Writing Wednesdays: The death of the… Kindle?

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While I wasn’t paying attention, it seems as though e-Readers were suddenly deemed passe: sales are dropping, while iPads and mobile phones, with their broader capability set, are picking up the slack.

On the one hand, this is a shame, as New York magazine’s Kevin Rose points out:

Reading on an original Kindle or a Nook is an immersive experience. There are no push notifications from other apps to distract you from your novel, no calendar reminders or texts popping up to demand your immediate attention.

On the other hand, one is more likely to have one’s phone accessible at any given time, and — provided one’s battery lasts — who’s to argue against that sort of simplification and convenience? Especially if it gets one’s nose into a book rather than, say, one’s email.

I’m old enough that I prefer paper to digital given ideal circumstances: at home or at least not dashing out the door, unlimited hand and shoulder strength, comfortable seating, and so on. But I don’t see it as an either-or question. I’ve forgotten my books and magazines on plenty a commute and have been grateful to have my iPhone as a backup. I’ve also come to rely on its unobtrusiveness while standing on crowded subway cars. And if I know I’ll be traveling for several hours and don’t want to weigh myself down, I’ll dust off my Kindle and load it with a bunch of eBook options.

What about you?

8 thoughts on “Writing Wednesdays: The death of the… Kindle?

  1. I have never owned a Kindle, so I can’t comment on the difference. I have always had the Kindle app on my phone and iPad. For me, it’s simply a matter of efficiency. I’m with the kids 24/7 and when I have a few spare moments at the park, the phone is handy. I don’t have long hours where I can curl up on the couch with a Kindle. I have brief moments of time where the one thing that’s always around is the phone.

  2. Well, yeah, in a way I’m sad that books are slowly dying out, and I love the feel of a good book in my hands but there’s no disputing that e-readers are much more convenient since they are typically lighter and much thinner than a book and can hold an entire library.

    I’m anticipating the next Kindle Paperwhite keenly because one thing my e-readers have been missing is a good light source. They work great in daylight but once it gets dark you need a good lamp positioned just right, or else you’ll have to squint and it only makes your eyes hurt.

  3. I’m with April in that I think staring at a screen all day is not good for my eyes, so that’s why I turn to paper books for the most part. I don’t think e-ink does my eyes any favors. My e-readers go dead frequently because I just don’t really touch them that much. I do own a lot of books, and I bought the e-reader thinking it would make me stop buying them, but it only made me own an ever-growing pile of books that I may never read on my Kindle and Nook.

    So now, I borrow books from the library. I find this actually makes me read what I choose instead of hoarding it either in piles of books around my house or on my e-reader. If I don’t like it enough to read it soon, I return it. I tend to not buy anything that I can get from the library, unless it’s an author I really love or if it is someone that I am dying to read. Most authors I can wait for.

    It doesn’t surprise me that the e-reader has hit a plateau; it happens with everything.

    I do find reading a print copy of a book to be a sensual experience; I love holding them in my hand, turning their pages, admiring their covers–just everything about them, really.

  4. I have gone backwards, I guess.

    I went ebook 11 years ago -reading on tiny Palm and Treo and iPhone screens. 6 moves in 2 years, with 22 large cases of books, had cured me of physical books. I went e-Ink in 2010 after the publishers colluded to jack up pricing and my favorite e-stores that supported phones folded.

    I prefer my Sony for daylight reading, and grudingly use the Paperwhite for evening. But I don’t dislike the Kindle enough to go back to paper!

  5. As much as I love the feel of an actual book, I switched to e-readers years ago, as soon as they became affordable. I never jumped on the Kindle bandwagon, but instead went through 2 Sonys and a Nook. I am on track to buy the next generation Kindle though, if it has some of the features I’m hoping for.

    E-readers are so much more convenient than a book. Much lighter, and they can hold hundreds of books. Only downside is if you drop them in water or some hard surface.

  6. After staring at a computer screen for 9 hours a day for work, the last thing my tired eyes want is to read a shiny, glaring screen. I think e-ink is the best invention ever – well, maybe after the codex thing. I can read for a bit on my iPad or Kindle Fire (or on my phone should I be stuck waiting for an oil change or doctors appointment), but extended reading must happen on my Kindle Touch or Kindle Paperwhite. My eyes never get tired from reading e-ink. Also, reading apps drain tablet batteries way too quickly.

  7. Leah, I remain a Kindle fan. For the reason that you mention no multi tasking device breaking my concentration, looking for the app etc. Just pick up my Kindle, open the cover and there I am right where I left off. My old eyes just can’t seem to read for any length of time, like a novel, on the iPad or the tiny screen of a smart phone.

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