Fearing the Kindle.

 

And the Nook.

 

So, I’m not afraid of the technology.  I wouldn’t meltdown if you a placed a Kindle in my hands and use terms like, new-fangled.  I think I could figure out the Kindle and maybe even the Nook, although those Barnes & Noble people are tricky.  No, I’m more afraid of what the eReaders represent on the whole.  I hope the bookstore isn’t going the way of my beloved Fotomat.  I clicked on an article yesterday expecting this story, only to find out I had misinterpreted the headline, “Shelf Life.”  So, instead of reading someone else’s take, I get to put my own spin on things.  I think we’re probably still a long way off from losing the printed book all together, but the signs are out there, things are changing. Pretty soon people are going to be on me to get a Kindle or Nook like they give me a hard time about EZ-Pass.

If you are in the business of giving me gifts, don’t ever get me a Kindle.  I really have nothing against the Kindle, or Amazon for that matter, and if you love your Kindle…well, I love that you love it, but I don’t want to participate.  I like to read books, and while I’ve gotten accustomed to reading a newspaper or magazine online, the jump to a book is just too large for me to make.  I like holding the book in my hands.  I like being able to see a tangible representation of how many pages are left.  I like the way books look scattered around my apartment.  Sure, your Kindle can hold however many books, but it’s still only one Kindle.  Doesn’t exactly fill up a majestic bookcase.

And, it’s really not an ego thing.  I don’t get enough visitors to be trying to impress people with the books I’ve read, though if you did come over you’d see a few books that don’t have any pictures in them.  The books make me feel good when I look at them.  There is something comforting about them.  Having them lining the walls is akin to putting on your favorite pair of slippers, it’s a way to know you are home.  And, if I can get up even a little bit higher on my horse here, I do feel some responsibility to the author to own an actual copy of their book, or at least to read it in book form. Having a digitized version of F. Scott Fitzgerald co-mingling with your SI subscription or something like that is just a bit profane, for me.

But, the bookstore is in trouble.  Borders could be wiped off the planet before we know it, and partially because they didn’t make the quick jump to the eReader?  This doesn’t bother me in itself, I’m no Borders fan, but it would be ominous if Borders couldn’t stay in business.  Barnes & Noble is pushing the Nook hard, and that is interesting, because in the end it can’t be good business for their brick and mortar stores.  In 10 years are Barnes & Noble stores going to be quaint coffee shops that sell Nook accessories and 50% off calendars?  I certainly hope not.

I suppose there will always be used book stores.  Perhaps the printed word will eventually evolve into a collector’s item like vinyl records.  Shops will pop up selling the classics in paper and hardback.  All the more reason to hold onto my books.  Is that the Pelican Brief?  In hardcover?  Classic!

I just envision a world where it is less and less convenient to read actual books.  They’ll be sold at less locations.  The price will probably increase.  Books might start getting released on eReaders well in advance of their actual printing.  I imagine people who work at publishing houses must really be scrambling.  Are we going to be able to justify ourselves when the whole world has a Kindle?  I’m not sure I can answer that one, but I know there will be at least one hold out, driving around looking for the World’s last Barnes & Noble and turning up my nose at the army inside trying to sell me the Nook.

 

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16 thoughts on “Fearing the Kindle.

  1. Barnes is probably afraid of being the next Bloclbuster bust, and trying to embrace their version of Netflix earlier on in hopes of saving the business. I think there will always be space for the coffee shop/book store, maybe with some type of digital nook format, but people like to go to these places, drink some coffee, pretend to get work done, and creepily check out members of the opposite sex.

  2. Totally agree on the Kindle and the depressing potential loss of printed books. I still think there will be a bit of a backlash, i think there are more people like yourself than there are who are fully embracing the electronic books/magazine.

  3. Hope you are right about the book lovers…

    And, a good point about the social nature of bookstores (creepy or otherwise). Can people watching save an industry?

  4. thanks for this post. feels a lil like group therapy, and we all know how i feel about therapy. so, anyhow…you also know, i have a strict religious practice called: holding a book, occasionally folding its pages, maybe highlighting sentences that i love. sometimes i talk back in the margins. in short, i love the art of writing, as an art. putting it on a digital screen and digitizing a beloved art form sounds sacriligious (sp??) to me.

    anyhow…finally, the line in this post that prompted me to write…Borders. let’s just say, Q was quite the nerd in college. her highlight film looks a lot like the quarterly night out in Philly, the weekly walk to Borders books and music. the idea that the next generation may not have this opportunity, to turn off computer monitors, get out and hold something they can read or music they can hear…well, and have a lil decaf coffee while discussing their passions, this makes me sad.

    now, while i say all that, in moderation – new trends and culture shifts toward reading online have their perks…like this interactive blog gem. i think poppa q is more literate now, more than ever! but, to his credit, he still subscribes to the paper papers – puns intended, religiously.

    dear technology, expand my horizons, don’t negate some of them…

    Q

    • I hope you didn’t miss Antigone like I did. Although you could have given me a few thousand guesses on the author of Antigone. I would have been all, “Hera?” “Daphne?” “So-crates?”*

      *Pronounced as per Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

      • definitely didn’t get antigone.

        although, that might have been the only one i actually read in HS.

        good old, “regular” english.

      • uggghh, i couldn’t wait to take this quiz, thanks DC…however, looks like – per usual 3-Putt’s non-AP English beat my AP-lovin-bleep…19…how did i remember like all these random Mark Twains and Toni Morrisons and Dickens…but had no clue on the obvious ones they wanted. I am still crying about my brain’s mis-memory of Great Expectations…hello, Ragged Dick and Struggling Upward, Tar Baby…where were these?

        and the whole guess the right Shakespeare was also OOC.

        UGGH. thanks for the idea, DC, was fun…

        Q

  5. It was 1999, and our assignment was to write a paper on which would last longer, barnes and noble, or barnesandnoble.com. I was the only person in the class that thought the actual bookstores would still be around in 10 years. I was right. I got a D and almost dropped out because of how much I hated that class. Of course I should have said the .com because it was a computer class and .com’s were all the rage…. But, I was right so that teacher can suck it. I hope this whole kindle/nook/ibooks thing is a fad.

    • If you had any sort of sack, you’d email/call/resubmit your paper to that professor and ask for them to change your grade, recalculate your final mark and politely apologize to you for completely ignoring your genius.

  6. that’s pretty classic. I once gave a presentation that said Callaway was wasting their time making golf balls. Titleist was Titleist. Nike had Tiger. What’s the point?

    of course, in the same presentation I said they should absorb Cleveland Golf for their wedge line. A year or two later they just hired Roger Cleveland instead.

    win some, you lose some.

    And by the way, Borders declared bankruptcy today.

  7. Pingback: Mid-Week Mailbag. « 3-Putt Territory

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