On Giants' Shoulders

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Marvels of Kindle

When I first became Catholic I got interested in reading older Catholic literature. I heard people talking or writing about authors like Robert Hugh Benson, G.K. Chesterton, Hillaire Belloc, Maurice Baring and others and I went in search for books. What I found was that the local library had none, Amazon had very few (generally expensive), and that the UVM library had a smattering (all in the annex which was difficult to access if you lived nearly 70 miles away). This summer I gave myself the gift of a Kindle. What I've discovered to my great delight is that the books I could never find (or never afford) are now available to me cheap. Many of them can be downloaded for free, some cost up to $5. Now I'm sure that I'm not alone in loving RH Benson, etc., but I'm also sure that probably they don't make the Kindle best seller's list (they don't even appear in the top 100 list on free Kindle books). I have to say though I am now drowning in riches. I just read Benson's conversion story, have downloaded his By What Authority (and am part way through it), have Newman's Callista waiting for me, etc., etc.

It's really neat when the books you most wanted to read are in the public domain and available literally at the touch of a finger. I still love actual print books, but I must say that I've become a huge Kindle convert. I can take it with me places where I wouldn't want to carry a stack of books, it's making my book addiction that only more affordable, but one that doesn't cause quite so much clutter around the house.

Of course current books are available as well, and I do occasionally spring for something that costs more than $5. However, I must say that this is becoming more and more rare, and that I am really enjoying the riches of literature written before 1950. I know that I already have more than saved the cost of my Kindle in books that I wanted to buy, and would ultimately have purchased.

I don't usually like to sound like an advertisement, but I really hope people are aware that they can find some really, really great stuff that's practically unavailable except in rare book form otherwise. Even the current books are generally less expensive in Kindle format.