David Letterman isn’t the only celebrity who’s talking about the Kindle. In July there was a long discussion about the Kindle and the future of the book on the daytime television talk show, The View.
It was one of my favorite Kindle moments of 2010. Whoopi Goldberg is a big fan of the Kindle, and it sounded like co-host Barbara Walters was trying to understand it. But the show’s other hosts — both mothers with young children — worried about whether a digital reader might impinge on the time they spend reading to their children. Here’s a complete transcript of the discussion between the four women.
(The other two hosts are sitcom star Sherri Shepherd and reality TV star Bethenny Frankel…)
* * *
WHOOPI: According to Amazon.com, sales of ebooks are outpacing the sales of actual hardcover books. So is the book on the way out?
BARBARA: I guess so.
BETHENNY: I don’t want to read The Runaway Bunny to Brin on a Kindle.
BARBARA: Why not?
BETHENNY: I just, you know, I…
SHERRI: It’s not the same.
BETHENNY: I like the turning of page and the colors and all that.
SHERRI: When Jeffrey and I — we do — it’s a bonding moment. At night, he knows, “turn off the TV, mommy.” He goes to get a book. We sit in the rocking chair. He likes to turn the pages. He likes to point. It’s the pictures. I think you lose that as a child. We’re so viral with the Twitter. We don’t pick up the phone any more. We’re texting. And you kind of lose that personal touch, when you don’t have the musty books and the yellow pages…
WHOOPI: Very few people —
WHOOPI: — read the Kindle to their children. Most people still read —
BETHENNY: But that’s where we’ll go.
WHOOPI: No we won’t.
SHERRI: It just seems like —
WHOOPI: And here’s the thing. Giant books — think about it. Well, maybe this isn’t your experience. I love to read, as you know.
WHOOPI: I used to carry 30 books when I travelled. And so I’d have — and I bought bags — leather bags. 30 books, yeah, ’cause I read. I go on these long trips…
BARBARA: Well, she was on a long trip on a bus.
WHOOPI: I go on these long trips, ’cause I — you know, I don’t generally fly.
BETHENNY: Well, it takes me a month to read a book, so —
WHOOPI: So I — I eat books. I love them.
SHERRI: And you know, I think another reason why it’s outselling — the Kindle — is because a book — if you go on Amazon now, a book is sixteen bucks. And if you get it on Kindle, it’s eight. So you know, I think the price, as well…
WHOOPI: And also, I think you can carry your library with you if you go somewhere. And so I think people want to be able to do that. Books will never go out of — out of —
BARBARA: No, because there is a place for them in your home.
BARBARA: Books look beautiful. They feel good. That’s the great thing.
WHOOPI: Unless you decide to do it — unless you decide to buy it for children.
SHERRI: We were talking about young babies and toddlers. What about for kids who are maybe preteens and teenagers — that experience of having a book. You remember going to the library? The Dewey decimal system? That whole —
WHOOPI: Let me explain to you about books. You see these kids, how many books they’re carrying?
SHERRI: Yeah. They got a big —
WHOOPI: Do you see what they’re carrying on their backs?
BETHENNY: It’s going to be expensive to buy the devices.
WHOOPI: Actually it’s not, if the schools can get behind it. Because, what you can do is you can download your textbooks. And you can have all the books that you need. It would be great for young people. And real books — I mean, as long as kids are reading Twilight, they’re not going to want to read it on the Kindle. They want —
BETHENNY: Is the bookmark over? Is that’s what’s going to happen now? The whole bookmark industry?
WHOOPI: No. You have a different bookmark for the Kindle or the iBook or whatever you’re reading. But the greatest thing is people are still reading! That’s the most wonderful…
SHERRI: I remember our — my dad, the salesman came, and we had an entire shelf of the Encyclopedia Britannica. And that was the thing. We loved it when we got a new Britannica.
BETHENNY: You can look smart, too. You can have all these books at your house, and people think you’re really literary when you’re not.
WHOOPI: That’s why this guy — I wonder if this — that’s why this guy got into trouble. What do you think, Bill? I mean — did you hear about this Amish teenager who, uh — who crashed his horse and buggy during a police chase?
BETHENNY: Is this The Flintstones? What are we talking about?
WHOOPI: No! He’s facing charges of alcohol possession, and second degree reckless endangerment, and overdriving an animal after leading the police on a chase that ended when the teen crashed his horse and buggy! Come on…
SHERRI: He was Amish?
WHOOPI: He was Amish. And we’re worried about where the book is going?! Pooh! “Come on, now. Come on! Come on! He’s gaining on us! Come on, Christa, come on!”
* * *
And of course, Barbara Walters put it all into perspective. Not only is she okay with the Kindle — she’s not even worried about the police pulling over the Amish horse and buggy for drunk driving.
“Unless the horse was drunk, I don’t see what’s the big deal…”