Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Luddite At Large

The guys at Penny Arcade have done a good job capturing how I feel about Amazon.com's Kindle and other such devices.

I love books. I take books with me everywhere. No matter where I go, if I have a reasonable expectation that I will have some downtime in which to read, it's a safe bet that I have a book with me. Books have gone with me to various relatives houses, to the beach, on camping trips, canoeing down various rivers, and many other places.

This has given me a great appreciation for the durability of leafs of paper bound together. I have dropped books. I have dropped them on the grass and I have dropped them on the concrete and I have even dropped them in the river. I have kicked them. I have stepped on them. I even have a Boy Scout Handbook that was set on fire (courtesy of the other members of my troop) and a copy of Sign of the Unicorn that, appropriately enough, was once impaled on the tip of a sword. Miraculously all of these books remain quite usable.

Something tells me that a Kindle would not react as well to such abuse. In addition you have to worry about such things as the batteries going dead and you probably shouldn't leave it sitting in the sun for too long. If I do accidentally destroy or lose a book, I've only destroyed/lost that book, not my entire library (yes, I know Amazon will allow you to redownload your previously purchased books for free but you still lose access to your entire library until you can replace your Kindle), and it will be cheaper to replace a book than a Kindle.

That's not to say that I see no use for a Kindle. I have a bunch of phone book-sized computer reference books that never leave my office and a Kindle would certainly be less bulky to deal with. But I really have to question if that convenience is worth the $360 price tag.

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