Comment Sense: What if the Kindle Had Been Invented First?

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Commenter Kindler writes:

I was walking through a bohemian part of town and ran across this place called a "bookstore". I thought, "Hmm, that's interesting. I've always gotten my books electronically on my kindle, but this could be an interesting idea." So I stepped inside. What I saw was an unfamiliar way of experiencing books: on hundreds of of sheets of paper, bound up on one side with glue and wrapped in a hard cardboard cover. They even smell a little musty, at least the old ones.

At first I was excited; but then I began to think, well how would I do a text search in such a book? Supposing it was a reference book, or I wanted to find a quote that was particularly memorable? Also, I can resell it if I don't want it, but I can't take notes in the book without ruining its value. Plus, where am I going to keep these books if I buy a whole bunch of them? They're really heavy! And it uses a lot of paper - especially newspapers! What if it's dark and I need a bigger font? What if I'm on the train to work and decide I want to buy the paper version of the Times that day? Can't get it!! Not only that, but they wanted to charge me MORE for these clunky, static, physical, books than the normal electronic price! Honestly, with all these limitations and disadvantages, they should be giving them away for free. I decided I'm never going to pay a single red cent for a paper book until these issues are addressed. No way.


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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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