I hate myself. I really do. This is my most loathsome purchase and I am an absolute hypocrite for giving in.
What did I do?
Although it’s obvious from the title, some backstory:
I hate Amazon. I try to avoid it; I use independent retailers when possible, or other online stores with shipping when possible. I constantly point people to its hateful workplace culture, and its constant battle with book publishers. I have successfully avoided Amazon for ages. Although I am a poor college student, I have resisted putting Amazon affiliate links onto my site because I decided that I’d rather support indie at the moment while I can.
I won’t deny that it’s a helpful company to many — when two-day shipping calls, let it be. But I personally do not have to buy into it, because I’m lucky and stubborn. Whenever I get deep in my I-hate-Amazon feels, I remind myself that they are the reason for most of the hardships of the book industry. Also, Publishers Weekly has often reminded us that print sales are not in fact going under the way that they used to.
But I bought a Kindle.
It was on sale, and my eyesight is rapidly going downhill (probably because of how much time I spend on the computer writing blog posts), and my boyfriend is an Amazon fiend who wore me down, and I’m constantly reading on my phone, and my family already owns so many eBooks, and…
I can read manuscripts directly, and mail PDF documents to it.
I can carry it around easily as opposed to dragging my eighteen paperbacks with me.
I can get books from the library, and access the books my family already owns.
It’ll be helpful to my eyesight (and my battery life) rather than reading on my phone.
So here I am, justifying it, and providing some alternatives for those of you who haven’t quite made the leap (or would like to simply continue supporting other sources.)
1. You can support independent booksellers through a different eReader.
Whaaaaat? Okay, so, you can buy books through your favorite independent bookstores and not support Amazon! Kobo allows you to purchase eBooks from great, local retailers. I’ve also heard good things about Barnes & Noble’s Nook. If you haven’t already invested in a library of Kindle books, I highly recommend doing your research and finding an eReader you like from a different retailer.
2. A pair of blue light glasses can do you a whole lot of good.
I have a pair that was approximately $20, and I wear them all the time — probably too much. These are eyeglasses that aren’t prescription, but filter the blue light from screens as you work on them. It makes the strain of looking at devices a lot less catastrophic. My friends at school have started wearing them too, both because they look kind of funky-cool and also because we realized that our generation’s eyesight is going to suck. This way, you can still read on your phone but not ruin your eyes!
3. At the very least, never buy an eBook from Amazon.
I never use my library for print books. I never did as a kid either. But the ONE reason I continually update my library card when it expires is that you can check out eBooks, no matter where you are. Although I live in Virginia for most of the year, I use my Hillsborough County library card to check out books from Overdrive. I cannot remember the last time I paid for an eBook.
On that note, there’s SO much book pirating these days, which does the book industry (publishers AND authors) a huge disservice. If you love the book but don’t support the author, they may not be able to write a sequel, or their next book. The amount of times I see “[insert book title] free pdf” in my search terms is truly disheartening. Check out your library. Or ask around to see if a friend can lend you their eBook copy. Libraries count as sales!
Check out eBooks from your library. It is revolutionary, my friend.