With so many newspapers and magazines ceasing publication, you may be asking yourself if print will survive. I don't have the answer. And, I'm not even sure it's the right question. Even when the global economy turns around, it's unlikely that we'll see the same number of magazines or newspapers. So, how will we consume print- or page-like content? Computers are the most obvious answer, but I think products like the Amazon Kindle 2 really point the way.
You see, we have to prepare ourselves for a time when the majority of written works, whether in magazines, newspapers, short stories, or novels, are delivered electronically. I don't imagine that everyone believes the computer screen and ...view middle of the document...
Recently, I took my first-ever magazine- and novel-free business trip. All that was in my bag was a Kindle 2. Yes, I had a computer with me for editing stories and writing a few of my own (like the one you're currently reading). Many of you may have read my column, "Amazon Kindle 2: 10 Things You Should Know." Consider this a companion piece. Here I delve into what I've learned about all the ways that reading on a Kindle 2 is and isn't like reading a physical book or magazine.
Watch Those Buttons!
Amazon significantly redesigned the Kindle for version 2, and I think the device is better. Even so, there's no getting around the fundamental differences between print and e-books when it comes to page navigation. More than once I've grabbed the e-book by its side and inadvertently changed the page. One time, I flipped through half a dozen pages. While reading, I keep my fingers positioned over the next and previous page buttons (if I don't, I have a split second in which to remember which button I push to get to the next page--a very un-book-like experience). This led me to learn that finger twitches can also result in page turns. None of this can happen with a real book or magazine.
Too Much Like Technology
As I mentioned previously, Amazon put a lot of work into the Kindle 2 to make reading a very natural, book-like experience. For the most part, Amazon got it right, but there are moments and functional quirks that can take you right out of the experience. Because the Kindle 2 lacks any sort of touch screen, or even a motion-sensitive pad, below the e-ink page, I was wholly dependent on the buttons. I love that the Kindle 2 can store so much good content, but navigating through it with a joystick is a little weird.
I was often unsure about when I should push it or move it, and it reminded me that this thing is a gadget. The Next and Back buttons worked quite well, except that I realized you have to push on the inner edge instead of the outer edge of the buttons to turn the page. This is so counter to anything I've experienced with the print or digital worlds. Again, I was reminded of the strangeness of reading on the Kindle 2.
Read the rest of this column at PCMag.com.
Kindle 2: Like a Book...but Not. (April 15, 2009). ExtremeTech.com, p.NA. Retrieved May 17, 2009, from General OneFile via Gale:
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