Rekindled

The debut of Kindle 2 might spell the end of ink

PHOTO COURTESY AMAZON.COM

Ashley Goetz

PHOTO COURTESY AMAZON.COM

Every so often, some new and outlandish technology spouts forth from the rabid imagination of some twisted soul and revolutionizes the way human beings go about their daily lives. The Internet was only the beginning, paving the way for advancements in media portability from cell phones to music players. Still, one medium remained largely unchanged by the technological movement: literature. The recent releases of assorted e-readers proved fruitless for most manufacturers, as bookworms across the country clung tightly to their trusted paperbacks. Now, the lovable megalomaniacs at Amazon are once more attempting to undermine the printed page with the release of Kindle 2 âÄî and this time, it just might work. The new Kindle surpasses its predecessor in nearly every way. At just over a third of an inch thick and weighing in at only 10.2 ounces, the Kindle is extremely portable, but the real treat is the free 3G wireless Web capability that allows you to download full texts in just 60 seconds. Users have the ability to store 1,500 books on the device and choose from over 240,000 books available directly from Amazon. Kindle 2 also has some significant advantages for the college student. Aside from the obvious fact that Kindle owners wonâÄôt have to lug massive textbooks across campus, they will also end up paying less for the books themselves. Amazon offers a multitude of textbooks for almost every area of study. Additionally, people can download free texts from a host of Internet sites like Project Gutenberg, which has compiled hundreds of works that are no longer copyrighted (goodbye painfully heavy Norton Anthology ). ThereâÄôs also a built-in dictionary, highlighting function and search capability that makes Kindle ideal for studying and writing papers. Of course, Kindle does have a few drawbacks. Many people just canâÄôt stand reading for long periods of time on electronic devices, and even though Amazon has incorporated the latest and greatest electronic-ink display technology, chances are good that there will still be some who are not appeased. The biggest problem, however, is the price. Kindle is listed at an astonishing $359 âÄî an amount that is almost unfathomable for those shouldering student loans. But, depending on the class load and the books one has to buy, the Kindle could end up paying for itself; English majors, ironically, may never have to buy a book for class again. One day, everyone might be walking around with Kindles in their hands; but for now, itâÄôs probably better that they arenâÄôt. As cool as this e-reader is, itâÄôs also ridiculously expensive, and right now there are much more pressing monetary demands. Plus, the technology is fairly new and has a lot of room to improve. Those that wait it out will undoubtedly be rewarded.