I broke up with e-books last year after a flight from Los Angeles to New York. My first-generation Kindle and I had been together for five years, but I knew we'd have to go our separate ways when, an hour into the journey, it completely shut me out. Or rather, it shut down. I'd forgotten to charge the device before I left.Read the whole thing (and if the Journal's Web site wants you to subscribe, remember that Google is your friend). Contrary to this post's downbeat introduction and the article's equally pessimistic title, Fruhlinger actually provides a fair-minded list of the pros and cons of e-books in their current state. The good? Being able to stuff more titles than you could ever hope to read on a tiny tablet. The bad? Devices' constant carping for electricity and how DRM shackles sharing. That last point always vexes me, because I get most of my fiction from the library. Sure, one can technically check out electronic copies online, but the interface is so convoluted that it makes more sense to snag a hardcover. I still read e-books when I travel, and I hope that the disadvantages that so frustrate Fruhlinger will one day disappear.
Upon arrival in New York, I coolly walked into a bookstore and bought a paperback version of the book my Kindle wouldn't let me read in the air. It felt good to be back on paper, turning real pages. I realized then: E-readers are needy, but a paperback will always be there for you.
I used to swear by my Kindle. I bought the original model the day it came out. But over the years, we grew apart. Ultimately, our needs were different. It's difficult to think back, but I see now how a match seemingly made in heaven turned sour.
(Picture: CC 2010 by meddygarnet)