Kindle anti-incendiary

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. 

6 thoughts on “Kindle anti-incendiary

  1. Domen

    I fear it’s not a lack of imagination or cultural attunement that are keeping Kindle “old”. As is obvious to those who have bought e-books, etc. unrestricted use and sharing of information aren’t too popular with book publishers and distributors. It’s called copyright – as in: you have to make sure that the information doesn’t flow in the WRONG direction. And that is bound to happen with “new media”…

  2. Amy Alkon

    I don’t know if you sell books you link to through Amazon on your site (I have a whole store and get kickbacks — have sold over $2K this month in my “Amy’s Mall”), but Amazon has made a huge mistake by making Kindle books the one thing bloggers get no kickback on. If I send Amazon a customer who buys a paper and cardboard book, I get 6.5 or 7 percent of the purchase price. If I send Amazon a customer who buys a Kindle book, I get ZERO. I’ve approached the Kindle team about this and they’ve approached the Associates team (the people in charge of website kickback program) and the Associates aren’t budging. I’ve written to Bezos (last week). I don’t get it. This is supposed to be the future of books, and it requires no shipping, and it’s the one thing they’re cutting bloggers out of? When we send them customers? What do you think is up with this? Greed? Stupidity?

    PS Boyfriend thinks Mac will be out with a reader that eats Kindle’s lunch.

  3. jane

    And if a book goes out of copyright, Amazon can reach right in and retract it, without your permission or knowledge. Ironically, when this was done recently, it was with Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm. Old media-ish with a shiny new techno-twist.

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