Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Kindling - Josh Lacey

I'm sure there's a good joke to be made about Kindles and kindling and book burning and the fact that Waterstones wasn't looted in the riots, but I can't think of it. Can you? If so, please make it on my behalf.

Anyway, in the absence of that elusive gag, I'll simply confess that I've finally got my hands on a Kindle and, to my surprise, and perhaps disappointment too, I rather like it.

I wouldn't say I love it, though. It's certainly nowhere near the electronic book that I've always been hoping for, the lissom screen that could be pulled out and extended to the appropriate size, then rolled up and stuffed in my pocket, a device so small that I won't even notice its presence until I want to use it, and so hardy that it could be dropped in the bath without suffering any damage.

Even if I wasn't really expecting such ebookish fabulousness for another decade or two, I did imagine, after years of using macs, that the interface would be intuitive and cunning and beautiful, which the Kindle's really isn't. It works, yes, but it's clunky and quite annoying. And very grey.

As for reading on it; well, it feels more convenient than pleasurable, more efficient than transcendental.

What the Kindle does really well is encourage you to buy books. The whole process is magnificently smooth and straightforward.

Only one of my own books, Bearkeeper, is currently available for the Kindle, and I'll be intrigued to see how the children's book world adapts to the brave new world of ebooks.

Josh Lacey

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