iPad and Kindle live together in perfect harmony

Lightweight and more kid-resistant than the iPad

Our new Kindle 3 arrived yesterday, which raises the cost of my iPad to over $1,000, including the price of the iPad itself, the apps, the accessories and now the Kindle. That’s right, the Kindle. I’m counting it in the total cost because I had to buy the Kindle thanks to the iPad.

I’ll explain.

My daughter loves to read. I blame my wife who read to her every day from birth. “Park the crib in front of the TV,” I said. Six hours a day of soap operas and game shows won’t hurt her. Otherwise we’ll be paying for books for the rest of our lives.” My wife ignored my sage advice and now my daughter devours books whole and in bunches. She’s a reading machine and it’s all we can do to keep her stocked in appropriate reading material. (My wife saves the day by screening books. Otherwise our daughter might be reading Valley of the Dolls thanks to me. How is that book not for kids? I said. It has “dolls” in the title.)

Over the years, we’ve accumulated, and paid for, hundreds of books. We have books everywhere. On tables, stuck in the couch, on the bed, under the bed, falling out of the car when the door opens. Everywhere. But I grew tired of the clutter and bought the iPad to help reduce it, and to save money and reduce our carbon footprint.

My idea worked out great, but it led to my daughter hogging the iPad for hours at a time. Not only did I not get to use it, each evening I would open my email to discover individual Amazon receipts for the books she purchased, rubbing in the fact she was enjoying it while I stared at my 6-year-old Dell desktop. Not fun; I wasn’t happy. But a solution fell in my lap – or on my credit card.

Not appropriate for the child, but good for the adult reader

The new lower-priced Kindle 3 launched. I ordered it with the intention that my daughter would use it and my iPad would return to me like a long-lost dog finding its way home. And sometimes plans do go as planned. I am happy to report that I have been reunited with Sparky again (my dog name for my iPad) and my young bibliophile loves her new Kindle (which could be a dog’s name).

However, the only cloud in the sky of my cleverness is that I realize we’re about to witness the death of brick and mortar bookstores – just like we watched the end of Tower Records and other record stores. I have a bad case of deja vu. Why drive to a store to buy music when you can download it? Doesn’t the same apply to books? It does in my house.

Barnes & Noble and Borders stores are toast, done, finished, kaput. They’ll be closing in a few years, or less, I predict. They may still have a virtual store on the web, but the physical locations will join Tower Records in our memories.

This doesn’t mean paper books will go away. Independents may sell them, or Best Buy where CDs went to hang out waiting to die. Or we’ll just order paper books for our coffee tables from Amazon (free shipping and no tax). Or bookstores will reinvent themselves. But they can’t exist as is. Here’s why.

Last week, my daughter and I visited the children’s section at Borders, where I connected to their complimentary Wi Fi. Each time she found a book she liked, I checked for the Kindle version on Amazon. If it was available, I downloaded it on the spot. Yes, standing in Borders I shopped Amazon. That is a retailing model that cannot sustain itself. Well, not for Borders at least. Amazon on the other hand, well, their model looks golden, as does the future of e-books.

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Random Notes and Photos Related to Past Posts

The front page of today’s L.A Times includes a section and articles under the heading, “The Future of Reading.”

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fiw-0718-reading-20100718,0,2712081.story

Here’s an L.A. Times link with a podcast discussion of books and how they are evolving thanks to technology.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/readers/2010/07/future-of-reading-publishing-ereader.html

I include these links because of my recent post on the iPad. There is a lot of discussion going on right now regarding how technology will evolve the book, and whether eReaders will kill the physical book itself. Books have been around 100’s of years and have outlasted many past claims of their death. Yet, it’s exciting to witness this latest major transformation. My daughter may miss most of it because she may not remember what it was like before books transformed into digital files, though she’ll see plenty of reminders in the house.

Here are some random photos I’ve taken related to past posts.

Blind Pig on a Stick

This pink pig sits on a pole in Topanga Canyon. It must have been the figure head for a business at some point, though no business remains, or I missed it if it does. Now the pig stands guard as an oddity and mystery of old Topanga.

