What's a Kindle?

The Kindle (amazon.com tells me), is Amazon’s amazing new wireless reading device!  It’s also sold out due to popular demand, and seriously one of the ugliest electronic devices I’ve seen since the early 90s.  It looks like a giant awkward calculator, but (according to pictures on amazon), is as thin as a pencil!
  • Revolutionary electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
  • Simple to use: no computer, no cables, no syncing.
  • Wireless connectivity enables you to shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle—whether you’re in the back of a taxi, at the airport, or in bed.
  • Buy a book and it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.  (right to your bed!)
  • Okay, I had a friend tell me recently that I have a romantic attachment to good old-fashioned books, so that made be where some of this snarkiness is coming from.  I knew this was coming.  Ever since Tron came out, man has longed to digitize everything he can get his hands on, and usually I’m in favor of it.  I should like this one ever better than the Sony one because their advertising doesn’t disparage librarians.  The thing that bugs me about the Kindle, okay things: look, name, the obvious tie-ins with certain periodicals– and the big one– there is a library in New Jersey that is lending these things.

    The Sparta Public Library, is in an affluent suburb 50 miles from New York City.  The library purchased two Kindles ($399 apiece), and now has a waiting list for them.  This is also a library that lends Ipods, and an earlier generation Ireader.  I don’t want to sound like this guy, but I just don’t like this.  While I agree wholeheartedly with the Sparta Library’s director attitude toward new technologies, “This is something we either have to embrace, or it’s going to plow us under,” it still doesn’t sit well with me.

    In my opinion, $798.00 could be much better spent on numerous books, DVDs, video games etc., rather than on two somethings that will most likely break.  This puts pressure on less affluent libraries to continue the trend, and just seems like a poor use of taxpayers money.  Maybe it’s just the mention that this is taking place in an affluent suburb where people (I assume) can buy their own Kindle, if they so desire.

    Maybe I’m just being closed-minded, and the next time I go on a long trip, I’ll be all too eager to borrow a Kindle from my local library and marvel at the amazing paper-like screen that made  James Patterson remark “There’s no glare. It’s not backlit, which is kind of magical.”  




    10 Responses to “What's a Kindle?”

    1. curmudgeon

    2. Somebody thinks that YOU’RE a curmudgeon? I’ll show you curmudgeon!

      I was looking at the Kindle blurbage on Amazon, and came across this statement: “think of a book, and get it in one minute.”

      Not taking into account my other reading, I just went back through the last 15 books I ordered on Amazon alone. Two of them are available through Kindle: both works that are in the public domain, for which I already had sources of online texts. Free. I also looked up the last five books non-Amazon books I read, and none of them are available.

      Obviously, I’m not normal. But they’re still a long way from “think of a book, any book!”

    3. 3 Hip Shhusher

      she kinda is one though…

    4. I like to think I’m a mentor in curmudgeonry…

    5. Dear Curmudgeon.
      1) We didn’t give ourselves the sobriquet “affluent.” The LJ writer, I guess, liked the term.
      2) Hard-cover books have a “planned obsolescence” rate of about 6 reads till the text box drop out, so nothing lasts forever.
      3) No matter how “slow” the Kindle download may be, it will always win when obtaining an Interlibrary Loan item. Instead of waiting for a week to ten days, a patron got an ILL item in 3 minutes, and it cost us $3.95.
      We’re having a ball, meanwhile, circulating something that people love and that will hold somewhere in the vicinity of 200 books. In addition, our patrons get to preview an item that, once they see that it works for them, they might want to purchase down the road.
      BTW, your tag is interesting….” Filed under: By: The Librarienne, News, change or die” We couldn’t agree more!

    6. 6 Hip Shhusher

      Diane makes some great points. And, as I already told you Librarienne, I think lending out the Kindles is a great idea.

    7. 7 The Librarienne

      Yes, Hip Shhusher, Diane does make some good points. As I’ve said in other posts, I firmly agree that libraries must embrace new technology. What the original post was intended to be (it may or may not have come through), was just my personal reticence toward these Kindles in particular. I’m always apprehensive of just grabbing a new technology (especially spending public money on it) before it’s been road-tested enough that all of the kinks are worked out. That’s just me.
      Also, I wanted to get a lively debate going, which seems to have worked.

      Curmudgeonly yours,

      The Librarienne

    8. 8 Brandi

      I must agree with The Librarienne here….to spend public money on technology that has not had the kinks worked out is just crazy. Remember the XBOX 360 debacle? Some of those kinks are still being “worked out” in Europe. And what about the cost of getting new techonology right away? Remember the Apple I-Phone? The cost dropped from $599 to $399…within two months of the phone’s launch.

      While the library should take steps to embrace new technology, there should also not be a mad dash to acquire it. Everything in good time.

    9. Someone has finally talked to Amazon about whether libraries loaning the Kindle to their patrons is in violation of the Terms of Service: see http://rochellejustrochelle.typepad.com/copilot/2008/01/loaning-kindle.html

      The answer is yes. Which makes me opposed to the Kindle as a matter of principle. Just like those “Fish!” people, who are happy to give expensive fish-tossing seminars at library conferences, but don’t allow their products to be loaned through libraries….

    1. 1 Why use textbooks when there are Kindles? « Closed Stacks


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