Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kindle vs iPad vs "real" books

My Kindle arrived yesterday. It's good. Unlike most people who have commented on it, I bought it after getting an iPad. I was so impressed by how easy it was to read with an electronic device that I decided to buy something dedicated to it. It works exactly as expected.

Good things about ePaper devices (Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc.) compared with a tablet:
  • Smaller and lighter
  • Battery lasts longer
  • Can read outdoors
  • Better quality screen
Goods things about the iPad, for reading:
  • Big screen, colour and zoom (i.e., I wouldn't use an ePaper device for PDFs)
  • Self lit (good for reading at night without a light)
One stupid thing that both types of devices don't really understand yet is that they're not paper books. e.g., the software is happy to end a page half-way through a sentence. For what purpose? To force me to keep reading? What it should do is end on the last complete sentence that fits on the page. A very minor complaint, however.

It's a new age for books. What will happen:
  • Individual prices will plummet (they're already zero for books out of copyright)
  • You can have any number of books and they take up the same space as one. Actually, the idea of book having/ownership is now completely absurd.
  • Nothing will ever go out of print
  • Quality will replace availability (many, many times I have wanted a book and bought something that wasn't as good because I couldn't find the one I wanted)
  • People will fetishise "physical" books like they do LPs/CDs, DVDs and everything else that becomes immaterial. What they don't understand is that it's not the form that's important, it's particular instances. i.e., The Secret is a shit book no matter how it's read.
Is ePaper the coming communist revolution? Unfortunately, no. It's just nice to be able to stop collecting another type of thing.

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