A New Kindle & The Pursuit of Book Covers

Michael Scott once described his greatest weaknesses as being he works too hard, cares too much, and sometimes he can be a bit too invested in his job. It’s a clever thing to say when on a job interview, despite the fact that you aren’t an actual consideration for the position and one of the rare times where Michael says something and it actually works in his benefit. No, “you have no idea how high I can fly” moment here. Lately, I’ve been thinking about Michael Scott’s greatest weaknesses and how they pertain to me and I felt like there was an item being left off this list. Or an item, I would like to add to my list of greatest weaknesses, a list I won’t be sharing in full today.

I have an undying loyalty to the pieces of technology that I own.

What does this mean? We’re all loyal to technology. Hell, I would even wager a bet that the majority of us are slaves to it. I saw the Animatrix, I know how the war with the robots starts. I’m just saying. But that’s not what I mean here. Let me give you an example.

I just upgraded my iPhone 7. I. Just. Upgraded. My. iPhone. Seven.

Yeah, that’s the kind of loyalty to technology I’m talking about. The kind where you clearly need to move on to something more advance but for some reason, your brain will not allow you to part with the piece of tech in question. Perhaps it’s superstitious. Perhaps it’s a monetary issue. Perhaps it’s because this piece of technology has yet to fail so why would I turn my back on it. Perhaps it’s a refusal to change despite how jealous you are of the quality of other people’s pictures taken on their phones. Whatever the reason, I tend to buy a piece of technology and use it until I have no other choice but to move on. Or someone, like my wife, convinces me that I’m being crazy and no one should have to deal with pixelated data.

With that being said, 2021 was a year where I slowly upgraded pieces of tech. It started with my iPad mini, or as you know it the Fancy Comic Book Reader and then progressed to a new iPhone, for those wondering I got a twelve. Man is that a whole different animal. Why did I stay with the seven for so long?!

Most recently though, I upgraded my Kindle. I went from an original generation Kindle Paperwhite, known lovingly around these parts as Gandalf the Kindle, and evolved into a tenth generation Kindle Paperwhite, known as Gandalf the Paperwhite. See what I did there? You know, Gandalf the Grey into Gandalf the White? I really don’t need to explain this to you, do I?

(insert Gandalf gif)

Moving on from Gandalf the Kindle was a really tough decision for yours truly. I mean, getting a Kindle in the first place was a tough decision. I love physical books. I love the way they look on shelves. I love when the spine look worn from reading. I love their covers unless their movie covers which in that case they can burn. I love the feel of their pages. I love the smell of their pages. I love holding them. I love books. They bring me such joy knowing that they’re there in a room with me. Feels all warm and toasty like as if there was a fireplace in the room. Here’s the thing though, I don’t like moving books and I went through a stretch of moving like five times in three years and carrying those books… was brutal. Slightly soul-crushing when stairs were involved but mostly back pain-inducing labor. The upgrade to a Kindle made sense from a try not to ruin my back standpoint because I was not going to stop reading books. Like ever. Ever ever.

So, I got a Kindle and I kept that Kindle for about eight or nine years. We were the best of friends. So many different adventures together. From the Path of the Beam to outer space to world-ending plagues with a dash of romantic tearjerkers… we covered a lot of ground. The thing was, the battery life wasn’t holding up as well as it used to and I found I was charging Gandalf the Kindle more and more with each new book. It was a difficult decision, like choosing pizza or sushi for takeout night, but an upgrade was needed.

And listen, I love Gandalf the Paperwhite. We’re still getting used to each other but clearly, this is a wonderful piece of technology. I feel that it captures my reading speed a bit more accurately. The screen is gorgeous. The transitions are smooth. It’s this really cool blue on the back. It’s everything you would want out of a Kindle…

Except the covers of my books haven’t been loading.

I know, it seems like such a small complaint but… where are my covers?! The first thing I did when I got the Kindle was download my library onto it and that took quite some time. Do you know how many books I own on my Kindle? A stupid amount. Damn, Amazon sales. I refuse to let these books sit on the Cloud because a lot of them are waiting to be read, and I need everything at my fingertips at all times because I’m needy and obsessive. So, everything got downloaded and it took hours. But not all of the books had their covers present. Some of the newer purchases did but some of the older books… nothing but grey shapes and titles. It was not appeasing to the eye in the slightest and made it difficult to figure out what was a book and what was a Collection. And it drove me nuts. Maybe it’s the OCD in me or maybe it’s just because I like book covers but I couldn’t fully embrace Gandalf the Paperwhite without the covers of my books.

This means I did what most rational humans in my position would do, I contacted Amazon to complain. Long story short, I got a less than helpful rep through chat who didn’t understand my complaint nor how to assist me. My books remained coverless and I grew frustrated. Frustrated to the point where I had Amazon call me. The day was not going to end until the covers of my books were present. And I was not going to let them send me a replacement Kindle either. No way in hell, I was downloading all these books again. No sir!

The person on the phone understood my problem and we tried to troubleshoot some. Nothing worked. He then put me on hold and after three minutes… disconnected the phone call.

Cool.

I called back. Got a different rep. He was useless. I was getting more frustrated and my Kindle needed a charge. As I went to plug it in, I noticed something… covers were magically appearing on my books. Not only that, but the option to “Show Cover”, which hadn’t been available two minutes ago, was suddenly available. Now my away screen will be the cover of the book I’m currently reading and I can’t properly explain how much I love that feature without sounding like a lunatic.

Without really saying anything I hung up on the current Amazon rep… he called back though because their customer service is good and I lied and said I lost connection. I then watched as the covers of hundreds of books appeared and my heart was filled with glee. Seriously, such glee. Ask my wife. It was the one thing I kept talking about last night. A real victory for me.

Now, now Gandalf the Paperwhite and I are on the path to becoming best of friends. The peace of mind that I feel anytime I’ve opened my Kindle since can’t be measured. The lack of covers had been weighing on me like some kind of deranged albatross. Not anymore though. Whenever I open up and see my current book cover, I’m carefree.

There really is no end to this story except the immense happiness in my heart. There is no message or deeper meaning to be found here. Nope, just the ramblings of a man who holds on to technology for far too long and can not live a full life unless his digital books have covers. Is this a man you would want to friend? A man you feel slightly sorry for? That’s up to you to decide. But I’ll tell you something, this man, this man is sleeping a lot better at night now. And if that isn’t a success story then I don’t know what is.

{Fun Fact- somehow I wrote almost fifteen hundred words about this…}

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