The many kinds of Kindleers

The many kinds of Kindleers

We were one.

That didn’t last, though.

Starting in November of 2007, and continuing until February of 2009, there was pretty much one kind of Kindleer. That’s how long it was from the release of the first Kindle until the release of the Kindle 2…when the fragmentation began.

Oh, I remember the demands to keep the two forums on Amazon separate. The Kindle 2 was a very different device, introducing text-to-speech to the line, for one. However, it was also seen as a step backward in two big regards: no user-replaceable battery, and no SD card slot.

The two camps faced off: those rugged pioneers who insisted that having a Kindle without an SD card was like going into the rain forest without a machete, and those who thought the Kindle 1 was as boxy as a 1950s RCA TV set.

In some households, they got along with each other. After all, they probably shared 80% of their functionality.

However, March 4th introduced a brand new faction: the Kindleless Kindleer. That’s when Kindle for the iPhone was released.

“Eww!” said the E-Inkers, “You are going to read on a tiny backlit screen? It hurts my eyes just to think about it.”

“Dude,” said the iKindleers. “iPhone.”

The big Kindle DX entered the scene in May, with a promise of great textbook integration. The DX lovers weren’t many, but they were (and are) enthusiastic.

On October 22, the Kindle for PC app was released.

E-Inkers: “Reading on a computer? You’re kidding me!”

iKindleers: “Dude. iPhone.”

PCers: “I can get forty bestsellers for what you paid for that tiny status gadget with its data plan or that doorstop…which one of loves books more?”

At least, the Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 folks had bonded over their love of an unlit screen…until the Kindle 2 started to getting things the Kindle 1 didn’t.

Native pdf support.

Landscape.

International models.

And then, the mighty wedge…on August 3, 2010, the Kindle 2 got active content. Two games, Shuffled Row and Every Word…and the Kindle 1ers said that was the end of the literate exclusivity of the Kindle…the Kindle 2ers were evicted from the “Garden of Readin'” by the temptation of the app(le), and the Kindle 1ers were done with them.

On July 28th of 2010, Amazon had introduced the Kindle 3…and, well, everybody was okay with that. 😉 Pretty much…let’s say it was mostly seen as an improvement over the Kindle 2.

On April 11, 2011, another huge split was dropped, deus ex marketing, on the community…ad-supported Kindles! “Ads on my Kindle? No way!” “Um…you don’t watch network TV? It’s kind of the same thing…and the ads aren’t in the books. Cheaper Kindles…what’s wrong with that?”

September 28, 2011, brought the next horror/wonder…a touchscreen Kindle.

A Kindle without keys? That was the best/worst thing so far!

That’s also when they introduced the “Mindle”…the first Kindle without sound. No audiobooks, no music, no text-to-speech.

The keyboardless kindle and “I have no mouth and I must scream” models weren’t the most head-spinning things that day, though.

Fire.

Kindle Fire.

A backlit tablet that did video…and yet, called itself a Kindle.

That was the biggest rift ever…and one that still hasn’t healed.

Some of the E Inkers felt betrayed.

It was as if your e-mail provider sent you their annual report on paper, or your compostable tableware arrived in a non-biodegradable bag.

They wouldn’t sit with those tablet toters at lunch, that’s for darn tootin’!

I think, though, we’ll most people will eventually accept that we are really all bound together by one thing: our love of reading.

Whether it’s backlit, frontlit, candlelight, or a flashlight under the covers, we are  all connecting with other human beings through the amazing power of literature. You can read it with your eyes, hear it with your ears, or feel it with your fingers…a book is a book is a book.

While it may be true that, as Edmund Wilson said, “No two persons ever read the same book,” that doesn’t mean that we don’t all read them…and does it really matter so much how we do it?

Books aren’t upset about how you read them…they welcome every reader. That’s how I feel about it, too. 🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin first appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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6 Responses to “The many kinds of Kindleers”

  1. Evan Says:

    Out of the couple of years of posts I’ve followed, this is one of my faves. Nice take on the ideological stances people are willing to take over just about anything.

    (Oh yeah, and… Go Paperwhite!! Rah Rah Rah!!)

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Evan!

      I’m really glad you liked it! I was a little worried that some people might see it as an attack on “their side”. 😉

      There was a time when Mac users were in a clear minority when I was training software, and in some classes, we would have both Windows and Mac users. When I spoke to other trainers, I would tell them, “Always address the Mac users first, even if there is only one of them and ten Windows users. The Windows users won’t be offended by being addressed second, but the Mac users might be.” I modified an old joke for that:

      Q. “How many Mac users does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”
      A. “One…and that’s not funny!”

      That joke can be used for many groups who see themselves as being perceived as the oddballs, particularly if they might be known for being defensive about their beliefs.

      Over time, the Apple fans became the cool kids. I suppose I could now do it this way:

      Q. “How many Apple users does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”

      A. “None…there’s an app for that.”

      🙂

      I also do really like the Paperwhite, except, for me, the fatal flaw of not having text-to-speech (since it doesn’t have audio at all).

      I think you might also enjoy episode 4 of Red Dwarf…no additional cost if you have Amazon Prime:

      Season 1, Episode 4 Red Dwarf

      • Evan Says:

        Thanks for the push to Red Dwarf… it’s been on that long list of shows I mean to get to and I ‘m glad to report I’m already well into season 1… and re splintering of aligned groups, a favorite bit from Python that I’m assuming you must already know: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb_qHP7VaZE The Judean People’s Front. (nsfw language, obviously.)

        Cheers,
        Evan

  2. thingsajillion Says:

    LOVED this post! This was my favorite line: “Garden of Readin’” by the temptation of the app(le)

  3. Poll Party #4 | I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] Fun and information about the Kindle and the world of e-books « The many kinds of Kindleers […]

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