Monday, March 02, 2009

Why the Kindle is more personal than a book

There's been a lot of talk by people who haven't used an Amazon Kindle . . . you do know what a Kindle is, right? The Amazon created reading device that's just gone to V 2.0--amazing how many people I talk with don't know about it. Anyway, there's been a lot of talk by people who probably haven't used a Kindle about how they could never give up their books, the intimate engagement with paper, ink, the feel of the book, how the Kindle is so impersonal, electronic etc.

That's just wrong, in my experience. My experience using the Kindle so far (and granted, only a few days) is that it's so much more personal than a book and it makes reading a much more intimate, less mediated experience. When you're reading a book, so often something is wrong. It's too heavy. The type is too small (or too large). The paper is too thin (or too thick). The cover is ugly. The font is strange. And every book is different! How can you have an intimate relationship with so many objects? (OK, you could say how can you have an intimate relationship with ANY inanimate object, but that's a different conversation.) What is so wonderful about the Kindle is that no matter what book you're reading on it, the tactile feeling is the same. The text is the same (or almost). And because it's always the same--unlike a book--the object that is mediating your experience of the words can more easily disappear. So much more so than a book, with the Kindle it's just me and the words. Really. To me it's a dramatic and revolutionary sensation.
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