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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Death of Books

So the Kindle might not be the end of books as we know it, but this device very well could be.

Straight from the website itself, the company admits that "reading would be more fun with pictures, sounds, interactivity and your child's favorite characters."

Now, maybe it's just me, but I interpret that as: "Here is a chance to schlock out more of the same old commercial product to further line our pockets. Rather than encouraging kids to use their imaginations, we feel it's best to reinforce the images we choose for them to see. And we can sell it all under the guise of 'reading.'"

I like eReaders. I like the idea of using them to get kids to read at an earlier age. Books evolving to eReaders makes sense. Books degrading to hyper-interactive, flashy, noisy distraction machines (oh hi, iPad!) is an unsettling possibility.

And is this just another step at replacing parents with computers? Some of my favorite memories as a kid were when my dad would read stories to me. The characters were done in his voice with his accents and told at his pacing. Then, when I read to my little brother, I made the stories my own. The vReader seems like just another device that would erase those memories.

Sure it's fun, sure it's flashy and is it even that different from the deluge of movies and video games with kid's characters today? Not really. But it's trying to replace books. Books! The last bastion of entertainment that lets you, the reader, interpret what you're experiencing in a uniquely personal way.

Maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe I'm just getting old (damn whippersnappers and their eReaders! back in my day, books were made of paper!). But something about this toy just feels wrong, all wrong.



Brandi said...

One of the best things that I like about books is being able to make up in my own mind what the characters look like and what they sound like. And when you make that book into a movie and they totally don't look anything like what I think they should look like *cough, twilight, cough* I get upset! Books are better, they let you keep your imagination.

Vincent Kale said...

You mean like when sparkly things look more like sweaty things?

Note to self: keep. sparkling. to a minimum. check!

terry said...

everyone imagines a character differently. Ex: female character in draft of vk novel. I picture her as petite, blonde, and pixie like. VK pictured her as tall, thin and blonde. So without someone actually telling or showing you what the character looks like your imagination works and you enjoy the book. Save the Books!!!