Much has been said about the coming of Apple’s iPad as the time-stamp for the impending death of Amazon’s Kindle. Point and counter-point have been given across the web, in print, and new and old media.
I, for one, I believe that the two can both peacefully coexist in the fast moving market of e-readers. In fact, I now own both devices and am equally pleased with both when it comes to the purpose that they serve. Read on.
Len Edgerly in his latest podcast episode of The Kindle Chronicles mentioned that he distinguished between the two users by the term “serious readers”; a term that just makes sense when it comes to discerning which device works best for each individual person. Serious readers are people who like to read books for an extended period of time. They make time to separate themselves from the world by immersing themselves into the world that they are holding in their hands.
On the other side, the casual reader is perfectly content to read just a few pages at a time whenever the moment hits them. The things that bother serious readers about the iPad are not a factor for casual readers. Screen glare, the iPad’s weight, and eye-strain are things that will rarely affect someone who only picks up the iPad for short bursts of reading.
This is where the poetry consumer comes in.
People that read poetry typically don’t sit with one book of poetry for long periods of time. Our readings tend to come in bursts. Have you ever sat down and read dozens of poems in one sitting?
For me, the battle between the e-readers purely from the poetry reading perspective is not a battle at all. It is as simply a choice of which medium is available for me to use at the moment I decide to read. The choice could be paper, a magazine, a blog, my computer, my iPad, or my Kindle.
Currently, poetry publishers are deciding that for us. Most poetry is being published traditionally (magazines, journals, books, blogs, and web), but a few publishers are riding the technological wave with their poets. Electronic delivery, currently primarily by PDF, is giving great opportunities for some. However, the selection on both the iPad and Kindle seem limited. In some cases it is because the publisher isn’t getting the books into the digital marketplace and in others it is the technological constraints of the market itself that provides a hurdle the the individual author must first overcome.
Here’s what I foresee in the very near future for the digital market. Application developers will pair with poetry publishers, both publishing houses and individuals, to create applications that dismantle such hurdles. Look to digital providers such as LuLu.com and others to lead from the front.
So, in the end, which device is better for the poetry consumer. Either. It depends on what your other reading habits are. Serious readers will prefer the Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook. Casual readers will prefer the iPad or one of the other potential tablet computers coming down the stream.
I am concerned with the poet who is seeking a means of delivery. I hope you consider all avenues to share your works.