Sunday, March 15, 2009

Paper or Plastic?

No, I'm not talking about the grocery store- I'm talking about the Kindle 2! It's the new electronic reading device from This isn't the first electronic reader- Sony also has one and was the first one I ever saw at my local Borders store. But the Sony e-reader seemed bulky and clumsy to me. (It still does!) Now enter the Kindle 2 - a sleek, wireless, family friendly device that puts the fun back in reading. Maybe fun isn't quite the right word- maybe easier is the proper word... The front of the Kindle 2 is about the size of a trade paperback cover. And it is about as thin as a CD jewel case. On the front sides are the "next page bars" and a "previous page button". Turning the page of your downloaded book is as easy as pressing the bar that your thumb is already resting comfortably against as it is holding the kindle. There are some other neat features too- you can look up words you don't know instantly with another button and if you are reading a newspaper you can "clip" an article to save for later. You can make the text larger if you need to... you can listen to your favorite music while you read... and if you buy 2 kindles and give one to your spouse you can both read the same book at the same time by buying only 1 copy of the book. (both kindles need to be registered under the same name) has over 240,000 Kindle books available for download, usually at quite a discount from the hardcover price. Not to mention there are free e-books also available. And downloading a book is as easy as a click of a button- done wireless virtually anywhere you can bring your kindle. The wireless part of the kindle works on 3G technology, which is 3rd generation cellular technology, so you don't have to be looking for a WiFi connection. And do you think 1500 books is enough to carry around with you? Because that is what the Kindle 2 is capable of holding.
But all that aside is plastic nicer that paper? Does the feel of the Kindle in your hands match the beauty of the paper of a real book? Isn't it special to walk into a bookstore and pick up a book you've never seen before and open it up for a peek? The heft of a hardcover in your hand makes it undeniably real. The beauty of the typeface the publisher chooses to use, the type of paper- is it all just window dressing for the actual printed work? I don't think I will ever give up buying books altogether, but I do like my Kindle. And being able to buy new books at a substantial discount isn't so bad either!

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