Friday, April 25, 2008

Technology: Mixed Feelings

I went on Amazon today and it opened with their newest device, the Kindle. Has anyone else seen this? In and of itself, it stands as an absolutely mindboggling piece of equipment: It's a wireless reading device. As the product features crow
  • no syncing needed
  • high resolution screen makes it look ("and read") like paper
  • the wireless feature means you can add books to it from anywhere
  • more than 111,000 books available, including many bestsellers
  • access to many popular blogs, newspapers, and magazines
  • can hold over 200 titles
  • lighter than a paperback
  • long battery life
  • does laundry, taxes, and gives you a massage all at the same time
Ok, that last I made up. As I wrote, I find it an amazing new technological breakthrough, albeit pricey ($400), but I have mixed feelings. I understand the love and need for technology, the idea of a paperless society and saving trees, etc. However, a Kindle, no matter how fancy, just doesn't beat a real book in my mind. Many readers make notes in the margins, underline, scribble definitions, or simply dog-ear pages they want to remember for whatever reason. And there's just nothing better, in my mind, than curling up with a good book and then grabbing it off the shelf months or years later to look at again. Would I ever exchange my Harry Potters for a Kindle version? Not on your life. I remember where I bought my books, when I read them, who I read them with.... To me the idea of a Kindle, while revolutionary, just doesn't cut it. We need to get away from the glow of the ubiquitous screen that we've all become so accustomed to, and I'm no exception.

Maybe this is just the wave of the future and I have to live with it. Maybe I'm being an old fuddy-duddy. The irony that I write about this on a computer which then sends it out into the Blogosphere to anyone who wants to read it does not escape me. But I'd still rather have a real book than a computer copy of one. I have my great-grandmother's books from when she traveled to France; I have my father's old copy of short stories by Roald Dahl. How do you pass down a Kindle to the next generation?

That's my rant for the day, my dears. Now I'm off to let out the puppy and read Macbeth, in a hard-bound, paper pages book. Enjoy your weekend!


Strongmama said...

I totally agree with you. What value is passing on a story through an electronic screen. It would be like logging onto the Internet to read The Night Before Christmas each Christmas Eve. I have no problem with books on tape, etc., but this definitely doesn't take the place of actually turning the pages you are reading.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. I also love the way books smell... ~Alice