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After reading that Kindle made books worthless, one librarian wonders how the Kindle may affect social interactions and what to do with that extra space in your house.
Purists take note: Amazon has applied for a patent that could allow it to embed advertising on the screen of its Kindle e-book reader.
Christian Science Monitor reports that the internet retailer recently filed two applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office. One is for "providing fixed computer-displayable content in response to a consumer request for content" - effectively putting content onto a website or mobile device.
While the prospect of seeing Twilight related merchandise advertised while reading Stephenie Meyer may alarm some, other bloggers have appealed for calm. Elizabeath Clifford-Marsh, at Revolution Magazine, noted: "According to the patent, ads will be served on an opt-in basis, but it is unclear whether Amazon interprets opt-in as a specific request or the simple act of downloading content." Bookseller.UK.
The article is from May, but the discussion about the 'demise of books' is far from over.
From Times Online UK, writer Nicholas Clee [joint editor of the book industry newsletter BookBrunch and the author of Eclipse (Bantam Press)] examines the recent phenomena (e-books, the Espresso Book Machine, the closing of many traditional bookstores, etc). that has lead to what some may consider to be 'the decline and fall of books' (or 'tree books' as I like to call them).
You have a Kindle and you buy an e-book. How many times can you download that e-book? In other words can you download it to your Kindle once, but if you replace your Kindle can you download it again?
You don't know?
Well, turns out, Amazon doesn't either. And since the number of times that you can download varies from publisher to publisher and book to book, well, you can start to see the problem.
USA Today begins it's report about a new courtesy to hotel guests as follows: "Electronic reading devices are kindling hotel guests' interest."
Last month, the three Gansevoort hotels — in Manhattan, South Beach and the Turks & Caicos islands — began lending Sony Reader Digital Books, handheld devices that allow users to peruse downloaded literature.
Meanwhile, popular Kindle readers are a hit at Manhattan's Algonquin Hotel and a good fit with its literary pedigree. Its Kindles are loaded with a variety of books, including some written by members of the venerable Algonquin Round Table, such as Edna Ferber and Robert Benchley.
Is it the same as stumbling upon shelf upon shelf of old wonderful looking books with a surprise or first edition here or there? No, but for some, it's as good or maybe better.
The New York Times reports that during a reading at the Strand bookstore in Manhattan by David Sedaris, whose most recent book is “When You Are Engulfed in Flames,” a man named Marty who had waited in the book-signing line presented him his Kindle for autographing. On the back of the Kindle, Mr. Sedaris, in mock(?) horror, wrote, “This bespells doom.” (The signed Kindle was photographed, but Marty's full name is unknown.)
Recently, I faced the hideous situation of dead hardware. I had gotten dependent upon my Palm T|X. That model of personal digital assistant ("PDA") was great as it had built in 802.11b WiFi as well as Bluetooth. As long as I was within range of a wireless access point that I had rights to use, I had the Internet in my pocket. Early on, it worked quite well with a wireless infrared keyboard. I had a precursor to a netbook in basic form as I could use the keyboard to compose Word-compatible documents on a small screen. The device was great for trying to read online content such as Mobile Twitter, The Dysfunctional Family Circus, Instapundit, and more.
Unfortunately the PDA got stuck in a soft reset loop. It was showing its age. Three years of dutiful service is beyond what would reasonably be considered "mean time between failure". Although I was able to eventually break it free of the soft reset loop, it is now stuck at the digitizer calibration phase of initial setup. After multiple efforts, the digitizer could not be re-calibrated. I had a very futuristic looking doorstop.
Replacing it was an interesting battle. Initially I was carrying a legal pad and pen with me. While my "analog PDA" worked well for me, it was not small. It also looked quite anachronistic in today's world. That did not work well in the end.
Getting a smartphone was out of the question. Nobody calls! As it is now, I don't really have a cell phone simply because the usage for inbound calls was so light. For outbound calls, I use Skype. While devices like the Palm Centro, the Android G1, and the iPhone exist they really do not meet my needs. If I get a phone, I want one that makes calls. I would much rather have a separate PDA let alone a separate camera.
Getting a replacement PDA is a complicated adventure. The market for stand-alone PDAs is virtually non-existent as of late. I visited retailers like Office Max, Office Depot, Best Buy, and even a pawn shop in search of something comparable. Nothing was available as the trend today is the marriage of the PDA and the cellular telephone.
In the end, I had to turn to eBay. In addition to securing a Terminal Node Controller for certain projects, I picked up a replacement. Instead of getting a Nokia N800 as was sought, I wound up with a Palm IIIx. The Palm IIIx, while serviceable, is a very old device. This PDA is actually old enough that it has a battery door to replace the AAA batteries it runs on. I did get a keyboard to go with it but I need to get a suitable cradle to hook it up to a host computer. The device not only does not have Bluetooth, it does not have 802.11b WiFi either. IrDA-compliant infrared is the most the device has for signalling.
With these recent travails in replacing a PDA, I had given quite a bit of thought to eBooks. How truly valuable are eBooks? How do they compare with an old-fashioned RadioShack book light? As neither my paper books nor the Kindle have any backlight in them, such cannot be curled up with in bed without a booklight. Having to shine a booklight on the screen of the Kindle would be no different from shining one on the Palm IIIx. In that situation, you have a better chance of seeing your own reflection than seeing what you want to read. I am twenty seven years old and should not need "The Clapper" to be able to use an eBook device effectively in bed.
While the eBook may seem to be the way of the future, it does seem to be excessively involved and expensive compared to picking up something from the shelf. For those that feel the need to have everything available to them in one place, I suppose eBooks have a place. Right now I am finding print material to be easier and more enjoyable than the eBooks promoted today.
What is important to you: cute or practical?
On Futuristic Door Stops by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
CNET says 70% of Kindle owners are over 40. And half are over 50. So I guess technology isn't just for young whippersnappers. (Kindle is easier on arthritic hands.)
It's not based on a scientific survey, but it's all we got.
I didn't think I wanted a Kindle for my next birthday (soon), but numbers never lie: I'm destined to get one. Soon.
To Some writers and editors, the Kindle is the ultimate bad idea whose time has come. Anne Fadiman, the author, was relieved to learn that her essay collection, “Ex Libris,” was not available on Kindle. “It would really be ironic if it were,” she said of the book, which evokes her abiding passion for books as objects.
“There’s a little box on Amazon that reads ‘Tell the publisher I’d like to read this book on Kindle,’ ” she said. “I hope no one tells the publisher.”