So this thing just came in hot off the wire. The second I saw that it had an MSRP of $489.00 I was pretty livid and was all ready to write some tirade about how Amazon is totally out of touch with the modern reader and that this product could, in no way, be the future of books and how I got my hands on an original Kindle a couple years ago and was not that impressed and found it to be a middle piece of technology on the road to something better (iPhone reader? When is this going to happen? Hello?) and how it should be reserved for late 40’s techies who want to get in early on some hot new piece of gear but feel too old to Twitter. Some angry bullshit like that.
But then I looked at the specs.
This thing is 1/3″ thick and has a 9.7″ screen that can show a shitload more detail than the first Kindle. It holds 3500 books and Amazon is now in league with a handful of major colleges to provide this new gadget to students for all their textbook uses. Dare I say it: this thing is kind of cool.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and buy one. $500 for an ebook reader is fucking stupid, I don’t care how much money you have. But if you’re a student getting one for free and you don’t have to pay an ungodly amount for heavy textbooks that you will use once and store on your bookshelf for the rest of your life in hopes that it will serve you at some later date, well, then you’re stoked.
The concept of an ebook is a ways off from being revolutionary. Nothing will replace a real, perfect bound, paperback book. Nothing will replace the ability to dog ear, make notes in the margin, underline. Not to mention a paperback is never subject to battery failure, blunt trauma and if you spill a beer on it all you do is stick it out in the sun for a while. Sure it’s gonna be all puffy and stinky when it dries out, but it will technically still function.
This whole Kindle experiment whiffs of desperation to me: An ailing company trying way too hard to maintain relevancy in an advance technological age. Something tells me Jeff Bezos thinks so too.
The book is not broken, Amazon. Johannes Gutenburg got it right the first time. Quit trying to fix it.