Mommy Soup

How soup for 7 really works.

Kindle vs Books: a lesson in the economics of a family of 7

on September 17, 2012

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day about books. She’s a fellow mom, though she only has 1 child. Her daughter is 8 and has recently fallen into the magical world of books. I was really excited for her.

You see, I love books. Always have. I grew up surrounded by books. I’m an adult and my dad still sends me books in the mail. My mom gives me a new book every time I see her (once a week). My kids have their own epic bookcase. With my own vast empire of literature, I offered to loan my friend some books for her daughter.

“No, we bought her a Kindle. It’ll save money in the long run. You should really get your kids some!”

I just stared at her blankly for a few minutes.  How on earth would a Kindle save me money? It made me realize something I’ve been mulling over for awhile: a “good deal” for a family with 1 or 2 kids is really expensive for a big family.

Let’s do the Kindle math. I have 5 kids. And a husband. Oh, and me. 7 people. Do you know how much 7 Kindles cost? $1400. Plus the cost of each book I download. Ach!

Okay, imagine I only buy for the people who can currently read. That’s still 4…plus 3 jealous and frustrated kids who don’t have a new toy. Still not a good deal.

Maybe I’m just old, but I love books. Not just reading, but the feel of books. The physical sensation of turning a page. I have a smartphone, so I know how awesome digital things can be. I’m actually writing this from my phone while I nurse and snuggle the baby. See? I’m not anti technology. I just don’t want a Kindle.

I want my kids to grow up holding books. They have Innotabs that they play with, but they don’t read on them. We read together. When my 2 year old “reads” to herself, I don’t have to worry about her breaking a $200 piece of equipment. Dropping her Dr. Suess book isn’t even all that loud. How many times would I have to replace those things?

Maybe a Kindle is a good fit for a small family. Or maybe someone who lives in a small apartment. Not so much for me. My $5 paperbacks will last through 7 people and always have a place in my home.

Plus, without bookcases, where would I put all the stuff I don’t want my kids to touch?

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