The Amazon Kindle sucks.
I actually love my Kindle. I think I can count on one hand the number of dead tree books I’ve actually read since the Kindle came into my life… and that’s only because I live but a block away from the county central library and find it difficult to resist the urge to go explore its shelves on occasion. Interestingly enough, when I do find myself poking around the library, it isn’t because I need something to read — my Kindle’s got that covered in spades. It’s more when I’ve really got nothing better to do.
No, this isn’t yet another “Why the Kindle’s superior to dead trees, you hapless, hopeless Luddites”-type post that seems to be in vogue among the bloggers in our niche nowadays. No need. (Fat Lady. Singing. But it’s a very long song.) In fact, this is about me fully realizing something that the Kindle can’t give us that the dead trees can.
Before I get to that, take note that although I’m writing about the Amazon Kindle, everything I say here really applies to ereaders and related as a lot, like the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Apple iPad.
Well, come October if all goes well my wife and I will be the proud parents of a brand spanking new set of twin girls. This means my wife is now right smack in full nesting mode. If it’s the weekend, standing anywhere between her and Ikea is so not very recommended. All of you who’ve been through the father-to-be thing have no doubt also figured out what my weekends are like — yup, throwing out stuff I no longer need (which, as far as she’s concerned, is everything I own) to make room for the babies.
There go the books. That central library a block away I mentioned earlier? It’ll probably rename a wing in my honor after all the books I just donated. Yeah, it was a bit painful to see those go, but really, not so much. Because I’ve still got shelves of books I absolutely refuse to give up. These are books I want to own and must have. And not necessarily for reading either. Although I’ve read them all — most just once, but an interesting number of them multiple times — none are likely something I’ll want to read again, at least not anytime soon or even in the foreseeable future. But I do want to own them, whatever my reasons.
And that, my friends, is where the Kindle falls short: It does not and cannot give you a sense of book ownership.
Interesting that it took the Kindle’s success to bring to the forefront the notion that with each traditional book, there really are two products: the content and the package. The Kindle does away with the latter, really, along with any features, benefits and emotions that can be solely attributed to it. In effect, it has rendered us as nothing more than content consumers — there really is no more “book” to own.
Hey, now that I think about it more, for us book lovers, that really does suck, doesn’t it?