Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kindle burns out

I must have told this story several times. It was 2005 and I was in the office of my creative writing professor when he asks me what I think about the book. Not a specific book, but all books. Has the printed word now become a thing of the past? With the birth of e-books, has the old fashion shelf fillers met their match? My answer was quick, "No."

Books cannot die as long as there are true English majors. The ones who write on the margins, the ones who litter the pages with sticky notes with thoughts and allusions. Those who love the scent of an old book and lust for the scent of a new one. Those who go as far as dumpster diving to get their hands on a discarded first edition. As long as those people exist, the printed word - as books are concerned, sorry journalists - will never cease to exist.

Not too long after, Kindle was announced and a certain dread that I had been wrong crept up my spine. Books were not being fed through to a machine that was light weight and portable. And not just one book, but several books. So I sat and waited for the end to come near.

Yesterday, Monica sent me a link telling me the new found woes of Kindle users. Books they had paid for and thought were theirs had mysteriously vanished. The cause of this? Amazon bend backwards once again to fulfill the needs of certain publishers. It wasn't just the books that vanished, but one 17-year-old also lost the annotations he had made for the George Orwell classic, 1984.

Thankfully, Amazon has proven that the book's end is not as near as we thought. As long as their are greedy publishers in the world, books are here to stay. (Unless Amazon decides to invade our hopes and steal copies of books we bought. That would just be crazy.)

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