Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Have you seen this thing?

I was highly suspicious of the new Amazon Kindle e-book when I saw it on the cover of Newsweek. I like books. Real, tactile books. Bonus if they smell like old paper, glue, and leather. Although I spend much of my day staring at a computer screen, I'd much rather read from paper. I don't have the same retention from on-screen reading, or the same enjoyment. I like to see the books I have read on my shelves. I like to keep them around me, like old friends.

But as I read this article in Newsweek and this article in Slate, I warmed up to it a little.

For one thing, it has a new kind of display, e-ink, that's supposed to look more like paper. I'm always skeptical of "more like" claims. As in, "Tastes more like regular Dr. Pepper." Than what? Gasoline? If this e-ink is all it's cracked up to be, I could be interested. It looks good in photos, but, as far as I can tell, the only way to see for yourself is to shell out the $400 and buy one.

Its potential uses for knitters, though, are what really intrigue me.

You could have your entire knitting library on this little device in your knitting bag. You could go to a local yarn shop while on vacation, pick out a new yarn to go with a pattern you already have and cast on right away. Need to consult a reference tome for help with a certain technique? No problem, the Kindle stores up to 200 books. And it does magazines, too. Imagine being able to word search through your Interweave Knits subscription. Everything you could possibly need in a small, portable device.

Perhaps the best part is that it's a book that doesn't need to be propped open. I don't generally buy hardbacks, and reading a paperback while knitting is somewhat of a challenge; you have to be willing to break the spine of your book, for one thing, and that's just hard for me. My reading has dropped off significantly since I became obsessed with knitting, and that bothers me a little. With the Kindle, though, you just press a button to flip between pages. Even better, I think, than the audio book, because it doesn't keep going on without you when you drop a stitch or need to count or someone needs to speak with you.

Maybe I'll keep an eye out for the second generation. Don't tell my books.


Anonymous said...

I saw some advertising but I didn't look too close. Thanks for reviewing it for me :)
It sounds like a pretty clever little system, but waiting a couple generations is probably wise.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Newsweek article while I waited for new tires. I thought it sounded good for taking multiple books on trips, but I hadn't considered knitting resources. Now I really would like to see it up close and personal - you're a genius! I hope it gets a little cheaper in a few generations, though.

Marigold said...

My husband pointed it out to me over Thanksgiving vacation. The one thing that bothers me about it, is it dosen't seem to support other e-book formats beside it's own proprietary format. If you want to read something else, you have to jump thru hoops like an acrobat.