?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Kindling...

Article yesterday in the NYT about the Kindle...while there may be some legitimate debates about how Kindle will change publishing--and some of those changes maybe not so much the better for authors--the NYT hand-wringing seemed to be mostly over the fact that books on Kindle can't be used as status signifiers (tho' the Kindle itself, of course, it somewhat a status signifier since it ain't cheap)...after all, how will people know you are so cool and read Melville or Sartre if there's no book cover to inform them of such? It's true that as far as being used as a wing-book, the Kindle is useless...but...full disclosure:

Devilman got me a Kindle and it's pretty cool. Actually, Devilman got US a Kindle, and although I was skeptical at first, he's now not been able to pry it out of my hot little hands. I'm pretty smitten. Now, I wouldn't want to read every book on the Kindle, and I wouldn't buy a book on the Kindle that I had any expectation of wanting to add to my library, but for a swift read it's pretty sweet how you can download a book in seconds from wherever you are and begin reading instantly.  This has caused me to buy books that I might not have otherwise, based on the instant gratification principle. If I had to write the title down and go to the bookstore I might have lost interest in the book before I even got out the front door.

I particularly like reading the newspapers on the Kindle. We used to take the NYT, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal, but we only ever read the FT weekend edition, and the newsprint did add up. It seemed as though I was always carrying scads of paper to the recycling, or stumbling over pilesin the living room. Now, we are paper free, and don't have to deal with spreading out huge pages on the breakfast table or the living room. Plus, I tend to do most of my reading now whilst satisfying the voracious appetite of the Captain and his grabby hands make books and newspapers problematic. But I can easily hold the Kindle out of his reach and turn the page with one hand, and that works great. You don't get the easy browsing function you do with the physical paper, and the Kindle editions don't have the entire content of the paper edition but it's good enough for casual reading.

A couple of drawbacks: firstly, the Kindle ain't cheap, as mentioned before. I'm sure the price will come down and by the time Captain Jenks is old enough to read Gogol he'll probably wonder why anyone would read books printed on paper, oh those silly old folks. By then, maybe they'll be giving Kindles out in cereal boxes. (I am ancient enough to remember when digital watches cost over $100 bucks and were giant clunky things; you could order them out of the Sears catalog--if you were rich!). But right now it's an investment.

Another drawback: you lose the lovely physical quality of a book. No graphics, and if the book had pictures in it, usually they are ommited from the Kindle edition. I just finished GO DOWN TOGETHER, a bio of Bonnie and Clyde (what absolute pathetic losers--so sad), and I would have liked pictures to go with my text. Luckily, google pics provided illustrations but that's not the same as flipping to the middle of the book. Plus, no cover art, or interesting fonts, etc. Just stripped down utilitarian text. For those of us who like books as objects, that's a drag. But as I said, if I really want to keep a book, then I'll buy it for real.

Last drawback--which could be a MAJOR one for those of us with no self-control. To buy books you set up an automatic account. This means when you click buy on the Kindle, the credit card information is already in the system--which makes book buying SEEM easy and almost FREE. If you aren't careful, you can rack up some serious charges quickly just by hitting BUY BUY BUY. This may be great for the publishers and impulse buying but can get you into fiscal hot water rather quickly. Like with donuts, one must learn to exercise restraint.

However, over-all I am pretty happy to be Kindling...

Yr. obt. svt.,

Y.S. Wilce




Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
ellen_kushner
Apr. 27th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, dammit. Your point about the newspapers strikes home - hard! Delia is forever on at me about throwing out bits of last week's paper **I haven't even read yet**!!! She seems to feel that huge heaps of them do *not* constitute home decor.

Unfortunately, what I *like* about newspapers is spreading them out on the table and placing my cereal bowl (or taco plate) on top of them, eating w/one (or both) hands and both eyes.

Kindle Wars, here we come...!
(Anonymous)
Apr. 27th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)
Ah, but tacos and cereal are not grabby--at least I hope *they* are not! Ys
ellen_kushner
Apr. 27th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
My very point. Perfect for you, though!
kylecassidy
Apr. 27th, 2009 03:10 pm (UTC)
I'd like it if I could get kindle editions of books I already own -- the old mp3.com model -- i'm a bit skeptical of paying $9 for a paperback and then $9 more if i decide I want to read part of it on a train. I've been debating a kindle but the thing that's drawn me back is that I have a HUGE stack of "to read" books that i'm clawing through and a huge stack of books i actually AM reading concurrently and i'd rather not have to buy them all again.

the kindle model probably works very well for the Book of the Month Club type of person, but my reading habits are so ecclectic, I think it might just turn into one MORE book i'm carrying around with me everywhere instead of three FEWER....
yswilce
Apr. 27th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
Yes, this is one of the problems with Kindle. It would be nice if publishers would figure out a way to allow you to have both the Kindle edition and the print edition without paying full price for both. Perhaps if you buy one, then you can deduct that price from the other? I suppose the publishers have no incentive to do that tho' as they'd just assume you buy the book twice. I've so far avoided this by making sure that I don't buy Kindle editions of books that I want to keep or might want to pass around. On the other side tho', older and out of print books are pretty cheap, sometimes only a dollar or two, so I don't mind buying those twice!

kylecassidy
Apr. 27th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
somewhere out there, i'll bet, there's a kid who'll offer to take your used copy, rip the binding out, and OCR it for less than amazon's charging. the thing that would get me to buy a kindle would be $3 books again. my publisher made a lot of money off of my last book because they took the risk and shelled out god knows how much to have a zillion copies printed and stored -- if they did a kindle book, the shouldn't hope to make the same amount per copy, but it seems they often are. i'm not sure what the exact model is ... i'd like to have a kindle ... but i'd like to have some of my books too, and i'd like to be able to switch back and forth.

maybe books in the future will have a microchip embedded in the binding that you can swipe across your kindle to upload....

people of my generation were spoiled by being able to make a cassette tape of their record album and play it on their sony walkman. i think we keep thinking we deserve that luxury in perpetuity.
sdn
Apr. 27th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
hey, double congrats on tiptree honor and norton!
yswilce
Apr. 27th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
muchas gracias!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )