To Kindle or not to Kindle? That is the eternal question. I was very stoked about getting one for christmas, esp after seeing maris’s and how neat it all seemed. And it’s still neat and I will be using it, but not right now. Here is what I think the Kindle is good (great) for: Long plane rides – lots of books in a tiny carrier, travel in general (lots of books in a tiny carrier, hello pool side- just don’t get it wet), and the future. Yes. The future. The unfeeling cold, metallic future!
Why the future and not now you say? Well, first – I have a stack of books that are yelling at me to be read. A stack. Of real life page to page with a cover made of paper stack of books. And in my impoverished state I cannot bring myself to spend money on other books. Although – thank you Regina for supplying me with an amazon gift card to wipe away those fears. But even with that money I feel overwhelmed with the amount of reading material demanding my attention. Ok so – this must be the transition phase, no? What every new Kindle owner goes through? The weird inbetween place where I have some old and some new and must finish the old to move on to the new. Except… the Kindle is a little impersonal. Every books looks the same. Every book smells the same. Every book feels the same. This is weird and unfamiliar. And what about the whole bit of walking into a book store and feeling the books? Reading the backs? Reading reviews from book shop people? I know you can do all of this at amazon.com but it’s not the same. I don’t like clicking on links and trying to navigate the site and not see the handwriting of who wrote what (because I judge reliability based on scroll alone sometimes) and something about the whole process just doesn’t seem genuine.
But then again, ipods made music both easier and less hands on. And computers made communication easier and less hands on. But those things have revolutionized the way we live – some would say for the negative but the majority would say for the positive. And maybe we all just need some time to accept the future of books. The other thing is that maybe the publishing industry needs to shake things up a bit. Maybe book sales should be more reader to writer based and the needs for a third party should be diminished. Because although publishers do a great service with editing and marketing a book, they take a large amount of the profits. Could the kindle and the internet reduce those costs? Could they reduce the costs to the consumer – they already do. Like itunes with music, books on the kindle are cheaper. Would this increase readership? If books were easier to carry around and more accessible would more people read? I hope so. Although – the other aspect of books I am sad to see go – my ability to snoop on what other people are reading on the bus. With the Kindle there is no cover art and makes peaking over one’s shoulder incredibly awkward.