Why I have not bought a Kindle

I love Kindle — I’ve used it (far) more than hard copy this year — but what I don’t need is another device.

I use this: Kindle download for PC. It does the job; just like Kindle it’s a boring little screen but if you poke it, a book pops up. The font size is flexible, as is the line length and background (white, sepia, or black) — so it’s legible. Plus it’s free, and the books are usually cheaper than paperbacks.

I use it to read:

  • books I need to research for work/writing,
  • free stuff,
  • friends’ books that I want to review while I am waiting for hard copy,
  • anthologies containing my stories,
  • books that I don’t expect to like.

If I’m out and about, I have Kindle for Android all set up and the books downloaded to my PC are synchronised — ready and waiting for me to pick up where I left off.

But when the PC’s off and the phone’s on charge — when I’m not at work but reading just for fun — I use hard copy. (‘Paper’ in olde speak.)

Paper copies, for me, will always be essential; when chilling out, I read

  • in the bath,
  • on the beach,
  • on clifftops,
  • with my kids (one of whom is teething),
  • and while feeding the baby late at night.

Unlike your bendy-flexy, bouncy, radiator-drying, dog-proof, sand-proof, suncream absorbent, squish-resistant, five-quid-a-pop paperback, A Kindle, a real-life Kindle, doesn’t stand a chance with us. The only way it could feasibly escape being drowned, buried, flung, sucked, sat on, squashed or otherwise broken is if I managed to lose it first.

Which, of course, I would.


  1. Rachel says:

    Thank you for introducing me to the word ‘Glahh’.
    I speak from experience when I say it’s far nicer to drop a paperback on your face when you fall asleep.

    • tu says:

      Hi Rachel, and ow!

      “Glah” is the word-child of Teresa Stenson and it’s entirely down to her that I use it. Funny how these things stick.

  2. Pete says:

    I have a Kindle but I can’t say I’ve enjoyed it as much as I’d have thought. Great for travelling when you don/t want to carry a lot of books around but otherwise I still prefer a book.

    • tu says:

      I love having electronic texts for easy referral but the smart phone revolution (can we call it that?) means you can shove hundreds of books into a phone, so no extra carriage.

  3. jasondmepham says:

    I have to admit I still haven’t got around to getting a kindle but I shall. My reason? To tap into a whole new vast market chock full of self published authors crying out to be heard. Sure, some of the stuff out there won’t be great but I bet most of it is. Not only that but I feel slightly ashamed to keep promoting my book via Amazon kindle, when in fact I don’t yet have one!

    • t upchurch says:

      I love the Kindle books and have enjoyed some of the self-published novels as you say, but I use my Android phone more than anything. To me, I’m either at home (Kindle for PC), or out and about, when I want it to be a tiny device. Horses for courses, eh?

  4. debutnovelist says:

    Hi Martha
    I divide my reading time between Kindle and ‘real’ books but can’t cope with Kindle for PC because I find it impossible to ‘read for pleasure’ from a PC screen. (No smartphone – yet, but – phone book camera all in one gadget – really, what am I waiting for?
    Ali B

    • t upchurch says:

      It can be hard to keep up, sometimes, can’t it? I have an Android phone which I love — it’s brilliant for Kindle. The only downside so far is that I can’t access Ether Books (not even to read read my own story there!) because they work on iPhones (the Android app is I believe coming this year?). It’s a juggle, and it can be expensive. There’s still a lot to be said for paper…
      [Update: Ether app is now available for Android.]

      • debutnovelist says:

        Know what you mean about Ether books! Yes, I hear the android app is out soon – another reason to go smartphone!
        Ali B

  5. Diana Stevan says:

    Ah, I was a holdout, too. My husband’s an avid reader and now rarely reads a book, paper, that is. He loves his e-reader. I poo-poohed it for myself for the longest time, and then thought it might have some merit, as in travel times. So, now I have a kindle, and have downloaded two books. Yay!!! I find it very efficient, though I do still love cracking the cover of hard cover books or paperback. I now view it as a reasonable option. Funny though, when I was in NY recently, the majority of readers on the subway did it the traditional way. They pulled out their books, and not e-readers.

    • t upchurch says:

      For me, I think I’d go for Kindle for PC for work, Android for travelling and a paperback in bed! I was on the London Tube recently and also saw only a couple of paperbacks — no Kindles. Mind you, I took a very excited baby with me, so no one got to read anything while we were there, anyway!

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