My Kindle died a toddler. May he/she/it rest in peace.
This was not the first fatality in my Kindle family. My original Kindle suffered an even more tragic fate when it hit the bathroom tile and splintered into words gone wild. The warranty from Amazon saved the day but once: my first Kindle was replaced by a spanky new Kindle 2.
All was well with the world when my Kindle 2 was among the living. I could download it with magazines, newspapers, and books--and the all-important free samples of books without limitation--throw it in my backpack, and I was good to go. The wireless connectivity left me speechless: any papyrus scroll I wanted seemed to be within reach at any time of day or night. All you could do was read it in plain old black-and-white. No Pharoah ever had it so good.
But then my Kindle 2 went kaputski.
What happened? Don't know. I may have dropped it somewhere, or left it behind, or the man installing tile may well have borrowed it for the rest of time. Any way you slice it, my Kindle 2 was good as dead to me, an iconic throwback kick-ass reading device that became obsolete faster then you can say "Steve Jobs."
For months now, I have been professing my love of the Kindle thusly: "I will keep using this thing until it breaks or I lose it. But I'll never buy one again."
Sorry, Jeffrey Bezos, grand mufti of Amazon, purveyor of all things Kindle. The minute the iPad came out, the die--and the death of the Kindle--was cast. Publishers immediately threw off the yoke of subjugation and told Amazon they would not stand for oppressively low pricing that made books available for $9.99. Apple offered a much better path on the iPod, and Barnes & Noble and Sony threw their phat in the ring.
Overnight the Kindle became, well, quaint. But oh how I loved it.
I hope my Kindle is in good hands somewhere, somehow--but what I really need now is an intimate relationship with a full-color device that will let me read books, watch movies and television, listen to the radio... something that can be all things to all media.
And there's more. I have long been saying the arrival of multiple media on a single affordable device means the very nature of entertainment will change. Books will talk and do it routinely until they become unrecognizable as books. The same goes for the rest of the media: radio with have a textual (and even a video) element, video will become a gateway into multiple levels of complementary media.
Can't wait though I probably will. Chances are I will wait for the iPad 2 or some such, for what I see as something like the eighth generation of these whiz-bang devices. In the meantime I mourn my Kindle. Nothing lasts for ever, not even a new new thing that can't be beat.
Follow Michael Conniff on Twitter: www.twitter.com/michaelconniff