17 February 2009

kindle 2 and the value of being lost

The Kindle 2 has arrived.

(Not at my house, mind you. I am still a proud owner of the original Kindle. In addition to the fact that my now-vintage Kindle is still in perfect working order, there is also the matter of the new addition to the family. With the baby’s arrival, my relationship with Kindle has suffered, but it is a trade-off that is more than worth the sacrifice. ~Baby > E-Books~)

But I digress.

Anyway, Amazon recently released the Kindle 2, which is fascinating in that it is so similar to the original. They made what are being described as “incremental” changes, meaning that they incorporated improved technology and decided on a little better button-placement. And that’s about it. It is better. And yet it is still true to the original intent.

My hope is that the Kindle 2 will sell robustly. The Kindle is an incredible product and I believe that Amazon’s obstinance in keeping it a dedicated book-reader (as opposed to an ultra-versatile gimmicky gadget) is the most admirable facet of the whole project.

By eliminating (or at least severely limiting) the functionality of all of the other possible applications (email, phone, games, gps, web-browsing), the Kindle allows us to focus on the content in front of us. How irritated would we be if our book starting ringing or buzzing at us as we sat and read on the beach with the sound of the surf in the background? How frustrating would it be to have the familiar email chime “ding” into our consciousness right as we reached the climax of our novel as we sat and read by an oversized window of a coffee shop with the rain attacking the city streets outside? Talk about Paradise Lost…

The Kindle (and now Kindle 2) allows us the convenience of carrying multiple titles in one small package and the magnificence of still being able to truly get lost in the text.

Sometimes we all need to get lost for awhile.

Long live the Kindle.


  1. As much as I am against the idea of reading a book without the actual book present, I have recently found myself reading Shakespeare's plays for a my class using a free app I downloaded on my iphone. It was a battle between carrying around a 25 pound anthology all of the time, and just using my phone...and the phone won. I have yet to have my reading interrupted by a call or text message, but when it does happen, I am sure it will be annoying.

  2. The Kindle uses e-paper, right? That alone severely limits what applications are practicle.