What’s this Kindle do? Must be short for kindling!

October 12, 2010

I’ve been thinking I may be in the market for one of those Kindle gadgets that let you read a book without risking paper cuts, ink fumes and other bookbinding dangers. I won’t boast, but 2010 may be the year I actually read a novel.

staples_display_official_300Problem is, I want to try it out first. Difficult, since they come from Amazon, which doesn’t exist in the real world.

So I was thrilled to see a press release last week headlined, “Staples Welcomes Amazon Kindle to Stores this Sunday.”

It boasted that Staples had “developed unique interactive displays that allow customers to experience and learn more about the all-new Kindle.”

On Sunday morning, I was there. I raced up to the display, grabbed the Kindle and began punching buttons. The image on the screen changed now and then, but after an hour or so I realized it was pre-programmed, and had nothing to do with buttons I was hitting. Nothing gets past me.

AMAZON/I asked a store clerk how to call up a real book, so I could experience turning pages, flipping ahead to the dirty parts and so on, and he said, “Sir, that’s just a display model. You can’t actually use it.”

Excuse me? I got my fat butt in here on a Sunday just to hold a non-working model that might just as well be a dog chew toy?

So the “interactive” display is essentially a traveling medicine show bottle of snake oil. You do get to hold it and watch a slideshow on the screen, instead of just seeing the Kindle next to some smelly flip-flops like in this publicity photo. Just don’t try to make it do anything.

Staples insists the display is interactive, “in the fact that it allows consumers to get a hands-on experience.”

USA/I disagree, since interactivity is supposed to be a two-way street. Let’s imagine going into a BMW showroom, looking to buy a sweet silver convertible.

Yes, there it is! It’s gorgeous! You tackle a salesman. “Can I take this for a spin?”

“No sir, that’s just a display model. You can’t actually use it. But you may sit in it and enjoy a visual simulation of what it might seem like if you were lucky enough to find one that moves…

“Whoops, you just missed Mount Rushmore, sir! Here comes the Alamo! You’re missing the interactivity! America is whizzing by!”

So anyway, if you want real Kindle interactivity, first you need to interact with a credit card… Damn! I just missed the Washington Monument in my silver convertible! I wish it had reverse!

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Top right: Staples display courtesy of Staples

Left: The Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi e-book reader is shown in this publicity photo released to Reuters on July 28, 2010. Amazon.com/Handout

Lower right: The Washington Monument is framed by cherry trees in bloom in Washington in April 2, 2010. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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Posted by What’s this Kindle do? Must be short for kindling! – Reuters Blogs | Bargain Ebook Readers | Report as abusive

I got my grubby paws on one of these devices last year, and actually quite liked it. I found out that you can use the free 3G internet access to surf the web, anywhere on the planet that has 3G cellphone coverage.
Oh, and apparently you can read books on them as well.

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

I have one and I really enjoy it. Two of the best features are the built in dictionary and the ability to buy books on impulse (you know those times when you really want to get your hands on the sequel to a romance at 2:30 am on Sunday morning?). Other perks – you can email pdfs to yourself, take notes, insert bookmarks, etc. Downside — no colors (sometimes it is hard to see textbook illustrations in gray tones).

Posted by I_dont_know_1 | Report as abusive

Mr. B. you shoulda just swiped that Kindle the person left by their flippy-flops whilst they were galavanting in the ocean! Then you coulda made a speedy getaway in your shiny silver BMW convertable!

Posted by iflydaplanes | Report as abusive

But if all my books were on one electronic doofer, what would I do for insulation in my stupidly cold house? Lining all the walls with bookshelves is my plan for keping toasty.

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

@CrowGirl – I see your point. There’s no app for that. Maybe you could contact banks and brokerages, telling them that you ‘destroy’ confidental documents at bargain rates?
Or you could tell small children that your house is made of gingerbread – apparently they make excellent fire logs, so the boss tells me.

Posted by Nosmo_King | Report as abusive

There is just something so wonderful about holding a real book to read. I think I will remain technically deficient. Just one more area of deficiency to excel in!

Posted by Onedoor | Report as abusive

Being an IT bloke, lemme tell you that Kindle and Sony Reader and all those are history now, iPad has changed the way we look at books.

Posted by fwd079 | Report as abusive

I’m going to join you Onedoor. I’ll risk the paper cuts and ink fumes, I love the feel of a book in my hands, the smell of the pages, the rustle of turning the page. Ahhhhh bliss!

If I ever won the EuroMillions I’d build a house with a library of floor to ceiling shelves, stuffed with books; complete with a rolling ladder. I really would!



Posted by egeria | Report as abusive

I, too, love the geography of books.

Posted by DoctorDoll | Report as abusive

There are free Kindles available if you look hard enough! Getting a kindle for free is a great way to test it out and then pass along what you’ve learned to family and friends considering making the purchase. Check out our website for more info!

Posted by washsavingsbank | Report as abusive


Because the way it looks to me, I can either try to win ONE free Kindle through your online sweekstakes, or I can get a Kindle if I start depositing $1,000 per MONTH in a checking account at your bank.

As good as that sounds, I’ll just have to pass….

Posted by rcbasler | Report as abusive

Hmm, interesting plan Nosmo. I’d need to mummify them though, and I suspect the salt and saltpetre would make it prohbitively expensive.

Posted by CrowGirl | Report as abusive

What's this Kindle do? Must be short for kindling! | Analysis ……

Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

Posted by World Spinner | Report as abusive

I agree with E and One… nothing like the smell of a new book… :)

Posted by Shra | Report as abusive