In 8th grade my mother and father bought me a Kindle for my birthday. I would be lying if I said I had always loved to read growing up. As a child I spent most of my time outside so when I started bringing home library books in middle school my parents took notice. My father thought that a Kindle would be a great gift because it made reading more convenient. I tried really hard to use my Kindle but as time passed I found that the device was not really suited for me. I realized that I had several problems with the device. First was with the idea of paying money for something (ebooks) that I really didn’t physically possess. I think that is what made me a little skeptical about Dibbell’s explanation in Unpacking My Record Collection. I don’t usually pay for any of the music in my iTunes library and that makes them far more disposable in my eyes.
Like my experience with the Kindle, I found that everything stored on it was free downloads or samples of books that I never bought. I understand Dibbell’s claim that the greater accessibility offered by technology allows for an even bigger collection, but does that necessarily mean it makes for a better collection? I don’t think it does.
I think the largest issue I had with my Kindle is that I did not feel a connection with the stories I would read the way I do with a physical book. I can identify with Walter Benjamin because no matter if I read the book or not, I have an attachment to all the books that are on my book shelf at home. I have tried many times to sift through my books seeing if there are any I would be willing to donate and I am never able to pull the trigger. I can remember the acquisition of each book and can probably tell you a story about who recommended it to me or who I let borrow it.
I think that there is a beauty in the acquisition of a book or an album that can’t be replaced by technology the way that Dibbell believes. Yes, you are still able to appreciate the content of the song or book, but there is an undeniable connection formed when you buy or acquire an object physically. That is why my Kindle is at home sitting in a drawer (sorry dad).