I’m not sure how I feel about the Kindle yet. As far as tech gadgets go, it’s really nifty. Droolworthy, even.
I’d LOVE to own the new Kindle. Just the thought of all my books (now portable on one unit) makes the compulsive declutterer in me squee with delight. Next to my tarot deck, computer, and iPod, it’s the perfect companion for any zombie invasion. On the other hand, I love my books. I love the smell of the ink and the paper. I love the way books feel when I hold them. And I love getting lost in the worlds they contain. I’m not sure if reading on an hand-held device will ever really replace the joy I have when I coddle and carry books around as if they were my baby.
With that said, apparently there’s some hubbub about the new Kindle’s ability to “read” books out loud. And as always, the wonderful Neil Gaiman puts it brilliantly,
Just found myself having a long argument/discussion with my agent over the Amazon Kindle text-to-speech capability. I’m going to summarise it here.
Her point of view: The Kindle reading you the book-you-just-bought infringes the copyright (or at least, the rights) to the audiobook. We’ve sold audiobook rights and print book rights as separate things. We must stop this.
My point of view: When you buy a book, you’re also buying the right to read it aloud, have it read to you by anyone, read it to your children on long car trips, record yourself reading it and send that to your girlfriend etc. This is the same kind of thing, only without the ability to do the voices properly, and no-one’s going to confuse it with an audiobook. And that any authors’ societies or publishers who are thinking of spending money on fighting a fundamentally pointless legal case would be much better off taking that money and advertising and promoting what audio books are and what’s good about them with it.
What a great way to look at it. And summarizes how I feel about it all. Especially seeing that I can have Smudge (the name of my Macbook) read electronic books out loud as well.