Friday, January 18, 2008

More on Kindle

This from

Steve Jobs: "People Don't Read Anymore"Blogging from MacWorld, NYT techmeister John Markoff discovers Steve Jobs's disdain for the Kindle:

"It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read anymore," Markoff quotes the Apple CEO. "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore."
Actually, that's not true: The statistic cited in the National Endowment for the Arts white paper "To Read or Not to Read" was that, in 2002, 43 percent of Americans over the age of 18 did not read at least one book not required for work or school. But that's not the point. The point, as I've said before, is that negative attitudes like that won't save literacy. If we want people to start believing that reading is a fun way to spend one's leisure time, defeatist statements about how nobody reads and nothing's going to change that are exactly the wrong way to go about doing it.

You could also argue that the Kindle is good for reading other things besides books, or that it'd be a swell tool for the school or workplace, if you really wanted to nitpick.


The Chinese-made leather folder that is supposed to support the Kindle and give it the feel of a book is sloppily constructed. The small leather like slots that the Kindle fits into are too pliable and don't really support the device.

Clearly if the Kindle catches on, and I think it will, boutique designers will crop up to supply alternatives to the holder, as they've done with the iPod.

But it seems odd, and a little annoying, that such an expensive piece of equipment that is designed nicely in so many ways, has this awkward holder.

Also, another quibble. With the page forward and page back buttons prominently placed on either side of the Kindle, it's hard to find a place to hold the unit without accidently advancing the page.

Note the forward and back buttons that rim the unit on either side of the screen.

See how this guy's holding the Kindle. It's about the only way you CAN hold it without inadvertantly changing the page.

But I have to say, the wireless capability surprises me. I'm no techie, but somehow this little box can download sample chapters (that's all I've done so far) cruising along on I-95, or in my office at the university, inside massive amounts of concrete. Everyone I've shown it off to so far is suitably impressed.

And it's so small...and can hold 200 books, and each book costs half of what the hardback in a bookstore would cost. Whoa. Does that put an additional downward pressure on the publisher's, (and my) income? Well, I'm no economist, but hey...

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