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iPad or Kindle? Maybe Neither

February 2, 2010 – Several friends of mine received Kindles as gifts this past Christmas. All of them love their new toy and can’t imagine how they read without one, what with all those inconvenient pages you have to turn – with your hands! – and the booklights you need for reading in bed so you don’t disturb your significant other. Makes me laugh because when the Kindle first came out no one I knew had any idea what it was. I had to explain it to everyone I mentioned it to. The most ironic thing is that I still don’t have one.

When it first came out, I admit that the Kindle appealed to me. The ability to carry around dozens of books at a time and still have room in my suitcase for that extra pair of shoes I just might wear if the weather, the venue, the mood and the moonlight were all aligned precisely, was a huge plus.

Now that Apple has entered the fray with their new iPad, has the Kindle lost its allure?

Well, I don’t have an iPhone or an iPodTouch either, so I’ve only read about the ecstasy that some experience discovering new apps that will walk the dog, take out the garbage and mix the perfect martini. Don’t have it, so I wouldn’t miss it if I chose the Kindle. And now that the Kindle isn’t so new the price has come down quite a bit – almost half of what the cheapest iPad would set me back.

I already have a MacBook (that I LOVE) and though it’s bulkier than the iPad, I can run everything I need on it from Adobe CS to QuickBooks and the internet, just about anywhere I want. And I read all the news on it as well. Hmmm…dropping a minimum of $500 to duplicate a lot of what I do already seems so…what’s the word? Frivolous? Dumb? Elitist?

As for the Kindle, I just may not get around to ever getting one. I think I’m a lot like my mom. My sister and I got her the Kindle the first Mother’s Day it was available. She still hasn’t downloaded one book onto it. In the more than year-and-a-half that she’s had it, she’s probably brought her physical library up to 2,000 books, if not more. All stuffed in a small one-bedroom apartment. The woman spends more money at Barnes and Noble and Borders than at the supermarket. That’s where we part company. I give my library card a workout, not my wallet. Unless I can’t wait to get the new title I covet.

I still like the idea of an electronic reader, especially for traveling. I guess if you’re looking for one it all depends on your pocketbook and how many things you’d like it to do. A friend sent me this review article for the iPad that was hilarious. Whether you’re considering one or not, it’s a must read. And if you still prefer paper, you’re not alone. There’s a woman in Brooklyn getting ready to start her own private library once she retires from her day job.

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