Friday, November 23, 2007


Giving thanks for real books

I'm moderately busy today at the shop, but not too busy to blog for a bit. I'm working on my Christmas list, too. Who's been nice this year? Anyone? As I make my list, I do know this, at four hundred bucks a pop, no one in my family will be getting a Kindle. Even if they were fifty bucks, no no and again no. Over at the Oxford University Press blog, Evan Schnittmann says this about Kindle:

"If Kindle fails, the ebook is over, the theory of the “iPod model” is wrong for eBooks, and publishing must face the reality that consumers just don’t want to read immersive content on electronic screens of any sort… but let’s not rain on this glorious parade just yet. I think Kindle and the inevitable rivals it will spawn are here to stay. The ebook is dead, long live the ebook!"

"Immersive content" is a catchy phrase and explains neatly why I don't want to cuddle up with a Kindle. I'd rather get lost in a real book. Technology doesn't need to come between me and the words on the page, the "content" (a word I don't like the current usage of - I like contents better, as in table of contents). The blog post is positive overall, though. The comments are worth browsing through, too - everyone from ye olde booklovers to gadget-happy technovores (is that a word? I just made it up) weighs in. Over at Amazon, the customer ratings for Kindle only add up to two and a half stars. But the device is on back-order, sold out. Merry Christmas. I feel like such a dinosaur (call me tri-Sarah-tops).

I like holding, and reading, a real book also. But think about the possibilities that exist with a device such as this with textbooks. My six year old little girl comes home with a backpack weighted down every day. My fifteen year old daughter brings home 20 lbs of books a day also. If all their textbooks were downloaded to a device per semester it would save not only their backs, and our future medical bills, but countless numbers of trees. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this device for textbooks, and am in fact, excited to see where this leads as far as school is concerned.
Hi Bill - yes, textbook storage would be a perfect use for this device. Easy to update, so no wasteful "new" editions every two or three years, at least at the college level. Hope I didn't come across as too negative about this. I am easily riled by technology. And by change in general, come to think of it. Thanks for commenting.
What happens in 5 years when the format changes or the license expires? My ancestors will still have my print books in a beautiful and delightful format 500 years from now. With the Kindle, you can’t print out a passage, e-mail it to a friend or copy it into a document, thus negating any advantages an e-book might have. You can’t lend a book to someone, or sell it after you’re finished. Your book is tied to your Kindle and its e-mail account. Good luck to you when Amazon or whatever data provider changes its business model or goes out of business.
Anon, thank you for echoing my own bitterness back to me. Technology we don't need, because the existing technology (books) works just fine. Hard to improve upon something so near perfection already.

Textbooks don't count as *real* books, do they?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?