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The Button

My mother got a Kindle last year for her birthday. This was a wonderful event for her because she has Stargardt's disease, which has, for years, limited her reading to books she could find in large print. This was a travesty, since she loves to read (mostly mysteries), and I inherited her love of books. The Kindle was a godsend since it wasn't backlit and she could change the font size at will. The problem is that she loved her Kindle so much she gave one each to my husband and I for Christmas.

"But Heather, how is this possibly a problem?" I imagine you saying (unless you aren't, in which case I apologize for putting words in your mouth). Well, I'm very glad you asked, even if you didn't. It turns out the Kindle is awesome. I love it. I suspect I would love any e-reader, in fact, because they are devilish machines designed to tempt the weak! And lo, I am weak, my friends. I'm sure most of you have already experienced the perfidy of e-readers, since I am dreadfully and uncharacteristically behind the curve on this technology, but the biggest problem is that I can push a button and get a book.

You see the problem here? Push button. Get book. Push button. Get book. Push button. Get book. Push button, get book, push button, get book, push button get book push button get book push button getbookpushbuttongetbookpushbuttongetbook--and so on. I am one of those rats with the wires running straight to the pleasure center of its brain, pushing a button like a thing possessed until I die of starvation or my husband, in desperation, stages an intervention and cuts off my credit card. I vowed to read a hundred books this year and I'm on number seven and it hasn't even been two weeks. (But for real: the only true downside is that actually flinging a wallbanger into the wall is not advised with e-readers.)

I've long heard that the industry is changing to digital format, and even though I'd love to see my name in real, honest to god print one of these days, I could really get into this digital thing. Oh, who am I kidding? I was hooked even before the e-reader. Now it's just a matter of time before they find me in a coma, finger still on the button, my three-week-old untouched dinner beside me.

Bank account empty. Smile on my face.


Lisabet Sarai said...


This is hilarious, but I think that it has a grain of truth. Instant gratification! I think this is part of the reason that the Kindle has been so successful. It's just TOO easy.

It's a bit scary. Think about how long it takes to WRITE a book! However, I suppose we should look at the upside--we authors stand to benefit from others' addictions.

Maybe a new twelve step program in in the works: I admitted that I was powerless over ebooks, that my life had become unmanageable...

Meanwhile, have fun!

Heather Howard said...

I completely agree, Lisabet. My own addiction is making me very optimistic about the industry in general, if a bit pessimistic about my credit card bill. The instant gratification is wonderful, and I can only hope there are many others like me who want it and are willing to pay for it. :)

Genella deGrey said...

Push a button, get a book.
Heaven on a stick.

Debra Williams said...

Ha! You think the kindle is bad - I got one two years ago, and had over three hundred books on it before a year was up lol. Then a few months ago I got the ipod touch! The ipod can not only read and instantly get kindle books from Amazon, with another few aps I can also instantly download books in other formats from any other on line bookseller! I hit over three hundred books on the ipod in half the time it took me on the kindle. If you value your credit card, stay away from the ipod. But if you love to read, the ipod gives you even more than the kindle!

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.