Friday, May 22, 2009

Kindle- an apology

I've always been a big skeptic of the Kindle. For those who have never heard of it. it's Amazon's proprietary book reader doohickey. It holds up to 3500 books, magazines or newspapers and costs about $350 for the smaller model and nearly $500 for the deluxe one with the larger screen. I've been pretty snobbish about the thing, metaphorically clutching my pearls over the whole affair; why, I read books, thanks ever so. Actual books. The ones with pages and stuff. The ones that sit on my shelves and make me look learned, or at least make me look like I don't dust enough. I am still skeptical about paying that much for a book reader then paying for the books on top of it, even if the books are $10 -$15 dollars off the rack price. After all, they're saving on printing and shipping costs and any further nail into the coffin of the actual brick-and-mortar bookstore is I believe no good thing.

What caused a chink in my anti-Kindle armor? Kindle for iPhone. That, and the fact that there are tons of classics out there that are if not free, then almost free at the Kindle store. I downloaded a free copy of one of E. F. Benson's inimitable "Lucia" novels and have been reading it on the bus, and yes Virigina it's clearly legible on even the teensy screen on my iPhone. But the real chink came when I decided to hoist the hardcover omnibus edition onto the sofa to read some more. It was quite frankly as easy and carefree as balancing the Gutenberg Bible on your chest for an evenings reading refreshment. I admit it, I shelved the book and grabbed the iPhone. and while flipping the "pages" I had visions of the luxury of doing this on the big-screen Kindle, having all sorts of boks available to me at my whim in that slim and nearly weightless package. Certainly never having to think about what the cover of my read is communicating to fellow passengers would be nice: the Kindle's blameless wite casing could contain anything from the Bible to Barbara Cartland, from Stephen King to Stephen Hawking,. You could be reading the lastest number of "TLe Monde" or "Love's Lurid Lustbats" and no-one would be the wiser, and I can see that the inverterate traveller would find this a godsend.

$500 is looking somewhat more reasonable..

Photo: Amazon

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