Can Your Kindle Cause Mental Illness?

November 25th, 2011

By Dan Miller

KindleMy wife gave me a Kindle reader for my birthday in June. Although she sought to do good rather than harm, I have become addicted to it and to its free collection of old classics. I should have known that this would happen. Even a year ago, it was written that

The CEO of is bracing for a future in which you’ll also want ones for your kid heading to college, your spouse in a book club and perhaps even Grandpa.

It’s already become even more addictive than Demon Rum and I can’t stop myself.  But the situation is worse, far worse, even than that.

Whenever I take a nap my Kindle goes with me and I read until I begin to doze off; then, I turn it off, place it on my nightstand and sleep. Ditto when I retire for the night. However, while asleep I often continue reading the same story as though on my Kindle.  Upon awakening I am surprised, if only for a second or so, that it is still on my nightstand where it belongs. Reverting to the Kindle, I sometimes find myself surprised that the actual storyline there is different than in my dream.

President Obama's Cartoon BookSurely, this must be a sign of severe and chronic mental deterioration. However, there is no way for me now to be cured of the addiction or of its unanticipated consequences.  Probably, if  someone had read to me instead this horror would not have beset me.  Alas, there is no hope.

(This article was also posted at Dan Miller’s Blog.)

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7 Responses to “Can Your Kindle Cause Mental Illness?”

  1. Tom Carter |

    It was funny, and a bit spooky, to read this today. After hearing you extol the wonders of your Kindle earlier, I gave in to my longtime resistance and bought one — actually, a present from a very nice person. It arrived from Amazon today, and I read your article even before I opened the box. It’s sitting here on the desk, tempting me. I wonder if any ghostly vapors will rise from it when I break the seal….

  2. Dan Miller |


    You have been warned. Be careful – – b e . . . v e r y . . . c a r e f u l.

    We all know of the many disabilities suffered by elderly gentlewomen experiencing the vapors. What vapors may emanate from a Kindle and what further disabilities might they cause? Might Amazon count among its many demonic employees the insidious Dr. Fu Man Chu? Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of an apparently docile and harmless Kingle? Not even The Shadow, I dare to say, knows for sure.

    Federally funded research into these problems is needed before another moon has passed set. It will create or save countless jobs and may also be useful in understanding the minds of our other enemies. I cannot advocate this important solution to our nation’s problems too much.

  3. Tom Carter |

    I opened the box and read the instruction manual on the infernal machine. It includes one warning that I found enlightening and incredibly useful — if the Kindle gets wet, don’t try to dry it out by putting it in your microwave! No doubt some cretin somewhere did it, and along came a lawyer, and then a lawsuit…hence the warning. And a good thing, too, because that’s how I would have tried to dry it if I got it wet!

    It’s charging now. Is it supposed to whistle “Dixie” when you plug it in?

  4. Dan Miller |

    Is it supposed to whistle “Dixie” when you plug it in?

    Yes, but only if previously soaked in bourbon, highly recommended before charging. Please see page 999 666 of the instructions.

  5. Dan Miller |

    Seriously, though, if you charge it using the USB device (as distinguished from the dingus that gets plugged into an electrical outlet) it will appear as one of your computer’s hard drives to which it is possible to download lots of neat stuff — some music files and audio books (MP3 files) and regular books from independent sources. There is lots of room — mine has 3.05 GB available for downloads

    If ejected (go to “computer,” click on the drive and then on “eject,”) you will be able to read stuff on your Kindle while charging. It might be a good idea to wait until an hour or so it has begun charging to do this; I don’t know at what point the Kindle should have enough power to permit this.

  6. larry |

    Damn it Dan
    I’ve attempted to remain free of hand held electronic devices that twitter and soon become appendages, going everywhere I go. I reckon I’m a gonna have me one of em air magic reading boxes. Maybe it’ll broaden my horizons or something to that effect.

  7. Dan Miller |


    My Kindle reader has limited web connectivity and I don’t know whether it can twitter; I’ve never heard it making odd noises such as that. My blog site automatically sends a few twitters when I post new articles there but other than that I have little use for Twitter and its annoying family of distractions. I can receive g-mail on my Kindle, but it isn’t worth the bother and I don’t type well using two thumbs.

    If you buy a Kindle reader, the one I have (shown in the picture at the top of the article) now sells for about $80 and does all I want it to do. I have read or reread many classics and they are available on the Kindle-Amazon site for free; since June, I have purchased only $0.99 worth of stuff and that was just an experiment to see whether my Amazon account worked.

    One additional encouragement: my Kindle began freezing up in September and nothing I was able to do fixed the problem except temporarily. I called customer service and chatted with a pleasant person who had no technical suggestions beyond what I had already tried. However, he arranged for a new Kindle to be sent to me, gratis, and Amazon paid for the return shipment of my defective Kindle. The customer service experience made me an enthusiastic customer.

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