Dear Amazon Guy

Reading an excellent short story by Kristine Kathryn Rusch on le Kindle.

Reading an excellent short story by Kristine Kathryn Rusch on le Kindle.

A writer pal of mine just got a job at Amazon, writing for their blog Omnivoracious, among other things. He’s actually the second friend to have landed a job with the online retailer. My publisher at Random House, the fellow who unleashed The Money Book for Freelancers on the world, later left RH to take a job in Bezosland.

Dear Amazon Guy:

I noticed two things about life with a Kindle.

Many times when I'm reading a real book, I get an urge to check something out in another part of the book. When was this published? Where's the author live again? Is this footnoted well? When this happens, I keep one finger in the spot where I was reading, and flip to the other part of the book I need to check, then go back to my finger. Takes two seconds. With the Kindles, at least the one I have, I have to push at a bunch o’ buttons (three to go to the spot I want, and god knows how many to scroll to the page I saw that thing on, and at least one to get back to the main page, and a few more to get back to the spot where I was reading). This is lot of steps, so consequently, I don't do it as much. Which is funny, because the format is digital and that usually implies being able to break out of the media’s linearity. Think of what a hassle it was back in the day to find the song you wanted to hear on a cassette tape. Mp3s changed that. But for some reason with ebooks, I still feel locked-in.

Another thing: When I read a hard copy book late at night, I'll sometimes get a second or third wind and I can keep reading virtually all night without ever getting sleepy. I find I doze off more with the Kindle. Am I reading more boring books or is the device's much-lauded non-glare screen the culprit? I’m no scientist but I can imagine that the light of my bedside lamp reflected on white pages is more likely to keep me awake than the Kindle's screen.

Does this happen to you? Am I normal? Can you check in with your in-house behavioral/cognitive scientists and get back to me?

Also, the last book you mailed me arrived dinged in the box. Can you send me a new one?

Your bud,


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