Well, what’ya know: The Electric Church is available for Amazon’s Kindle. I had no idea.
I think the Kindle is a loser, personally. I think all e-readers are losers. Granted, I’m an old fogey who was raised on books, but frankly I think the book is simply a near-perfect information delivery system and won’t be replaced. Certainly not by some clunky, DRM’d piece of crap like the Kindle, which doesn’t let you loan books to friends and won’t take a dunking in the bath very well. Sure, you can keyword-search it, but, well. . .who cares?
The other day I wanted to recall a bit of Victorian slang I’d read in The Great Train RobberyÂ by Crichton. Good book. For my own obscure reasons I wanted to remember this slang, so I picked up the battered hardback copy I’d bought from a library a few years ago and started reading. I flipped around until something seemed vaguely familiar and on-target, and spent half an hour pleasantly re-reading parts of the book until I found what I was looking for.
Sure, I could have searched on the text for two minutes and found exactly what I needed, but shit, that would not have been nearly so fun. So screw searchable text. I won’t miss it.
Some people think e-readers might actually kill books someday. It’s possible that if kids start getting their information exclusively from e-readers some day they’ll never know how grand a physical book can be, and boom! There go books. But that doesn’t address the fact that books, so far, deliver the information in a more efficient, flexible, and affordable way. They never stop working, require pretty much incineration to become unusable, and also happen to be beautiful physical objects, unlike your e-readers which are hideous blobs of carbon. Plus, you own a book in the old-fashioned sense. You can lend it, give it away, doodle your name on page 69 and use it to balance your kitchen table when it rocks annoyingly. It’s yours.
I like that. Someday I will build a small fort in my living room out of my books, and live there until my wife loses patience.