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.