Monday, January 7, 2008

Discussable: The Amazon Kindle

By April D. Boland

If you're reading this 'zine in the first place, then you are most likely a book-lover. You probably enjoy nothing more than spending hours at a bookstore or library, holding novels and poetry collections in your bare hands, flipping through the pages and inhaling that book smell. I am one of those people as well. I always scoffed at the idea of virtual libraries and digital books.

That is, until my mother gave me an Amazon Kindle for Christmas.

I am not going to sit here and try to plug the Kindle because, honestly, I don't know what other devices are out there and how much better or worse they are. I do, however, think that this might be good fodder for discussion on the future of reading as related to technology.

I took a four hour flight yesterday that was unlike any previous flight I have ever taken because it was the first time I was able to carry 200 books in my purse with me. When I got bored with one title, I simply switched to another. Lightweight, portable, no hassle.

How these electronic reading devices work is quite simple: you hook them up to your computer and download ebooks onto them. When it comes to the Kindle, you can either purchase brand new books from Amazon for about $10 each, or you can just go to free ebook sites and download titles from deceased authors that are available in the public domain. Shakespeare, Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, Lewis Carroll... you can put works from all of these authors and more onto your device absolutely free.

You can also subscribe to newspapers and magazines that will arrive at your device on their own each month.

In other words, readers who are hesitant about embracing the new digital revolution need to realize that what has been made available to us is pretty amazing.

Will I sell all my paperbacks now? Of course not. But traveling in the future will certainly be a lot more pleasant.

1 comment:

stu said...

Since people have happily made the switch from cds to their ipods, hopefully they're ready for this now. The kindle is a happy coincidence for me, since my first novel has just been accepted for publication in e-book form.