Wednesday, October 7, 2009

You've been Betamaxed


Remember the Betamax? It was the supposed to be the "it" gadget in the 80s when it came to video, but people somehow preferred the VHS. This was very surprising since Betamax reportedly had far superior technology than VHS. Still, Betamax became obsolete after a few years. Now, I'm wondering if books are headed in the same direction as Betamax? Would you trade your books for an e-reader?

A lot of people are quite surprised that I'm really, really looking forward to the time the Kindle 2.0 comes to Manila. If it's launched here, I'll be first in line.

I wonder how having the Kindle would change my book-buying habits. I love books -- how they feel, smell, look, and taste. (Yes, I taste my books once in a while. US editions are more bitter than UK ones.) So I guess I'd still be buying books. I can't imagine running my tongue over an electronic gadget.

How about you, dear reader? How do you feel about the Kindle or other e-readers?

24 comments:

fantaghiro23 said...

Peter, the Kindle can be shipped here already! Plus, I think we can download via 3G.:)

And eww on the licking your Kindle.:P

line of flight said...

I can't kindle until they stop publishing books. i do not highlight or mark my books -- only used ones that already have such markings are in my library. i recall passages and quotes by their relationship to other pages and the book as a whole. impossible in .pdf or .doc format.

Vivienne said...

I love the feel of books too much. I like to have them to look at. I definitely would rather them than the Kindle.

I so remember the Betamax tapes. Am I showing my age?

rutholearytextileart said...

I love books. I have hundreds of them, all over the house. But I can't wait for the Kindle to be available in the UK!

Part of this is practical - I read a lot on the commute to and from work, and there's a limit to how big or heavy a book I can hold while standing on a crowded train trying to hang onto something - but I admit there's more to it than that. I like technology (hey, I'm commenting on your blog, aren't I?), and like gadgets, and I like books. The Kindle is a super-cool gadget I can read books on - what's not to like?

caite said...

I have many issues with e-books and with e-book readers, most especially the proprietary format of the Kindle.
I think some of my blog readers may be sick of hearing me whine about it
here, here, and here for a few examples.

Charlie said...

If you look at the main page of Amazon.com, the Kindle 1 is available internationally today for $279 U.S.

Linda said...

I love books and couldn't imagine reading without them. Or living my life not surrounded by a lot of them.

I don't think the Kindle's for me. But it might generate huge book sales everywhere, so I guess it's not all bad :).

Peter S. said...

@fantaghiro23: Oh, thanks for the heads up!

@line of flight: That's a very strong argument against the kindle. I guess we have to wait a few more years before we can do that with an e-reader.

@Viviene: LOL. I grew up with those Betamax tapes.

@rutholearytextileart: Those are precisely the reasons why I think I'm going to love the Kindle. Thanks for dropping by!

@caite: Thanks for the links! I'll be sure to check them out.

@charlie: Oh. Why are they selling the older version? Why not the Kindle 2.0?

@Linda: Yes, the Kindle is still a novelty. I think a few people would buy the Kindle because it is something new. Let's just hope that they generate more income for authors and publishers so that they can still keep on producing books.

mel u said...

I love books and I always will-to me as a resident of the Philippines what the Kindle may mean to me is I can get right away, for example, any novel by Kenzaburo Oe without having to go all over town in the hopes of getting one. I have never seen a Kindle and would want to see and use one before I bought it but I am glad it is coming to Manila.

Tina said...

As everyone knows who's seen my bookcases, I LOVE books, and we collect them, like some people collect coins or stamps...but with airlines charging ridiculous prices for weight in luggage, I can see a definite advantage to being able to pack 20 books for only 6 oz. I'm sure eventually I'll break down and get one. I couldn't see any reason for a video recorder either, and didn't get one until years after everyone else had one....

Of course, I do have a blackberry....

Peter S. said...

@mel u: I'm also excited about it!

@Tina: I know! All your favorite books in one bag!

StephanieD said...

Before e-books can take over the world-
1. Readers have to become more affordable.
2. E-books have to become more affordable. I'm not going to pay 10 USD for a book that can disappear from my reader at the publisher's whim.
3. More books need to be available in electronic format. At the moment, anything with illustrations is unavailable. My favorite travel guide series, which is one of the reasons I would buy a reader (so that I can take a ton of books and still pack light) aren't available in that format.
4. They need to look good on my coffee table.

Something's Dishy said...

I don't think I'll ever be a Kindle person. I love books too much. And since I've started collecting obscure secondhand books, I love them even more. There's something about the hunt, the time in the bookstore, the pleasure of finding a book that Kindle just won't be able to replace.

Melissa (My World) said...

Oh,*fingers in ears*lalalalalalalala.

I don't want to hear about books being the betas. I love my books. I have a hard time listening to books. I feel like I am missing something in listening compared to reading. I feel I get more from reading than listening. I drift off easier listening.

Huhhh, well, you are probably right. Its just a matter of time before it happens. I think I will put it off for me though, just a little longer.

Great question!

Peter said...

@StephanieD: Wow, what an exhaustive list! I especially like #4. The Kindle isn't aesthetically pleasing as it is.

@Something's Dishy: Have you ever imagined cookbooks in Kindles?

@Melissa: Yes, it is inevitable.

Petunia said...

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old curmudgen, I love my paperbacks, I won't give them up for anything, I will never buy an e-reader. Actually that sounds more like a 3 year old having a tantrum. Seriously, I buy most of my books at used book stores and library sales for a buck or two. I simply cannot afford to buy all the books that I read. And what happens to libraries if the written word becomes obsolete. I think there are too many people out there like me that will keep paper books on the shelves.

josbookshelf said...

I'll probably go crazy with a Kindle, Peter. But I think it is a nifty device -- much like the iPod. Imagine carrying a ton of books in your bag.

One reason why I don't want it to succeed too much, though, is it could spell the death of bookstores later on. There's nothing like being surrounded by books, and hunting through a stack for your next literary find...the feel of this environment will be gone. Well, this won't happen for a very long time but they may go the way of music stores now---fading away slowly.

Peter said...

@Petunia: Thanks for dropping by! I do wish that libraries and secondhand bookstores would stand the test of time, especially now with these e-readers.

@josbookshelf: It is very nifty! Actually, I'm a bit torn about the device for the reasons stated in these comments.

Mark David said...

Like you, I still prefer my books being tangible and on paper. You just can't replace the experience of reading a book and at the same time feeling its texture, smelling its scent, and all those sensory delights that goes with reading a printed book. But I am also curious about the e-reader, if only as an auxiliary tool, something that'll give me other options. But I'll never give up printed books. You just can't beat that experience :)

Peter S. said...

Hello, Mark David! I just love how people can be open about one thing even though it may jeopardize something that they hold dear.

sumthinblue said...

Maybe when they manufacture a Kindle that smells like a book too!

Mark David said...

@peter: thanks, i agree with you!

@sumthinblue: haha! now that ought to be interesting :)

Alexia561 said...

Interesting topic. I don't think eBooks will ever kill off physical books, just like TV didn't kill off radio or film. Keep hoping that the publishing industry will wake up and adapt, as every other industry has had to in order to survive.

While I don't actually taste my books (licking an eReader???), I do love the sensation of holding them in my hands and turning the pages.

Another consideration - how would you have a bookshelf project if everyone had an eReader?

Peter S. said...

Hi, Alexia! I can't help but smile at this remark:

"Another consideration - how would you have a bookshelf project if everyone had an eReader?"

I guess my bookshelf project would also become obsolete. Going the way of those cabinets of curiosities.