The Amazon Kindle

I’ve been trying to read as much as I can about Amazon’s new Kindle electronic book-reader before I posted about it. When I first read about it, I thought it was a cool idea. I watched the fancy demo video and was wooed by the simple side clicking, the dictionary, being able to read websites. But then I really read about it, read reviews on other sites, and the thing is pretty dumb.

Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of books. But I did buy Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk to read on the plane back to LA. Having it in my backpack, reading it on the plane, carrying it around… these are not things that would be made easier by having a reading device. How many books can you read at a time anyhow? I’m sure there are crazy people out there who read like 7 books a day, but would the Kindle really be a benefit?

I’d also like to talk about the price, which is just as much as an iPhone. People gave Apple so much shit for charging so much, so what’s the difference here? The screen isn’t even in color! It’s silly looking! I think Apple needs to figure out a way to make PDFs of books, which would make it a standard format for all, and let people buy them that way. Yes, people will share the book PDFs, but isn’t that what people do anyhow? If I buy a book, you can’t stop me from letting someone borrow it for free.

My favorite response was from Chip Kidd, who writes:

On Monday November 19th, Amazon released something called Kindle, the latest “e-book” reading device. I’ve been asked to comment on what effect I think this will have, if any, on book design as we know it. Here goes.


Chip Kidd

He also goes on to say:

The reason the iPod took off is that music was never meant to be a “thing” in the first place. It was born as pure sound, and pure sound is what it has returned to. But books were always physical objects, and the printed book as a piece of technology has yet to be improved upon. And won’t. Certainly not by something that looks like a prop from Charlie’s Angels and has, are you ready, a whopping ONE typeface. For everything! Yay!

Here, here! Books are just fine the way they are. Leave them alone Amazon.


November 28, 2007