Nicholson Baker has also written about his Kindle experience – not all of it positive.
But e-readers are here to stay, no matter how perfect a product the book is, for a number of reasons.
1) Digital is now. For the same reason that digital music has succeeded, there are a lot of people who just aren’t fussed about having a physical product any more. For those of us who still buy CDs/vinyl/paperbacks, this is still a strange concept, but as the digital world progresses, ever more people will be less and less interested in having clutter around.
2) No need to buy crap paperbacks. As much as I love to read new, hot releases, I also like to keep my brain stress-free on occasion and veg out to the latest Lee Child or Kathy Reichs book. The thing is, I don’t really feel the need to buy them physically – an e-reader will be perfect for a space-saving download, speed read and then I won’t feel bad if I keep it, or discard it.
3) You don’t need to tell everyone what you’re reading. Some people have suggested that e-readers could do for the adult fiction industry what DVDs and the internet did for the sex video industry. Imagine the joy of being able to read whatever you want without the need to hide it in a different book jacket.
It’s clear that the book is a pretty perfect product, but technology has a way of taking things to a new place and a new level. When the iPod arrived, there wasn’t total agreement that it would create the music listening revolution that it did. I’m not suggesting that the Kindle will have quite the impact of Apple’s invention, but it’s definitely the next step on the way to a new chapter for books.