Iconic books are texts revered as objects of power rather than just as words of instruction, information, or insight. In religious and secular rituals around the globe, people carry, show, wave, touch and kiss books and other texts, as well as read them. This blog chronicles such events and activities. (For more about iconic books, see the links to the Iconic Books Project at left.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What Kindle can't do

Andrew Piper on the Book Report lists all the "booky" things a Kindle can't do or provide, including its visual and ritual functions:

The Kindle is not a visual experience. We are only just now remembering how visually significant the book and its history are. The Kindle takes almost two millennia of book design – from bindings to illustrations to typeface and layout — and ends the aesthetic experience of reading. ...

What do you buy when you buy a “book” on Kindle? This is a big question (with a nice recent scandal). As Baker says, “You buy the right to display a grouping of words in front of your eyes for your private use.” This too underthinks the way books have functioned as social objects throughout history. We share books, we excerpt from books, we quote books, we display books, we perform rituals with books. Kindle is not interested in any of this. Kindle relies on one feature of the book – that it is consumable – and makes that principle universal

No comments: