Thursday, December 17, 2009

Why I Hate the Amazon Kindle

Every time I see this ad for the Amazon Kindle
I get angry.

In fact all e Readers make me angry.

Unlike an Ipod which does not fundamentally change
the ways we consume music and films as primarily
aural experiences e Readers are an attack on something fundamental- the Book.

The thing that has been lost by the growth of the internet is serendipity. If you think about it because of the internet there are many pleasures that younger people will never experience.

The finding of an article in the newspaper that you did not expect to read and acting on that seredipity. Finding an album in a record store that you never thought you would buy and now with e Readers they are trying to destroy the last bit of anonymous chance the bookstore.

I know, I know, we all buy books on line but is there anything better or more important than a good bookstore? I for one came of age among some great ones, Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Seminary Co-op in Chicago and the lost but not Forgotten Gotham Bookmart in New York.

There is nothing better than spending a couple of hours here in Chicago at Seminary Co-op. Chatting with Jack Cella its' great General Manager then finding an obscure book that you thought you would never read. Opening a new book with its pages and its artwork is something tactile and real that I have never felt from something electronic. It seems that our goal as a nation is to destroy everything that is actual in favor of the virtual.

I don't want to eat artificial food- I want real food.

I want to spend warm June afternoons at the ball park watching my White Sox and not have so much stimuli that I cannot concentrate on the game.

I certainly do not want all bookstores to go away in favor some electronic paper whatever the hell that is? Imagine not being able to browse a bookstore and find that right book?

Someone please tell me what we are to do?

I don't want to read books- even bad ones on a computer screen. I want to sit with a book and coffee and read books that are objects not just pixels. It is bad enough that Google is stealing every book ever published but tell me why are they trying to kill the bookstore? Frankly I have had enough please go away Kindle and the rest of your satanic brethern....


glahahgglghhaghghggghhh said...

So you care more about the paper than the words...? Isn't that ironic, writing something like that on a blog?

Raymond Bianchi said...

I dont care about paper per se but it is almost liturgical. If I go to Mass in a Cathedral with great music and the community around me I am in communion with something mystical. If I watch Mass on my computer that is something else that is the difference between the Book and the Kindle....

Lyss Harp said...

The Kindle takes away the lovely senses you find in an actual book... the smell of crisp (or beaten, should the book be well-loved) paper, the touch of ink and a binding, the sight of bold lettering and harmonizing art, and the sound of page after page turning as you digest it. I cannot imagine, nor will I ever let myself, reading from a Kindle. It is a soulless and stale way of doing something that should be mystifying... and it makes me sad to see so many willingly give such a thing up.

E. Wellman said...

I completely, one hundred percent agree with you! Actually, I found your blog because I was googling the words, "I hate Kindle." We canNOT overestimate the power of the medium of paper and ink and glue, dog-eared corners, coffee stains, and musty smells.

And I don't care how paranoid this makes me seem - if all books are someday electronic and can only be purchased electronically, how much easier would it be for a government or anyone, really, to wipe out all literature? Visions of Fahrenheit 451 are dancing before my eyes, as we speak. Of course, I will be the one huddling with thousands of paperbacks in my basement.

The Kindle symbolizes one of the things I hate most about this era. Nothing is flashy enough, compact enough, convenient enough for people. Now these things have wireless internet. Which makes them...what? The literary equivalent of the iPad? I'm all for technology that actually does make a difference. But like you said, the Kindle or Nook or whatever e-book abomination is now popular is just waging war against one of the great sublime occurrences of the ordinary life: the finding of a good book.

Ginamarie said...

I have to agree Ray - I was asked this year if I wanted the Kindle as a holiday gift... and I politely declined. I love libraries, bookstores old and new, and the feel and smell of books. I'm only 44 - and I'm not anti-technology, but this e-books are simply not for me.

dan rogy said...

All-New, High-Contrast E Ink Screen – 50% better contrast with latest E Ink Pearl technology
Read in Bright Sunlight – No glare
New and Improved Fonts – New crisper, darker fonts
New Sleek Design – 21% smaller body while keeping the same 6" size reading area
17% Lighter – Only 8.5 ounces, weighs less than a paperback
Battery Life of Up to One Month – A single charge lasts up to one month with wireless off
Double the Storage – Up to 3,500 books
Built-In Wi-Fi – Shop and download books in less than 60 seconds
20% Faster Page Turns – Seamless reading
Enhanced PDF Reader – With dictionary lookup, notes, and highlights
New WebKit-Based Browser – Browse the web over Wi-Fi (experimental)

Aap said...

