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When author meets Kindle

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If you're an author who makes his/her living from books, you have so many reasons to fear, love, despise, and/or at least be profoundly curious about Amazon's Kindle e-reader. And of course, if you're a writer, chances are you're also a serious reader. Could Kindle make you a better one? So wondered Nicholson Baker. "Maybe, I thought, if I ordered this wireless Kindle 2," he speculated, as recounted in the New Yorker, "I would be pulled into a world of compulsive, demonic book consumption."

So begins Baker's encounter with Kindle.  If you've wondered about buying one yourself, you might want to take this (non-too-brief but rather entertaining) trip with Baker.

It begins with his growing attraction the device. "I ordered a Kindle 2 from Amazon," he relates. Given the mountain of persuasive advertising he encountered, "How could I not?" It takes a whole page just to get to the part where Baker receives his Kindle in the mail. Opening it, he felt he'd "entered some nesting Italo Calvino folktale world of packaging."

Trouble began right away with the color of the screen. "The problem was that the screen was gray," he writes. "And it wasn’t just gray; it was a greenish, sickly gray." Baker continues on with a history of Vizplex, "the layered substance that makes up the Kindle’s display."


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