Monday, June 16, 2008

The end of the book?

Well. I don't know. I'm interested to see what others think.

Kindle is the new electronic book reader from Amazon. I just read about it on John Butler's Irish Times magazine column, can't find it as a blog post though.

I'm interested to see Toni Morrison endorsing it on the site, though she seems terribly bored by the whole thing - do you think they kidnapped and drugged her? She's very queenly, isn't she, aside from that?

Anyway, I don't know what to make of this. Of course books will never die, right? Though Butler is convincing in his analogy of what happened to vinyl. I'm strangely compelled by this gadget - I don't think I'd buy one, I haven't stretched to an Ipod yet, though after seeing it in action, I want one. I don't think I'd buy one but if someone gave me one I'd be happy. The whole instant download thing. And the fact that I live in a house that has no space for books. And it's cheaper, though not if you factor in the power, maybe.

The electronicness of it would put me off - I'm not sure how good it would be for you to hold a mobile phone as much as you'd be holding this, though I suppose you wouldn't have to have it all the time - still, I predict that we're going to start hearing more about effects of electromagnetic energy soon.

A lot of writers love to smell their new author copies! That would be gone. And the beauty of the covers, that modern matte finish, the feel of the book in your hand. I dunno.

Butler mentioned the ease of auto e-publishing too, though, and that's a big draw - no publisher and agent cuts. Though I can't seeing it being that easy if Amazon have such a grip on sales.

I'd love to know what people think about it. Are you half tempted or is it the Devil's gadget? Could books be on the way out?


Tinman18 said...

Don't know, Jo. I think there's along way to go before it replaces books, though certainly there would be a lot to be said for bringing one on holiday.

The book and music industries have a lot of differences. People don't really browse in music shops - you'd rarely go into one with no idea of what you were going to buy, as I would generally do when I go into a bookshop. You read a few blurbs, sometimes look at the staff comments in places like Waterstones, and come away with a book by some author that you've never heard of before. It's hard to know how you could do that online, unless you started believing Amazon's comments (and we Irish aren't great at believing what we're being told).

The music industry still has radio and MTV stations where you can hear music before you buy. Unless we're gonna get a lot of book channels, then it' not going to be the same.

In the end, they said first TV and then Video would kill cinemas, but it didn't happen. Going to the bookshop is almost as much fum as reading the book.

morgor said...

nah, i don't think they'll get rid of books.

People are already looking at screens all day and they get sick of it.

There's all the extra hassle of batteries and so on with gadgets.

Plus, books are generally very cheap too.

I've read some HP lovecraft on the net (all his stuff is available for free there cos it's over X years old) but I'd much rather read it on paper.

B said...

almost all these e-readers are painful to read.

The thing that'd annoy me most is how when you're reading a book, you can feel progress through the book not only from the story moving on, but also the turning over of pages. Remove that factor and I'm not sure if I could even focus on a book for a single chapter.

morgor said...

Plus, bookshelves always look good.

And I enjoy giving my friends loans of my books and perusing their collections.

aquaasho said...

I left a comment about it there once. I like the idea!

jothemama said...

Is that the same thing though, Ash? This isn't audio, it's downloading and reading on the screen.

If I ahd room for a library I wouldn't even entertain the idea Oh, how I need an extra wing...

jothemama said...

It'd be a bitch if you lost it though, wouldn't it?

Monkey Balls said...

I don't see how they'll ever take off until the screen resolution is good enough to offer more than one column in width. I've used a Nintendo Wii to browse the internet on a standard (obsolete?) TV, and it's a real pain having to scroll left and right aswell as up and down. Makes reading very un-enjoyable.
And Tinman, I browse Music shops in the same way you browse Book shops, and vice-versa. MTV and the radio are totally useless to me if I want to find the music I like.
Plus, it's too hard to annoy your neighbours with a book.