Kindling for the Fire

A wireless reading device?  

Yes, last time I checked, books were definitely wireless.

That’s not what they meant? Oh. I see…


A new trend is rising from the metaphorical ashes of America’s reading culture. If you are addicted to electronics, but need something to spark your interest in literature, you might be part of the intended market for the Amazon Kindle and other “wireless reading devices.”


Amazon’s website calls it “the future of reading.” According to advertising, the Kindle features a display that “reads like paper” (avoiding the screen glare that afflicts e-books). More than 200,000 books are available at low prices, plus newspapers, blogs, and magazines. In tribute to its rising popularity, the product is currently sold out.

My mind races in a thousand directions. Will Merriam-Webster re-define “kindle”? What does this mean for the “future of reading”?  And would the newly kindled future resemble Easy Street or Brave New World?

Without further ado, here is my take on the pros and cons of portable electronic reading devices like Amazon’s Kindle:


  • Tiny purse? 200 books still at your disposal if the ballroom never gets rolling.
  • Expenses? Save close to 50% on the cover price of new books.
  • Rural? No local bookstore, no problem. Instantly download the latest bestseller (except in MT & AK).
  • Traveling? Imagine the luggage fees if you carried 200 books in your suitcase.
  • Commuter? Read the local newspaper and your favorite blogs without pulling out your laptop.
  • Back trouble? Read Shakespeare’s complete works without pain.
  • Small apartment? No 10-foot shelves required to hold your burgeoning library.


  • Collector? Re-purchase your entire collection in electronic form to read old favorites.
  • Coffee spill/sharp object? A hairdryer and piece of tape might not do the trick for this one.
  • Affordable? The gap between readers and non-readers widens along economic lines.
  • Sharing?  Sure! Loan your $349 device so a younger sibling can read your new book on the canoe trip.
  • Olfactory? Sorry, no new book smell. 
  • Thieves? Don’t leave this armload of books in your car with the doors unlocked.
  • Weightlifter? Brothers Karamazov and Anna Karenina can no longer provide your barbells.

On my end, the jury is still out, price being the largest consideration, followed by a knowledge of my own clumsiness and an enduring love for the feel of paper and book spines. 

Now it’s your turn to ring in. Do you own a wireless reading device? Want to start the first Kindlergarten reading program? Plan to buy one when the price goes down? Stand in picket lines to protest this newest fad? 


4 Responses to Kindling for the Fire

  1. Natalie says:

    I don’t know…I guess the price would be the biggest sticking point for me. For some reason I’ve hardly even considered getting this!

    Hmm…it just wouldn’t be the same as holding a real book and reading it. And yeah, there wouldn’t be any nice book smell! “Hmm….smells like….plastic…”

    I have a feeling that it would still be hard to find some books also, so while you could get all the books that are available at Amazon, what about the rare books that have to be found on ebay and such?

    Nope, not getting one of these anytime soon.

  2. […] up literature in their spare time. How much of the trend is due to concerns about literacy, new technologies, escapism, or other cultural effects will be up to others to […]

  3. […] To read my thoughts on the original Kindle, see this post. […]

  4. […] Perhaps the book publishing industry will get a second wind during this recession by acting as as an economic indicator, with live sales updates via the Kindle. […]

%d bloggers like this: