Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Kindle part 9 - Final Thoughts

The Kindle is an electronic book reader produced by Amazon.

I am sitting in Panera for lunch quietly consuming my Creamy Tomato Soup and Bacon Turkey Bravo half.  As often happens, my original schedule has become a work of fiction, a laughable dream of deluding myself that this time it will not all be finished at the last minute.  In my line of sight are three laptops and one Kindle (not my own).  I had planned on working on a different writing project over food, but the Kindle sighting spurs me into finishing out this topic.

I am not going to interrupt the woman's lunch with questions even though I am curious about her story.  When I escape to any number of nearby lunch time haunts with my reader all I want is some solitude to cram in a few chapters.  She is an older woman, probably in her 50's.  Her device is a Kindle 2.0 and she has it propped upright inside its lime green cover. Every time she pages forward she does so by reaching out and tapping the device.  In contrast, I typically set mine flat on the table with a finger in close proximity to the next page button.

The sandwich is amazing, as usual, and the soup is warming.  Fall is sneaking in and the temperature is starting to turn.

Ok...She just finished her lunch so I had to spring a few questions:

"Excuse me, how long have you had your Kindle?"

"My Kindle?  About a month.  I love it."  Even with the cover, now closed, the Kindle 2 has a slim profile.  She slips it into her bag and I ask another question.

"Did you buy it for yourself or did someone get it for you?"

"I bought it after a friend showed me hers," she replies. "It's so convenient.  I take it everywhere."

"What do you read on it?" I ask, fully aware that this constitutes a "here's your sign" moment.  However, she offers up the distinctions I was hoping to catch.

"Just books.  Not magazines.  I don't find it convenient for that.  But for books, it's wonderful..."

Ugh - sidetracked - Overheard while writing this: "Dad died on the operating table this morning."  I can't help listening in to the man on the cell phone at the table over my shoulder.  Am I a soulless bastard?  The cell conversation I can hear sounds like this:

"The hotel is giving us a hard time.  Can you wire me $100.  I don't get paid until tomorrow night.  I don't even have $30 on me."

And I think, "Why are you eating lunch in a Panera where you are going to spend at least $8 on a single sandwich?

It sounds like a con to get people to give him money.  Honestly, I pulled out my wallet just hearing one half of the story.  I check my instinct to dump my cash on hand into his and I get up to leave instead.  I look back as I hit the door.  He is standing up looking for a new place to sit now thatno one else is close enough to hear his plight.  I am convinced that not giving this guy the $50 in my pocket is the right call.

Back to my recollection of the conversation with the Kindle user...

She continues unprompted, "It's wonderful for traveling.  You can finish one book and go right to the next just by visiting their store.  And it cuts down on the number of books you have to pack.  Just this!"  She points at her bag.

I hear my own words spun back at me.  I smile and offer up positive sounds such as "Oh, interesting." and "That sounds nice."  Then she hits me with the following and I keep a straight face:

"You can even change the font size to make the text bigger.  I don't need reading glasses to read it."

"Quite so", I think and my mental checklist of the pitch is complete.  After she leaves I have the realization I have been searching for all month:

I doesn't matter which device does what or whether print will fade to the realm of the hobby collector.  People like to read.  They are going to find a way to read and reread books, newspapers, magazines...anything.  The existence of the Kindle, the circumstances that led to my lunch time conversation, are all echoes of this desire.  'If it isn't one thing, it's another."  Right now, it is the electronic book reader.  Enjoy the moment.


This concludes the Kindle as a topic of Fading Interest.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.  The next set of pieces should start on October 1st.  At the moment the set is called "Snippets" and will consist of nine (ish) writing samples I have put together (or puked out) in the past few months.  I am going to firm them up enough so that each could be completed as a short or a novel in the future.  At least...that is the plan.  Right now it sounds terrible interesting.  We shall see what my opinion is in another three weeks. 

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About Me

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Geek - Gamer - Librarian - Writer. Only awesome at one of those things at a time, unfortunately.

About Fading Interest

After writing op-eds and travelogues for several years, after finishing a few books, and after failing to get the ball rolling with project after project I stumbled into an idea that might just hold my interest long enough to enjoy some level of satisfaction with my writing.