If e-books were first…

If e-books were first…

Note: this is a re-post of an article which originally appeared in this blog on 2009/09/25. I am scheduled for major surgery on January 17th, and I don’t know how quickly I’ll be able to write after that. So, to keep the content going, I am pre-scheduling posts. It’s possible conditions have changed since I wrote it, but I’ll try to lightly edit these when that’s necessary for clarity. 

Eric: “Hey, Paul, what’s that?”
Paul: “It’s the latest thing. It’s a paper book.”
Eric: (showing his Kindle to Paul and imitating Crocodile Dundee) “That’s not a book. This is a book.”
Paul: “Ess-atch-atch-atch. Very funny.”
Eric: “So, what do you have on there?”
Paul: “I’m reading The Stand.”
Eric: “What else?”
Paul: “That’s it.  It’s just the one book.”
Eric: “Is it frozen? Did you call Customer Service?”
Paul: “No, it’s supposed to be like that.”
Eric: “What happens when you want to read something else?”
Paul: “You buy another one.”
Eric: “What a rip-off!  What did it cost?”
Paul: “Twenty-four dollars.”
Eric: “Twenty-four dollars?! I’ve never paid that much for a book! Why does it cost so much?’
Paul: “Well, it’s made out of paper.”
Eric: “What’s paper?”
Paul: “I don’t know exactly.  It comes from trees.”
Eric: “Trees? Like, it’s a leaf or something?”
Paul: “I don’t think so.  I think they mash the trees up or something.”
Eric: “Gross.  Is it sticky?”
Paul: “No, not really.”
Eric: “Where do they get the trees?”
Paul: “I don’t know.”
Eric: “Let me see it.  Whoa, this thing is frickin’ heavy!  How do you hold it?”
Paul: “You get used to it. They sell stands and stuff for them.”
Eric: “Where are you going to keep it?”
Paul: “Well, I don’t really know. They sell shelves for them.”
Eric: “You’re not putting those things in the apartment!  It’s bad enough I’ve got to live with my brother, but you’re taking up enough room with those…what do you call them, BVDs?”
Paul: “Those are antiques.”
Eric: “Yeah, whatever.  So, I’ve always wanted to read this.  Make it bigger.”
Paul: “You can’t.”
Eric: “What do you mean, you can’t? Just push the button.”
Paul: “No buttons.  That’s what size the letters are.”
Eric: “That’s discriminatory! How am I supposed to read those little things?”
Paul: “They sell ones with bigger text. I saw this one for thirty-five bucks.”
Eric: “Well, that’s sold me…”
Paul: “They’re expensive. They don’t need that many people to buy them.”
Eric: “Definitely a niche product.  It still doesn’t seem fair.  I’ll tell you what: shoot me a copy and I’ll read it on my Kindle.”
Paul: “I can’t do that.  I’m not allowed to send it to anybody.”
Eric: “But we’re on the same account!”
Paul: “That doesn’t matter.  I only get one license.  I can sell this one to somebody else, though.”
Eric: “Good luck with that.”
Paul: “Ha, ha.  Hey, you got mustard on the page!”
Eric: “So what? Hit Alt+G.”
Paul: “I can’t, man. You messed it up permanently.”
Eric: “Call Customer Service.  Maybe they’ll send you another one or reset it or something.”
Paul: “Can’t. Once I buy it, they don’t service it.”
Eric: “This is never going to catch on.”
Paul: “I know.  I just love gadgets…”

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A version of this post originally appeared in the Amazon Kindle forum on April 17, 2009 here.  It subsequently appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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