July 27th, 2009
You’re all in luck. Today’s issue of The New Yorker features a very fine article by the excellent writer Nicholson Baker on the Amazon Kindle. Titled “A New Page: Can the Kindle Really Improve on the Book?”, this article is certainly the best-written I’ve seen yet on this overly- and endlessly-discussed subject, as well as the funniest.
I could offer you excellent excerpts and some analysis: I suggest you just read it and ponder. All comments most welcome.
(Remember that The New Yorker has formed a “let’s surprise ’em,” i.e. an inconsistent policy as to how long it keeps current articles online: sometimes a week, sometimes longer. But if you don’t have time to read it today, they do print well to PDF, albeit with rather small type.)
And a remnider that I’ve covered Kindle developments with skeptical amusement for some time. You can find my blog posts on the topic by searching “kindle” and clicking on “Blog” from any page on the site. My favorite remains my link to the McSweeney piece on Jeff Bezos’ Kindle monologue. Second best: Oprah gushing about the Kindle as her new “new favorite favorite thing in the world” (also noted by Baker).
Follow-up: On July 29th The NewYorker offered an “Ask the Author Live” with Nicholson Baker, which fleshes out some of the points he made in the article.
Also an amusing blog entry on the New York magazine site speculates as to how much Baker or The New Yorker paid for the hardware and the expensive eBooks Baker describes. I had pondered the same question about the expenses he must have run up, but he clarifies the whole thing in the comments section of the entry.