Monday, December 29, 2008
I will be the first to admit that gadgets fascinate me. There is something oddly sensual about a device that satisfies a need you never knew you had. And if it comes in smooth, shiny exterior, all the better. I will also be the first to admit that I have no qualifications whatsoever to talk about technical merits of one gadget over another. I either like stuff or love stuff. Which doesn't make for a compelling gadget review, I would guess.
There is one gadget though that does merit a Brick and Rope mention (despite the author's lack of technical competence)- Amazon's Kindle. The Kindle, more than any of its predecessors, is trying to do what seems on the surface like the impossible - make reading look cool and stylish.
There are thousands of questions worth asking about the Kindle. What role would the kindle play in the life of readers a few years from now? How will publishing and writing change in the face of the Kindle? Is 'kindling' going to follow the trail to verb status that was blazed by xeroxing and googling? Does this whole conversation even matter? (This last is the question addressed in one of the better articles on the Kindle that I have read - Check this out from Wired)
But the question that really bothers me is this - what will happen to my lovely bookcases if the Kindle were to succeed in its diabolical scheme? From as far back as I remember, I have aspired to living a life where I am literally 'surrounded by books'. Over the years, as I have been an active buyer and reader of books, I have slowly built up enough of a collection to fill a few bookcases. And these I proudly display in all parts of my house. Now, out of nowhere, comes an upstart that wants to stop this growth in its tracks. I am not too proud to admit that I feel a bit threatened. Is all my childhood desire to come to naught? Am I soon going to find my bookcases a relic of a quaint past? Am I going to be reduced to living my life around a Kindle? I sure hope not.
So here's a toast to the best holiday present of all - pieces of paper wrapped around pure magic - the physical book. Happy new year! These new gadgets can't hold a kindle to you!