The last time I mentioned Amazon’s Kindle, it was in that dismissive, mocking tone I reserve for things I don’t fully understand. Basically, I was incredulous that anybody would shell out several hundred bucks for a device that seemed much less convenient than the paperback book it purports to replace.
Now, as is so often the case, I see that I was wrong. As this piece in Slate points out, the second generation Kindle “makes buying, storing, and organizing your favorite books and magazines effortless. You can take your entire library with you wherever you go and switch from reading the latest New Yorker to the latest best-seller without rolling out of bed. … The Kindle is the future of publishing.”
OK, that shows how much I know. If you’ve got an extra $359 around to buy one, fine. But keep reading the Slate article: the thrust of it is not how great the Kindle is, but how bad it might eventually become for this pursuit we call reading. The problem is twofold: No more reselling or sharing the e-books you buy, and everything you buy must come from Amazon.
Sounds like the Kindle has become cool and convenient enough to become the next iPod. But with that kind of acceptance, it makes you wonder what might eventually become of public libraries. Applying DRM to the printed word just seems wrong — no matter how convenient it might seem now.