Tuesday, May 6, 2008

To Kindle or Not to Kindle, That is the Question

Amazon's Kindle: Are you for it or against it?
Maybe, like a friend of mine, you're asking what is a Kindle? Amazon calls it an wireless reading device. Call it a handheld electronic bookreader. No bindings. No front and back covers. No pages.
I was intrigued by the idea--and put off by the $399 price tag. Downloading books cost $9.99 per book. You can also subscribe to newspapers or magazines via your Kindle.
There are pro-Kindle folks and anti-Kindle folks. Some people--me included--like holding a book in their hands when their reading. They don't like the idea of reading off a screen. They think a Kindle will interfere with their reading pleasure, if you will. I think this might happen--but until I try a Kindle, I won't know for sure.
Author David Edelman says such talk is silly when you consider that a Kindle allows you to hold your entire library in your hand or download new books whenever you wish. Edlman goes so far as to suggest that the Kindle will lead to the death of the novel.

"... the written word is going electronic. Permanently. Soon. Once that happens, storytellers will have no need to shoehorn their stories into these 8x 12 hunks of pulped wood and ink. And once we’re not restricted to the medium of the novel, we’ll be leaving the form behind.
The death of the novel doesn’t mean the death of storytelling. It doesn’t mean that nobody’s ever going to put an Aristotelian structure of fiction into 120,000 words. On the contrary, it’s going to mean that storytelling will finally be unleashed. We’re going to see fiction strap on blue tights and a red cape and really soar.
Personally I think that’s going to be fun to see."
Hhhhhm. I see Edelman's point, but I'm not sure if I agree with it or not. And that's okay. I haven't seen a lot of people toting Kindles around yet. Maybe if the price drops that may change. I don't know.
To be honest, I've read novels that have jumped over the proverbial building in a single bound--and they were the old-fashioned kind. I don't think Kindle is the new superhero tool of novelists.

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