Just throwing that out there.
I love the feel of a book in my hands (old books especially), and a screen is just not the same, no matter how much the high-tech electronic ink helps disguise it to look like paper.
With that said, I can’t deny that e-readers are revolutionizing the book world in the same way the Internet changed journalism. Amazon recently released an updated version of its popular Kindle reader that executives hope will rival Steve Jobs’ iPad. And I can’t deny that it looks kind of cool.
It has WiFi, which allows users to browse the web and download books, a dictionary and notes feature, a battery that lasts up to one month on a charge (with the wireless shut off) and feature that lets you sync your library with other wireless-capable devices.
But perhaps the most enticing draw is its archive of 1.8 million out-of-copyright, pre-1923 books users can download for free. Anyone with an Internet connection can get these books for free online at websites like gutenberg.org, but laptops aren’t nearly as portable as the 8.5-ounce Kindle. And you can get the latest Kindle for as little $139, with most of its e-books selling for around the same price (or less) as their print counterparts.
Of course, the new Kindle isn’t nearly as flashy or sophisticated as the iPad, but its price is significantly lower than the $499 Apple will charge you, making the Kindle more ideal for someone looking for a device that will function primarily as an electronic reader.
What is most surprising to me is Amazon’s announcement that its Kindle device has been outselling hardcover books since the spring. But maybe I’m just a naive book-lover “mourning the demise of hardcover books with their heft and their musty smell,” (which I still love, thank you very much).
However, it will be interesting to see how publishing companies and book stores adapt to accommodate the snazzy new e-readers, and I hope that amid all this new technology old-fashioned, hard-copy novels won’t be rendered obsolete. Because even though the new Kindle looks kind of awesome (I would love to have a dictionary built in to all of my books), nothing beats spending a Saturday afternoon in a used book store discovering books you didn’t even know you wanted.