Why the Amazon Kindle Sucks
I actually love my Kindle. I think I can count on one hand the number of dead tree books I’ve actually read since the Kindle came into my life… and that’s only because I live but a block away from the county central library and find it difficult to resist the urge to go exploring its shelves on occasion. Interestingly enough, I no longer do that because I need something to read — my Kindle’s got that covered in spades. It’s more when I’ve really got nothing better to do.
But all’s not hunky-dory in Kindletown. Oh, I’m not talking about some Kindle vs. Traditional Book “reading experience” debate crapola — anyone who owns a Kindle knows that that “debate” is idiotic and over (and, believe me, most if not all of us Kindleheads also love the dead tree form factor), but you can forget pointing that out to the tree killers — it’s not like it’s difficult to tell that much (most? all?) of the anti-Kindle pontification is coming at you from complete and utter ignorance. No way to do much more than a Mr. T and “pity the fools,” quite frankly. Throw salvation into the mix, and we’ve got something religious going on, actually. Ever tried arguing against someone who, at the end of the day, is armed with absolutely nothing but faith? Good luck with that.
Really, as far as the medium’s concerned, the Fat Lady has sung. Although the dominance transition won’t be anywhere close to complete anytime soon, we all felt the shift.
If you think about it truthfully, at this point there really are only two things that keep you from going Kindle:
2.You’re scared stiff of new tech/changing your ways.
No one can argue against reason #1 — yeah, the cost of entry is still pretty steep — but #2 falls cleanly into the “oh just go find a support group somewhere and shut up publicly already, because really, you know you’re just whining — and nobody likes whiners — even whiners” category. (If you don’t believe it, look up the word “denial” in a dictionary — something I can do quickly on-the-fly with the Kindle’s free built-in dictionary, by the way).
OK, enough of that dead horse and stick and on to why I started writing this in the first place: I just fully realized something that the Kindle can’t give us that the dead trees can.
Before I get to that, take note that although I’m writing about the Amazon Kindle, everything I say here really applies to ereaders and related as a lot, like the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Apple iPad. Speaking of which, since we’re on the subject, it’ll be the do-it-all connected “tablets” like the iPad that are going to win out in the ereader market in the end — heck, they’re going to kill off laptops too — but I digress. Onwards…
Well, come October if all goes well my wife and I will be the proud parents of a brand spanking new set of twin girls. This means my wife is now right smack in full nesting mode. If it’s the weekend, standing anywhere between her and Ikea is so not very recommended. All of you who’ve been through the father-to-be thing have no doubt also figured out what my weekends are like — yup, throwing out stuff I no longer need (which, as far as she’s concerned, is everything) to make room for the babies.
There go the books. That central library a block away I mentioned earlier? It’ll probably rename a wing in my honor after all the books I just donated. Yeah, it was a bit painful to see those go, but really, not so much. Because I’ve still got shelves of books I absolutely refuse to let go off. These are books I want to own and must have. And not necessarily for reading either — although all have been read, some I’ve read multiple times, some only once, and none I’ll likely want to read again, at least not anytime soon or even in the foreseeable future. But I do want to own them, whatever my reasons.
And that, my friends, is where the Kindle falls short: It does not and cannot give you a sense of book ownership.
Interesting that it took the Kindle’s success to bring to the forefront the notion that with each traditional book, there really are two products: the content and the package. The Kindle does away with the latter, along with any features, benefits and emotions that can be solely attributed to it. In effect, it has rendered us as nothing more than content consumers — there really is no more “book” to own.
Hey, now that I think about it more, for us book lovers, that really does suck, doesn’t it?
Eldon Sarte is publisher of Braintropolis, and remembers the very first book he ever owned (well, the very first book he owned and actually knew how to read, instead of making up stories behind the pictures on the pages.)
Copyright © 2010 Eldon Sarte – Reprinted with permission. http://eldonsarte.com/