Every once in a while, I like to masochistically go through a mental inventory of stupid purchases I have made.
Those 20 hockey jerseys I bought with financial aid refund money back when I was in community college: stupid. The $700 HP laptop I’m typing this on that’s far less reliable than the $300 Toshiba it replaced: also very dumb.
But, by far, the most moronic purchase I’ve made in the last few years is my Kindle.
Now, let me preface my rant by disclosing that I’m an English major, and some of the people in my department view Kindles as evil tools sent by the Devil to eliminate our much beloved and fetishized paper books. I have no special attachment to paper books, though; I hate my Kindle for different reasons.
First of all, the price for Kindle books makes no sense, whatsoever. Quite often, publishers set the prices at $10, or above, and there’s no reason why a digital file would have that high of a production cost. It’s hardly cheaper than an actual paper book that needs materials to be produced. There’s no way the authors are seeing any of this profit, and I feel bad lining the publisher’s pockets.
Also, unless you’re buying only mainstream books you’d find at places like Barnes & Noble, there’s no guarantee you’ll even find a Kindle edition of the book you seek.
For my Contemporary Fiction Seminar, a few of the required novels were from smaller publishers and weren’t available on Kindle; the rest cost $11.99 each. It was far cheaper just to buy used paperback versions of each of these.
And don’t even think of buying poetry books on Kindle. Along with having an unsurprisingly awful selection, the Kindle versions of poetry books are virtually unreadable. Apparently, no one at Amazon has any conception of the importance of line breaks in poetry, so their Kindle books just treat stanzas as glorified, mushed-together paragraphs.
Kindles also make it hard to determine page numbers in books, so you end up fumbling around like an idiot if your professor asks you to read something on a specific page number.
Since I haven’t had time to read any mainstream books for pleasure since Christmas break, my Kindle sits somewhere in my room (most likely under some dirty clothes), holding several books that I won’t get to read until summer.
When I’m finally able to read for pleasure, though, I don’t think I’ll view my Kindle as such an awful purchase. Having a Kindle does beat carrying around an 1000-page Stephen King book to waiting rooms.
However, while I’m still a broke college student, I wish I would have spent my $79 dollars on more useful things, like a couple more hockey jerseys.