Fly little pig, fly

I decided to free the pig from its painful perch atop the pole. Thank you, Photoshop. I hope the lucky pig finds a new home now that it can fly away.

McDairy Queen or McDonalds?

When I saw the banner for smoothies at McDonald’s I almost crashed my car. I have yet to find out the ingredients and caloric count of these, but I suspect a plot of some kind. Healthy smoothies at McDonalds? Hmm, why am I suspicious?

Perhaps I am suspicious because “McDonald’s” isn’t printed on any of the advertising. Check out their web page and you’ll notice the use of “McDonald’s” is downplayed. “McCafe” appears more often. Interesting. Name change in the works?

Why do I feel like ordering a Frappe?

I believe subliminal advertising works. I’m not sure if this qualifies as subliminal, but it’s either brilliant marketing or overkill. How can you get through the line without noticing these on a conscious or unconscious level? The drinks look more tempting than anything else you might eat in your day. Let’s just eat desert all day long. No wonder my daughter wants treats all the time – the world works her over with tasty images of high caloric treats. Who can resist?

That’s it for today.

Stay well.

I Heart My iPad

After three months of torturing myself about whether to buy an iPad – tweeting my agony to my friends – I purchased one. And it’s better than I ever expected. It’s a game changer when it comes to how we use computers.

Now I can wear an electronic bag over my ugly face

The iPad transforms the Internet experience into a book you hold in your hands while sitting in your most comfortable easy chair, or on the couch, or outdoors at night in a hammock. Its ergonomics when reading Internet articles and digital books blow away a laptop’s weight, size and physical design.

I can place the iPad in more positions due to its design than I can a laptop. And it boots up in an instant, which is a nice bonus when you want to check something quickly, like Twitter, your email or a web site. (Why can’t desktop PCs and laptops boot up like this?)

Then there is the bonus of all bonuses for me: reading digital books.

I don’t like the feel of rough paper e.g. grocery bags. If I were a captured spy, wrap me in a few Von’s paper grocery bags and all the Agency’s secrets will be spilled. I’ll talk, just don’t rub that paper bag on my chest again. I have never liked the feel of book paper either, or holding a book and trying to get comfortable with it for a long period of time.

Reading books on the iPad is my dream. I can read an iPad one-handed by propping it against something. I can read while eating without pages flipping over. I can read while using two hands to do my flutter. I love the (almost) hands-free reading. I only have to tap the screen to turn the page. And they turn fast.

A blog post within a blog post

When I go to jail next time, my iPad will make the terrible experience of being locked up better. I won’t have to sit in a crappy hospital chair with my knees hitting the bed’s framework, my laptop sitting on the bed. I will be able to kick back on the crappy plastic bed and tweet and read blogs and books, and watch movies streamed from Netflix – all with one device – awesome.

I waited three months to buy an iPad because I wanted to teach my daughter a lesson about not getting caught up in the hype of being the first to own new gadgets. (Now the lesson is to wait at least three months before getting caught up in the hype.) However, I did research it and talk to friends before buying it.

And with those conversations in mind and some hands-on time with it, I knew my daughter and I would get a lot of use out of it for a long time. I did resort to using the “Life is short because I have CF” excuse to help make the decision – just a tiny bit.

Other than fingerprints, which are annoying, my daughter stealing it and some software quirks, there is little downside.

I expect that one day in the future, my daughter will leave for school, but she won’t have a backpack full of heavy books hanging from her shoulders. She will have an iPad or other tablet computer in her hand. And it will contain all of her school books, notes, dreams, pictures of her parents, dogs and friends. And every book she has ever read.

I’ll stand by the door watching her skip down the walkway, love in my heart, thankful there won’t be chiropractor bills coming in a few years from her lugging 50 pounds of books each day. How nice that will be. And I’ll watch as the happy trees shake their leaves and wave and say to her, thank you, little girl, thank you. Have a great day at school with your paperless device thingy.

What a wonderful world it will be.

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