I only partially agree. Kindle makes for the convenient reading of web articles, pdf's, summaries and the like. Also I can just buy a physical book, and when I don't feel like reading from paper or for whatever other reason want to read from Kindle, I can just take it and read from that, with an illegally downloaded copy or something.
I don't think Kindle'll kill books, just make reading a little more... free?

Terry K. said...

I'm not a fan of Kindles. I, too, worry about what this means for the future. I think everyone including public policy makers and librarians should read, or re-read Fahrenheit 451. Recently, my local public library has obtained some Kindles for loan. It made my heart break. I hate Kindles for all of the reasons other book lovers hate them; you can't lend out a book, you can't turn the page, you can't make notes in the margin, etc.. But why I really hate Kindles is that all sense of privacy is gone! Everything you read, everything you buy is recorded and being profiled on-- You are psychologically being profiled by marketers, etc. All of the other profiling done to us on FB by hitting like, or in the Grocery Store when using your frequent shopper card is bad... but I would feel violated by being profiled by my Reading List. That is sacred!

Glynn James said...

I always disliked the stinky smell of books. I read from a kindle, and my smartphone, and paper books (I still collect them and have over a thousand).

To me, the book is in the words, the story, not the physical. I find being able to read many different ways has increased the amount I can read, so I wouldn't go back to just paper books.

The only book stores I go to are independent and second hand book shops. I have no time or respect for the big chains (feel awful for the jobs lost though).

I am guilty of shopping on amazon a lot though.

If you want random finds, look at a book you know on amazon and then glance through the "People who read this also" section. plenty in there that you might not have heard of before, or maybe buy something that isn't listed in the top ten.

And every time you buy a book online you are killing those same bookshops you love so much just as quickly as I am with my ebooks.

I really hope the Indie and secondhand book shops don't vanish though. I love them so much.

reidman8 said...

I love your article and I posted a link to it and your blog on my Facebook page: "Keep Print Media Alive!" Read a Book, Buy a Newspaper, get Ink". Please check it out and become a member of the site. You can post links and comments on this subject.!/pages/Keep-Print-Media-Alive-Read-a-Book-Buy-a-Newspaper-get-Ink/187543011293208?sk=wall

AndyfromSimi said...

As the proprietor of Oddfellow's Book Shop in Simi Valley, California, let me say a heart-felt "THANK YOU" for sticking up for us little book shops. I started my book shop in June of 2009. It took me 3 years to build up a "starting" collection of books to offer in the shop. With $14,000.00 of annual fixed expense guaranteed to be on the line from my savings, I struggle each month to provide our customers with a book shop experience for our town of 120,000 people. I haven't earned a dime's worth of profit since opening the shop but love the experiences I've had and the books I've come across. My loyal customers are becoming good friends and that makes me feel like a better part of my community. I know I can't lose money on this venture forever but I'm willing to try so that "real" book lovers will have a place to discover their next read. Visit my Oddfellow's Books at 4374 Eileen St., Simi Valley, CA 93063 anytime.

Cin's said...

Unfortunately we are living in a society of people that want instant gratification no waiting the digital age has made us lazy and inpatient, where everyone wants everything faster and with no personal interaction (to me fast books are as bad for us as fast foods), soon if things carry on the way they are going with machines and computers we won't have jobs to go to and nobody will have to leave their homes. I don't think people should only be looking at the fact that they are putting book shops out of business but also all those employed by the publishing house, the printers and the logger's and the workers on farms that grow those trees, short sighted of us not to think that far afield. Those trees are grown especially for the paper industry (if you want to save the rainforest stop eating meat as saying kindle is enviromentally friendly is rubbish). To me Amazon is a giant virtual monster trying to monopolies the consumer world. The other thing is books can be recycled as well as the fact that one book can pass through many hands and be read many times before it is recycled, where exactly are all the broken kindles and e-readers they are flimsy and easily broken and carry a one year guarantee. Also all techies upgrade one the newest and latest are out so imagine people the giant pile of broken and disused kindles, ipads, e-readers and so forth filling a landfill either in your own country, china or whatever third world country that your country ships their crap to. Well done folk's that you can get your books instantly and with no effort and you don't have to strain something carrying books on holiday or hurt yourself in bed with that big book. I'm sure all the people who's jobs you are endangering are happy that you don't have to put in any effort. Am sure the planet loves you for all the toxic waste you have managed to dump on it with your need for a easier life...(Hanks for nothing.