So there was a Kindle under the tree for me–thanks, Dad!

First, it’s not going to replace the books I read for pleasure.  Nothing like a new platform to make you realize how you really read, and I’ve discovered that I fairly often flip back in a book while I’m reading it, to check a detail or remind myself of someone’s name or whatever.  Flipping through a book is just about impossible on an e-reader.  So, while I still like the Kindle’s capacity (especially excellent for travel), I still prefer physical books.

 

Second, I was wrong about illustrated works being candidates for boundary-pushing on the Kindle.  The Kindle screensaver is extremely pretty and shows off how much one can do with just shades of gray, but I’m now doubtful that heavily illustrated works will be that well-served by Kindle.  For instance, images don’t automatically resize, as far as I can tell.  And the physical size of the screen holds down the maximum size and amount of detail possible.  For bold, graphic works like Dusk World, it can work–but for something like The Invention of Hugo Cabret, where part of the joy is turning a page and being confronted with a glorious two-page spread, the Kindle will be underwhelming.  There’s probably some kind of hybrid that would be great on a Kindle (where the text/image ratio is, say, higher than a comic book’s but lower than a children’s illustrated chapter book’s), but it hasn’t emerged yet.

 

Third, one thing Kindle does do really well–so well it may supersede physical books–is reference documentation.  No more of these gargantuan books that just collect dust between your periodic glances in them.  Errata and updated versions are a breeze.  Best of all, there’s search (within the book) and Wikipedia, right there.  It is pretty rockin’.

 

Fourth, another thing Kindle is poised to do extremely well is ephemeral media.  E-readers have the potential to revolutionize zines nearly as much as the Internet itself did, and the sorts of people who do zines–including and especially fandom–is going to be all over that like white on rice.  Moreover, a zine renaissance could well feed back into what we think of today as the traditional media, in the same way that the homebrew movement grew into today’s craft beer scene.

 

ETA: Not that you asked, but: Oberon Design leather Kindle covers. They are for real. That is all.