Kindle and the Writer

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Kindle may provide the complete works of a noteworthy philosopher theologian for a small amount of money. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.”

3 thoughts on “Kindle and the Writer

  1. I like Kindle for novels and fiction reading. I also have a number of theological books that I get from publishes at huge discounts. For example, I was able to secure N.T. Wright’s “The Resurrection of the Son of God” for $4.99 as opposed to the almost $50.00 price for the print copy. If you use a Kindle make sure you get it with the paperwhite background as it is much easier on the eyes. I still love print, and buy the vast majority of my books in print. But Kindle is a nice supplement especially for travel.

    • I have some of your books on kindle and reread them when traveling but have the vast majority of my books read to me through Audible. That isn’t too say I don’t read paper print at all, on the contrary, I prefer paper print over all others. But I do an awful lot of driving and working where on average I can listen to 6 hours a day of audio books. I sure wish I had Truth Decay, Seven Sentences, Good News for Women, On Jesus, etc on Audiobooks like I do your Apologetic lectures. Those lectures changed my life and I listened to the first 10 dozens of times until I could understand them and they were imprinted in my brain before I ingested the rest of them. Your audiobooks would help others, like me, repeatedly listen and process your writings. After all, people like me used to received their good news verbally read aloud to them as well before the technology and education came along to give everyone access to them.

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