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...


Russ Whitfield said...

I'm not convinced about these things at all...What if you dropped it?

And it's not the sort of thing that can be left on the floor of the loo to be picked up a later date.

Can it be dropped in your bag and lugged about all over London without being broken?

High tech it maybe, but I just don't see how this is going be anything more than trendy thing to have.

Mind you, I said that about IPods too.

Chris, The Book Swede said...

Sadly it was only after I'd burned all of my books, that I read your post :(