The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Monday, 31 January 2011]

A panegyric to e-book readers

Nic really digs e-book readers. No, seriously, he really digs them. And you should, too.
iPad and Kindle
iPad and Kindle
Click for larger version.

Growing up in a small town as an avid reader, finding books to read was a deeply frustrating experience. In my case, it involved special orders of books to the teeny bookstore in town and semi-regular trips to Gothenburg and Stockholm to visit the big bookstores there and gorge myself.

One of the most exciting—to me, granted—visions bandied about at the dawn of the Internet was that with connectivity, each bookstore could host a book printer. Order a book, it downloads to the printer and out comes that books a few minutes later. Lordy, I was salivating.

Turns out, of course, that didn’t happen. But we have something even better instead. E-book readers.

Being able to purchase a book in less than 30 seconds from the comfort of your own home is pretty freaking close to magic, when you think about it: No need to even go to the bookstore and put our money into the magic book printer, we have something even better.

Personally, I’ve been reading a lot of books on my iPhone and iPad, but decided the time had come to get a Kindle. This ridiculous amount of gadget overload must be justified, of course, a feat I accomplished by convincing myself that my having a Kindle will free up the iPad more for my wife and daughter. It’s all about the giving, is what I’m saying.

And wow. The Kindle is amazing. I got the cheapest possible (affiliate link, so I get some lucre if you buy one through the link), with WiFi only.

Switching to E Ink from standard LCD makes an unbelievable difference for reading comfort. Granted, it’s not like the iPad was making my eyes bleed or anything, but E Ink is way easier on the eyes. When I first opened the box I thought the Kindle had a piece of paper over the screen; it looks that good. A fantastic screen and enough battery life that you pretty much don’t need to worry about it make for a fantastic experience.

Granted, the page-turn flash kind of freaked me out the first few times, but you quickly stop noticing it. It’s worth the trade-off to get the other benefits of E Ink.

I will be horribly disappointed if my daughter has to lug books in her backpack through her academic career. One light-weight device, boom, got all my books right here. The way the Lord intended it.

Being a cheapskate, this will also save all kinds of money when she starts high school English lit. Can you say public domain for all the classic she’ll have to suffer through before she’s mature enough to understand them?

Whether you’re using a Kindle, iPad, Nook, or any other e-reader, though, we finally have the great bookstore in the sky. Which means that there’s no longer any reason for any title to go out of print. That’s unbelievably exciting. Any title.

Obviously, there’s a lot of labor involved for books published before we got any of this fancy-pants digital stuff. But seriously, if you own the rights to an out-of-print title, why wouldn’t you invest a bit of money and get it out there?

And if you own the rights but you don’t want to put in the money, why would you not release the rights so somebody like Project Gutenberg or Google Books can scan the thing and release it?

We. Can. Finally. Have. All. Books.

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