Catchphrases · Home life · Reading

“I’ve got it on vinyl”

My wife and still have all of our vinyl albums, accumulated in our childhoods in the 1960s and 1970s, and when we were more grown up in the 1980s. There are even a few from the 1990s. Neither of us was a great vinyl collector, and there is some doubling up here and there (multiple copies of “The Sound of Music” and “My Fair Lady” for instance). I have a few boxes of singles too. Occasionally I pick up some old vinyl from the local Oxfam Bookshop, like a very good quality copy of the “Jesus Christ Superstar” double album (with lyric book) for 33p some years ago.

But we use the phrase “I’ve got it on vinyl” to describe our reading habits. “Vinyl” has become our description for printed books rather than e-books. My wife only reads e-books these days, on her Kindle Paper White or Kindle Reading App. My reading is much more “blended”, to use a term popular in Corporate Training. I alternate between e-books and “vinyl”, and create Word documents for out-of-copyright material like Shakespeare plays. I read far fewer books straight through these days than my wife does. My reading has become rather fractured.

I decided last year that there are times when I would rather read 30-50 pages of a different book every day than spend a week or two trying to finish a single book. There are plenty of books that I want to go back to (the autobiographies of Carole King and Burt Bacharach spring to mind – I only have these “on vinyl”, not as e-books) and others that I will probably never finish. And there are some where I can only read 20 or 30 pages at a time and know that I will never read straight through, like John Julius Norwich’s “The Popes: A History” or “Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond. (I have only met one person who has read the latter in its entirety, but I know many of people who have started it and dipped into it repeatedly afterwards, as I have. I like it a lot.)

I have collected scores of books on my Kindle, many of them for just 99p. Some of them are books that I have already read “on vinyl” and want to have to hand, and searchable, on my Kindle and on all my devices with a Kindle App (three at the moment: my netbook, my Windows Phone, and the Mac Book Pro that I am typing these words on).

I would like a printed copy of every book that I have on my Kindle. If I see a good quality copy at my Oxfam bookshop then I’ll buy it. “Life”, Keith Richard’s Autobiography, is a good example of this new approach to buying books. I bought it as an e-book for £5 and then picked up a pristine hardback copy at the Oxfam shop for £5. The hardback copy retailed at £20. I think that Keef and his co-writer James Fox made more in royalties from me buying the Kindle edition than if I’d bought the hardback new, and I gave a fiver to Oxfam too. The only businesses to lose out were the booksellers. And I did read it all the way through, alternating between the big hardback copy when I was at home, and the Kindle edition when I was out and about.


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