Kindling the Desire for Readability

Daniel Knowles at The Telegraph has published a piece that perfectly sums out what I think of the Kindle. He writes:

“. . . I got a Kindle for Christmas and initially, I didn’t really know what to do with it. Sure, it’s brilliant that you can buy a copy of any book instantly, but why wouldn’t you wait a few days to get a real copy, probably for half the price? While the device is wonderful, it felt terribly anti-climactic to buy a book through Kindle – it still does.” 

I agree. When I download free classics on my Kindle, it does feel anti climatic. Part of the book experience for me is holding the book in my hands, opening it up, smelling the pulp, feeling the paper, seeing the ink, and turning the pages.

I find the Kindle is great for travel because you don’t have to haul around your huge copy of Infinite Jest or whatever. It’s also great to bring to the gym. I read The Secret Garden and We on the treadmill. Having said all that, I’m still all for books. Actual books.

But once again, I digress. The point of Knowles’s piece is to point out another thing the Kindle is good for: essays and articles. He writes:

“Here’s what to do if you have entire afternoons to burn reading fascinating things. Install Readability, an app for your computer or phone which automatically reformats webpages to make them more readable. Then on any article you encounter on the web, you can simply click “send to Kindle”, and if your Kindle is connected to wireless  (be careful with 3g), it will download it, perfectly formatted, within about a minute. Then simply read.”

This is something I’m going to try out. I think the Kindle is a tool intended to make the reading experience easier, whether its getting a book instantly or slipping it into your back pocket. So if I can make article-reading easier, and not have to lug a copy of Vanity Fair onto a plane, then I’m in.

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