If it weren’t for my trips I might never get an entire book read.
Waiting to board my flight, which can–and I am embarrassed to admit this–can stretch to hours if I follow the airlines instructions to get to the airport at least three hours before international flights, and by a miracle, there is no line for the shoeless walk to the frisking area.
Waiting, once I board the plane while the clueless masses of mass attempt to stuff their overstuffed carry-on luggage into the overhead storage already filled by the early boarders (why do I always end up with Zone 7 or 8?!?).
Waiting during the flight while I sit stuffed into the joyless middle seat.
And so on; yada, yada, yada. You know the drill.
But on the upside, and this may be the only upside there is, this gives me time to read.
If it weren’t for the transit time of travel, plus time at my destination I would never get through the multitude of magazines that stack up at home, along with the many unread books sitting lonely on my book shelves.
The problem is that my stack of virgin magazines and piles of books have become so daunting that I tend to become overly optimistic on the amount of time I will actually devote to reading them.
So what typically happens is that I get through the magazines first and then end up with my personal traveling mini-library.
And when I say traveling, I mean that very literally.
I have some books that have made their way by air–while in my possession–to much of Europe, a good part of Baja, Mexico, a few of the Hawaiian islands, and a good number of additional land-based miles while in trains and automobiles.
And many of these miles traveled are by the same books. I’m thinking about getting them their own passports.
Now that the airlines are not only charging for a second check-in bag, some are charging for even one suitcase, I need some way to reduce the literary volume that I schlep around while maintaining the allusion of culture by the book company I keep.
So, it was of legitimate interest that I followed the release of the Amazon Kindle “e-book” last fall.
The founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, heralded the release of this “reading device” in a letter to shareholders.
In that note Bezos made some interesting points:
“Anything that has persisted in roughly the same form and resisted change for 500 years
is unlikely to be improved easily.”
I guess we will see if the Kindle will change 500 years of history.
And Amazon has attempted to characterize the demographic that they are selling to:
“desktop computers, laptops, cell phones and PDAs have changed us too.
They’ve shifted us more toward information snacking, and I would
argue toward shorter attention spans.”
So tell me again..who is going to read all these e-books?
I have yet to see, let alone touch, one of this magical “book crunchers” so I can’t say this will eliminate my well traveled bundles of books, or at least put them on a reducing plan, if you will. But beyond the concern of running out of juice just as I get to the juicy part of the book, one little comment by Bezos has to be just slightly disconcerting:
“At the beginning of our design process, we identified what we believe is the book’s most important feature. It disappears.”
Wait, let me get this straight…you want me to spend 400 bucks at YOUR online sales outlet and your goal is to make my purchase disappear?!?
Well, that’s one way to lighten my traveling load…
…as well as my wallet.