Thursday, 22 November 2007
New Amazon e-book reader the future of reading?
Just before I got yelled at for peering over someone's shoulder to read their paper (on the tube) I noticed an article about how Amazon have come up with an e-book reader (the 'Kindle') that "may signal the death of the humble paperback". Without stopping to think how hardback sales may be affected (get it?) I immediately jumped off at the next stop, went home and burnt every single one of my books in a massive bonfire of literary distruction. There's no way I'm going to be seen with books when the Kindle is the way forward, right?
Actually what I really did was think, "nope, not for me" and carry on reading my humble paperback (after apologising for my anti-social newspaper reading behaviour). I'm not denying that it looks pretty cool (if you want something that looks like it could also double as a geiger counter) but I'm pretty old fashioned in a lot of ways and will stick with reading books just as they are.
For me the act of reading a book means that I actually have a book in my hands, not an electronic gadget where book storage (and display) is almost peripheral to all the other great stuff that it can do. A book is representational of all the work put in by the author, cover artist, editorial staff and many others. To me, an e-book reader is only representational of some amazing technical work (nothing to do with books at all).
The somewhat prohibitive price is also offputting, $400 is a lot of money even if the US Dollar/Stirling exchange rate is working in my favour right now ;o) What really swung it for me though is that I'm less likely to be mugged for a paperback than I am for a cool looking electronic gadget that I'm reading on the train. Think about it...
Having said all of that though, am I missing out on a great e-reading experience? Let me know if you have an e-book reader and can't be parted from it...