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Someday, My Prints Will Come....

While my food is simmering on the stove, I'm checking the news, and there's an article on the front page of Yahoo, asking if the new Kindle 2 is going to kill comic books.

For those that don't know, the Kindle is an electronic book reader.  I'm not saying, "For those who don't know," as sarcasm.  I know approximately one person with one, and she's dating my cousin.  No one else had even heard of it.  The Kindle is currently in hot water because of the text-to-speech feature.  The Author's Guild is suing to get it removed, saying that it amounts to a spoken word recording and violated publishing stuff (I view it as the equivalent of reading a book aloud, and suspect they just want some cash).

A few years ago, the original Kindle was supposed to spell the end of book publishing.  Since then, we've had the Harry Potter books breaking all kinds of records, Da Vinci Code, all kinds of stuff.  Before that, simple e-books that you could download off the Internet and read were supposed to be the end of print.  It's not just that some of these books are not being offered as e-books that is keeping the Kindle and its ilk from taking off.  It's a couple of other things.

First, whatever you buy is tied to that particular Kindle.  Moving it to another unit is out of the question.  That pesky technological bugaboo, Digital Rights Management, has already gotten me once.  I bought an e-book in .pdf format, and can only read it on my dad's Mac.  I can't read it on my Linux box or laptops, all of which are running Linux.  This also means, if I think a book is great, I either have to lend my buddy the whole Kindle just so he can read it or he'll have to simply buy it himself.  None of this sharing it around that regular books enable.

The other thing is that people just don't want it.  A cheap paperback that you can read or be done with.  Libraries don't have databases to put your books on these things.  Despite the technology being there and several big sellers being offered, no one is really buying them.  While all kinds of stores are going under, Barnes And Noble and Waldenbooks, among others, are still going strong.

On Buffy The Vampire Slayer, one of the characters said print will never die because of the whole sensory experience of books -- the smell, the look, everything.  And that goes for comic books, too.  And this is someone who has had two titles published digitally.  If people really like something, they don't just want a digital file.  They want something tangible, a trophy, a symbol of their enjoyment.

Comics won't die.  At least, not because of Kindle.  Not when the industry is doing such a good job of offing itself.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 2nd, 2009 01:19 am (UTC)
You also missed that the Kindle is ridiculously expensive.

Besides that, yes there is a sensory aspect (says the guy sitting in a room surrounded by over 1000 books). And the aspect is slightly different between regular books and comics (as my bookworm bride commented once when reading a comic book that she had missed the feel of them).

While the Kindle does interest me (as I am a gadget fiend), it just doesn't interest me enough. I have been turned on to many books by sharing with others. It would also be silly to have the same books loaded on two Kindles for me and my wife, but having two kindles with different books would always prove that she has the Kindle I want to read because she's reading a different book on it. It's just not worth the hassle.

Meanwhile, an old PDA and the Project Gutenburg will do in a pinch.

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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