Thursday, February 26, 2009

Answers re: Kindle 2 (updated)

I will update this post if/when there are more questions. Before I get to the questions there is something else I want to tell you. It isn't easy to tell when the Kindle is doing what you told it to do. For instance when you buy a book it supposed to be delivered in under a minute. It isn't like downloading something from the Internet. When you do that you see a little progress bar and can watch as it slowly download. With the Kindle it is more like nothing happens for almost a full minute and then the book is loaded in five seconds. Presumably the book has been bouncing off cell phone towers.

There are other times when I find myself wondering if the Kindle is doing what I asked it to do (like search for something) because nothing seems to be happening. I did finally notice the little circle in the upper left hand corner that whirls when it is working.

1. Are there illustrations: yes. They are of course black and white, but they are pretty good.

2. Is it worth the cost? Well, for me yes it was. Part of it was that I started giving myself an allowance and I did want to save up to do something with it. It's been a long time since I have been in that situation, having a certain amount of money every month for whatever and then picking out a goal for it. I might have just saved it, but I think I was also demonstrating to my family that it can be done.

I also need to buy more books impulsively, which I know sounds strange. I don't read as much as I should in my field because I talk myself out of paying for the books. I can order them for the library but that process takes so long that by the time they get here they just aren't as compelling. I am hoping that more and more of what I want to read is available. If I still have to buy many paper books I will be frustrated.

Will it be worth it for you? If you mean will you save money over buying paper books that obviously depends upon how many books you buy and whether/how often you replace or upgrade your Kindle. If you read classics it's a steal. You can get the collected works of Shakespeare, Jane Austin, Charles Dickens (and quite a few more) for under $5 each. Most new releases are $10. My main goal isn't saving money. It's instant gratification. Deciding you want to something and then having it in under a minute is pretty cool.

3. Will the price go down? I don't think it will by much. Your cell phone is cheap(er) because much of the price is rolled into the cost of service over the lifetime of the contract. Amazon has rolled the cost of wireless delivery via Sprint into the cost of the machine and books.

4. What's with the cat on the mat? Well, there was a spell in which it seemed that everyone who wanted to talk about meaning and reference or the correspondence theory of truth used "the cat is on the mat." It has become a sort of philosophical joke. My colleague has a section of wall in his office covered with photos and drawings of cats on mats. When I came here and saw it I laughed out loud. No one else sees why it is funny. To be fair, the most over-used sentence-as-example in philosphy is "a bachelor is an unmarried man."

We philosophers are a wild and crazy crowd.

5. Further notes: if you buy a Kindle book from Amazon and the wireless is turned off on your Kindle, you should select "synch and check for items" on your Kindle when you turn the wireless back on.

6. Do I think that paper books will be totally replaced? No, I don't, although it is possible we will come close. Children's books though I think will remain in paper for a very long time. Even when Ereader screens are bigger and in color, it won't be the same. Though I find I don't miss the feel of paper in my hands, I think children in particular need to be able to see and hold books.

Ereaders can't replace scholarly books until there is a standard method for citation. I don't imagine right now that I could get an article published using Kindle location numbers.

Theoretically, it could come close. I can imagine a world in which ebooks have replaced paper books the way email has replaced letters ... although I still see cards and children's books in that world.


  1. Hi Y, thanks for bouncing back. :)

    Good for you, saving up for one. Way to show 'em how it's done. You totally deserve it. And it makes sense, too.

    I know that I would like one ... kills less trees, makes less clutter -- the fact that books = clutter is something that has taken fifteen years of marriage and three kids to sink in for me. Yes, books = good. But ack all those (great) books we've collected over the years that never made it out of boxes from the last time we moved (five years ago) ... dead weight. I used to own my books, but now I see that unless I keep them organized and unless I use them, they own me. More space, less stuff = priceless.

    This is true for my kids, too. I can't believe how many children's books we've accumulated in just nine years. For a long time, I thought books were a 'safe' gift for (other people's) kids, because how could a book be 'bad' unless you already own another copy? But now that the number of their books has outstripped the number of their shelves ... well, it's all just more work for me. I know digital format will never completely replace (?) holding a book in your hands (at least for us dinosaurs?) ... but it makes so much sense when I look around and try to solve the book and the paper clutter issues.

    I would love to work on the Kindle account at an ad agency; I could have fun trying to sell them. LOL.

    Only black and white, eh? :) Here I was thinking four color plus animation and live links. LOL. Down, girl.

    Interesting about the price. I believe it's worth it ... I just have so many saving priorities lately that a Kindle will have a hard time making it to the top of my list. :P

    My husband works in the information industry ... they digitize collections of print material. Their main customers are librarians and universities and research institutions. The whole Google-getting-into-the-digitizing-business was a big deal to his company (at least when it happened, but it hasn't amounted to much ... they have far more to worry about from the current economic climate). They say some day librarians will be as (nearly) obsolete as travel agents are in the wake of Travelocity. Interesting to think about all the changes down the line ... gosh, what would it be like if there was no such thing as browsing in a book store?



  2. I love how each field has its random obscure jokes. There's a joke I've heard in math circles that the shortest possible math joke is "let epsilon be less than zero". And if you find that funny, you've done way to much math... :)

  3. My guess would be a room full of philosphers would be a pretty quiet party.

  4. I'm glad you like your kindle. I plan to stick with books, only because I don't get particularly heartbroken when I drop one, or FosterEema borrows (and loses) one.

  5. OK my kids are right. They are always telling me how unaware I am of technology. After I read your post I had to google to find out what a kindle was. In our house it is something I do to start a fire!

  6. Philosophy parties are crazy, what with the pink ice cubes and whatnot, right? Yeah, those examples are pretty funny, though. I forget who had an imaginary alligator named Dexter....

  7. Lee, the Kindle has the Oxford American Dictionary preloaded. When you are reading you can move the cursor to any word and the definition will appear on the bottom (you can hit return to get the complete entry). Anyway, the OAD doesn't have a new defintion of "kindle" either. It's definition is all about starting fires, or starting something.

  8. Ok...I have a really stupid question...
    Is it necessary to have Sprint to download?

    I'm considering getting J one simply for the fact that I can't keep up with her on trips to the library. Seriously. Plus since it does text to speech it might be helpful when she doesn't know a word to do a quick look up. She knows how to use the dictionary but she might use the Kindle and get more out of it due to the quicker return.

    What are your thoughts?

  9. I love that you mentioned that "a bachelor is an unmarried man." I can't even begin to count how many times I heard that sentence in my time getting my phil minor.

  10. Yondalla,

    I've had a Kindle for almost a year and found that there are a ton of books available for free through the Project Guttenberg movement. My boyfriend turned me on to it because I buy almost 30 books a month, and I'm back at university. You may want to check out

    The only downside is that you have to download them to your computer and then upload to the Kindle using the mini USB cable, but it's still really quick. I'm curious how the thinner format feels in the hand. I love mine so much, but I'm thinking about giving it to my mother and buying a new one for myself. I've been joking around and saying that I'm a kindle-vangelist for the past year because I've talked it up so much that I convinced 3 of my friends and 5 of my professors that they needed to have one.

  11. Ooooh...the preloaded dictionary option sounds heavely. I actually look up words I don't know (probably a throw back to my early days of learning English) and it would be oh so nice not to waste time actually looking them up. I'm salivating over here...maybe I'll start saving for one.


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