Monday, January 31, 2011

The Philosophy of Kindle Owning

After outselling hardcover books on Amazon a while ago, Kindle books have now finally overtaken the sales of paperbacks as well:
Amazon sold 115 e-books (not counting free ones) for every 100 paperbacks sold, during the first quarter of this year so far and that includes paperback books for which there is no Kindle edition.
But that isn't all. Kindle is also the most popular of all e-readers on the market (which is not surprising since it isn't really an e-reader. It's so much more):
The Wall Street Journal Blog's Dan Gallagher, after Amazon's 4th Qtr report Thursday, writes that while the Amazon Kindle is "far and away the most popular of the dedicated e-reader devices on the market".
Kindle is special in that it doesn't leave anybody indifferent. People either love it or hate it with a passion usually reserved for political leaders and movie stars. The only people who don't have an opinion about it are the ones who don't know it exists. If you read discussion boards of Kindle lovers, you will encounter statements like: "I love my Kindle so much, I'd donate a kidney to it if it needed it. And I only have one kidney." And if you think this person is kidding, then you have never met a Kindle owner. 
I was one of the early adopters of the Kindle who bought the very first, much bigger and less sophisticated version back in 2008. I'm still terrified of how much it cost, especially since at that time I couldn't afford it all. But as somebody who was finishing a dissertation and planning new classes while living part-time in two different countries, I could afford not to buy it even less. 

Now I'm on my second, much cheaper Kindle, while the first one has been given up for adoption to my sister. I still get to visit it, though, and spend time with it. And if you think I'm kidding, then you really have never met a Kindle owner.

"But it has DRM," people say. "How can you like a device with the DRM so much?" Well, guys, it could have a tail and horns, and I'd still love it. And don't call it a device. It's a Kindle. You don't ask people in reference to their partner, "Why do you like this mammal so much? He snores." Love isn't reasonable, you know. It just is. Many a student has alienated me by exclaiming, "Oh, what a cute e-reader you have!" An e-reader, indeed. A Nook is an e-reader. What I have is a Kindle. And if you don't see the difference, then you have never met a Kindle owner. 

P.S. "You like me, too, right?" asked the man who has been sharing his bed not only with me but with my Kindle as well for the past several years after hearing me go on and on about how fantastic my Kindle is. So I got him a Kindle of his own. Now he finally understands what it means to have a Kindle in one's life.


BenYitzhak said...

I'd prefer to read the blogs I follow on kindle, because the screen is easier, but the memory is small enough that I've had livejournals crash my cache because they're larger than the kindle can accommodate. Also the internet is slower than my desktop.

I like the kindle, but I prefer hardback books to read, and I'm disappointed that the kindle doesn't support hebrew, because I've found a marvelous online yiddish library I'd like to try reading.

Izgad said...

I have been in a relationship with my kindle for less than a month and I cannot stop beating my head against a wall. Why did I not get one sooner? :)

Pagan Topologist said...

My wife has expressed an interest in a Nook. My question is, how long do the batteries last, in both senses: How many hours on a charge, and how many months before you need to get a new battery?

Liese4 said...

Nothing beats a musty old book that you can dog-ear, hear the rustle of the page as you turn it and feel the weight of it in your hands. I hope book stores and libraries don't go the way of the newspaper because of Nooks and Kindle's, that would be a shame.

Denny said...

Hmmm... My husband asked if I wanted a Kindle when it first came out. I wasn't interested because the vast majority of my reading comes from the library. I finally broke down and said "yes" when the latest version came out once I realized that I could upload the books with expired copyrights without charge.

I've had my Kindle for 3 months. I use it to read old books I haven't gotten around to (finished "Adam Bede" and have started on "Vanity Fair") when I'm on the train to and from work. But when I'm home, I'm still reading books from the library.