By Edward Nawotka
Here’s something I don’t get to write that often: Stephen King agrees with me (sort of). It the April 2 issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine, King devotes his pop culture column — this week’s title is “Inspector of Gadgets” — to the forthcoming iPad. As you might remember, King was himself a pitchman for the launch of the Kindle 2 — he even went so far as to pen an original short story called “Ur” about the Kindle itself. (He jokes in the article that he should have written a story called “The Monster That Ate the Book Biz.”)
So, what’s Stephen’s take on Apple’s Amazing Machine:
I have no plans to get an iPad. I know it will do more things than my Kindle, but I don’t want more things. If I want other stuff — movies, TV shows, weather forecasts, the forthcoming Josh Ritter album — I have my Mac. When it comes to reading, the Kindle supplies everything I want, thanks.
Which, surprisingly, is more or less what I said earlier this year myself.*
That said, King isn’t totally enamored with his Kindle and he complains that footnotes are “difficult to access on the Kindle” (woe is he who tries to read David Foster Wallace on a Kindle), the “black-and-white” covers are “blah,” and that he wasn’t able to read several handwritten letters that were integral to the plot of a recent Minette Walters mystery. (For improving e-books as they are, see what Kassia Krozser wrote here in January.)
…and the Kindle can’t be dropped into the toilet by accident.
What does King prefers for dropping in a toilet? Real books. Oh, and, apparently, he also prefers them for furnishing a room.
But when all is said and done, it’s the deck headline that summarizes how King really feels about the situation: “The Kindle certainly has its charms, but e-readers can never fully replace books.”
I wonder, has King ever created a monster out of an actual book? One that eats people after they finish it, or perhaps is so compelling that it causes debilitating sleeplessness, or is simply so outrageous it causes people to go crazy? Stephen, if any of these ideas appeal to you, call me. “The Book That Ate the Book Business”…How’s that sound for a title?
*Honestly, at this point, I think I want both an iPad and a Kindle, but I want the iPad for some of those fantastic magazine prototypes and for newspapers, which are both things I don’t particularly think the Kindle does all that well. Like this footnote.