In case you don't feel like clicking through and reading the whole article, which in all honesty is how I often feel when I see links such as the above, I'll summarize it for you.
Jeff Bezos, who founded Amazon.com has just created the Amazon Kindle (as in kindling the flame of knowledge), the newest e-Reader. Compared, innovation-wise, with the iPhone and iPod, it does sound as though it is leaps and bounds better than other eBook readers. For it to succeed, Bezos says that "If you're going to do something like this, you have to be as good as book in a lot of respects."
Here are some of the things that Bezos says make the Kindle "as good as" a book:
- it contains an aura of "bookishness"
- it has the dimensions of a paperback
- it weighs 10.3 ounces
- it uses E Ink, a breakthrough technology that mimes the clarity of a printed book
- it has a 6" screen
Okay, where to start? Can I just go on record and say that I for one don't ever see myself falling into the eBook craze. Although the device does sound kind of cool, I just can't imagine myself settling down onto the sofa with a hard plastic case to read a good book.
A book has weight. Heft. It has a smell. It has a specific typeface (which I guess could be duplicated, BUT). It has cover art. Just go read Faster Than Kudzu (specifically the 10/19 post) to see how important cover art is to a lot of people. For me, these are all a part of the experience of a "book." Of reading.
I'm just not sure that experience can be duplicated by a machine.
Some other things the Kindle will be able to do:
- Store up to 200 books! (ummmm, isn't that what bookshelves are for? What about a library, people? While I'm all for supporting authors, oftentimes a new book just isn't in the budget, you know? That's where libraries come in handy. Kindle currently has no plans to loan books.)
- It can venture out on the Web! (ummm, again, will my computer become obsolete? Because the Kindle can also receive emails!)
- It has advertising space! (To borrow from Grey's Anatomy...Seriously? Although they say that advertising is not in their plans for the Kindle, you know it's just a matter of time. I read books to get AWAY from advertising. Will there be no space left untouched by Madison Avenue? Is nothing sacred?)
I don't know about you, but I don't want to tell Michael Chabon, or anyone else for that matter, how or what they should write. That's almost sacrilegious, in my opinion. The writing process is an art form, one that shouldn't be tampered with. It is storytelling. Can you imagine how Jane Eyre might have turned out if Charlotte Bronte had consulted her readers upon the completion of every chapter. It's absurd.
So, I'm curious. Is it just me? Do you ever see yourself using a Kindle? If not, is it our generation? Am I too old? Is this my my misguided attempt to hold back the sands of time? Will I, like those who proclaimed rock and roll to be the devil's music, be shaking my hips to the digital beat in 10 or 15 years? Let me know what you think. I'm curious.