Sunday, December 21, 2008

Inspector Gadget: Goodbye Gutenberg

Jeff Bezos, the founder of, has a vision. He wants to replace these . . .


. . . with this:

Cheap Piece of Chinese crap

Call me a crusty old curmudgeon—go ahead—but there is no fucking way I will ever give up real books for an e-reader called the "Kindle" (whatever that means). It has a GIGANTIC 6" diagonal grayscale screen, holds about 200 "books," and is notorious for flipping several pages at a time instead of just one—the traditional way of reading anything.

Personally, I think my bookcases would look pretty stupid, not to mention superfluous, with just a Kindle sitting there, recharging every few hours for two hours at a time. And something the Kindle fans may not know about: Flash memory eventually wears out, just like it does on iPods. Library here today, gone tomorrow.

Hmm, not a bad idea for schlockmeisters like Nora Roberts and James Patterson . . .


Mary Witzl said...

I'm a Luddite and proud of it, and the day I buy one of those nasty little gadgets and stop buying good old-fashioned books will never come. They'll have to pry my books out of my cold, lifeless hands. There are all sorts of other ways they can save paper, but this is not one. Who can reproduce the feel of a book in your hand? Who can reproduce the SMELL of one?

Stinkypaw said...

No matter what one reads, there is no feeling like the feel of a book. And let's not forget the smell! Last week, a friend and I went for a hot chocolate at Starbucks in a "Chapters" and being surrounded by books (and crazy shoppers, but that's another thing!) made the whole hot cocoa way better, just for that!

Meg said...

Yuck. I don't like that idea at all. I love the smell of new books, the shiny book jackets and the way the paper feels in my hand. It's comforting.

Attila The Mom said...

That kindle crap annoys the hell out of me. Never ever will I waste a dime or a second on it.

Charlie said...

LADIES: It appears we have a consensus: the Kindle should be kindling.

I don't expect it to make books obsolete overnight, but the future may be different: How about Kindles in the classroom instead of books?

The only reason I would buy one is if it came with the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary.

Panacea said...

You know how much I love books, and how much hate I'd have if I had to read them on this machine :) Although if all my lecture notes were stored on a Kindle, I wouldnt go frantic searching for them (as I did this morning)

A friend of mine has an external hard drive that has every single copy of the New York Times ever published and browsing through that is really, really amazing. Technology if utilized to meet your ends can be quite fun to mess around with is all I'm saying.

Charlie said...

PAN: Have you considered the problem of having your lecture notes on a Kindle and then going frantic because you can't find the Kindle?

EVERY copy of the N.Y. Times—you could spend about a million years going through those . . .

Like I said in my other comment, I think the Kindle would be great if I had the complete OED on it, but never to read a real book.

Anonymous said...


I just discovered your blog through a comment you made to Joyce, of Living in Potrerillo fame,regarding the Stand By Me Video and added you to my "Blogs I Read" list.

Glad to see you have a James Lee Burke book pictured. He's one of my favorite authors. I worked for six years running crewboats in the oil patch around New Iberia and lived in New Orleans for 10, so I really know the places he's talking about in his stories which make them much more enjoyable.

I agree with you that the idea of reading on that Google thing gags me, but I have made one big concession to the 21st century. I love listening to books on my iPod and is great. I listen to good books while walking my dog. It's hard to read Ken Follet's World Without End and The Pillars of the Earth while doing that, but the two books, narrated by John Lee, represent over 80 hours of enjoyable walking and bonding with my bitch. (She's a female mutt I rescued from the puppy prison 15 years ago. She's slowed down a lot over those years and only has one forward speed these days, like myself, so I get plenty of time to "read" while on these walks.)

Richard, the oldsalt

Charlie said...

Welcome aboard, cap'n! Or is it cappie? Or just Richard?

I am a BIG fan of Burke--I have 22 of his books altogether, and he has another collection of short stories coming out next month. His Tin Roof Blowdown, about Katrina, broke my, and his, heart.

I'm not modern enough for an iPod, but I do listen to books on my Walkman (even though I don't walk).
Mostly I listen to non-fiction because I have a tendency to lose fictional characters, especially if there's a zillion of them.

Your pooch sounds like Joyce's Ethel: getting way up there in age, but still doing her dog thing. Power to her.

Richard...the old salt said...

Not many people call me Capt., though I worked as one for 18 years. Yachts and small commercial craft all over the eastern half of the US and that includes the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic from Cape Cod to the Keys. I was also the captain of an 85' sailboat on the French Riviera and the Costa del Sol for three years before sailing it back to the States in '91.

Regarding the name, I've told people: I was a Dick when I was a kid. I was a Dick all through high school and college. I was a Dick when I was a magazine editor in Chicago. I was a Dick when I taught a course in Nautical Science for the Jefferson Parish (LA) school system. Then I got a job as captain of a large motor yacht in New Orleans. They didn't like the name Dick, so I became Captain Richard and have been known as Richard ever since. But some people. . .some people will be dicks until the day they die.