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I Must Be Missing Something About the Kindle

When the Kindle first came out on Amazon, I was like, Yeah, right, that’s not going to be very popular. Who doesn’t want real-live-honest-to-god-books? HA! Apparently this little doo dad is pretty popular. **At the time of this writing, Amazon has a post on their home page about the Kindle and it links to a letter to their shareholders. Go read it and come right back.

I just don’t get it. You mean people really want to read on something similar to a computer screen as opposed to holding a book in their hand, feeling the cover while they read, being so engrossed that they never remember flipping the pages?

One of the “cool” things the Kindle does is you can make notes in the margin and look up those notes later; they’re saved forever, I believe. Where in the world does that come in handy other than when you’re in English class in college? WHO is cross referencing their margin notes? FESS UP!

Chartroose wrote about this very subject today, absolutely raving about this freaking Kindle. Even after her rave reviews, I still don’t get it. Who of you book lovers out there don’t LOVE going into a Borders or B&N and just wandering around, seeing what treasures you may find? And what anticipation you have when you glance at your TBR pile and see the wonderful colors and fonts and possibilities. I just don’t see how the Kindle can top that.

Books are very tactile and I like that. I know the Kindle is very convenient, but so are my books! Unless you’re toting around some gi-normous tome, books are convenient. I don’t need a Kindle to make them more so.

And the Kindle is in black and white! No color yet!

All I can keep saying is I don’t get. I just don’t get it. Please, enlighten me! Surely there’s readers out there who’ve bought the Kindle. Shucks, it sold out in a little over 5 hours. There must be someone reading this blog who owns a Kindle, who’s a Kindle-convert (Kindlevert?), a Kindle-disciple (Kindliple?)?

**Edited to add: Here is the link to Chartroose’s rebuttal to my post and the comments therein. She’s right: my reasoning (and most of the comments) are purely emotional, while her reasoning is very logical. Fortunately, I think that most creatures are emotional rather than logical in their decisions, and I’m hoping it will take at least one generation for something like the Kindle to catch on in a big way. Until then, Borders here I come!

| Tags: , , 23 comments »

23 Responses to “I Must Be Missing Something About the Kindle”

  1. bkclubcare

    Kindliple?! My mouth was trying to pronounce this but it came out kindle-ipple and that sounds kinda naughty.

    Actually, the idea of being able to look up those pesky unknown words right on the spot – if I’m understanding that correctly? and keeping a list of what words I flag over the years somewhat appeals to me.

    I know I won’t be rushing out to get one; I’m still on the fence about wanting an iPod and I know that makes me in the minority.

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  2. Chris@bookarama

    Of all the book blogs I read, I don’t think I’ve ever read that the blogger was using a Kindle. We seem to be ‘bookish’. That’s kinda odd that obsessive readers don’t have one when all the marketing is geared towards us. So, who is buying them?

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  3. Tricia

    I just bought one for my husband who travels weekly for business. He can have the Wall Street Journal delivered to his Kindle every morning for $10/month. Pretty sweet deal. He also got tired of lugging books back and forth in his luggage. He’s only had it a couple of days, but I was more impressed than I expected I would be. What surprised me most is that it doesn’t look at all like a computer screen. There is no shiny glare, no evidence that anything is “on” at all. I thought I could never curl up with a gadget, but I think I could curl up with this.

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  4. thatsthebook

    Okay, I almost feel like a traitor when I say this but I kind of want one (oops did I say that out loud). I’m a gadget whore so there has been an internal battle going on since I first heard of this thing. I love the feel of books and looking at my bookshelf with all those beauties lined up there. On the other hand I love my gadgets. I’m not really sure how to address this problem I’m experiencing. I can see that it would save a large sum if I got one, because I just cannot stop buying books. But then I think if I got the book on Kindle I would have to go about buying the same book in it’s real form, so I wouldn’t save money in the long run.
    I totally hear what you are saying reading a book like that is 100% unnatural. I think I would feel like something was missing when I read from it (if I were to ever get one). But I’m continually drawn to it, I visit amazon to just get a glimpse of this new gadget. I guess, the battle will continue to rage!

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  5. Heather

    I personally don’t think I would enjoy it at all. I pretty much agree with all your reasons about why I wouldn’t enjoy it. But it sounds like something that might be good for people who travel a LOT (like business travelers), who don’t have the time or energy to bring stacks of books with them on every single trip they take. I’ve also heard (actually on the radio I heard this) one mom say that her son LOVES it (I think the kid is like 11) because he can bring it to school and every other place he needs to go. But for me, I don’t think so.

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  6. wordlily

    You didn’t mention the smell of a book. Real books appeal to all our senses (well, I don’t usually taste mine …). I think the people who own them are the people like Tricia’s husband, above: travel a lot, or perhaps commute a substantial time by train or bus each day. I do see the appeal for the newpaper subscription, in part; it would be nice to read the daily newspaper without having to wash the ink off my hands when I’m done — and without getting it on my clothes.

