Thursday, August 07, 2008

Kindles? Anybody Out There Using Them?

(I'm actually away from the internet for a few days, but I set this up to post in my absence. So if you write me and I don't respond it's just because I'm away for a bit. Be back soon!)
I guess somebody is buying them, considering that all of my books have a Kindle sales ranking on Amazon, but this bit of technology is hard for me to get my head around. I, admittedly, have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of books. They're more important to me than any other household item, honestly. But is my favorite medium for the consumption of stories (by which I mean the stuff of life) on its way to obscurity?

I came across this post on the subject by a former student of mine, Allison Hartman Adams. Found it quite amusing: Prick Your Finger on the Kindle Spindle.

So, anybody out there with one of these? Like it?

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Blogger Dirk said...

I don't have one, mainly because the cost hasn't lowered enough yet.

I love books too and I don't see any ebook reader replacing them, but the Kindle seems kind of cool for periodicals and as a mobile web browsing thing (if it can do that). The idea of having a ton of books stored on it that I can read when I'm out and about is neat.

I'd like it to be a lot cheaper and have a few other features changed and added to before I'll be buying one though.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I have a kindle (on which I purchased and read your "Walk Through Darkness"). I enjoy it, although mostly (I think) because it helps me read a whole lot since I have a bum left arm that's somewhat paralyzed. Thus, the "one button-press page turn" thing is very helpful for me.

I still buy some books in print - many aren't available on kindle. For example, I just picked up "The Big Sort" and "Publius Scipio: Greater Than Napoleon" (I have you to thank for that one :-) in print because they're not available on kindle.

My biggest issue with the kindle is that you can't really loan somebody a book with it. If you've just read a new book, you won't be able to share it with someone without giving them your kindle. Also, almost all files (unless they're out of copyright) are encrypted too, so you will only be able to look at them on the kindle - no place else.

The web browsing thing is there, and was useful once when I went to Lake Tahoe, but otherwise I'd almost always rather use a computer.

Still, for me, definitely worth it, since I can turn pages with just one hand. I'm not sure if it'd be worth it for anyone else, though.

11:45 AM  
Blogger A. Hartman Adams said...

Hey David--thanks for the link to my blog, although I was on quite a soapbox that day. I do love my soapboxes, you know. I keep them all lined up in my closet in order of irrationality level. Still split on this one, honestly.

I haven't yet used a Kindle, although I've seen them used, and I believe that the peripheral effects and advantages (ease of portability and use, impact they will have on education, etc.) are not only amazing, but also extraordinarily valuable.

That being said, we are, for the most part, physically-oriented creatures--we see the world in terms of physical limits, beginnings and ends, heres and not heres. I think that taking so much of our experience of the world and each other out of the physical and translating it to ones and zeros /might/ threaten our psyche as culture. Just look at email--it's awfully cool, and incredibly useful, but now we communicate with emoticons and text messages rather than the unconscious, face to face give-and-take human beings have been engaging in for thousands of years.

Oh, look at that! My soapbox! So sorry--I thought I'd put this one away...

Either way, it's an interesting development in our time. We are, after all, in our own renaissance. Just look at the technological, social, etc. achievements of humanity in the last 200 years. Pretty cool stuff. And, yes, I include the Kindle in that...I guess.

Take care,

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My blog worships the Kindle these days, it does.

You can read a little about our relationship, and its first steps, here.

By the way, I really don't believe in the whole "we are dehumanized by electronic bits" thing. Humans are physical critters but it's important to remember that we're also mental critters too. (And, well, also mental, but that's another story.)

I would have been a very lonely person without the Internet. And also a dead person; the people who pulled me out of an abusive relationship were friends online. Curiously, the people in real life wanted mostly nothing to do with it until things got really dramatic.

And I think email, for all its non-warm-communication, and IM for all its non-warm-communication, creates a lot of friendships that wouldn't have been there otherwise.

What can I say though. I'm prejudiced.

5:31 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hey, thanks for the comments. So far all the people that actually own one like them. That's interesting. I wonder how many other people would find they liked them if - like you, Arachne Jericho - they tried one out one a dare. Might be just the thing to break the ice...

I can thoroughly see them being a lasting part of our future. That's fine by me, especially if it provides more people access to books and to my titles. (Thank you, NBlair.)

For me, though, I think I'm just old enough that I won't be able to shake the love of having books occupy my living space with me. I can spend a great deal of time with my eyes just drifting over my book shelf, lingering on titles I've read and enjoyed, wondering at how many of the books up there I haven't read yet. It's sort of a reminder of the long-term relationship I have with books. I like that.

Actually, these days I listen to audiobooks a lot. But if I like a particular book I ALSO buy a hard copy. Can't help it. It's that hard copy that makes it official, for me.

8:01 PM  

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