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July 17, 2013


Rain Trueax

I like my Kindle and mine has the tiny keyboard which I also consider the best. I use folders to keep different sorts of books separate like nonfiction from cooking from classics, etc. It makes it more available to get to things when I want something.

On a trip is when it's the best as I used to take a pile of books and now it's just the Kindle. Whenever I am in the mood for something, it's right there. The instant availability when writing is definitely a plus.


I discovered that I can find just about anything on my Kindle by typing in a key word, which could be an author, or title, or subject. This fits in with my rather haphazard organizational skills.


I'll never stop loving books....the kind printed on paper. I used to make books as a kid and on the job as an adult (production manager for one of the university presses, that was me). I've made a couple of books by hand, too, as a young adult. I am dependent enough on technology....I don't need to plug in or turn on a book! It's terrifying to think what's going on with the life of the mind in this country. Barnes & Noble is gone from Union Station, and the main street of Georgetown. Borders has disappeared. Practically the only book stores left are the independents: Politics & Prose, Kramerbooks.

One of the very best exhibits I ever saw at the Library of Congress right after I arrived here was a touring exhibit of early hand-printed, hand-illustrated books sponsored by the Vatican Library. And I thought, "Well, at least the Catholic Church has done that for humanity." Those books were gorgeous and in prime condition.

and if our ancestors had not written letters with pen & ink on paper, there would be no record of their thoughts now.

I know ebooks are fun and handy, but.....


p.s. that should be "hand-illuminated" books, but I was afraid someone might think they lit up. :)


M.E: Yes. I am now dependent on Amazon to keep my library for me. And it is a pity that bookstores are going out of business,even the chain stores. Borders here closed, and it had meant a lot to people. What killed them is that people stopped buying CDs. We do have some small independent stores that are holding on. However, an independent bookstore near where my daughter lives in Seattle is doing very well. They have a coffee bar and restaurant that is quite the neighborhood gathering place. The public library here where I live is very busy, too.
The local book stores here have their partisans, but they don't often have work of interest to me, and it's a lot easier to get the books I want on my Kindle rather than waiting for the library or a local bookstore to get a title.
To me, the Kindle is a very serious tool. I do not have access to a first rate library. UH Hilo is an undergrad library, and I don't often find what I need there and would have to pay something to take books out.
My mother was, like you, a lover of books for themselves, as objects and possessions, but that has never been a strong interest of mine. In the end she had to sell or give away her collection. I would have been interested in some of the titles, things like a 1902 anthology of St. Nicholas, a children's magazine, but she had become quite suspicious of me and I had to let it go. When I went through her books after she died there was not much left.
On a cheerier note: I get quite a sense of deja vu when we go with the Seattle grandkids to pick up books from the library, as I once did with my mother in Berkeley. It would please you to know that my six year old granddaughter makes her own books, with stories she has written and illustrated! Her mother and aunt, my daughters, did the same at her age.
They have subscriptions to Highlights for Children and Stone Soup, and they love them.
A bookish family like ours stays bookish, even through all the technological changes.


So what inspired the Sweden trip? Envious...


Z: Terry has a business trip, and I'm going along. Very excited, as I have never been to Sweden or to Scandinavia at all.


I have not been bitten by the e-book phenomena yet though I understand its attraction. I use the library a lot but I know the search and note features would be handy.

How exciting that you and Terry are going to Sweden! What city or cities? We had a short trip way back in 1983, going from Denmark to Stockholm then across to Finland. I'm sure you will love the Nordic socialism, equality and lifestyle. I look forward to hearing all about iit.

PS You may be interested in this recent article about Finland (similar to Sweden) in the Atlantic:


Marja-Leena: We're going to Borlänge for three days, where the company Terry's consulting for is located, and then we will have four days in Stockholm. Not a lot of time, but we'll be gone for three weeks because of family visits and don't want to be away longer.
The daughter of friends lives quite happily in Finland. Wish we could visit her, too.


"And it is a pity that bookstores are going out of business,even the chain stores. Borders here closed, and it had meant a lot to people. What killed them is that people stopped buying CDs. We do have some small independent stores that are holding on."

