At least, not according to author Nicholson Baker, who has written a long, occasionally pedantic article about his experiences with the machine for The New Yorker. The piece is full of typically florid Bakerisms: he likens the Kindle 2 to “a restaurant accordion,” refers to the “gray and Calvinist” typeface it employs, and complains about the page-turning deficiencies of the Kindle 1, which are “accompanied by a distracting flash of black as the microspheres dived down into their oil-filled nodules before forming new text.”
But the article is occasionally quite funny – offering, among other things, the title of an erotic novel that features “the mother of all orgasms” – and is a welcome respite from some of the more tech-oriented responses to the digital device. Baker offers an infuriating quote from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos (“We think reading is an important enough activity that it deserves a purpose-built device” – yeah, that would be THE BOOK, you chucklehead), and compares switching from an iPod Touch to a Kindle 2 to “going from a Mini Cooper to a white 1982 Impala with blown shocks.”
Baker’s ultimate conclusion is that the Kindle 2 is a viable reading device if the book is compelling enough to make you forget the device itself. He uses the example of Michael Connelly’s thriller The Lincoln Lawyer:
I began pressing the Next Page clicker more and more eagerly, so eagerly that my habit of page turning, learned from years of reading – which is to reach for the page corner a little early, to prepare for the movement – kicked in unconsciously. I clicked Next Page as I reached the beginning of the last line, and the page flashed to black and changed before I’d read it all. I was trying to hurry the Kindle. You mustn’t hurry the Kindle. But, hell, I didn’t care. The progress bar at the bottom said I was ninety-one per cent done. I was at location 7547. I was flying along. Gray is a good color, I thought. Finally, I was on the last bit. It was called “A Postcard from Cuba.” I breathed an immense ragged sigh. I read the acknowledgments and the about-the-author paragraph – Michael Connelly lives in Florida. Good man. The little progress indicator said ninety-nine per cent. I clicked the Next Page button. It showed the cover of the book again. I clicked Next Page again, but there was no next page. My first Kindle-delivered novel was at its end.