Musing on the Kindle

I was never particularly enamoured with the idea of getting a Kindle or similar ebook reader; I saw it as an expensive toy that would force me to re-buy books and, unlike the iPad, couldn’t even display comic books. I held onto this belief firmly until I was recently stuck in a hotel room in the outskirts of Milan with nothing to read. I had brought a book with me, of course, but I finished it earlier than anticipated and I was from then on bereft of prose. Had I a Kindle I would have been able to tap into the hotel wifi and pick up a new book, either free from the Gutenberg Project or something from Amazon’s ebook store; even PDF format books published under a Creative Commons license that I could have uploaded. But I had none of these and it pained me.

I realise though that, being an electronic device, I’d still have to put my book away on the flight during take-off and landing, an irritation that a paper novel doesn’t suffer from. And finally, I have an open question regarding regional licensing. All media is licensed for a region, and rights in one region do not necessarily transfer.

An example of this was when, upon learning that I had nothing to read, I logged into my LoveFilm account. I pay to have a certain number of streaming films every month, which means not having to wait until the physical disc arrives. However, I learnt that LoveFilm’s license to stream movies was only valid within the UK. Even though I was a UK resident and paid my bill in the uk, the fact that I was physically located in Italy meant they couldn’t give me access to my movies. I hope the Kindle doesn’t have this restriction, I haven’t tried looking into it yet, but I would certainly find this irritating.

I haven’t bought a Kindle, and there’s a chance I never will. But I am certainly less opposed to it than I used to be.