The Kindle, the iPad, Walt Whitman, and Iran

We are on the cusp of a future already rewriting itself…

Today Apple finally released their iPad – a tablet-sized device that’s the same size (and price) as a Kindle DX. As I argued last week, this proves that the tablet-sized reader is here to stay. And in honor of today’s milestone, there was some interesting perspective from an Iranian-American journalist on The Huffington Post.

To me, Kindle is like the first Black and White TV that showed up in living rooms, the kind that streaked like a zebra in motion and crackled like a kid’s walkie-talkie, the kind that required antennae-fiddling to get a clear picture and decent sound, the kind that families increasingly bought and sat around.

As primitive as it is, it’s the first wave of a much bigger change. Digital readers will become part of our lives, and (as Charlotte Safavi writes), “When it comes to books, I have come to terms with the fact that it is the written word that counts, not the medium upon which it is delivered.”

And I was touched by the example she used: the epic 19th-century poetry collection “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman.

It avails not, time nor place–distance avails not,
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence…

I was touched because I was just reading that very poem this Saturday.

And yes, it is available for free on the Kindle

One thought to “The Kindle, the iPad, Walt Whitman, and Iran”

  1. First wave? Don’t you remember me reading books on my Newton? That was Apple’s original iPad. ;-)

    I’d also like to say that I’m certain that digital readers will not kill the book. With any luck, digital readers will make books better by killing the weak. Most paperbacks with their poor typography and lousy paper deserve to be killed by the digital reader, which will leave quality books the only thing standing. I can’t imagine a digital reader ever rising to the quality of a well-made book, but most books are not well-made, so there’s not much point in saving them.

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