Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kindle Conversion

I like new technology. I enjoy finding out about it, studying it, mocking it, eventually salivating for it, and in general waiting until version 2.0 comes out from a competitor who can do it better and cheaper than the first mover, once all the bugs have been worked out. I strive to "be not the first by which the new is tried, nor yet the last to lay the old aside.”

I was slightly unimpressed when the Kindle first came out. It sounded like a good idea overall, but I seriously worried (and worry) about its fragility: one good drop and you've lost your library! It felt to me like it was clearly the Wave of the Future but I was quite content to wait for the future to show up before joining.

Having waited, there is a much larger selection of books, publishers are settling in at unreasonable prices for the books, the various ebook readers on market are better and better ... and there is a partial answer to my concern. I can read my Kindle books on my computer and most any hand-held device. More importantly, I have read the blogs of other economists working in Africa singing its praises: no longer do we need to tote a suitcase full of books so we have something to do on lonely evenings gathering data in the bushes.

Now we're moving there and as I contemplate the expense of shipping books to Nigeria, I value the ability to transfer my collection of books to an electronic format and fit it in the palm of my hand as never before. I just finished going through my Amazon wish list, removing every book that didn't have a Kindle edition. Would I really like to read that? Oh yes! Would I really like to buy that (or have someone gift it to me) and pay to ship it to Nigeria? Oh no!

So with my Lovely and Gracious giving in and getting her very own laptop and probably a Kindle, I am giving in to treat myself to a Walkman (a reliable non-iPod, since Apple's unconscionable prices for a glorified portable CD player have kept me at bay) and Kindle books. Maybe one or two might get read on her device, but I expect most will be on my laptop.

-- Derrill