The reader's dilemma

'Tis the season of the tablet. I love buying books. Even more than shoes. But we've run out of space. The shelves are crumbling. Do I get a Kindle, an iPad (The New Yorker, the cover featured here, has an awesome app for that) or keep buying hardcovers and supporting local bookstores. I wrote about the dilemma in today's column.

Like many people, I love Apple products, even wrote an appreciation of Steve Jobs, though after reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, a not altogether likeable character with a dismal record on philanthropy.

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But then we ran Donald Barlett and James Steele's investigation on Apple's factories in China, and I had doubts all over again.

Spoke to Jim for advice, and learned he has an Apple and a Kindle, and recommends both!

Then I called Michael Fox, of Joseph Fox Bookshop, who told me: 

"You need to support independent bookstores because, when there aren't any more good bookstores, there won't be any more good books," he says. "Amazon will dictate what's published, and little books of poetry and mid-range fiction" - quality works that aren't top sellers - "will disappear. In a country like this, which values freedom of speech as perhaps its defining characteristic, we need to publish a range of books."

 And now I'm in a quandary all over again, though a friend advises "buy more shelves."

--Karen Heller

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