I just got a Kindle from Amazon and I love it so much that yes, I want to marry it. It’s far easier to hold while lying down or eating than a three-dimensional book. As Jeff Bezos is now famous for saying on The Daily Show, “you can read it with one hand.”
It fits in my purse. And now I don’t have to stop to think which book I want to take – I’m building a library on this one device. If by some chance I get stuck somewhere and find I don’t have what I want – click, click! – I can order something new.
I’ve been thinking about the Kindle for a while. I don’t like to rush out and buy the latest gadgets. I call it “chasing your techno-tail,” because of the whirlwind of devices and apps surrounding us. I prefer to let others do my beta testing for me. When the manufacturer gets feedback and produces the second generation of phones, DVDs, or earpieces (usually lowering the price in the process), then I make my move – if it’s something I want. I am living a full life without Guitar Hero. Or, if I’m not living a full life, I’m not looking to Guitar Hero to fill the void.
Not only do I now have a portable library, I have achieved the American Dream: closing the gap between wanting and having. Used to be, when you wanted a book, you had to make a trip to store or library. In neither location was there adequate parking, nor are stores and libraries open 24/7. Then came the online bookstore and you got to save gas. If you were in a panic you could pay for expedited shipping, and I’ve done that more than once.
Now there is no shipping, because something called Whispernet delivers it to your device in a matter of seconds. Whispernet is a lovely name, even if it’s really a euphemism for another way that someone who already has a private jet makes even more money.
After I started this post I googled “Kindle” to sample what other users have written about it. I wasn’t surprised to find resistance, even hostility – downright snarky comments about the limitations of my baby. Shoot, I’ve heard it from a couple of friends. “I like the feel of a book.” (Me, I like the feel of the handle of a butter churn.) What surprised me was my reaction to the resistance.
One complaint is that you can’t access everything ever written. Since when could you access everything you wanted in one place? Not my local library. I don’t think they ever had most of the books their computers list. Someone just inputs ISBN numbers into the computer for fun.
Another complaint is that the screen isn’t readable. Well, I find it readable, and I’m the one reading, and no one is taking away the “dead tree” book (the new nomenclature is a not-so-subtle reminder that e-books don’t use paper) from us… at least not until we turn our backs.
Feeling my hostility to the hostility, I recognized in myself true missionary zeal. “You are wrong, I am right, and I’m not leaving this room until I convince you even if I have to hurt you.”
I don’t approve of missionary zeal, and I asked myself where it came from. I’m passionate about Broadway musicals, but I’ve never begged anyone to listen to Sondheim with me. And I remembered that the last time I felt the hey-you-have-to-try-this fanaticism was after I discovered audio books. There’s a pattern here.
For me the Kindle is about 90% perfect. That’s enough for me to propose. We’re going to register at Amazon.com.