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BOOKS AFTER AMAZON | A morsel of Onnesha Roychoudhuri’s essay in the Nov/Dec issue of Boston Review


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Onnesha Roychoudhuri | Photo courtesy
© 2010 by Onnesha Roychoudhuri; excerpted from Boston Review (Nov./Dec. 2010)

Books After Amazon

By Onnesha Roychoudhuri

The man sitting next to me takes out his new Kindle. “How do you like that thing?” I ask. He instantly becomes animated, angling the Kindle toward me so that I can better see its face. “It’s great,” he says. “I can download tons of different books and magazines.” Then, eyeing my hefty, hardback of John Dos Passos’s USA trilogy, he adds, “Cheaper than that, too. $9.99.” There, our conversation ends. I am unsure of where I fall on the Luddite spectrum, but I’ll admit to inhaling the odor of leather-bound volumes. Having moved over a dozen times, though, I’ve also found occasion to curse their weight.

So, too, has Jeff Bezos. Bezos calls the Kindle a response to “the failings of a physical book.” He told attendees of a technology conference in New York: “I’m grumpy when I’m forced to read a physical book because it’s not as convenient. Turning the pages … the book is always flopping itself shut at the wrong moment.” His conclusion? “It’s had a great five-hundred-year run … but it’s time to change.”

To read Onnesha Roychoudhuri’s eye-opening, investigative essay in its Boston Review entirety, click here

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