Innovation brees ‘What are you thinking?’ moments and the Death of the Novel (again)

MSNBC has an interview up with Helen Popkin interviewing a bookloving Kindle user. I want to preface all that I am about to say with the fact that I have no problem with EBook or any sort of digital reading material.  If my abilities with HTML, flash, etc. were worth a damn, I’d be exploring that media a helluva lot more myself. It’s not so I just write normal every day stuff that is basically just words on a page. But I don’t have a problem with it.

What I have a problem with are these specialty readers. The kindle is the most famous, but I think either Sony or Philips has one of their own (I forget which but it was advertised as a more “affordable alternative to kindle – $300 instead of $400) and they all seem like vastly underpowered and ill-equipped laptops. Laptops are slightly larger but they are also far far more functional. In the interview the kindle user laments that the screen isn’t in color…well, a laptop usually has a very nice screen.

And if size is very important (though here I am guessing smaller is better), they have been making tablet PCs for years, which you can pick up fairly cheap from places like Tiger Direct or even EBay. Or you can take that $400 you’re throwing down on a kindle and buy one of the very nice convertible laptops on the market (these are laptops which can function as either a traditional laptop or as a tablet).

The kindle seems like one of those things taking advantage of the fact that it seems “new” and looks sharp. Save your money folks. Buy a laptop. It can do a lot of the same stuff. And if you’re having trouble finding a novel, try torrents. If you can get a doc/pdf file of it, there’s a good chance the audio version is up somewhere.

And yet again someone is asking the immortal question: is the novel dead?  I’ve posted my thoughts on this in another blog so I’ll just leave it at the blog and I basically agree.  I think this is a question that’s going to come up more and more, though, so we’ll probably see a bunch of articles about the fate of the written word as technology continues to advance. It’s always good to keep an eye on the frontlines.

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