Have you seen this little gadget yet? It's Amazon's latest and greatest thing and it was just featured on The Oprah Winfrey show last week. Kindle is a wireless reading device that allows the user to store thousands of books on it. The wireless connectivity allows you to shop directly from your Kindle. So now you can download a book within minutes. Kindle can also download magazines, newspapers and even songs. It is certainly the next generation of the book world.
My knee-jerk reaction of Kindle was dislike. I didn't like it when I first saw it or heard the concept of the whole thing. Sure we have become technology driven, trust me when I say that I love technology and all the gadgets that come with it, but I have to say that being a writer and an avid book reader I am disheartened by the whole electronic book idea. When I think of Kindle I imagine a world that has no libraries and no bookstores. A world where a person can't step into a bookstore with the smell of new books dancing around them and peruse shelf after shelf of imagination. That first step into a bookstore is intoxicating and full of adventure. Gone will be the days of having bookshelves in your home to show off your collection. Gone will be the day when an aspiring writer gets their first novel published and hands their family one of the first prints. The moment when the writer can hand someone a book they have toiled over must be exhilarating. Instead they'll be sending emails telling them to download it to their Kindle. No more will people be able to say "That book was a real page turner." What pages are there to turn on a Kindle?
Over the weekend I was ranting to a few of my friends about Kindle and one of them stopped my rant dead in its tracks. The moment I mentioned that Kindle held audio books she interrupted me and reminded me there are people in the world who are sight impaired and cannot read. They live on audio books. She also reminded me of people who prefer to listen to books. To have something that is portable for those people is so liberating for them. Now they can be anywhere and hear a story. Further into the conversation she even said that with Kindle, when I publish my novel, I will be able to reach a whole new audience that I otherwise could not have.
Walking away from our conversation I realized that while I prefer the smell and the feel of a book in my lap as I sit in my reading chair, not every human being out there does. And just because people will buy this gadget and download their favorite books does not mean that bookstores and libraries will cease to exist.
How do you feel about Kindle? Will you be buying one?