01 August 2009

Nicholson Baker trashes Kindle

Ranting (with humour) in the New York Times Baker reserves his only positive words for the plug "...extremely well designed, in the best post-Apple style. It was a very, very good plug." Otherwise he is caustic about Kindle's grey on grey typography, lack of object quality, loss of illustrations etc.

Trying out the Times on the Kindle DX he comments that it "...lacks most of the print edition’s superb photography—and its subheads and call-outs and teasers, its spinnakered typographical elegance and variety, its browsableness, its Web-site links, its listed names of contributing reporters, and almost all captioned pie charts, diagrams, weather maps, crossword puzzles, summary sports scores, financial data, and, of course, ads, for jewels, for swimsuits, for vacationlands, and for recently bailed-out investment firms. A century and a half of evolved beauty and informational expressiveness is all but entirely rinsed away in this digital reductio."

He is kinder about the eBook Reader, commenting that at least Sony know a thing or two about product design, but also because of their more open business model. And, he can see a future for Kindle on the iPhone "The nice thing about this machine is (a) it’s beautiful, and (b) it’s not imitating anything. It’s not trying to be ink on paper. It serves a night-reading need, which the lightless Kindle doesn’t." Hmm, just at the point where quitting the iPhone seems to be the latest thing to do.

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