As a happy proponent of the Kindle-Ade, I mention frequently how much I love it. But then, I’m also someone who saved up to buy it for weeks because I had a healthy lust for it, and knew it would make reading, which is not an optional activity for me, easier and more portable. So I had a good period of anticipation before I jumped in to the tune of more than the device is currently selling for, and I was honestly very worried that my experience wouldn’t measure up to the amount of money I paid for it. It has measured up, and I’m glad that I did, but let it be known: $400 is a LOT of freaking money. $305 is also a lot of freaking money. I kept my receipt for the Kindle and double-checked the return policy because I was worried that it wouldn’t be worth it for me.
But I’m one of those people for whom reading purchases are not optional. I do visit the library, and I do borrow from friends, but I always have a book with me, purchased or borrowed, and I will sooner cut the cable in half and cut other parts of my budget than go without books. Those are, of course, my wonky priorities, and as the economy takes an express train for Shitsville, population OMG, a lot of people around me are taking a look at their expenditures and wondering what better could be done with our money as the value of it shrinks like a virgin’s protests under the punishing kisses of your nearest Greek billionaire tycoon.
So this article from The Motley Fool’s blog in which Tim Beyers takes Oprah Winfrey to task for hawking the Kindle on her recent show, particularly for recommending it in part because,
“…it’s expensive in these times, but it’s not frivolous because it will pay for itself,” she told her audience. “The books are much cheaper, and you’re saving paper.”
Ok, I’m with Beyers: pays for itself? Yeah, not exactly. Kindle books are cheaper than hardcover but they aren’t always “cheap.” Yes, you’re saving paper, and yes, ebooks and the small publishers who are devoted to them (Hi Sam! How’s your Hain?) are fanshittingtastic, but pays for itself? Come on now, and I mean it. It’s an indulgence.
I am personally not crazy about Beyer’s recommendation that with the same $305 folks should buy stock in Phillip Morris International (Yes! And take up smoking, too!) so as to better fund retirement and make a small profit off that $300 investment, but he makes a rather sharp pointy argument (watch where you’re waving that thing) when he writes:
With apologies to comedian Bill Maher, what we need, Oprah, is a new rule: No more dispensing financial advice on your show. At least not until you cut the consumerism—specifically, until you realize that an electronic book reader is optional for the great majority of us who carry credit card debt. Send your viewers to their local libraries instead.
Hear, hear. Libraries – that offer ebooks for lending, perhaps?!