I have a Kindle. I’ve spent a lot of time saying this sheepishly — it’s Amazon, it’s proprietary, DRM is bad, etc, etc. It was a very thoughtful gift from my parents, taking into account things like my travel schedule, preference for traveling lighter, love of reading, and small apartment.

I wanted to share some observations from my experience owning a Kindle.

I don’t like to read for school on it. I really markup the papers I read for school, underlining things, notes in the margins, flipping back and forth between pages, cross-referencing things. (Note: My greatest grad school investment has probably been getting a solid printer.) The Kindle doesn’t work well for this.

I don’t like buying ebooks. I don’t inherently mind buying ebooks in general. I own some. I don’t want to pay $15 for a DRMed ebook though. It feels too much like renting a book. I find organizing ebooks tedious, while organizing my physical books joyful. I’ve bought ebooks from non-Amazon sites, taken advantage of’s Book of the Month Club, and some other things.

I love borrowing ebooks. Borrowing ebooks from the library is the absolute best. I love it. It’s convenient, I have a huge range of books I can read, and between my phone and the Kindle, I can get one or add it to a To Read queue the moment I think about it, rather than forgetting on-and-off for months.

It connects me to my parents. Because the Kindle is connected to my parents’ Amazon account, I get to see what they read. It’s like a little social network with just my family. We have similar tastes in books (for some part anyway), and it’s cool to also get some recommendations when I’m in a rush or on the train and don’t have time to actually ask for them.

In a lot of ways my Kindle is an extension of the public library system. It allows me to connect with it (and the books I want to read). It feels very scifi to me — having a personal device that connects to this seemingly endless public store of cool stuff.