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The Kindle: Redefining the Reading Experience (Is This Blasphemy?)

By August 5, 2008 culture No Comments

Most bookworms would admit that reading is love. It’s more than just digesting a story or new information. It’s the wave of warmth that greets you upon entering the library or bookstore . . . it’s the weight of a book in your hands . . . it’s the scent of paper as pages are turned . . . ah, this is true bliss!

The marvelous experience of reading is the sum of its parts. [And if you add a warm beverage to the mix, the sum total is all the better!]

And so I wonder, how will the experience fair if one of those parts is altered?

Amazon has launched the Kindle, their “wireless reading device.” In other words, an electronic device that stores books and is supposedly able to deliver an equally satisfying reading experience in high-tech fashion.

That’s right. For just $359 (plus the books your wish to load in), you can hold a metal device in your hands that feeds you books at the touch of a button.

I’m not completely opposed to this invention, as it has several likable qualities. It’s compact and can hold approximately 200 books (that makes my heart happy!). It’s portable, making it perfect for travel (a true help for a gal like me who just can’t seem to leave home without at least four books).

The benefits seem to meet my needs, especially for travel. And perhaps, if I got accustomed to this new reading experience during travel, I would begin to use it even in daily life.

I think I may be too set in my ways though. The thought of no pages to turn and no book to hold makes me sad. And stodgy thoughts invade my mind about technology ruining reading for generations to come. [sigh.]

Before the onset of computers—or even typewriters, for that matter—writers had one option: putting the pencil to paper. Back when typing became available as an alternative, did some writers have a reaction like the one I am having to the Kindle? Did writers of yesterday believe that purists—true writers—would get their hands into their work and not taint them with the use of mechanical devices?

Well, this writer’s hands feel most at home when connected to any sort of writing instrument, whether pencil, pen, or keyboard. There is room and need for all modes.

Maybe the same could be true in the realm of reading.

I do believe I’m safe for now though. Kindle sales have been impressive so far, but I don’t think my bookstores are going to shut down anytime soon.

So for my fellow bookworms, what would it take for you to give the Kindle a try?

  • http://cliffjburns.wordpress.com Cliff Burns

    I get a feeling that the Kindle will appeal to gadget-minded geeks and your dyed-in-the-wool bibliophiles will continue to invest in books, enjoying the tactile feel of the pages in your hand. If the Kindle gets people reading, fine, but if publishers want more people reading, the solution is the same since Gutenberg rolled out his first press: publish books that people want to read…

    Cliff—Well said! I agree completely. —es

  • http://wordlily.wordpress.com wordlily

    I think I, like you, would maybe try a Kindle if I knew I was going to be traveling a ton. Oh, and I’d need the money to be able to buy it, of course.

  • http://www.edukindle.com Will D

    For me, the Kindle really does make reading “frictionless” (adjective courtesy of Jeff Bezos). My newspaper is there every morning, searchable, dry (even when delivered in the rain), my mystery novel is ever at the ready, I have been reading the Iliad again in the free version, and my professional reading of Carol Dweck’s Mindset is right there too. Sampling a significant portion of a book before purchasing, without having to track the book down at Borders, is a BIG plus. I read more with my Kindle. You?

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