Monday, December 06, 2010

My Kindle Doesn't Call to Me


Okay, now which of these two graphics has the seductive power to lure you from across the room.

Which book seems distinctive, special, something you want to hold in your hand.

Kindle doesn't cut it for me. It fades into the woodwork whereas a novel, with its inviting cover, calls my name.

I have yet to finish a novel on Kindle. Matter of fact, I have gone to the library and picked up the hard copy once or twice.

I will probably eventually learn to read from a Kindle, but think about this. What kid will ever become a reader based on the experience of hearing a story read on a Kindle? It's like having sex in the machine in the Woody Allen movie SLEEPER for me. The end result may be the same but getting there is less fun and oddly similar.


David Cranmer said...

I agree when I am home, Patti. But when I'm packing for a trip that Kindle positively glows. But around the house I'm reaching for print.

Chad Eagleton said...

It doesn't really do anything for me either. I like the weight of a book. I like the feel. I like the scent, whether it's new or old and yellowy. And I need cover art.

I generally dislike reading anything really lengthy on the computer anyway. It's just unappealing and feels like a chore after a while.

R/T said...

Will Kindles and their clones ever replace the aesthetic pleasures of an actual ink-and-paper book? I fervently hope that Gutenberg's technology will not be abandoned in favor of chips and bytes. No one will every pry books from my hands! (But, of course, this rant comes from someone who also refuses to use a cell-phone.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

I don't even like its flatness. It's dullness. But I agree with David that it would be very handy in some situations. Better than not reading for sure.

Anonymous said...

Well, you know my answer is the same. We were in a Borders yesterday and just like B&N all they are doing is pushing the Kindle or their own version(s) of the same.

I want real books! You can have them when you pry them from ... etc.

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

I've read short stories online but I've only read one novel on the computer, a reread of HUCKLEBERRY FINN a chapter at a time.

Jeff M.

Frank Loose said...

I have a Kindle which i bought six weeks ago and i am enjoying it. I have read four short stories on it and eight books. I liked the reading experience, which was not all that different from reading a printed book. Yes, it feels different in your hand, yes there is no alluring cover, yes there is no tactile flip of the page, but once emersed in the story, none of that mattered. I also liked the fact that I got some of the books for free - some public domain material by Mary Roberts Rinehart, and RLS' TREASURE ISLAND.

The more contemporary books I've read cost me near as much as buying a printed book, and that doesn't please me. I expect the publisher and writer to make some money, but it seems to me the price should be a good bit less, but perhaps I am ill-informed about how all that works. And i admit i should have done more homework re the price of E books.

I initially bought the Kindle to help with my book shelf space which is overflowing. I guess it is helping. All things being equal, i would always read a paper book. But, as far as the reading experience goes, I have no trouble with Kindle.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, the free books is a plus. But so is my library. I think it has real assets-on trips, when you want to read something on the spur of the moments. But the experience is very different for me.

John McFetridge said...

We're so early in this new technology, I think it will be interesting to see where it goes.

Right now the conversation is mostly about "books on e-readers," but I have a feeling as e-readers develop there will become another form of storytelling that they're better suitd to.

I have a feeling that going forward books will continue much as they are but a whole new kind of "e-book" will emerge in ways that are best suited for online writing and distribution.

Think of our "Discount Noir" as those first attempts at "moving pictures."

pattinase (abbott) said...

It does feel like interim technology. The guy you date after your divorce but before you find the eventual right one.

Loren Eaton said...

Yes, that's it exactly, Patti. Words on the Kindle can feel dead on the screen. Of course, the convenience makes a lot of sense if you happen to be an inveterate traveller.

michael said...

Nice timing. Today Google launched their e-books.

I have been a reader for over 55 years and I prefer the Kindle over print. Imagine those pretty covers on my 27 inch HD Mac screen. Imagine carrying a library of 600 books...whatever. You all have heard all this before.

Kindle is not the enemy of books any more than mass market paperbacks were. E-books is just another format.

My question is why does either print readers or e-book readers have to defend their choice? Shouldn't we be happy that people, especially young people, are reading books?

Frank Loose said...

Michael, right now, it's "just another format." I read the other day a prediction that in five years it will be the only format. But, who knows? Crystal ball gazing is not an exact science.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I hope that Kindles will create more readers but I doubt it. I think the average person purchasing a Kindle is a reader regardless of age. And most young people don't read. Even young people with advanced educations.

michael said...

Patty, if most young people don't read who is buying the Harry Potter and Twilight books? Why is YA popular?
I grew up in the sixties when "kids stopped reading and watched TV all day". It wasn't true then and I doubt it is true now.

As for Kindle increasing readers, maybe you are right. But it won't decrease the numbers either.

michael said...

Frank, I doubt the five year forecast for the end of print. I have heard the same about newspapers and cds. Format shifts happen but slower. Now 50-50 split, maybe.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Let's just all hope that people continue to read in whatever format.
Without reading lies madness.

Clair D. said...

As one of those young people (I think I can still get away with calling myself that ;-), the medium is barely relevant to the story. I can and do sit at my computer for hours on end, reading all manner of things. I have read stories on my phone (though it's just a hair small for keeping up with how quickly I read) and I read plenty of books in paperback. It's a container. Similarly, I don't care if my Diet Pepsi is served in a glass bottle, a can, a cup, or a plastic bottle as those are merely containers for the important stuff.

