The new Amazon Kindle and Kindle Fire are expected to be launched a little under 2 weeks from now, and the blogosphere is abuzz with speculation, rumination, and navel gazing. I’m expecting to see a lot of editorials on ereaders in the next couple weeks, including a bunch that will best be described as nonsensical. And thanks to the Wall Street Journal, I didn’t have to wait long.
There’s a new post up on the WSJ website yesterday by one Joshua Fruhlinger. He’s breaking up with his Kindle because of one cross-country flight where he couldn’t use it because he forgot to charge it.
(Yeah, a tech columnist for a leading business newspaper isn’t competent enough to remember to charge his ereader. That made me double check to make sure I wasn’t reading The Onion.)
First, I have to wonder if he’s being completely truthful. He describes himself as having “two smartphones, a tablet, a laptop and a camera”, and that he’s “been well trained to charge them regularly”. Do you really think someone with that many gadgets would blame the device for his inaction? I doubt it.
And given that he owns that many gadgets, would you really believe he doesn’t read on any of them besides the Kindle? I call BS.
Here’s why he doesn’t like his Kindle.
But ereaders, I found, are more challenging to maintain. I never could get myself to think of a book—even a high-tech one—as something that required power. I’m as much to blame for this as my ereader, but I was tired of repeatedly being left in the lurch.
But the Kindle is not a book. It’s an ereader -it is not a book because it holds books. Forgetting to charge it is like forgetting to grab your bag while you walk out the door; it’s not the fault of the bag.
But wait, there’s more.
There’s nothing more relaxing than reading in a hot bath—something my ereader and I could never enjoy together. (Holding an electronic device a few inches above water is not a good idea.) Sure, there are waterproof ereaders cases available—and you can always zip one into a baggie—but that’s like covering your couch in plastic.
I’ve never understood why someone would hold a paper book over a bath, much less an ereader. But if you do like to read in the bath there are several waterproof cases for the Kindle. (Surely a WSJ reporter could afford to buy one?) I like the one from M-Edge, myself.
The rest of the article is as disappointing as the quoted snippets above. The last third is nothing more than a sales pitch for 3 current models from Amazon, Sony, and B&N (no Kobo), and right before that are several shallowly explained points used to argue in favor of ereaders.
But in general, the WSJ article is about on par with the crap that I expect to see over the next couple weeks. Thank Whedon I can heckle the worst parts; otherwise I wouldn’t be able to stand reading it all.