Tuesday, September 21

Easing into the 21st Century

I just bought a Kindle. The cheap one. It’s really neat. Here it’s shown in front of a few books I bought recently. Volume-wise, it is definitely less, but density-wise it’s a bit more. There is an odd feeling to its mass; I would compare holding it to holding a similar-sized thin sheet of lead. If it were thicker with the same weight, it might feel more “natural.” I’ll get used to it, I’m sure.

The type is clear and sharp. The contrast between the letters and the background is good, with the letters being not quite black and the background being not quite white, but enough of each to work nicely. I understand this is their sharpest and most-contrasty display. There are six books on it already, books that I had downloaded onto my iPod and iMac previously and only two of which I actually paid for. You can synchronize and share your books freely between all your Kindle readers without extra charge, and the new Kindle picked up on the exact page that I had last read on my computer. It seems that books published in the early 1920s and before aren’t copyright-protected anymore, and Amazon lets you have them for free. Many new authors let Amazon give their work away at no charge, just to get exposure.

I am faced with a dilemma, though. In the past I have sent books up to the ranch after reading them, thus making the ranch’s library more interesting for the guests. Does this mean I will have to buy a bunch of Kindles for the lounge up there, all registered in my name so I can have enough books for folks to read? Or should I keep buying dead-tree editions with my Kindle editions? One of the attractions of the ranch is that people can get away from technology like phones and television for a bit and really relax and unwind. Will a Kindle upset that? And if someone wants to read while soaking in a hot spring bath, will it be wise for them to do it with a Kindle? A regular book can be tossed into the clothes dryer to bring it back after a soaking, but I think a Kindle would be toast. Cold, toxic-waste toast.

I’ll have to think about this for awhile.

4 comments:

Susan said...

I think you should conduct a frequent guest survey myself :) Then skew the data the way you want it to be. That way everyone feels as though they have had a say.

Calandreya said...

I'm afraid I'll always find it more relaxing and enjoyable to hold the paper book. Easier on the eyes, too.

Pete S. said...

I've got one of those gizmos too. Since it arrived, I've purchased several "dead tree books" anyway. If the paper version costs $1.50 or so more than the Kindle version, I can't justify the Kindle version which can't be loaned or given away.

So I'm reading only free books on the Kindle.

Pete S. said...

If you want to indulge yourself, take a look at the gorgeous leather Kindle covers from oberondesign.com.