I am a card-carrying geek. Always have been, am guessing always will be. And as a geek, I love books and love love love gadgets. When I was a kid the little clip-on booklights were cool. Then the palm pilot, Walkman, iPod, Blackberry, iPhone. All vitally important toys that have endlessly enriched my life.
The newest gadget for book lovers is Amazon's Kindle electronic book reader, and I finally got mine a couple of weeks ago. What can I tell you? It's luuuuuuv. My Kindle is fun and fresh (gadget!), and portable (the damn thing is the size of a book and credit card thin) and totally cool.
As always, content is king, and the fact that the first book I read on my Kindle, Craig Ferguson's American on Purpose, totally rocked was fortunate. Next up is the latest John Irving novel.
Just like iPods have changed how we listen to music, ebooks are changing how we read books. Not familiar with the Kindle? Think an iPod for books, with a screen the size of a hardcover novel, where you download the books you want directly to your e-reader. Books range from free to about ten bucks.
Book lovers are migrating away from paper to electronic book readers.
Are the publishers being smart about it? Nope. Simon and Schuster recently announced they are delaying the ebook release of core titles by big authors like Jodi Picault and Don Delillo (both of whom I buy) until about 4 months after hardcover release date to protect hardcover sales. So do they think that Mr New Kindle Addict, aka me, is going to rush out and pay $25 for the paper version of the book because they won't let me purchase and download it? Or am I simply gonna choose the convenience of some other title for instant download, quite possibly a book from a publisher other than them?
Geez, morons, way to look at the faltering music industry and decide to repeat their mistakes. Let's ignore the new technology. Let's shut out the book buyers and follow the dinosaurs. Or, why not embrace the people who spent $250 plus on a bookreader and sell them newer, faster, more? Douchebags.
The tide is turning in the book world. On Christmas Day, e-books outsold traditional books at Amazon (and yes there are other e-book readers from Sony and Barnes and Noble, though no one really gives a crap as the Kindle rules in popularity and books available).
Are all books available? No. there are 400,000 titles, with more coming. Some they just haven't gotten to yet, others are holdouts. You won't find the Beatles on iTunes, and you won't find Harry Potter on Kindle. Not sure why. Luddites.
All this will work out as electronic books become the norm like iPods have. Publishers and retailers will rise to the occasion or fall behind.
What does Alfie think? The little dude is not so enamored of the Kindle. He already has to deal with the laptop on my lap, stealing his rightful place, and now I have a second magical lightbox taking up space. Not that it slows the little guy down; plonking on the keys, he just climbs on top of the computer or sprawls across the Kindle to ensure he is the centre of attention. And all is as it should be...