Friday, November 23, 2007

A Kindle at Bedtime

Why anyone would want to call their electronic book reading device, Kindle, beats me. But then I never understood why they called themselves Amazon anyway.
For many of us who are destined to spend much of their working day peering at a computer screen, there's not much of an attraction there. The allure of E-Books, like many other things in this life, has eluded me but Amazon clearly think there are plenty out there who will find this useful.
But it's an expensive piece of kit and I would find it worrying that, in the space of not a lot of nanoseconds, something will supersede it.
The landfills of the world are bulging with discarded bits of technology that have, like mayflies, had a brief but cheerful existence. Floppy discs, eight tracks, Betamax, VHS videos and hundreds more spring to mind.
The electronic format does have its uses. If I printed out all the manuscripts that arrive in my inbox there would be a nasty hole in the rainforests of the world and so, initially, I am doomed to read these on screen. But to do any serious editing, proof reading or writing, I have to print out those that seem worthwhile.
And, with the long winter evenings coming upon us, I can't envisage myself curling up on the couch in front of the log fire with a glass of wine and a good kindle.
I'm not sure where the thing is being made but if it's in China, the instructions should be worth reading and provide many hours of innocent amusement.
Then when the darn thing quits, and being electronic and solid state, no doubt, that is written in the stars, I suppose you send it to the aforesaid landfill along with the other junk. You might just as well. There's no point in keeping it for future generations – it won't work for them as something better and more gee-whiz will have come along.
But the technology of Gutenburg, Caxton and all the rest will still be around.
So I will be leaving my library to my children – they won't need a Kindle to read the books in the years to come.


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