Literary Corner Cafe

Monday, January 14, 2008

Amazon's Kindle - Yes or No?

For me, a committed bibliophile, the answer has to be a rousing "No."

Bibliophiles are in love with books. We love the way books look, we love (or hate) the cover art (but it always interests us), we love the way books smell, we love the way they feel, we love their weight in our hands, we love the fact that the pages yellow (or we hate the fact that they do), and on and on and on.

Yes, the Kindle is no doubt convenient, but despite the fact that you can read War and Peace (or something equivalent) on it, it just isn't, and never will be, a book.

Now, some people leap to the Kindle's defense and say it's getting more and more people to read. I disagree. People who are inclined to read, read. Nothing can stop them. The people who are in love with the Kindle are the people who have to have the latest bit of technology, whether they make use of that technology or not.

I can see the Kindle's advantage for a busy executive who is committed to frequent travel and must keep up with various newspapers and magazines. However, version 1.0 of the Amazon Kindle isn't quite as "user friendly" as it should be. I've tried a friend's and the keypad makes it difficult to hold and scrolling back to reread a part we didn't quite understand just isn't the same as flipping back the pages.

And how do we give books as Christmas, birthday, and other presents when the Kindle is involved? Do we just buy a certificate and email it to the recipient? Where's the joy in that - for the giver or the receiver?

Givers of books love browsing for just the "right" one, wrapping it lovingly, and maybe inscribing a message to the recipient on the flyleaf. Receivers love to hold a wrapped book in their hands, they love the joy of guessing which one it might be, and removing the wrapping paper to behold a treasure.

And nothing, nothing, for a committed bibliophile, beats sitting by the fire on a cozy winter's day, with a cup of hot cocoa and his or her favorite book to wile away the hours.

The Kindle may have its place in the world of business, but one thing is for certain - it will never replace books in the hearts - and hands - of those who truly love them.

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