Back Matter


What Amazon's e-reader portends, according to Nicholson Baker and Jacob Weisberg.

Given the current overheated media climate, it would be normal to call Nicholson Baker's very thoughtful piece on the Kindle a takedown or bashing--which would be a disservice to journalism (at least that variety still practiced by temperate and diligent reporters), Nick Baker, and even to the subject of his scrutiny, Amazon's electric reader. Baker, whose Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper is a wonderful treatise on books and archiving, has already made it clear where his preferences lie--though his careful thoughts and research on the Kindle are generous and amusingly detailed (in the way that Baker can be).

And speaking of intemperate journalism: In Newsweek, Jacob Weisberg, Slate's editor-in-chief, confided that for weeks he'd been doing all his recreational reading on the Kindle 2, and claims it offers a "fundamentally better experience" than inked paper: "Jeff Bezos built a machine that marks a cultural revolution...printed books, the most important artifacts of human civilization, are going to join newspapers and magazines on the road to obsolescence." Oh my!
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