Boooo Amazon; and a technology ramble
Just went 0 for 3 on finding the next novels in the Kindle bookstore (“Ironweed”, “The Magus”, and “Wide Sargasso Sea”). I’m going out of order by skipping ahead to “Tobacco Road”. Where the hell am I going to find e-texts of these other books? Fack.
I’ll take a moment to share an interim conclusion about e-texts versus paper books: e-texts are superior. Several reasons:
- (this is a personal note, not a universal pain point) whenever I read paper books, I get paranoid that I missed a page, so I neurotically make sure I can’t separate pages 53 and 54, which are opposite sides of the same sheet. Perceived problem is eliminated by eliminating the physical sheets.
- e-readers have built-in dictionaries. My vocabulary has already begun to tumesce (thanks for that gem Styron!)
- e-readers can report your location in the book as a percentage of how much you’ve read already. “that’s weird! don’t like it!” – I know, right? That was my first thought. But then I realized the only reason I seem to care about page number is because I know the total page count to begin with – so implicitly, I’m doing a rough percentage-completed calculation anyway, which is ultimately what I care about. If you don’t know how many pages are in the book, you don’t care what page you’re on. You care about percentage complete and you don’t even know it.
- e-readers allow pacifists of medium build like myself to read titles like “Sophie’s Choice” on the bus without getting strange looks. Also, Sophie’s Choice is very very long – I’m sure the book would be heavier than the device. (I feel like I’m talking about “Sophie’s Choice” too much…)
- Form factor interchangability. I have the Kindle app on my iPad and on my laptop. 15 spare minutes during lunch at work – bam, reading and nobody’s the wiser. Pulling a book out would look really weird.
- I won’t elaborate on the obvious benefits – e.g., reduced space use, collection centralization, immediate access – but they’re great too.
- This might be tautological, but e-texts are better because you can act superior and enlightened to people you don’t like who still read paper books. They convey a certain je ne sais quoi; a certain go-fuck-yourself-you-stodgy-old-snob.-oh-really?-you-like-“the way it feels in your hand”?-you-like-“the way pages smell”?-good-luck-with-that. And if you happen to like the people who still read paper you can tell them you respect how they keep it real. Win-win.