What I really think of the Kindle…

It’s time to confess: I’ve been “playing nice” during the recent explosion in e-reader popularity. I smile politely when someone mentions how they were reading the latest release on their Kindle. I’ve even been so kind as to re-post e-reader news in my Twitter account. We’re in the book industry together, folks, so we should all just get along, right?

It stops now.

While I recognize that e-readers are a fascinating technological advancement and, according to one friend, “pretty neat-o,” I still happily live in my 700 square-foot house with my print book “roommates” stacked from floor to ceiling. Nothing can replace the smell of a library book sale find, the feeling of a fine leather first edition, the look of a Rackham color print illustration, or the laughter of my son as he discovers the thrill of a tab in a pop-up book.

And while I’m a pretty subdued person, I get my own thrills from watching these guys do what I’ve wanted to do ever since I first held a Kindle in my hand:

12 thoughts on “What I really think of the Kindle…”

  1. Diana Raabe says:

    But there’s a difference between being a collector (over 2,000 volumes and counting at my house!) and being a reader (I read my last book club book on my iPhone!).

    I think there’s room (and necessity) for both. The electronics aren’t going away. We have to learn to live with them, even if we don’t love them. I imagine some grannies railed against electric light, too…

  2. Miep says:

    Luddites rule!

  3. Dan says:

    You can rail all you want, but most content is likely to flow digitally eventually.

    You can either learn to live with it or have a rapidly shrinking business.

    Sorry.

  4. Scott Givens says:

    Sure, it won’t go away, but the question remains…why would you want to sacrifice the pleasure of reading a book for the convenience of reading an electronic file (on whatever sort of device)? I can see reading something on your i-phone if you are desperate & far away from a bookstore, but would you really WANT to read a lot of books in that manner?

  5. Kendra Wastun says:

    As an electronic book reader, I have to comment. I received the Franklin eBook Reader back in the day when eBooks were just beginning. It was more than “just” a book reader, so my entire life ended up on this device. While I have a fairly large library of “real” books, I have just as large a library of electronic books. I absolutely can’t be without a book to read. Before I went electronic, I used to carry around at least 5 books with me wherever I went because I never know when I might find myself with downtime. For example, an appointment that I expected to take 15 min ends up taking an hour. Now, with electronic books, I only need to carry around my Franklin and I’m set. Has having access to electronic books stopped me from reading “real” books? Of course not. I see my ebooks as an addition to my library. In fact, several of my favorite books, like The Secret Garden, I have in multiple formats including audio. I still enjoy the sensuousness of reading a book made out of paper, and browsing in the bookstore or library, but I also like the convenience of carrying most of my library with me in electronic format and listening to an excellent reader in audio format. The idea that if you read ebooks, then you can’t/aren’t reading traditional books is silly. They are all parts of the book world, not replacements for each other, and I wouldn’t want to give up a single one.

  6. Martin Kraszewski says:

    Television did not kill Live Performance.
    Records, Tapes, Videos, CD’s and Mp3’s did not kill Live Music
    The internet did not replace face to face conversation
    Cars did not make walking obsolete
    We don’t cook with bottled water.
    Technology is a tool. Books are a technology, and so are e-books. I am a fan of VARIETY, and the more ways I can experience a book, be it via paper, e-paper, lcd, or audio, I am ready. New chairs did not destroy the desire for old chairs, some chairs made in the 60’s are worth way more than brand new chairs. The world is just continuing on a path of increasing complexity, and differentiation, there is not reason to fight it, just go with it.

  7. John Anthony Miller II says:

    Electronics are here to stay. I am an old dinosaur. Too that the next generation or two will never experience the touch of paper and the smell of old books. Some will though, not the majority.

  8. Mark says:

    One thing that is not being addressed…with e-readers, banned books can be banned, unpopular ideas can be deleted, never to be recovered….ever! All based upon the whims of the powers that be. In an ebook world, Hitler can be a nice guy and doing the world the greatest service in the world….and there will be no dissenting facts…or they can be deleted instantly.

  9. Jo-Anne Dougan says:

    A place for everything and everything in it’s place is a saying that my Grandmother used frequently and she would have abhored ebook readers and never touched anything other than her substantive collection of old and new books.

    Like my grandmother I believe in a place for everything but for me that includes ebook readers. Yes I adore books, the different textures of paper, the beauty of old illuminated scripts and the crisp feel of a brand new book. However my ebook reader (Kindle) has now become an integral part of my life in a very short period of time. I am in the UK and so had to wait on Kindle going global and I am delighted that it did. Kindle is perfect for me when I’m on the move, waiting for a pickup and travelling. Instead of loading my suitcase with a number of weighty tombs and at least 3 in hand luggage, my kindle is all I require. This will never replace books nor should it but instead it allows me the pleasure of reading anywhere and anytime I choose and always being able to purchase a “new book” when I finish the previous one. Ebook readers compliment but they do not replace.

  10. Diana Fields says:

    Can I please take a swing on your next video?

    Wait, no … let kindle live.

    Because then printed books will become more rare and then my grandchildren can charge huge amounts of money for my collection when the great satellite war in space begins and all those e-techs no longer work!

    My favorite books are the ones covered in sheep skin!

    Baaaaa!!!!!!

  11. biblio says:

    Complete agreement, Mark – great recent case in point, of course, Amazon’s instant removal of 1984 from people’s Kindles. Granted that was for the right reason (violation of copyright laws), but scary when you think about the implications of such a thing.

  12. Tim Brockett says:

    I think e-books like Kindle speak to a deeper issue of human nature. Allow me to roughly explain as I am still working on this idea. Humans do not always embrace what is new and “better”. In fact most people fall into two camps of thought; those who prefer things as they are or were and those who see a brighter future via change. Politically we see this as conservatives who believe in the unchanging wisdom of our American founding fathers and the US Constitution as a set in stone document. On the other side are liberals or now called progressives who believe the founding fathers were wise but that the US Constitution should be alive; that is to say should change or evolve with society. I suggest that broadly speaking conservatives embrace the traditional values and joys afforded by the printed page while progressives believe that a brighter future for all will be possible when we stop using dead trees and move to e-books. The good news for book sellers is that as long as conservatives or a strain of conservative thought remains a part of human nature, are around sales will be brisk. Comments are welcome and appreciated.

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