My brand new, anxiously awaited for Amazon Kindle arrives tomorrow. Naturally I've already been buying books for it. For me the Kindle has two purposes: 1) it will allow me to bring more books to read when I travel and 2) it will allow me to buy books that I'd normally wait to get at the library or skip all together because of limited bookshelf space.

I assume that's the overall Kindle business model. It's not about getting people who don't read books to read them, it's about giving people who do read and buy books great access to them. The "free first chapter" feature also allows readers to try new authors and books.

Kindle is the answer to another problem. How to read more books.

Years ago I read that the most books a single person could read in a lifetime was 800 books. The math was something like 20 books a year for 40 years. For some reason this supposition both depressed and challenged me. If 800 books was all I'd ever read in lifetime then I really wished I'd skipped all those Nancy Drews. They were good but apparently I was trading Nancy for Tolstoy. Doh! Then my competitive streak kicked in. 20 books a year? What kind of wimp output was that. Why I must read hundreds of book every year. Well, actually I don't. Since I've been tracking it my output is somewhere between 50 and 60 books a year.

Quantity isn't the point. If I just wanted to read a lot of books I could read Harlequin Romances, they're, what, 100 pages long or so. The point was that there are all these books I want to read but haven't yet and more new books to read every year. How am I going to ever catch up?

I won't, of course. But I can make a good try. Some people watch TV to relax. I read. I usually listen to audiobooks on my commute and I probably still will sometimes, especially when I need to drown out someone who needs to have that personal cell phone conversation NOW. Kindle will help me make the most of my commuting and traveling time. It won't replace books for me, it'll just make more room for them.

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