Kindle… Schmindle

I don’t trust you Kindle users. I’ve seen you around and to be honest, I look at you askance. Askance, and with something akin to pity in my eyes. Or maybe it’s just thinly veiled contempt.

Books come in all shapes and sizes, they have nice covers, you can flick through them and even write in them. Unless it’s a library book… you can’t write in a library book. Book rhymes with “nook” and “cook” and “rook” unless you happen to hail from Yorkshire in which case it rhymes with gobbledygook.

Kindle… dwindle… swindle… schmindle.

The word Kindle, meaning “to set light to” or “to set on fire” seems an ominous sort of  name. Are they suggesting some metaphorical book burning is in order to clear the way for their electronic witchcraft? I remember another chap who didn’t like books and in fact used them as kindling for other books and by all accounts he couldn’t write worth a shit either.

There are books out there I have searched for years to find and to no avail. I’ve trawled through bookstores and op-shops with the vain hope that I might find a second-hand copy of some Kurt Vonnegut title or other. And when I found it, away I would steal, like Roald Dahl’s BFG off to the Land of Dreams… Surely you’ve seen the Quentin Blake illustration of the famous giant? Ah, you read it on a Kindle. Tough titties.

'You is never doing anything unless you tries' BFG (SOURCE: Global Panorama's Flickr photostream)

‘You is never doing anything unless you tries’ BFG (SOURCE: Global Panorama’s Flickr photostream)

When I arrive home with my brown paper bag crinkling against my tweed weskit I slide my papyrus trophy to nestle against her fellow brothers and sisters of the printing press. And there may she wait in silent, bookish contemplation until finally reanimated by human curiosity.

“Do you accept Kindle’s terms and conditions before you continue?’

“Nay, damn you I accept neither. Nor your right to demand any such acceptance, you swine.”

You may laugh at me moving house, weeping with the effort of dragging box after box of words. Me, forcing the unyielding bastards into the back of the car, whilst you charge your Kindle with the cigarette-lighter in the front. Your laughter will turn to bitterest tears when your flimsy Kindle is trapped between a box of my literary heavy weights and a George Foreman grill (he’s so proud of it he put his name on it).

Have you even considered the humble librarian? Proud literary custodians since days of yore. Where’s your sense of mystery, your sense of occasion? Where’s your sense of common human decency? Have you even considered the librarian at all? For shame…

The librarian is a bibliophile first and foremost. They care for all the books from Douglas Adams to Markus Zusak (who wrote The Book Thief not “The Kindle Swindler”). They care for them all without passion or prejudice whether it be Jane Eyre or Edward Cullen, Harry Potter or Beatrix Potter, Dorian Grey or Christian Grey. The librarian abides. However I like to think that when the stoic chronicler is confronted with the image of you squinting at Dan Brown on that spineless auto-cue you call an “e-book”, they shed a single tear. What was it J.M Barrie said? “Every time a child reads a Kindle there is a little librarian somewhere that falls down dead.” Something along those lines anyway.

Before you try to get smart with me, I wrote this on a type-writer before sending it by pigeon to an alchemist who transformed it into this format. You may well call me a Luddite and  I very well may be but were I alive in the days of Neil Ludd I’d be on the side of the workers and you’d be a “Fat Cat” trampling us and starving our families in the name of profit and progress. You’d probably have gout.

Bloody kindles…

– by James Andrews

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