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.)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kindle: Smoldering in the Uncanny Valley?

Brian Cassidy on Book Patrol wonders if the Kindle e-book reader is too good to be readily acceptible:
Perhaps some of the resistance among bookaholics to e-readers such as the Kindle was due in part to a kind of biblio-version of The Uncanny Valley:

The uncanny valley is a hypothesis that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost, but not entirely, like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. (Wikipedia)

Is the Kindle - in the words of this classic bit from 30 Rock - just a bit too much "Tom Hanks in Polar Express" and not enough "R2-D2"?

On this blog, we might rephrase this observation to wonder: will resistence to e-books increase, rather than decrease, the more they assume an iconic book's form? Our observations to date suggest that it will depend on the kind of book in question, and to what extent the e-application might be perceived as endangering its iconic status (or possibly even enhancing it).

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