Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Kindle, Barnes and Noble

If our local Barnes and Noble bookstore were any indication, I’d say print communication was alive and well. It’s an enormous store filled with books on travel, science, history—any topic you could imagine. As I sit here typing away on my computer, others around me contentedly turn book pages and leaf through magazines.

Yet I know traditional publishing is in trouble. It’s expensive to print books these days. And with the invention of electronic books—like Kindle—people can download a book off the Internet for much less than it costs to buy a print version, and they can carry multiple books with them in a device about the size of Reader’s Digest.

I recently looked over the shoulder of a friend as he explained his Kindle to a couple of us. He can enlarge the size of the type—a real advantage to those of us who wear reading glasses—and copy portions of the book to be saved in a separate document. My friend is one of those who goes through a few books a week, so his Kindle serves him well. He can get a new book without leaving his chair. No trip to the library or Barnes and Noble.

“I can be sitting in the airport and purchase a new book in less time than it would take someone else to walk across the waiting area to the bookstore and purchase a hard copy,” he illustrated.

I’m kind of torn between my love of books and my love of electronic organizing. To think I could copy portions of a book and save them in a document, all referenced, to review later for an article or a speech—that would be pretty sweet. But I’m torn. I love the smell of books, the feel of the pages. And I adore magazines—seeing them displayed on the newsstand, reviewing the headlines in the supermarket, reading in the car as I wait for a child to get out of school, cutting out my favorite recipes to file in my recipe book (or stick in a file box to someday be pasted in a book). And you don’t have to worry about a magazine’s battery running low or interfering with an airplane’s take off or landing. And if a printed book “crashes” you can just bend over and pick it up.

I think I’m going to have to give up on print, though. I really believe things are going electronic. But as I look around at the beautiful leather bound journals and glossy magazine covers it makes me sad . . .

1 comment:

  1. My friend Pat asked what Kindles cost. Amazon says $359.00. To which Pat replied, "You can buy a lot of books for that!"