From Micah White at Adbusters:
Argument one: The Kindle destroys the trace of the author. After the death of the individual author, books continue to live. They carry the trace of the authors life and thoughts on the page and show this trace through the physical existence of the book. If you hunt for books in bookstores instead of libraries, you may not realize that every age has bound its books differently, used different papers and inks and decorated the page in various ways. The materiality of the book gives us a taste of the author and the time when the book was made. Each book is different and an avid reader can often remember the color of their favorite book or the feel of its pages. The Kindle destroys this because it divorces the text from the book. It displays every book the same. While the text on the screen may changes the physical object in one’s hands stays the same. This has some troubling consequences for our relationship to the author’s words because what the Kindle really displays is one long book — simply a long stream of endless, digitized words.
Argument two: the Kindle destroys the community of readers which books engender. The Kindle has been devised by a society that wants to make profit each time a text is read rather than each time a book is purchased. In the old system, once I bought a book I owned it as an object. I could read it as many times as I liked and give it to friends who may give it to their friends. That is the basis behind public libraries, we all share books because we understand that there are more books we’d like to read than we’d ever be able to afford to read. This creates a community of readers who circulate books amongst themselves for the benefit of all. The Kindle is the end of that, no more sharing books, no more public libraries, no more sitting in a bookstore and reading a book without buying it. The Kindle is a prison for words.
Argument three: the Kindle denies the call to deep, meditative reflection. Books have a magic power in that they can draw us into the world of the author and make time pass quickly while we are immersed in the text. The book is the ideal format for presenting complicated, philosophical arguments that require the reader to pause between paragraphs and reflect. The Kindle is the opposite — it is merely a television for reading text, a computer that will distract us. Furthermore, the adoption of the Kindle will destroy the culture of reading that sets aside sacred places for study: libraries. The Kindle makes these special places unnecessary because it argues that the library will be carried in our pocket. But with the loss of quiet study places for the public will come the loss of the public’s capacity for quiet study. This is why some commentators have already reflected that the Kindle is best for trashy novels. But if the Kindle becomes widespread, all we will have is trashy novels.
The Kindle is the devil.