New Yorker: The Kindle and the Future of Reading


The Kindle and the Future of Reading by Nicholson Baker in the current issue of the New Yorker. It starts...

"I ordered a Kindle 2 from Amazon. How could I not? There were banner ads for it all over the Web. Whenever I went to the Amazon Web site, I was urged to buy one. “Say Hello to Kindle 2,” it said, in tall letters on the main page. If I looked up a particular writer on Amazon—Mary Higgins Clark, say—and then reached the page for her knuckle-gnawer of a novel “Moonlight Becomes You,” the top line on the page said, “ ‘Moonlight Becomes You’ and over 270,000 other books are available for Amazon Kindle—Amazon’s new wireless reading device. Learn more.” Below the picture of Clark’s physical paperback ($7.99) was another teaser: “Start reading ‘Moonlight Becomes You’ on your Kindle in under a minute. Don’t have a Kindle? Get yours here.” If I went to the Kindle page for the digital download of “Moonlight Becomes You” ($6.39), it wouldn’t offer me a link back to the print version. I was being steered."


I'm keeping track of the number of times I read this exact same pompous article written by some mid-market, NPR-darling of stuck-up, know-it-all BoHo writer. When it hits 100 I'm buying myself a Kindle and then breaking it over Cory Doctorow's head.

I concur. I think I've read the same piece at least 88 times. It's also completely bizarre that he hates the Kindle and likes the iPhone/iPod Touch which has exactly the same problems.

...when there are people who would probably gladly take the Kindle off your hands and utilize it in a more appropriate manner.

This is the man who bought up old newspapers from a British library in order to start his own library, because he didn't want to use microfilm copies. He then blasted libraries for not keeping paper copies, and ignored the thre great problems of librarianship: money, space and staff. However, since he has no money, space or staff, the 20 tons of newspapers still remain enclosed in Saranwrap and unused.

Now the author of "Double Fold" is back with a new instrument that does exactly what irritated him in "Double Fold" (which is now available as an e-book on Kindle). He dislikes librarians because they turned away from paper. Now he likes objects that turn away from paper. However, these electronic books cannot be read on other systems, cannot be traded or exchanged and cannot be transformed into other media as the electronic standards will change.

His "cred" as a critic is zero.

R. Lee Hadden (These are my own opinions!)

Actually, Duke acquired Baker's collection in 2004, presumably after Baker learned something about the three great problems from first-hand experience:

If you run out of toilet paper, the Kindle won't come in too handy.