Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just Press the De-Frost Button.

An article in this past week's New York Times stuck out to me about teenagers' disinterest in Twitter. The article goes on to discuss the latest technological and internet crazes that have not been influenced by the younger generation, such as YouTube or iPhones or electronic readers. Which is interesting, because a lot of the fuel for the e-reader fire is driven by the concept that younger generations are growing up reading -- books, news, etc -- on screens of varying shape and size.

Most teenagers I know don't know what a Kindle is and the idea of purchasing their college textbooks as an electronic file is repugnant to them. (I'm sure, for their parents who most likely are responsible for footing the bill for the purchase of these textbooks, it's a different story.)

Of all my friends and family I know only one person who owns an e-reader and who is excited about it. That's my father-in-law, a recently retired school teacher who is an obsessive reader of the New York Times and the New Yorker, who has spent probably ninety percent of these last two years since his retirement travelling the world. An e-reader for him makes absolute sense and if I were in his position I would most likely own one as well (although, probably not for book reading).

In an interesting post on the new lit-site, the discussion of the younger generation's e-reader malaise is boiled down to this snippet: "[Technology is] so much a part of our lives that we feel comfortable finding new ways to use it -- like Twitter or Facebook. But our parents can only understand it if they use technology to replace something else that they're already familiar with. So they feel comfortable reading books on a Kindle, but we don't."

I guess it's kind of like the microwave: you can heat food up faster but it will be tough to chew around the edges and still frozen in the center, which makes for an uncomfortable experience.

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