Well, the wait is over. This morning, after months of buzzing and anticipation, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the new Kindle 2.0 at the Morgan Library & Museum here in
My own feelings about ebooks in general are mixed. We here use Sony readers to read manuscripts (and sometimes books). Rather than schlepping hundreds and hundreds of pages around in tote bags like in the old days (ok, it was just last year), we have a slim lightweight contraption no bigger than a half sheet of paper and no thicker than a Hershey bar. This is insanely and remarkably convenient for those in the publishing industry, but I’ve been wondering how many readers will happily spend a couple of hundred dollars on a similar device. As it turns out…a lot. The Kindle has done well, selling 500,000 units in the past year. The Kindle 2.0 is expected to do $1.2 billion dollars in sales.
All this has me a bit perplexed. You see, for me, when it comes to reading published books, I can’t help reaching for the real thing. I love to flip through the pages and scan the book; to hold it in my hands. The feel of it is part of the experience. I like to watch as the pages go by. I was talking to a friend and he agreed. He also made the interesting point that especially with mysteries and thrillers, part of the excitement of the book comes from seeing the page count get lower and lower because you know you’re nearing the end and the answer is finally coming. It all makes for a broader experience.
From the looks of it, ebooks are only going to become more popular, especially now that selections are getting larger and larger. Books that are published are now automatically published simultaneously in ebook form. We’ve all heard detractors forecasting the death of the printed book before. As for me, I hope that never happens, because despite the ease of carrying hundreds of pages in the palm of my hand, nothing feels as good as the weight of a book.
Then again, as long as people are reading, I'm certainly not complaining!