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Not a Good Point

April 15, 2010 6:57:21.124

I have to part with Andres on this one:

Sigh. Just because things look cool, it doesn't make them good. For example, somehow it's a good thing to carry 1000 books in our pockets. What's the point, since we cannot meaningfully deal with even 5 serious books at a time? Moreover, 25% of Americans don't read books at all, and the rest reads about 1 book a month. Are Kindles or iPads worth so much just to read 1 book a month?

This all depends on where you sit. For instance, if you sit on a plane a lot, being able to carryv a lot of books on one small device is a huge win. Years ago, on a trip to Australia, I weighed myself down terribly with a bunch of books for the long flight. On another trip there, I bought a large book in Australia, and then had to figure out how to fit it in my bag for the flight home.

Now, does everyone travel regularly? No, but that's certainly one target for whom such devices make a lot of sense. We bought one recently, because my wife wanted to be able to read the same book upstairs and downstairs. Simple, you think - just cart the book, right? Except, with her knees, she doesn't like to carry stuff up and down. The iPad is small enough for her to handle more easily - and the Kindle app for the iPad and Mac synchs her reading position between the two devices quite nicely.

Ultimately, what makes or breaks any gadget is whether it makes the users happy. It's early days for the iPad, so we don't have a solid idea. Give it a few months, and I think we'll know a lot more - like whether the new restrictions on development irritate enough developers that the irritation flows down to users.

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posted by James Robertson


Re: Not a Good Point

[atoenne] April 15, 2010 8:40:30.313

A 1000 books on the shelf is called a library.

1000 books in the pocket is a huge convenience.

You do not need to travel often to value it. Being able to read in multiple books anyplace, picking up where you left the last time and having to carry a pocket size 200g device is worth it for everyone who does read.

This can be an incentive to read more and stop having an attention span of a Twitter fly.

Finally, consider all those greate free e-books that now can be read like a real book (well almost). I will never get used to read long texts on a notebook screen.

I could continue for a while :-)

es these devices are too expensive today (and DRM sucks big time) but yes they are worth it.

A Very Good Point

[HKN] April 16, 2010 12:44:39.022

reading several books at a time is neglecting the work of the authors. Except you mean you are at school and have to read your English, math and history text books. You cannot pay attention and keep track of the flow of several novels, essays, tracts or any other type of text simultaneously. Thus such devices will contrary to your assessment just *increase* the tendency of the people not being able to concentrate on texts that are longer than one page.

Re: Not a Good Point

[james Robertson] April 16, 2010 14:24:19.603

Two things:

First, on a long trip I might well be reading multiple books (serially), and simply not want to carry them.

Second, neglecting the work of the authors? Are you serious? To be brutal, that's just about the dumbest thing I've heard about reading in eons...

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