@M.E.: Hilo has one store that deals in new books, Basically Books. It specializes in Hawaiiana and travel, but sells other books. Book Gallery, around since the late `60s, recently closed when its owner retired. It was a small bookshop that leaned to children's and Hawaiian books. We also had Waldenbooks, which closed ca. 2007, and Borders (1997-2010). As the saying goes, Borders had something for everyone. In its first few years, it sold national and international newspapers and held events (e.g., book readings and lectures, musical performances). It sold music, of course, and the decline in CD sales nationally might have played a part in Borders's bankruptcy, but Borders was Hilo's most popular bookstore, and the store itself was anything but unprofitable. Walgreens replaced it.

Hilo has three used-book stores: Still Life and Big Island Bookbuyers in downtown, and Hilo Bay Books in the Industrial Area.

On libraries: UH-Hilo is an undergraduate library, and likely doesn't have very specialized works. It has an extensive Hawaiiana collection. If you're not a student or faculty or staff member, you'll have to buy a community borrower card. Likewise, Hilo Public Library sometimes doesn't what I'm looking for. I use interlibrary loan via the library web site and pick up books when they come. But Hilo P.L. has some books that are found nowhere else in the Hawaii public library system. Some of these are not just out of print but not available on e-readers.


Brandon: I do think there is a value in browsing around book stores and libraries and coming up with unexpected finds. Borders was a nice place to meet, too, when we had our writing group there.


Serendipity (which, incidentally, was another bookstore in Hilo) is how I find a lot of books at Hilo Public Library. I just borrowed Language in America (1969), a "report on our deteriorating semantic environment." Did you know that "incendigel" was a euphemism for napalm?

Borders was a meeting place, an events venue, and more. One could spend hours there in a way Walgreens would never allow.


so...what killed borders in your area was not kindle (and kindle-type things) but netflix??

anyway, kindle (and other types of ebooks) is indeed a serious tool. who am i to be dissing kindle when I use the internet so much?

Rain Trueax

Independent bookstores are still in our nearby town, the same ones there before Borders came and went. I don't think it's so much the eBook that hurt these chain stores but more Amazon's mail order business. I still buy some of my books in paper and order them there because I often couldn't find what I wanted at Borders. The independent bookstores are still there because they serve a different need as one is used and new while the other is all new but selected by the owners and hence offers its own uniqueness.

I don't see paper books disappearing because of Kindle. It's just another way to get books. And hardbacks don't work for me when it's pleasure reading. I'd lie on the sofa or in bed and before the book was finished, I'd have a migraine as mine come from my neck. Kindle, at its lightweight, doesn't do that.

There are also many eBooks that you'd never find through a publishing house. A lot of those that once were published and now have disappeared, only Amazon either through an order or Kindle is the only place they are still available. I don't see this as either/or but sometimes one and sometimes the other. To me it is a win win.

When I do research, I always want those books in paper (but often can only find them through Amazon as the local stores can't carry everything. For me the paper is easier to use for research as I know better how to navigate through them (although I do bookmark something where I need to go back to it on my Kindle).

The simple truth is my home has 5 floor-to-ceiling, stuffed bookcases in it. Short of selling off some of my old friends, I have to quit buying books that take up space. In the country where I am libraries aren't practical but they weren't an instant way to get a book either-- although they have do also offer eBooks but limitations on when you can get them.

What I like about the Kindle is it's very like reading a book for the impact on my eyes. That's essential since I spend a great deal of time with a monitor. I haven't gotten the Fire version nor the new paperwhite which is supposed to be more readable in sunlight. When I looked at it, all it offered was swipe and no keyboard. I didn't think I'd like that as well and my kindle is readable outside and now has a tiny light just for it for after dark.

Rain Trueax

oh and one other time I'll buy the paper version, when I know I'll want to resell it. If I am sure it's a keeper, either a book has to go from my shelves or I get it for the Kindle.


Funny in spite of all these options I have a few favorite books, usually old paperbacks, that I read over and over, things like a collection of E.M. Forster essays. Sometimes I just want to read something quiet and familiar.

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