    The thing is, it’s not even a pretty gadget. If it were more attractive, the pull might be stronger.

    The other problem, for me, is that relatively few titles are available for the Kindle (or other readers, for that matter). I’d still have to buy physical books for all the titles I wanted to read that weren’t available on the Kindle. That, combined with the cost: not worth it for me.

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  7. Heather (errantdreams)

    On the whole, I absolutely prefer real books. That said, there are circumstances where I’d find a reader more practical. I’m not about to pay $399 for that practicality, however, particularly since that’s on top of paying for the books to download.

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  8. softdrink

    I’m travelling on work right now, and I brought three books with me (for a three day trip). But that still doesn’t make me want to get a Kindle. I like having those books in my suitcase, even if I’m not going to be able to read all of them.

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  9. wendy

    I’m with you on this one! You are so right about books being tactile. I want to hold a book and experience it; I love nothing better than wandering through a bookstore looking at the books, picking them up, flipping through their pages. I’ve not been the least interested in spending my money on the Kindle.

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  10. lisamm

    I like my books and never thought I’d want a Kindle, but Chartroose makes a compelling argument in her Kindle-loving post you referenced!

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  11. chartroose

    You can read my rebuttal at my site. Come on over!

    [Reply]

  12. lisamm

    Hey Trish, for another point of view, see this post at Random Wonder. I got there by way of Chartroose’s post:

    http://www.randomwonder.com/

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  13. raych

    To be honest, I totally see the appeal. I love techno-gadgets, and I love the idea of having SEVERAL books on me at all times.

    HowEVER, I will probably never get a Kindle. I love books, paper, ink, covers, page numbers, flipping, dog-earing, losing my place, flipping back a few pages because I forget who the guy with the earring was, and Kindle cannot offer me these things.

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  14. Natasha @ Maw Books

    I don’t think the Kindle is for me, but I can totally see the appeal for the business traveler, people on the go, and even for those who simply don’t have the means to store books.

    As for me, I love looking at my books. I almost love looking at my books as much as I do reading them. I don’t think I’d love to look at my Kindle.

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  15. Melody

    I still prefer books over anything!!! I don’t even think they are inconvenient at all in the first place! Sure, hardcovers can be heavy to carry around and expensive, but still nothing thrills me more than going to the bookstores, hunting them and holding them in my little hands. And there of course, there’s the attractive covers and the book smell…. ahh….. OK, you get the picture! LOL. Still, I’m curious to find out what made the other readers buy them though. 😉

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  16. curlywurlygurly

    hmmm..this brings to mind a short satire i read with my students every year called Learn With B.O.O.K.

    if you have a second, take a peak–it’s a short and amusing read.

    http://www.df.lth.se/~cml/BOOK.txt

    cheers!

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  17. curlywurlygurly

    eek! i spelled PEEK wrong. sorry. duh..coming from the teacher.

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  18. chartroose

    Thanks, Trish, for your response to my rebuttal. Books ARE emotional, especially for people like us who love them so much.

    Anyway, it doesn’t really matter what happens to the format. What matters is what happens to the writers, and even more important than that, what happens to the readers, like you and I and all the other bibliophiles out there.

    Long live books and readers!

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  19. litlove

    Ummmm – I’m with the book loving people, emotional or otherwise! I just love books and for me, personally, no bit of electronics could replace them.

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  20. rebeccareid

    I have always been a “books” person–until I started to realize that I was more in love with the “books” than the words in them. While I don’t think I’ll go for the Kindle, I have turned to project gutenberg for e-texts when I can’t get to a library or I can’t find what I’m looking for at a library. It’s very convenient–and I’m learning to focus more on what the text is actually saying rather than on the romantic notion of a physical book.

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  21. Mayday! - Booking Through Thursday « Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?

    […] this where I have to eat my words that the Kindle is not that great of an invention? ‘Cause I probably would have had my Kindle with me (if I were in to that kinda […]

  22. mellymel

    i’m with you emotionally, and i do see how it would be “handy” but i have an attachment to my bookbag…what’s a road trip without a massive book-filled tote bag?

    but if someone were to give me one, i wouldn’t refuse it 🙂

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  23. nini

    I live in the boroughs of NYC and have an hour’s commute on the subway, each way. The ability to carry an entire library in myKindle makes it very appealing, not having to carefully fold my New York Times so it doesn’t get in the next commuters face, priceless!

    Also, the wireless service, although “experimental” serves well the purpose of buying books on the go and without a computer.I would be much happier if the Kindle had a password though, because currently if it is lost/stolen there is no quick way to ensure somebody does not make a lot of purchases.

    I have had my Kindle for a month now, initially I was considering the Sony Reader (what with the bad press on the Kindle’s lack of ergonomic qualities and being fugly) but I am not using it as a fashion accessory, and frankly speaking,I don’t find it to be that ugly.

    I have had a number of different gadgets and I have to say the Kindle is performing pretty good for what it is made for, trouble is some people want it to take pictures and possibly do their laundry.What do you expect?

    [Reply]

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