1 week ago
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Notes on a Kindle
1. I feel cheated out of the bookstore experience. Before I would enter a bookstore with the same reverence that someone would enter a church. This place was going to give me my next epiphany; the book/s I walk out with will change my life somehow. That sort of thing. Instead going to bookstore now its unsatisfying. I find books that I like, but I'm hesitant to buy it because the amazon store might have it for much cheaper. Because of this, I no longer get the same pleasure from picking up a book and that upsets me.
2. When flying, because the Kindle is an electronic device you cannot use it during take-off or landing. For me these are perhaps the most crucial times when I need to read; my iPod cannot be used, the movie has been turned off and all you ever have to do is read. So now with the Kindle, all I can do is sit there concentrating on how long it is taking for the pilot to land the plane.
3. I miss the weight of a book in my hand, and the smell of slightly worn pages and the crease in the spine that means its one of your favorites.
4. Last but not least, you cannot lend your Kindle books to a friend.
For all of the admittedly wonderful things that a Kindle does. Such as its portability, accessibility to Amazon's vast e-library, there are certain things that one cannot ever recreate with a digital book. And I may be an old fogey in saying this, but I will miss books when they are gone. The digital will become the convenience and the norm and people like me will be thought of as eccentric or clinging to a bygone era. Be that as it may, the act of holding a book brings back memories of every book I ever held, and to a certain extent every book I've ever read.
The move toward digital literary content got me thinking about a science fiction short story I read once (of course! ). It was a tale of xeno-archeologists (studying alien artefacts) who come to a planet where they are unable to make head nor tails of any of the old buildings, monuments and artifacts that they find. In the end, they reason, that particular civilization had gone digital, meaning all of their art, literature and cultural content had moved into a completely insubstantial medium. After the civilization became extinct, noone could celebrate them or study them because no one could truly know them.
Perhaps that is a gloomy thought but at the end of the day, progess stops for no man (or however the saying goes) and we will continue to evolve and change as we please. In the meantime however, I guess what I'm saying is that I will continue to celebrate books in their most tactile form until I no longer have that option.