I managed to step on my old Kindle, and I was delighted to move up to the Kindle DX. Here’s what Amazon says about it:
Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines
Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback
Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images
Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging
More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books
Faster Page Turns: 20% faster page turns
Read-to-Me: With the new text-to-speech feature, Kindle can read every newspaper, magazine, blog, and book out loud to you, unless the book is disabled by the rights holder
Large Selection: Over 275,000 books plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs available
Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise
Sounds great? And it is. But there is a giant hole in this product, one that puts the Kindle DX out of step with the technological and the cultural moment.
Kindle DX is bad at new media. You can’t capture your comments. You can’t port passages or note to Delicious or Google Bookmarks. You can’t send passages to friends or your blog.
What happens on your Kindle stays on your Kindle. The Kindle is a sink hole, as if destined to make sure that our choices can’t travel through the digital world. They can’t gather (or become) social capital. They can’t help locate and augment our identities on line, our nodes in our networks.
Gasp. Kindle is old model, old order, old media. It’s just a better book. But it doesn’t create, augment, or distribute content. It’s wireless in the good sense but it might as well be wireless in the bad sense, i.e., incapable of locating itself or us in the digital world.