Monday, May 28, 2012

The Dark Side of eReaders

So welcome to the Dark Side of the eReader world.

I was initially VERY skeptical of the whole eReader concept. I thought I'd never give up my beloved books. And then I was gifted a Kindle for Christmas a couple years ago and I fell quickly and deeply in love. I could buy all the books I wanted. RIGHT NOW. I didn't have to wait until the store opened, or even be bothered with putting on clothes, finding shoes and dragging me and the kiddo down to the store in the vain hopes they had the title I wanted for a price I was willing to pay!

AND even better it solved my storage issue. Because I am a voracious reader when I get on a kick and I like buying books because I have issues with libraries and return dates (and even bigger issues with waiting lists to get the titles I want), and if I buy too many more books I'm going to have to buy a bigger house in order to have room to store all of the books. With the Kindle and the Cloud I could buy all the books I wanted and not have to worry about where to keep them. Miracle!

Then after almost a year of happy use, our Kindle died.

It was a dark moment. Adam pulled it out of his bag and the screen was all messed up. It looked like it had been shattered or something - not physically just the e-ink display had funky lines all across it and only part of it responded when you turned it on and off or even did a hard reset. Hard to read a book when you can only see the bottom left corner of the page.

So I called Amazon and mercifully it was still under warranty so they replaced it no questions asked. I was very pleased and we continued on our merry way.... until May 2nd.

May 2nd my Kindle worked perfectly for my first flight. I charged up during my layover. It worked great. I got on the plane, pulled out my Kindle to read while I waited for the rest of the folks to board and to my horror my screen was all screwed up. It was an exact repeat of the problem we'd had before. And my Kindle had been in the padded sleeve with my lap top that is unharmed.

Now I admit I was very grateful for Amazon's Cloud because I was able to whip out my Android smart phone and VERY quickly download a couple books for my flight so I wasn't completely with out entertainment but I admit I almost panicked at the thought of a 9 hour flight and nothing to do. 

But then I got home and called Amazon and learned I had a problem. My warranty is up. They won't replace my Kindle, even tho its died of the exact same mystery illness that claimed my first one for no good reason.

Oh but they'll offer me another Kindle for a discounted price. They want me to shell out another 80 bucks to buy something that has already died for no apparent reason... TWICE.

So I'm like well screw this noise I'll take me and my money over to Nook and see how we like them apples. I'd love a tablet like an iPad but my budget can barely handle a base line e-Ink reader atm so we'll go with it.

Thats when we discover the problem: all those nice books I bought on Kindle? Yeah the Nook can't read them. In fact if you don't have a Kindle the only thing capable of reading a Kindle Book is an Android or iOS tablet,  smart phone or a computer. Suck. (For the record Nook is the same way. If you buy it on Nook the Kindle can't read it. Only Android and Apple can read it besides Nook).

Now I've got a smart phone and a lap top, but the smart phone is really small and the battery isn't that great. And the lap top is just plain large (and the battery life is a joke).

I miss my eReader.

So here's the rock: Pay $80 every year for a new Kindle,  assuming that I were to buy a replacement at the discounted price and it dies after a year or so and they offer me the discount AGAIN on the next one. That doesn't sound like a lot but consider what I'm paying for books too and add to that fact that I'm already too cheap to pay for cable and thats A LOT of money.

And here's the hard place: Buy a tablet. A basic Android tablet will run you $250 easy and an iPad starts at $499. Ouch.

My options suck.

Do Me a Favor

I would just like to ask every body that I have to interact with to please do me one favor: Before you judge me, before you assume that the reason I do or do not do something that you think I should do or not do, and decide I'm just a horrible person because I don't operate the same way you do... maybe just maybe ask me why.

Cuz I might have a reason. It might be a stupid reason according to your way of thinking, but see the thing is that feelings are real, even if they're not the most logical and since they are real they have to be dealt with. And maybe I haven't gotten to where I can deal with those yet.

So maybe I don't do something I should do. Something you consider basic and only common courtesy. But maybe I don't because doing that hurts for reasons that really have nothing to do with the action itself. It hurts and every time I do it, I hate the entire experience. I loathe it. I don't like it when other people do it because it reminds me of the thing that hurts.

And because I'm a human being and we are wired to avoid pain I don't deal with the thing that hurts because to be honest I have no idea how and I'm not sure its even possible to fix in this life so I avoid those things that remind me of it.

So think me to be a horrible person. Think I lack common courtesy and basic decency.

But maybe think before you slam me yet again behind my back - to ask me WHY.