Kindle again (or, not)


Another installment in my continuing musings over the Amazon Kindle.

I’ve just started reading Trust Agents, by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. You can find my reactions to the book over in Communities are founded on trust. But there’s a Kindle tie-in here as well, that made me think.

When I decided to pick up this book, I pondered whether to buy it in physical or electronic form (of course it’s available for Kindle!). As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a Kindle, but I do have the Kindle iPhone app. While the real Kindle has a much bigger, and arguably nicer, screen, it fails my “pocket bloat minimization” requirement.

It occurred to me that Trust Agents might be just the sort of book I’d want to read electronically. It’s very easy reading, it’s interesting and substantive, and yet I don’t quite see myself treasuring it for ages, passing it on to my grandchildren. I hope I don’t break any hearts, but I expect I’ll move on to other books, hopefully just as helpful, in a year or so.

But, I didn’t get the Kindle edition, I got the physical edition. Here’s why:

I expected (and have not been disappointed) that this book would have lots to think about. I’m a tactile thinker. I mark books up. I’m just getting started with this book, but there are marks on nearly every page so far: underlinings, marginal references to similar thoughts in other books, quibbles and arguments and wild disagreements. Truth is, the way I work, I may never go back and read any of these (at least, not once I’ve blogged them), but they help me engage the text and remember the points.

I did not expect, did not think about, my love of physical books, of their physicality itself. But it’s there. I peeked into my mail slot every morning, to see if the book had arrived. I snatched the box and scuttled to my desk, trying not to look too conspicuous. I ripped off the tape. And then, I performed that marvelous, evocative, familiarizing ritual of loosening the binding: opening to several pages, gently spreading the leaves, bending every so gently beyond the tightly pressed rigidity, peeking at a word or paragraph here or there, opening the object and the thoughts and the time all together.

If you want to read Chris’s words, you can get them on line. You should. If you want to get to know Chris, you should buy him a cup of coffee, or dinner, or invite him to speak at your next company off-site. But if you want to clear your mind of distractions and enter into this engaging, enlightening exploration of a new way of socializing, get the book.

The actual book.


2 Responses to “Kindle again (or, not)”

  1. 1 jrep

    There’s a “ubiquitous computing” idea here … browse the bookshelves, point your camera at a spine or cover, get ratings, reviews. I suppose even, buy the e-version. Now, we just need to find some way to finance these expensive brick-and-mortar display rooms!

  2. 2 Stormy

    If I think I’m going to want to take a lot of notes, I prefer the electronic version. I never mark up books – or almost never – so I end up writing all my notes down. With the Kindle version I can highlight, select and have a copy on my computer to search and quote.

    I don’t buy Kindle versions of anything that has lots of graphs or graphics …

    I thought I would miss the physical books but I don’t. I actually now prefer holding the Kindle to holding a book open with one hand. (I hate cracking the spine, bending pages, etc. It always feels like I’m mistreating a precious resource!)

    That said, I like browsing books in a bookstore or library much more than I like looking at them online. As long as I have my G1 and I can look up their ratings online!

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