The Kindle prevents you from learning more about the stranger sitting next to you on the subway, or so this New York Times article suggests. Gone are the days when you could tell whether that person was into sci-fi, sports or politics, for example. Well how about just knowing they're an early adopter who loves the portability, power and flexibility of an e-reader?!
I've had more people ask me about my Kindle (in airports, conferences, etc.) than I've ever had ask me about the print book I happened to be reading; and don't forget I've had a Kindle for less than a year but I had been reading print books all my life prior to that.
How about this little gem from the article?:
Will they (Kindles) help or hurt book sales and authors’ advances? Cannibalize the industry?It's called "progress", people, and it's not a bad thing. The same fears probably kept some people from making that scary jump from horses to automobiles 100+ years ago. I'm glad nobody squashed that idea, although current GM shareholders might disagree.
I laughed out loud when I read this excerpt:
Publishers will no longer get the bump that comes when travelers see someone reading, say, the latest James Patterson and say to themselves: “I’ve been meaning to get that. I think I’ll buy a copy at Hudson News before I hop on the train.”Just how many people does the typical commuter influence like this? And isn't that number kinda tiny when compared to the more modern forms of e-promotions, including e-mail blasts, Twittering, etc.? Maybe this Times columnist is living in the era of horse-and-buggy transportation after all.
I nearly cried though when I read the part about David Rosenthal, EVP and Publisher at Simon & Schuster. Here's a publishing executive who owns a Sony Reader, uses it to read manuscripts but won't read a published book on it. Yeah, you read that right. I wonder if he trusts his computer's spreadsheet to analyze P&L's or if he still insists on doing things the old-fashioned way, with a sliderule, pencil and paper.
Meanwhile, back to the snobbishness of carrying around a book rather than reading it electronically. Maybe there's a market for someone to produce an e-reader cover with a see-through slot in front where you can print out and insert whatever book cover you want to impress everyone with. I'd put a Mad magazine cover on mine, just to be different.