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I’m relatively young and relatively hip, and while I know writing those two things down automatically makes one older and more unhip than they were two seconds ago, I categorize myself this way because what I’m about to say might make you assume I’m 70 years old with a permanent sour face and a “Stay Off The GRASS” sign on my sad, unmowed lawn:
I hate the idea of a Kindle.
I will never buy one, and I can’t fathom why anyone else would, either. At least anyone who works 9-12 hours a day on the computer.
Don’t you people want some time away from that damn screen?! (<–as my mom would say)
Books, while sometimes weirdly expensive, are a luxury. Their pages are perfectly aligned. They have a book smell. Thick ones tell the world that you’re intelligent and focused (or at least good at pretending to be) and thinner ones say that you’re a literary bandit. A Rumi or Kahlil Gibran volume on your nightstand assures your relationships that you are, indeed, a deep and romantic thinker. Conversations are started over books being read in coffee shops and on the subway. Books can be lent or borrowed. Books take up space. They’re real. Something to hold onto when you’re lonely or sitting on a park bench. Books are a nerdy kid’s best friend.
Plus, when you lose a book, you can just go out and buy a new one without wondering if your bank account is going to hate you.
No one was ever asked out for coffee based on what was on their Kindle. You can’t see what that hot, mysterious-looking guy is reading on the subway if he has a tiny electric screen shoved in his face. The selling point of a Kindle is that its lightweight; there’s no feeling proud after you finish page 822 of Moby Dick on a Kindle because there’s no last page to turn. Read more »
The press is declaring that digital will overtake print within the decade. The visions that this news inspires are numerous and, occasionally, bizarre: a subway full of commuters with heads bowed over e-readers instead of morning newspapers, libraries with dozens of empty bookshelves hovering ghostlike behind radiating computers, multimedia diginovels with holograms jumping off every page. And that may only be the beginning.
So let’s engage in a thought experiment. Here is a world I have envisioned, wherein society has wholly purged itself of paperbound books, and digital readers have become the norm. Some of the events I will describe sound a little outrageous, but then again, some events have already come to pass. It’s a brave new (digital) world: Read more »
Since starting Lit Drift, I’ve gotten used to reading a lot of doom-and-gloom opinion pieces about the death of the publishing industry. I’ve read predictions that the paperbound book will be totally replaced by digital books within the decade, or that we’ll all stop buying books and forget how to read, and so on. Most of it I’ve taken with a grain brick of salt, because I think at this point in our current techno-literary revolution it is far too early to tell where we’ll be in five–let alone ten–years.
Still, I can’t shake my anxiety after reading this recent article from The Guardian, in which Philip Roth–one of my favorite writers–says that the novel will be a “cult minority” in 25 years. He attributes the decline of the novel to the popularity of film, TV, and computers. It’s not the first time I’ve heard claims like this. But it’s unnerving to hear it from Roth.
“The book can’t compete with the screen. It couldn’t compete [in the] beginning with the movie screen. It couldn’t compete with the television screen, and it can’t compete with the computer screen,” Roth said. “Now we have all those screens, so against all those screens a book couldn’t measure up.”
Maybe I’ve been living in a happy non-reality for the last two decades, but I don’t think that’s entirely true. So as much as I love Philip Roth, I have to respectfully disagree. Read more »
Because a lot can happen in one week and we think it’s worthy to tell you about it, we’re starting a new feature called Midweek Pick-Me-Up. Every Wednesday we sum up the week’s lit & culture news and then help to push you through the rest of the week with a pick-me-up, which is a folksy way of saying we show you a funny video, story, or webcomic.
The demise of Reading Rainbow, more discussion about digital readers (as if you haven’t had enough already), and some freaky Twilight-inspired cover art for a classic novel, and more after the jump.
I spent the other night hanging at home with my friends, chatting and drinking dirt-ass-cheap champagne (because we’re classy, you see). For one reason or another our conversation drifted to the Kindle. I’ve always wondered why I never warmed to Kindle like everyone else seemed to. My friend Kenna provided a succinct, practical response to that question that I wanted to post it here.
While everyone else’s parents just adored the Kindle, all four of us hated it. Kenna reasoned:
“I think we’re the generation who knows how to use technology right. It’s so much a part of our lives that we feel comfortable finding new ways to use it–like Twitter or Facebook. But our parents can only understand it if they use technology to replace something else that they’re already familiar with. So they feel comfortable reading books on a Kindle, but we don’t.”
I’m just going to say it: as much as I love technology, I feel uneasy about the Kindle.
Yes, I realize there are some good things about it: compared to printed books, digital books are better for the environment; you can virtually carry around an entire library in your pocket (no pun intended, heh); and you can even read blogs on the device. For example, you might want to use the Kindle to read a certain blog you are viewing now…? Read more »