I wouldn't mind a Kindle. One of the things I would LOVE to have on a Kindle/ similar device would be the Detroit Free Press (and other periodicals) that I have trouble having around the house (space) but wouldn't mind reading.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I love opening up the newspaper as soon as I get up. All that depressing news gets me in the mood to write.
Seriously, I don't like reading newspapers enough to read them online. I would be totally reliant on NPR if the NYT went all online.
And most people have a preferred way to drink Diet Pepsi. So you are just an easy going girl and I bet an easy going Mom.

George said...

I'm holding out for an new second generation iPad before I really jump into the ebook world.

Anonymous said...

They just had a story on the iPads on the local news, George. She was advising that if you're getting one to just read books on(I'm sure that wasn't your intention) you should go with the dedicated book reader like the Kindle instead.

Jeff M.

Ron Scheer said...

Too bad McLuhan isn't around to make sense of all this. I have a nook and like it for public domain books not otherwise available. I bought a leather cover for it and the weight and feel are much like a real book. I still haven't quite got used to the impulse to turn a page the old way, though, rather than press a button...Ha.

R/T said...

Here is an open plea to bloggers with Kindles. Someone help out a technophobic dinosaur. Where does one acquire (download) public domain texts for the Kindle? Is there no cost? Provide details. You might convert me to a Kindle buyer and user. As it stands now, though, I reject the Kindle on multiple grounds, including the cost of e-books, which seems unreasonably high since the publisher is relieved of so much expense (i.e., no printing, no distribution, no shipping, etc.).

Frank Loose said...

R/T ... re public domain and other books for no charge: Go to Amazon. On Search, select KINDLE STORE. In the blank space next to that, type in either PUBLIC DOMAIN KINDLE, or FREE KINDLE. It will take you to pages with those items. Scroll through the pages until you find something you like/want, and then download it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

This from Michael although it didn't show up. I don't know why.

Go to the Amazon Home page. On the left find link to Kindle. Click on Kindle Store. Look down left column to find "Free Collections". Click on that. It will take you to a page that explains how to find the PD books at Amazon as well as other places such as Project Gutenberg and manybooks.

The Kindle is a different reading experience than your computer (some find no backlight and a gray tone makes it easier to read than the computer), but you can download a "Kindle" for your PC or Mac for free. This will give you some idea what we are talking about.

There is no cost for the free books nor the free Kindle for PC or Mac. Amazon explains this better than I am. Check the Kindle store.

Recently, there has been some interesting discussions about the cost of an e-book. It is not as simple as taking a book and scanning it into e-text.
You need the machines to do the converting, the proofreader, someone to handle the formatting of the book. Even the greatest fan of the e-reader has suffered through the problems of bad formatting (lines running together, typos, etc). Then because there are many formats (one for Kindle, the Nook has another, etc) each book has to be converted into an e-book (reportedly) eight different times compared to prints one print run for everyone.

Finally, Google e-bookstore opened today. It will feature free books, have a larger ebookstore than Kindle, will sell through your local independent bookstore website, and download on any system except Kindle.

I like to use my Kindle as I would the public library. I have reference books such as Constitution of the United States, non-fiction as The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, and fiction from Austen to Wilde. And all were free.

Richard R. said...

As for reading while traveling,The New Yorker or a similar periodical works just fine, as do paperbacks. If I can't have ink-on-paper, I'll look out the window at the view, or people watch.

To Frank, I can get a ton of books free - at the library.
To Claire, while a Kindle/e-reader may be a container, a printed book is not, it is an object with weight, texture, physical presence and a variable form, depending on how far along your have read. Plus, books don't need batteries!

R/T said...

Richard, I like the way you think: tons of free books at the library, without the need for special technology (i.e., expensive Kindle). I just came from the library and have The Count of Monte Cristo and The Moonstone ready to keep me busy for a week or so. And I do not need to worry about losing or damaging a plastic slab filled with chips and bytes.

Dorte H said...

I agree that thirty books in my Kindle does not feel like thirty books on my shelf. So I´ll never stop buying and reading REAL books.

On the other hand, I like receiving free ARCs for my Kindle, and I like it when I stumble on a cheap ebook and can get it immediately instead of waiting for 1-3 weeks. So for someone from Scandinavia who reads so many books in English, it offers opportunities I have never had before.

And once I get into the story, I forget that it is not a real book. Sometimes I stretch out my hand, trying to turn the thing around like a book page :D

NB: I agree with Frank that ebooks should not cost nearly as much as hardbacks. That is just ridiculous. I often make articles & shareware stories into neat pdf-files for my students, and once you have done it, the next million "copies" cost you absolutely nothing.

Charles Gramlich said...

Eventually the kindle's will probably have color covers but that is a weakness of the ebook format in general now. I never really paid that much attention to covers in general though so it doesn't make that much difference. I DO however love the physical look of books on my shelves and the Kindle can't give you that. I find the reading experience on it quite nice though, better than on some printed books, especially older ones with small print and yellowed pages.

Kerrie said...

You need a nice bright cover for it Patti. I'm reading at least 1 in 4 of my books on my Kindle.
But made-from-paper books will survive too.

Yvette said...

I'm late to the conversation. But I can think of only two reasons to get a Kindle. 1) If you travel a lot. I can see the need for reducing the weight books in your luggage and on your person on a plane.

2)If Kindles could reduce the amount of bookweight kids have to haul around for school reading, that would be good too. It would save the wear and tear on the backs and shoulders.

Other than that, I can't imagine why anyone would want this sort of thing. I am for actual books and actual books are for me.