Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Face: 3, Body: 3, Brains: 5

(Or: Kindle, the Jan Brady of E-Books)
Yesterday's Yahoo and Amazon home pages featured press releases disguised as news articles announcing the "long anticipated" (their wording, of course) arrival of the Kindle reader, an Amazon-exclusive e-book priced at an easily affordable $399. The Kindle is the newest, and by far the most heavily hyped, of the many handheld electronic libraries trying to work their way into the hearts and backpacks of ipod users everywhere.
Like it or not, paper & ink purists, it's only a matter of time before one of these things finally takes off, relegating what few of your favorite indie bookstores still remain to that prime real estate spot down Memory Lane. More specifically, it's only a matter of time before someone finally designs an e-book that actually makes carrying an e-book look sexy. And then it's over. After all, a chic shape was the ultimate turning point for the Apple's ipod, after years of lackluster mp3 player launches from nearly every other major electronics company in the world.
Lucky for us bookstores, then, that the Kindle is anything but sexy. Looking like a 1980's Speak N' Spell, this device inspires neither oohs nor ahhs. In fact, with only a black and white display, the average passerby will probably think you're sporting an out of date Blackberry instead of's anemic attempt at creating this year's Tickle Me Elmo. But who knows, maybe you're deeper than me, and don't like to judge an e-book by its cover. Well, how do you feel about that wireless contract with Sprint that you're damned to enter into? Or the fact that you're being forced to buy your books from just one source? Why, from 1983-1989, I sold countless pairs of acid-washed Levis in Leningrad Square to escape such treatment! And now it has followed me here, like the comic stylings of Yakov Smirnoff and the protruding bulge of Mikhail Baryshnikov?! For shame, America.
Don't get me wrong. I accept the fact that someday -- someday soon -- the e-book will take hold of the public consciousness like the DVD and the mp3 and the Hello Kitty Personal Massager. I just don't think that the Kindle is the e-book that will inspire such consumer lust.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Book News, In Brief

The National Endowment for the Arts hates our soldiers! Isn't that what it really means when they say something like, the average American reads less than one book a year, and that the country is testing dumber because of it? Let me state here -- publicly and unequivocally -- that although I, too, am well-endowed, I do not endorse the NEA's hurtful and hateful and clearly anti-American sentiments.

Judith Regan has launched a $100 million lawsuit against her former publisher, Rupert Murdoch, over the handling of her baby, the OJ Simpson book, If I Did It. And to think, only a week ago she was announcing her plans to stay out of the media spotlight.

Via BoingBoing: "The Book Design Review Blog has picked its top book covers for 2007!" Click here to check them out and cast your vote for the best of the best. (Pictured, from left to right, Unmarketable designed by Rob Carmichael, One Perfect Day designed by Evan Gaffney, and Fireproof designed by unknown.)