Confessions of a Paper Book Snob

In second grade, I would stop my mom from dog-earing the pages of my beloved books that we would read together before bed. Now, if the cover of one of my paperbacks is accidentally folded or ripped, I will  press it in between heavier books to make the cover flat again or repair the ripped part with carefully attached strips of tape.

photo by Zoe Harris

photo by Zoe Harris

My towering, unsteady bookshelves have taken up the majority of my bedroom since I began to read. My seven Harry Potter books are tea-stained and worn after the countless times I have flipped their pages. I love and respect books.

When Amazon’s first Kindle was introduced in 2007, my friends began asking for one for Christmas while I looked on condescendingly. It seemed less like there was an exciting new device that would give more people access to books and more like an uncontrollable revolution had begun in the literary world. Imagining a small white electronic device perched on an otherwise-empty shelf was a nighmare. My mind was set; I was completely against the Kindle.

I continued stubbornly with this mindset for two more years, lugging giant hardcover books to school so I could read them during free-reading time. Other seventh graders slipped their sleek, centimeter-thick Kindles into the tiny front pocket of their backpacks, able to flip through countless options if they were bored of what they were reading. I looked at them in a way a traditional, single-minded grandmother might—disapprovingly and unable to accept evolving technology.

Then in high school, I began taking the bus to school. It became increasingly difficult to carry multiple books in my backpack along with what felt like 40 pounds of textbooks and binders. When school and homework began to take up more time and I stopped going to the bookstore, I stopped reading new books as much. Instead, I re-read old books I found around the house, still sure that giving in to the Kindle would betray the paper I had stuck by for so many years.

However, the small, positive pieces of information about the Kindle that had accumulated in the back of my mind eventually came together, the most overpowering  one being that I would likely read more if I got a Kindle.

photo by Zoe Harris

photo by Zoe Harris

After I made the purchase, I did start reading more. Now I balance my time between paper and Kindle. I am able to read a book I hear about immediately by downloading it and having access to it in less than a minute.

I am still a supporter of true, paper books, but more than that, I am a supporter of reading. The Kindle has ultimately allowed more people to have access to reading material. While it often sacrifices my beloved, perfectly intact yellowing pages, more readers were created because of the Amazon Kindle. I am sacrificing my paper-book-snob reputation for the reputation of the device that turns non-readers into readers.

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About Zoe Harris

Zoe Harris, a senior, is celebrating her third year as co-managing editor of the Hyphen and as a reporter for the Paper Tiger. She is a leader of the literary magazine club, Lit Mag, and has written far too many weird poems. Zoe loves writing by Junot Díaz, David Sedaris, Mary Oliver, and Richard Siken, and the Harry Potter character she most closely identifies with is Luna Lovegood. She loves the Hyphen dearly and hopes readers do, too.

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