My iphone looks great. I love the easy access to the Internet. But I’m not a great App user and am uncomfortable with the Apple closed shop philosophy. You could say the same about the Kindle in relation to Amazon but I bought one for similar reasons. I wanted the experience for myself; in this case the shift to electronic reading. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved books. Turning the pages, turning the corners, pencil annotations; books and their contents have always been important to me. I didn’t expect the transition from paper to screen to be easy but it was – and I love it!
The tipping point was the announcement Julian Barnes had won the Booker Prize for a Sense of an Ending. I’d only used the Kindle on Project Gutenberg but wanted to read this book before the weekend so I looked at my options.
- Walk into town, pay the shop price, read straight away.
- Order online and pay less but wait for delivery knowing if it doesn’t fit through my letterbox I’d have to go to the Post Office which is only open 7.00 – 1.00 and I’m away 6.30 to 6.30 most days…
- Download onto the Kindle from where I’m sitting for half the price and read immediately – or to be accurate – within two minutes.
There’s no competition. Add the size, easy reading and portability of the Kindle and its win win all the way to the Amazon bank. The Kindle cover even makes it feel like a book. The only problem is I’m so used the iphone’s touch screen, I feel the Kindle should respond in the same way and still automatically reach for the screen rather than the keyboard. It’s an interesting example of how behaviour change quickly embeds itself into our unconsciousness.
We are all being seduced by the reality of cut cost and instant access; whether to real world events through Twitter, the happenings of friends via Facebook, or working on content with a variety of collaborative tools, all at the time and place of our choosing. We are either up front or at the back as digital communication and access to information carries some on and leaves others behind. If social equality is about the means of participation then digital environments, in spite of their potential to be democratic, are becoming increasingly and alarmingly divisive.