Amazon.com introduced the Kindle 2, a new version of its electronic book reader, yesterday, and it will go on sale later this month.
It can store 1,500 books from a library of 230,000 titles, yet it is only about as thick as a pencil, has a 15cm screen and weighs less than an average paperback book (about 280gm).
Since one entire wall in our lounge is filled to bursting with books I can definitely see the appeal of something this small.
The super-gadget uses 3G wireless technology and sells for about R3,500 but once you’ve bought it, that’s it, you have access to all those juicy books.
Whatever device is used, reading a book on an electronic screen no longer seems to be considered bizarre, even for older readers. When Oprah Winfrey showed hers off on TV last year and proclaimed it her "new favourite thing in the world," demand was such that Kindles sold out all over America.
Is this the end of books as we know them? Well, they said that when the first version of Kindle came out but I think it may take a while to filter through to the Eastern Cape.
In fact, a call to our own Fogarty’s Bookshop at Walmer Park met with blank responses “what’s that?” said two of the staff and even the erudite Theresa didn’t know anyone in PE who owns one. Do you know anyone who has one?
I can see the appeal, though ... except now no one will know how clever you are any more because you won’t have a single book in your house.