Friday, May 29, 2009

For those interested in the ongoing Kindle debate...

The NY Times provides this list of reader comments, prompted by Charles McGrath's article on the device. The comments are interesting in that together they represent both sides of the argument.

What emerges, it seems to me, is the usefulness of a Kindle to those who rip through commercial fiction or non-fiction - mystery novels or romances. Says one reader, "The trip included not only two 9-hour flights to and from China, but six several-hour-long flights within China. In addition, I like to read at bedtime. Exactly because I wanted to avoid taking a suitcase full of novels to read during those times, I loaded my Reader with mysteries and thrillers, as well as several dozen "classics." It did the job beautifully." That makes sense to me. The point is, the reader does not feel the need to keep these books around. They are temporary entertainment, and when they're done, they're done.

I also agree, however, with the reader who envisions these two scenarios:

1. You have 900 books or more on your Kindle, and you leave it behind on a bus. Voila!! You lose your entire library in an instant, as well as a very expensive toy.

2. Again, you have 900 or so books on your Kindle and after a year or two the thing breaks. Now what? My hardcover books never break. I guess you can get it repaired, but I suspect it might cost more than buying a new Kindle, if it's anything like a printer.


Those of us who love our books and want to see them again, may be smart to avoid the Kindle. But when we want a quick fun read? It's not a bad idea.

I'll parse the economics of this from the publisher's point of view another time, not at the end of the day Friday when I have a wedding reception in TriBeCa to attend over the weekend... Sorry, folks!

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