What the Kindle wants

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I'm probably like the 5000th person to point out the stupidity of this Macy Halford piece in the New Yorker about e-books:

The news made me feel like I'm not up to the challenges technology poses. Am I supposed to understand the desire of the Kindle to be held and read? Or the humans who prefer them to books? When I read a book all the way through to the end, I want the evidence stuffed and mounted on my bookshelf. My suspicion is that people who prefer e-readers use them primarily to read Harlan Coben, and are happy to be able to delete the physical evidence.

I had to look up Harlen Coben in Wikipedia, so I'm not sure what this says about Halford's taste versus mine. Regardless, I've read through plenty of books "all the way through to the end" (is this supposed to be some kind of achievement) and I indeed have them sitting on my shelf. However, that's primarily a function of not having anything more important to do with them, not of needing to display my reading prowess.

Really, it's not at all difficult to explain the appeal of e-books: it lets you carry a lot more reading material in a much lighter and more compact package. You would think that anyone who thought of reading as a pleasure rather than a chore would get that.

Obligatory Disclaimer: This isn't, of course, to say that existing e-books are perfect, just that the appeal of the concept should be obvious to anyone who likes to read.


E-readers also allow you to get some of the clutter out of your life. I don't think there is a flat surface in my house that doesn't have books on it.

There's an interesting (to me, anyway) property of e-readers that makes them a bit backwards from most digital entertainment technologies: they have greater value to the old than the young.

This is because you can adjust the font size to preference, a huge advantage to all the people who are developing far-sightedness as they age. If they can get past the question of how to download books, then this is a great technology for the elderly.

On the flip side, e-books are furthest from being able to replace children's books, which deliberately use large pages, bright colors, and often physical texture to engage children in the illustrations.

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