Yes, it is now time to get a Kindle. . . .I sometimes feel that I must now be living on Twin Earth, where "reading books" means something quite different from "reading books." To my mind, reading a book involves a form of attention that make Rose's "real reason" almost laughable. I don't want to stop to buy another book while I'm reading, no more than I want to stop to buy another movie while watching one. On Rose's model, reading turns into a mode of consumer activity, impulse buying at that, the Kindle ready at every moment to take your order. The library? Posh! Get that book now. I expect the day will come when one can click on a word or phrase in an e-book — cashmere sweater, Swiss Army Knife — and be presented with a range of objects for purchase.
I have discovered the real reason why you want one. It is because you think of books that you want to read while you are reading other books. On the Kindle you have the unique ability to buy the book right then and there, while you are thinking about it, and it appears on the device moments later all via a free cellphone link they call Whispernet. This feature is one of the least discussed, and to me most useful parts of owning a Kindle, especially compared to the other readers out there. It is because of this feature that I am now reading more than ever.
I don't doubt the enthusiasm with which some readers have greeted the Kindle. But there are many ways to think about one's relation to books. Annotating, re-annotating, lending — these are activities that undergo essential redefinition or become impossible via the Kindle. The craving for content-on-demand seems to miss the ways in which one might want to go back to a book — one's own copy of it — over time, as it accumulates annotations, as it begins to show wear, as it turns into a record of one's reading and one's life experience. And how does one inscribe a gift book on the Kindle?
One of my great pleasures in listening to music is listening to the copy of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue that my dad brought home in 1959. (It left the house with me when I went out on my own.) One corner is torn, the result of my "indexing" my dad's records for him with slips of paper and tape when I was a kid (dumb kid!). This 1959 LP is my favorite Kind of Blue. Such attachment is not merely sentimental — or if it is, it might be necessarily so. We human types get attached to stuff. Proust understood that.
[The last two paragraphs of this post began as a comment I made on this Boing Boing post. Yes, I have Kind of Blue on CD. My dad does too.]
From the Doyle edition
"So cheap, so accessible"