By Annette Vitkievicz
You can’t judge a book by its cover.
With the arrival of electronic books, you literally cannot.
There are no covers.
Amazon introduced Kindle, an e-book device the size of an actual
paperback. For about $400, users can purchase, read and save a
virtual library of books.
A Kindle comes packaged with a battery charger, USB cord and
Advocates are touting the tool as the iPod for avid readers.
Almighty Oprah has proclaimed the Kindle her “new favorite
gadget.” Some even foresee such e-book products replacing real
I can just imagine the day.
Need to finish reading that sentence? Too bad, battery died!
Time to charge your book.
Want to give a friend the book you are done reading? Not going
to happen. Even though you purchased it, transferring files between
Kindles is not allowed or possible.
Spilled coffee on your Kindle? If this happened to a real book,
the pages would eventually dry and the text would remain fairly
With a large library stored in a Kindle, the gadget would
completely die and hundreds of your virtual books fizzle away.
Amazon is portraying the product as exciting and innovative, yet
Kindle’s selling points are anything but novel.
According to Amazon’s Web site, the device is “portable,
wireless” and “easy on the fingertips” because it never becomes
Last time I checked, real books also can be moved anywhere,
lacks wires and remains at room temperature.
In another feeble marketing attempt, users are encouraged to
preview the first chapter of each e-book before buying it.
Have advertisers forgotten that readers may freely flip through
and sample a real book in its entirety?
Kindles not only eliminate the agonizing, physical strain of
manual page turning with its automated scrolling feature, but
actual reading is no longer a necessity either.
A computerized voice can read text out loud, defeating the
entire purpose of literacy.
Real books triumph over their artificial counterparts any
Instead of enticing a stranger to strike up a conversation about
the interesting title you are reading, random people will most
likely assume you are the owner of an awkward, oversized cell
The economy and environment are two hot issues that the Kindle
absolutely does not help. E-books usually cost the same or more
than real books, and the electronic waste is much more damaging
than earth-friendly, recyclable paperbacks.
Dropping a book on the floor is usually no big deal; real books
are tough. Kindles would suffer similar fates of most students’
cell phones, constantly falling and shattering to bits.
Kindles and comparable devices will most likely break or become
obsolete in five years or less. Real books can easily outlive their
Real books are one of the last remaining entities that do not
come equipped with a computer screen and keypad.
Lastly, I greatly question the comfort level of curling up with
Do not write off actual books quite yet.
Keep it real.
Reach Annette Vitkievicz at
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