When I was five my parents told the three of us they were going to have another baby. They were very careful to explain to my sister, who was then only two, that this did not mean she would be replaced. It did not mean she would be loved any less. It simply meant that there was going to be another person to love and to share with and to play with.
I think more and more that my parents should have had that little talk with the world.
Because everywhere I turn it seems that the lay blogs and tech pages and geeks at my husband’s job are insisting that the iPad (still a dumb name) is going to be the Kindle Killer. The publishing industry seems to be certain that the two devices together are going to be the Killer of Print Publishing.
When I woke up this morning the first thing I did was take two pills. Then I felt around the nightstand for my eyeglasses and put those on. When the world sharpened into focus I saw beside me an iPhone, a Kindle and eight shelves crammed with books. Trade paperbacks, mass market paperbacks, hardcovers.
People in the marketing world like to think that folks will see one product and drop the other in favour of the new. There doesn’t seem to be a realisation that most folks can make room for a new baby while still loving the ones who came before.
It’s odd to find myself cast in the role of Kindle apologist. Less than a year ago I wouldn’t have cared if all the world’s Kindles fell off a high building and were then driven over by a procession of ice cream trucks. But now after nearly ten months of being able to read again on those days when arthritis had made it impossible to hold a book I am as devoted to my Kindle as Hawking is to his wheelchair. It’s that simple.
My husband, who carried my plate downstairs after dinner, pointed out another reason why folks like me aren’t going to give up our Kindles. Apparently the iPod is about a pound and a half. If I can’t carry an empty dinner plate, I don’t see how I can comfortably hold that thing for reading.
Yes, the Kindle does look like something designed in the 80s, as one pundit somewhere has said. But I still listen to 80s music on my iPhone. And last weekend I bought, among other things, a paperback book. So clearly there is room in this old world for all the new.