Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kindle Sucks

A year ago, I wrote an article for my column in the school newspaper, "The Green Scene," which ripped the Kindle apart. In my humble and completely un-biased opinion, it was an awesome article and it took into account both sides of a product.

Here's the article if your interested: http://www.dailycampus.com/focus/the-dark-truth-behind-the-kindle-1.1109918

If you check out the comments section of that article, you'll see that people HATED the article. They literally thought that I was Satan disguised as a UConn student parading around and flinging McDonald's wrappers into the air to litter the campus. One person even heard me and a friend talking about the article, and randomly interjected, "Are you talking about the Kindle article? That was the biggest piece of shit I've ever read in my life." I told him I wrote the article and asked him to substantiate his opinion. He sulked away extremely embarrassed.

ANYWAY, i readdressed the topic in my article this week, and I'm excited for it to be published, but it goes into textbooks this time.

Here it is:

The very first article to kick off “The Green Scene” essentially bashed the Kindle. I spoke of the potential hidden ramifications of when it dies and you throw it away and leave it to rot in a landfill.

I still don’t trust this little machine, but it takes on a whole different meaning when it comes to textbooks.

I look at my roommate’s two enormous organic chemistry books and I couldn’t help but think that squeezing that content onto a Kindle would not only save her poor, suffering back, but also save her impending financial crisis from forking out thousands of dollars to the Co-Op.

When I think of the sheer mechanics of lugging a 10-pound book around, I immediately favor Kindles pursuing world domination, starting with UConn because I would willingly oblige. But then I consider all the things I actually wouldn’t be able to do on a kindle, and how much I mark some of my textbooks within an inch of their semester-long lives.

“I think it would be useful to have a light, portable option, but it would be difficult to have the conventional tools of being able to highlight, bookmark, et cetera,” said Kate White, a 5th semester animal science major.

How would I flip between page 27, which has the detailed picture of the Parasympathetic Activation System and page 890, which has its definition? How would I make long and pointless reminders to myself in the margins? Defacing a kindle by highlighting the little plastic screen would probably be ineffective, not to mention a poor choice, economically-speaking.

“I think the status quo is fine right now. There’s no need to further complicate our lives as it is. I think at some point in the future we’ll come up with something better than that stupid thing to read books on,” said Dillon Kearns, a 7th semester political science major.

That trailblazing prophecy may be true, considering using a Kindle may not even save you that much money.

In the summer of 2009, Kindle introduced its bigger-faced version specifically designed for academic purposes, but it cost $489 (a regular Kindle costs $359). Factoring in the cost of e-textbooks, you may end up saving some cash over the course of several semesters, but some people spend significantly less than that on their books, particularly when they get them from Chegg.com or Amazon.com

And what about passing your books off to your friends? There’s no way to sell a book or create a “used” book option, basically ensuring publishing companies a monopoly and the ability to slap a single, astronomically high price on a textbook since you can only obtain it from one place. That’s Communism, kids.

The moral of this story is that, much like the credo of the very first article for this column, there is more to the Kindle than meets me eye. There are a few obvious advantages to simplifying and consolidating all your textbooks, but when you consider how differently you treat a textbook compared to a regular book, it couldn’t work.

Or maybe you’re one of those people who doesn’t even buy the textbook, let alone highlight it. In that case, you’re the most eco-friendly person out of all of us, so keep up the good work, tiger!

So there you have it. The Kindle still fucking sucks. It will never not suck.