Monday, November 19, 2007

Consider it launched

I am already sick of the AmazonKindle. Isn't that how we're writing things now, without spaces between words? When will Coke become CocaCola? Just a matter of time.

Anyhow, it's worth watching the KindleVideo in the link, above. First of all, I'm amazed by how ad agencies find the most inoffensive, generic looking white people. This guy reminds me of the one who does irritating ads at the local AMC. They wear Filenes-style button downs and slacks and sneakers and plenty of gel and have very even skin, sans blemishes - but are not overly attractive.

Anyhow again, this device doesn't seem all that great, to be honest. The page turn buttons look like they're just asking for trouble -a bump here and there and they'll be hanging off the sides. And I'm also not clear on how it's so easy to log on from anywhere, though I assume it's like a Blackberry. I do enjoy how the actor was clearly told to look as casual as possible, carrying the device and moving it around like it was just a $10 paperback. "Clutch is in your hand, not in the bag, and look unconcerned with its well-being!"

There's plenty of media about the launch, including this big Newsweek piece on Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO. Huh - that title sounds about as big and corporate as it should, I suppose.

Publishers Lunch in today's email brings up other big news in conjunction with this in a way I certainly appreciated:
But right before Jeff Bezos took to the podium to introduce a device designed squarely for core "pleasure readers" with disposable income, the NEA dropped their latest reading scare release. Analyzing a wealth of government data (approximately two dozen studies) instead of a single survey, this report sounds a new alarm--that "reading for pleasure" is in decline.NEA Chairman Dana Gioia sums it up this way: "We are doing a better job of teaching kids to read in elementary school. But once they enter adolescence, they fall victim to a general culture which does not encourage or reinforce reading. Because these people then read less, they read less well. Because they read less well, they do more poorly in school, in the job market and in civic life."

More on the NEA's announcement here (WaPo, may need to subscribe).

My favorite line from Gioia was: "I guarantee that if we could expand the coverage in the media, you'd immediately see people responding. People are looking for things to do that aren't dumb. I don't think that Americans are dumber than before, but I do believe our public culture is." Very well put, sir.

So maybe electronic devices will excel when younger, hipper people start demanding them, and maybe they'll become more user-friendly and accessibly priced, and people will read more. Great! For now, this Kindle ain't got me on fire.

Ouch. My apologies.

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