There Are Two Sides...

From what I'm reading, everyone loves their Kindle.  From the first DX model to the second-generation Kindle 2, the e-book reader by Amazon appears sleeker, lighter, more user-friendly, and more versatile than the competing brands by Sony or Barnes & Noble.  You can even use it internationally now.  My personal favorite function of the Kindle 2 (if I had one) would be the built-in dictionary.  I think I would use that for every "page."

The Kindle has been hailed as the "future of reading."  By whom, I'm not sure.  I can't find the exact quote anywhere online.  I'm sure the Amazon marketing people could.

The Kindle is supposed to be the beginning of a brand new culture of book-lovers.  One where we do all of our reading on computerized screens...but we're no longer limited to cords and outlets and CPUs.  We can take our electronic reading devices anywhere, and buy books whenever we want.  I'm not necessarily for that type of culture, exactly, but if that's where the world is headed, I don't know if I'd be unmovable.  I like new ideas, and I've been kind of interested in this whole green technology thing lately.  I mean, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, would it?  To have books stored in an electronic device rather than on our bookshelves?

Ok, maybe it would be.  Thinking of my house without actual books in it makes me a little shaky and my heart rate goes up.  I also don't think I'd want to take any kind of e-reader to a beach, even though the girl in the Amazon ad portrays that as a completely normal Kindle 2 activity.  What do you do when you get sand in the minuscule cracks where it's put together?  I can't even get sand out of my bathing suit, let alone a Kindle.  And then there's this:

I was sitting in the cafeteria at work today, eating lunch with friends, when one of them brought up something I had never even thought to consider.  Amazon's e-book reader is called the Kindle.  The Kindle.  "Yeah," I said.  "You know...it, like, sparks your imagination.  Ignites education and creativity! [And sales.]"

Wrong.

The Kindle.

According to my friend, it turns out the hottest tech toy of 2009 is actually some well-laid subliminal plot to get all us consumers to ditch paper books forever.  FOREVER.  The Kindle.  Kindling.  Book burning.  The figurative book burning of a culture of readers, to be exact.  My culture.  And it will probably go down in history as the biggest, most successful book burning of all.  Why?  Because I can't even see the Kindle for its own name.  We're so enthralled with the concept, we're missing the consequences.  And its name.

As I stated in a past post, book burning is viewed as a form of violence against a culture; it serves a demonstrative purpose, as a way for an oppressive power to force its influence onto a group of people.  I just bought three CDs from Amazon today.  Am I feeding the fire?  Should Amazon be viewed as a brutal regime, out to quash my appreciation for "real" books? 

Or is Amazon a friend to the forests, and the Kindle just a vehicle for expression?  Is their purpose simply to keep us all up-to-date, current with not only the trends in reading and technology, but in business, and with communication tools, too?

And on top of all of this, to properly sort things out, you then have to ask the question: "What makes a book?"  Is it really the paper and binding?  Or is it the words?  Is it the message?  Or a combination of all of it?  When did reading get this complicated?

So do you have a Kindle, or another e-book reader?  Whose side are you on?  Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

And where are we going now?

2 comments:

  1. FABULOUS POST.

    The Kindle is for dirty lazy whores. There is NOTHING better than walking into a bookstore and picking out something brand new, cracking the spine and inhaling the "new page smell."

    I don't care that I will have to move into a house with built-ins (because of my hundreds of books). It will be so worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks!

    I, too, love the new page smell...and who doesn't love a good built-in?

    ReplyDelete