Miss Letting-Go-Getting

Post #5: IPod:Compact Discs as Kindle:_______
November 24, 2007, 3:04 am
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Oh–I am so conflicted by Amazon’s new e-book reader! It both excites and frightens me!

I love love love love love books—I collect them, I obsess over them, I can’t imagine a more perfect object than a book. The texture of the cover, the smell of the paper, the feeling of turning the pages, the weight in your hands, oh–I could go on and on about the physical perfection of the book. But books as seen in the below video, are essentially a technology—a technology that has outlasted most others, but a technology nonetheless. Does this mean that the book is bound to be surpassed by something else? A new technology that will revolutionize the way we read?

Time out for a funny video about the technology of books:

I digress, back to the Kindle. Is Amazon’s new Kindle e-book reader, finally the e-book reader that will take off? Unveiled earlier this week with a great deal of hype, there are already reports that the first launch has sold out.

So what is so amazing or possibly revolutionary about the Kindle?

  • Not just for books—you can subscribe to newspapers (NYT, WSJ, etc) and blogs
  • View PDF or Word documents sent to your Kindle e-mail address
  • Always connected to the web—search google, access wikipedia, etc.
  • $9.99 charge for new releases/$1.99 for classics
  • Can also play audio books

Please read Steve Levy’s fantastic Newsweek article about the kindle and the book as technology.

This closing observation really hit me:

“The awesome technology of original books—and our love for them—will keep them vital for many years to come. But nothing is forever. Microsoft’s Bill Hill has a riff where he runs through the energy-wasting, resource-draining process of how we make books now. We chop down trees, transport them to plants, mash them into pulp, move the pulp to another factory to press into sheets, ship the sheets to a plant to put dirty marks on them, then cut the sheets and bind them and ship the thing around the world. “Do you really believe that we’ll be doing that in 50 years?” he asks.”

Ouch. I don’t want to give up my books, but might it be the responsible thing to do?

What do you think fellow book lovers?


2 Comments so far
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I saw the founder of Amazon.com on Charlie Rose talking about the Kindle and making many of the same points. I don’t think “real” books will ever go away. The Kindle may be a hit, and I think going digital for short-stories, newspapers, magazines and the like is a great idea…but I still don’t think anyone will ever want to read a full length book on a small digital screen. Also, there’s nothing physically tangible about this digital revolution. Imagine all the books of the world digitized, and then something short circuiting all the Kindles and all the computers in the world. Everything could be lost in the blink of an eye. But who knows…maybe I’m just old fashioned.

Comment by David Schleicher

I love books too, and to me it is not the same reading a book on a computer screen, or on a small portable electronic device; however, my father has an e-book reader that he is so excited about, and my brother actually got him an e-book for Christmas. He likes it because he can take a lot of books with him on vacation without taking up a lot of space, and he can change the text size, so there are definitely some upsides to using a e-book reader.

Comment by ashley122

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