The Present of Irony

What did I want for my birthday? As usual I hadn’t thought about it until I was reminded by my wife, who in turn had been reminded by both sets of parents with the same question. This year, instead of allowing myself to be annoyed and distracted by the what-can-people-get-me-for-my-birthday thing, I actually had an answer! What I’d really like is a Kindle.

The whole electronic book concept did appeal to me. Save some trees, carry many books in one small package, built in dictionary, the ease of getting hold of a book, the list goes on. I’d also recently discovered that Amazon allow aspiring writers to self-publish their work. Ooh! Despite having been warned away from self-publishing, I was still tempted. That was 7 years ago and the advice came from a rather old-fashioned writing teacher and I hoped that advice was just as old fashioned these days. Despite this I couldn’t help thinking my novel may get off the ground after all! And ebooks were way cheaper that their printed counterparts, another tempting reason to go down the e-reader path.

So the family decided, due to their complete lack of experience with the online shopping concept, to just get me some cash to put towards this new fan-dangled computer gadget my wife described to them. Soon after my birthday, when I thought I’d procrastinated long enough, I jumped onto Amazon to buy the Kindle, only to discover a new range of devices had been launched. Oh no! Now I had to decide which Kindle to buy. I used to be indecisive, now I’m not so sure. Long story short I decided that 3G and a keyboard were luxuries I could do without so I opted for the new model with just the 5-way button and a leather cover.

Love it! I’ve had it nearly six months now and so far the only use I’ve had for the on-screen keyboard has been to type in the Wifi password. Twice – the second time correctly! Never mind. I prefer to do all my Amazon browsing and purchasing using my laptop anyway, and have I gone wild! Well, just a little.

I think I bought about fifteen or twenty books on the first day alone. Some might say that’s nothing but it’s a lot for me. I justified this to my wife by saying many of those book were only one dollar. Some were up to fifteen. Shh! That was about when my wife reminded me that the in-laws were coming down the following weekend and that I should show them the present towards which they contributed some of their hard-earned cash.

In my excitement I explained more about the low price of ebooks and as a result I can buy more books for same money. That was about when she reminded me that for nearly all her years growing up her father worked in the printing industry.

Er… yes, that’s right. So the in-laws might not share my enthusiasm for one of the many nails in the coffin of my father-in-law’s former career. The same career which underpinned the retirement fund from which cash was withdrawn to contribute to their son-in-law’s beloved killer of the printing industry.

They were very good about it, actually. They were happy that I was enjoying the thing. However, at Christmas I didn’t have the heart to tell them I’d already bought the Kindle copy of Stephen King’s 11.23.63 when they’d given me the Hardback as a present!

In future I’d better just keep the Kindle quiet I think.

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