Guess we’re lucky we have cars and electricity

In perusing my kindlefeeder report this morning I came across two very interesting blog posts, about the same topic. Apparently the New York Times (not dead yet?) had an article about the Kindle and essentially literary snobbery. Here’s Joe’s thoughts, and CJ’s.

I hereby put not only the NYT, which is fighting against time for it’s own life, but the author (JOANNE KAUFMAN) of yet another (basically) ‘progress is ruining it!’ article on blast. GET OVER YOURSELVES.

I’m the first to admit, I have very strong elitist tendencies, and my mac snobbery knows few bounds. That said though, I don’t care who sees me with what book, and I carry my Mac as proudly (though with only one arm, not two) as I did my Dell.

The Kindle is, as I’ce said before, a game changer for publishing. The wall of books, to impress your friends, will be gone in another 20 years or less. Just like the enormous display of CDs and (largely) DVDs on display near your TV and home entertainment center is already gone. picture-4That’s just how it works. There’s also not a stable in my back yard, not a store room of candles, or a cellar with huge blocks of ice.

Tom mentioned this when we got our Kindle‘s and you can see it on this snapshot, The Kindle it letting people read crap they’d probably be too embarrassed to read otherwise.

Sara Nelson is clearly to entrenched in her own world to really appreciate what consumers want, this quote clearly illustrates that.

“It’s really expensive,” she said of the Kindle 2, which Amazon sells for $359. “If you’re going to pay that, you’re giving a statement to the world that you like to read — and you’re probably not using it to read a mass market paperback.”

So let’s think about this from two perspectives; 1. the best selling list from Amazon. While not yet Mass Market Paperbacks the teen vampire series is clearly (no offense) not Tolkien or Dostoevsky or even King, and while I’m sure the NeoCons are loving their manifesto, it’s certainly not going to be a classic. 2. let’s look at my my Kindle. Two mass Market Paperbacks, a business book, KindleFeeder report, and the collected works of Poe, oh and the Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (cuz you know, I’m a kid at heart, and my girl Beatrix rocked). So while I’m sure Ms. Nelson only has the classics from the most famous writers on her Kindle, the rest of us are either putting what we’d normally carry, or putting what we’d be embarrassed to carry on ours.

Oh and don’t worry Anne Fadiman, your book won’t be requested on the Kindle, good luck with the sales and making your royalty back.

TO some book lovers and editors, there are myriad reasons to deplore the Kindle. Publishers will no longer get the bump that comes when travelers see someone reading, say, the latest James Patterson and say to themselves: “I’ve been meaning to get that. I think I’ll buy a copy at Hudson News before I hop on the train.”

Joe poked fun at this line and I’m going to too. It’s retarded! Who does that? Who is so simple minded and forgetful, that while waiting for a train (something they do every day) they see a book in someone’s hand and it flips a switch in their brain that today is the day they need to buy that book?

How’s this scenario, which is enabled by the kindle. You’re at that same train station and realize you finished your book last night on the way home. You either a, have other books ready to be read, already on your Kindle, or b, you fire up the Kindle store (conveniently on the Kindle) and browse and purchase a new book, that is on your device in a minute or two.

There have have been plenty of times I’ve been at an airport (coming or going) and realized that the book I brought I was almost finished with, or I finish it my first night in the hotel. Books are awesome but heavy so packing spares and back ups is not something I enjoy doing, in the off chance I’ll finish the one I’m reading. Schlepping dead tree around sucks.

In reading the article it reinforces for me the (as with the music industry) fucked up nature of publishing. Publishers and Authors alike, can’t stop being reactionary and freaking out for one minute, to realize that (just like the iPod) the Kindle is going to reinvigorate people to read, and boost sales.

And services like KindleFeeder and (to pimp my own stuff) 360Whisperings, will be the wave of the future, offering just what you want in a portable format that doesn’t waste paper!

2 Responses to “Guess we’re lucky we have cars and electricity”

  1. JulesLt says:

    I don't think anyone is so simple minded that they see someone reading a book, and buy it that day, but on the other hand if you travel in a heavy commuter environment (like the London Underground) it is really evident how many people do read while they travel, and book jackets do act as free advertising in that respect.

    If you see a significant number of people reading Philip Pullman's books, then it is, sadly, more likely to make you check them out. The same is true with music (T-shirts are adverts as well as income) or the iPhone App Store – being popular means other people will at least see what you are about, even if they then ignore you.

    What that is also ignoring is that people also make judgements based on how people look ('oh, lots of people like me are reading that book / using a Kindle / MacBook').

    So basically we're over wholly towards 'people who bought this also bought' recommendation engines, which have their pros and cons.

    Whether the Kindle specifically will re-invigorate reading is another matter. As someone rightly said, ebooks will take off the day 'ebook readers' become software. . . as is happening with the iPhone.

  2. John Wilker says:

    i agree a little. I've been a daily user of CA's Metrolink and the Light Rail in Denver, for commuting. I read a TON, for sure, and you're right, those scenario's reveal how many people do read (Too few in general, IMO, LOL). I've never once looked at someone elses book and wanted to read it or even been swayed to look it up later. I'll admit that may be a me thing, LOL.

    Very valid point about shirts, App Store, etc. Though again I think that's not the single biggest channel. I almost never look at the top paid or free apps in the app store. Those types of systems are not hard to game, and micro payments make it easy to test a fart app for a buck, LOL.

    I completely do not agree that eBooks will take off when the reader is software. Here's why.
    I've been trying to read eContent for years. I started around 2001 trying things out. Software is fine, but the medium sucks. Shiny screens, back lit, Stark white. Not at all conducive to reading.

    Setting aside batter life, i don't see someone sitting on a plane and reading on their iPhone for 3 hours. I'm sure plenty will do it, and when they're 60 and have piss poor vision, I hope they know why. :)

    eBooks will always be a mix of the content and the medium. If it was just software we'd be more ebook friendly already with netbooks, PDF, iTouch and iPhones, etc.

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