Kindle (Part 2) – Function over form?

I had an interesting meeting with David Terrar discussing all things Cloud, gadgets and generally putting the world to rights. I happened to mention my new Kindle and that my wife, who is a self-confessed bookaholic, said she would never use one.

There is no substitute, she says, for the feel and smell of a new book and all that it evokes and reading from an e-book just doesn’t offer an equivalent experience. In this, of course (as with most things!) she is right – but it started me thinking about the way we adapt to technology and how what is important at one point in time, changes its emphasis as we embrace the current trend.

Take the LP for example. Those of us of a certain age will have fond memories of the experience of bringing home a new record – not just for the music inside the sleeve, but for the enjoyment of the sleeve itself and the write ups on the back.

With the advent of the CD, we felt that it was a poor substitute for the LP. But what the CD provided for the first time was that our music collection had become portable. Yes, a decision had to be made as to what music was going to be taken on a long journey but, nevertheless a music selection could be brought with you.

And then came the Ipod. The tactile experience of music buying disappeared entirely but what replaced it was the total portability the Ipod provided. It was no longer a question of what music you chose for a journey – you took the whole collection!

Will the same happen with the ebook? I wonder if the ability to take your whole reading collection with you on holiday or – in the case of the Kindle – the ability to choose a book and immediately download it will prove that function over form will win the day?