I used to have thousands of books, my house had a bedroom that was effectively a library. Then I moved from the UK to Brazil and I had to give away hundreds and hundreds of them just because they were too expensive to ship.
I still kept a fair number though, and I enjoy visiting book stores and purchasing and reading real books.
But I just bought a Kindle and started downloading some books to it. Why?
There is a very practical problem living overseas. The bookstores in São Paulo carry very few books in English, and the ones that are sold are from the best-seller list – not exactly what I might purchase. I have gone to Amazon and eBay and purchased books and paid for them to be posted, but when I recently bought a new hardback, which was about £25 for the book and postage, I thought seriously about how much easier this would all be with a Kindle.
I can get a book in seconds, I can pick any book I want, and even recently published books are available for just a few pounds. Many classics are available entirely free.
So the first authors I downloaded were John Wyndham, Julian Barnes, and Oscar Wilde… I’m sure that I will keep on buying regular books now and then, when I really want the physical artefact, but the experience of wanting a book then having it in seconds does change the process of acquiring books.
I’d never wait until I got to a record store to buy an album any more, so why wait to buy a book?