I long resisted any reading of books in electronic form. Books are superior in many ways—their ability to carry memories, hand-written annotations, their physical heft, their inability to have more than one set of messages per page (unlike screens), and more. I wrote of this in The Soul in Cyberspace (Baker, 1997). However, using Kindle has advantages for the writer.
- Kindle is more portable than a book. When one travels or is away for the summer (as I am), Kindle supplies needed information without the bulk of a book. Still, I miss my voluminous library.
- Kindle may provide the complete works of a noteworthy philosopher theologian for a small amount of money.
- Kindle allows the writer to search a huge corpus quickly and efficiently. I found this invaluable when researching the atonement of Jesus. Assuming the search technology is accurate, I could look for references to “imputation” or “atonement” in the collected works of John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, Augustine, and others, as well as particular books by Charles Hodge, John Calvin, and others. A Kindle search is comprehensive, unlike the index to a book, which is selective. (And some books that need indexes lack them.) However, a Kindle search is only as good as what you decide to search for. A book index supplies the names and topics for you to consider.
- My publisher (InterVarsity) and some others (Cambridge) allow Kindle citations in references. Kindle enables the writer to capture and paste text quickly. Thus, if I want a Francis Schaeffer reference to “open system of cause and effect,” I can search for it, capture it, and paste into a chapter I am writing.
However, one must be sure that the Kindle text and citation format are worthy of being referenced in a book or article. Some of the Kindle texts are junky and unreliable. But that is true of some books as well.
So: “Two Cheers for Kindle.”