Saturday, February 28, 2009

The irony of it all


Saturday, February 28, 2009

Oh, the irony of it all! Attacking the Kindle on a blog.

I've seen several blogs criticizing Amazon's Kindle. What better thing to do than to use electronic media to attack electronic media?

For me personally, whatever suits you, so long as you keep on reading.

I think of this in relationship to newspapers. Newspapers are struggling (and I have to think book publishers are too). If newspaper web sites help save newspapers, so be it. If I own a Kindle and I can get The New York Times electronically each morning, so much the better.

My wife and I were talking about The Kansas City Star. When we first started taking it, it was two papers, the morning Times and the afternoon Star. Now the Star is about half a newspaper, and we are glad to have that.

I've heard it said that the Kindle gives Amazon too much of a monopoly in the electronic book trade. That will not be good for writers. My reply would be, "Probably for just a while." If Amazon doesn't expand its proprietary method of distributing books to include other companies, a more inclusive method supported by its competition will leave them with the short end of the stick. They aren't just fighting Barnes and Nobel. They're fighting iPhone and its competitors.

We've learned from Microsoft. Proprietary systems have not worked for most other kinds of electronic devices or their software systems.

So, from my point of view, the Kindle is an inevitable step forward in a march which has more steps to come. And I applaud it. I'm for whatever keeps people reading, even if they are reading on something like a Kindle.



If you would like to respond to this post, please leave a comment or go to my web site where there is an email address. Thanks.

5 comments:

Cathy said...

I have the same attitude as you--whatever floats your boat as long as you keep reading!

Corey Wilde said...

I've no objection to the Kindle or any e-reader per se, unless at some point I am forced to forego the tried-and-true format of bound books in the same way I was forced into using new technology to acquire new music. Don't get me wrong, I do love my iPod for its convenience, but I also love vinyl LPs for their full-size artwork, liner notes, and composing & recording information, as well as the warmth of the sound. But I don't get a choice anymore about which format my music comes in. I hate that, and even though I'd hurt anyone who tried to take my iPod, I feel exactly the same way about someone who would melt my LPs into ashtrays.

As long as I can choose between a bound book, an audio book, or a Kindle version (which currently cannot provide color photos from newspapers, let alone something like Janson's History of Art or even color illustrations from children's books), I have no quarrel. But I think we can all foresee a day when we won't have all those options for new reading material. And as with CDs and MP3s, all of the old material will never be made available in the new format. But if you want to use only the new technology and unload those bulky bound books, you'll be forced to pay for the same material a second time, if it's even available digitally. Lemme see, I bought Beatles music in 45s and LPs, then 8-tracks, then cassettes, then CDs, and now we're waiting for the digitized files to appear on iPod. That's a lot of money to pay for the same music over and over. I started out with Beta videotapes and machines, moved to VHS, some folks went with laser discs (heaven help them) and now we're up to DVDs and Blu-Ray, whatever that is. You can see where some readers would balk at going through this process for books. I'm not opposed to digital media, but I hope books get treated better, or at least more wholistically, than music and film have been.

Joe Barone said...

Cathy,
I read in all kinds of formats (mostly books, but also on the Internet and with an e-reader), and I enjoy them all.

Joe Barone said...

Corey,
Oddly enough, I agree with you, but I don't see anything that can be done about it. To me, it is sort of like Roy Rogers being a part of Bob Hope's Son of Paleface. A lot of people loved that movie. From what I read, Roy had a blast doing the movie. But I see the movie as a sad one (and not just for the way it makes fun of Native Americans). It makes fun of the old western B-movie tradition and announces, in so many words, that the tradition is dead. And it was.

I don't think books or newspapers will go away. They have a little bit longer history than 45-rpm records. But the electronic incursion will change things. Some writings may no longer be put out first as bound books, or if they are, they will be publish-on-demand books, not the kinds of books which flood the bookstore.

I've read criticisms of the Kindle because it talks. Writers are worried that e-readers will steal their audio-book market. And from what I read just today, Amazon is working to deal with that, to make it possible for publishers to shut off the talking part of their book on the Kindle. But that horse is already out of the barn. My Dragon Naturally Speaking (which I seldom use) reads text, and over the years it will read text better and better.

Change is painful. I've just been writing about that today in my third (and last) Roy Rogers mystery book. But, try as I might, in my 66 years, I haven't held back much change.

Thanks for your comments. I knew you would have comments about what I wrote, and I was looking forward to reading what you had to say.

PS For you it was the Beatles. For me it was Elvis.

Corey Wilde said...

We have great taste, Joe. :-)

Unlike a lot of kids at school, I was never one of the people who thought it had to be Elvis OR The Beatles. You'll find Elvis on my iPod right alongside the lads. His RnR and his gospel music were stellar.