Monday, May 19, 2008

Waxing Poetic About Kindle

In Monday’s Wall Street Journal “Information Age” column, Journal big cheese L. Gordon Crovitz gets excited about Amazon’s Kindle… of all things.
To an info-snacker of many years, the prospect of a gourmet meal sounds pretty good. Perhaps a new digital device like the Kindle can help us regain the attention spans earlier devices helped us lose. If so, this could become a great era for books, or more accurately for the future of words that for centuries could be delivered only in book form.
Intellectually, I’m not sure a lot of his arguments hold water. From a purely artistic standpoint, almost no one writes this kind of stuff better than Crovitz. I’ll tell you what I mean. At one point, he says:
Much is at stake. As Mr. Gomez concluded, “what’s really important is the culture of ideas and innovation” books represent. But “to expect future generations to be satisfied with printed books is like expecting the BlackBerry users of today to start communicating by writing letters, stuffing envelopes and licking stamps.”
See? Lovely stuff. Except, even what he describes here is already happening, as shops like this begin to spring up and the very stuffing of envelopes and licking of stamps that Crovitz scoffs at actually are beginning to make a sort of sweetly kitschy return.

Upshot? The jury is still out. As regular readers of this space know, I’ve never been particularly nuts about the Kindle (starting with that extra-goofy name) but the electronic book as a fixture is not a question, merely a reality that has yet to come to pass.



Blogger Sun Singer said...

While Amazon may like the "excite or animate" definition of Kindle, the first definition "to start a fire" may fit the company's true intentions as we rid the world of those heavy and purportedly inconvenient hard copies of books and go digital. If I'm going to cuddle up at night with anything that excites or animates, it won't be an electronic book reader.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008 at 7:39:00 AM PDT  

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