty of having an e-book is that you have thousands of books at your fingertips, and the e-book just takes the space of one book if you are traveling.

  17. August 22, 2010 6:47 pm

    It seems that, for travel, an e-reader is an essential accessory unless you want to lug tons of books and pay the airlines for the baggage! I’d want to know if I could use it with library ebooks and other sources of free ebooks.

    I do like cbjames’s idea of taking a few paperbacks and leaving them in different places once you’ve read them!

  18. August 22, 2010 9:28 pm

    Like you, I’m a hoarder and a cheapskate :) And while I enjoy reading books in any form, I don’t think I’ll be getting a Kindle or any other reader for that matter. Thing is, I do have a PDA phone and it’s filled with books (mostly classics since hey, they’re free, hello Project Gutenberg) that I take with me all the time. I simply convert the mostly .txt files to html and I’m good to go. There are more than a handful free ebooks out there too, which I always convert to html. If you don’t mind reading from a PDA phone then download classics for free and bring it with you since you only would need it for your travel.

    Oh and bring just a couple of paperbacks. Me, if I run out of things to read at airports (way back) I almost always observe the goings-on and so forth. It helps me get ideas for something to write about later on :)

  19. August 22, 2010 10:15 pm

    I have a nook, and I love it! One big reason is that I can use it to read ebooks checked out from the library. And it is wonderful for travel. I still love my paper books too. I’ll never understand people who give up pbooks entirely for ebooks. I’m a bibliominvore — I’ll consume books anyway I can get them…hardcovers, paperbacks, audiobooks, library books, and now ebooks.

  20. August 22, 2010 11:00 pm

    I really don’t like digital readers, but you can’t deny that this is exactly what they made for- if only there were a good way of “ripping” one’s pre-existing books to their digital readers, a la music.

  21. August 22, 2010 11:06 pm

    I have many of the same concerns as you, so far as e-books go. I use my iPod Touch as an e-reader, and I’ve found that I’m reluctant to actually buy e-books. I’ve purchased two, but for the most part I get free e-books from Project Gutenberg or the Random House Free Library. These came in handy when I moved overseas and was without a library card for my first couple of weeks, and I intend to read a few more of them when I travel around the country.

    If you do decide to just buy books here, remember that NZ and Australian book prices are HIGH. We’re talking $25 for a new mass market paperback. Used books usually cost at least $6; most seem to be in the $10-12 range. It could actually be cheaper to buy an e-reader and load it up with as many interesting free or low-priced e-books as you can find. At least you’ll have it for the next trip.

  22. August 23, 2010 2:16 am

    I really haven’t decided whether I’m going to get one or not. I like to own books though… I guess it depends on how much you travel!

  23. August 23, 2010 7:14 am

    My Kindle is the best thing I have for travelling. It just saves so much on luggage weight. It has been on 3 overseas trips with me so far

  24. August 23, 2010 11:32 am

    Don’t get the Kindle, Amazon is totally creepy with it. A lot of people have been loving the newest iteration of the Nook, that’s what I’m planning to get eventually when I break down and get an ereader. Between 54 hours on a plane and the super pricey-ness of books in Australia, I’d say it is probably just about worth it to get an e-reader for the convenience of getting so many books packed.

  25. August 23, 2010 4:32 pm

    I’m getting a Kindle personally; I travel more often than I used to and it’s the most convenient and affordable of all the ereaders available in the UK. I don’t really feel guilty for supporting Amazon, as all the other ebook retailers around here are guilty of the exact same crimes so I might as well get the best option. =)

    I still plan on reading mostly paper books though. I don’t think I could give them up; I just want the Kindle for convenience factor.

  26. August 24, 2010 1:14 pm

    Ohh, this was my blog post title a few weeks ago :)

    I actually did go for a Kindle (I’ve pre-ordered and it should be arriving in the next week or so). I love my books, but don’t like carrying them about the place. That said, I’ll always buy proper books, but the ebooks will be an extra treat.

  27. August 27, 2010 8:33 am


  28. August 27, 2010 8:34 am

    I would think it’s not worth the bother unless you travel a lot

  29. August 27, 2010 12:33 pm

    It may be more convenient to carry an ereader around while you’re on your trip then carrying some books with you.

    I myself would probably buy a Kindle… because I could then get my NetGalley ARCs on it. Most of the publishers offer Kindle files but you can’t read them on the Kindle iPhone app – it has to be on a Kindle reader.

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