Jeff Bezos, Amazon's switchboard operator


#1

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#2

I’m even thinking of buying a new Paperwhite to replace my old Kindle Keyboard. Ah, so many things to spend money on.


#3

I’d think especially those users are buying old-school books. They want books, and they want them in the format that makes sense for them. Books are only partially changing form.


#4

Until there’s an e-book I can read in the bath, I’ll still have to pick up paperbacks. I do like my hardcover books (there’s not a room in my house without some books, and one room dedicated to them) but, I’ll be honest, except for a few cherished ones, when it comes time to retire and downsize, I will probably let most of them go and exchange my library for digital versions.


#5

'xactly. People who read a lot (and varied) will run much earlier into a case where a book is only available on paper or doesn’t make sense as an e-book.


#6

An actual switchboard, complete with operators, would be hard to miniaturize; but I’d love to see somebody break out the MEMs technology and build an array of Strowger-style switches on the head of a pin. Pointless, certainly, since ‘line-switched’ systems are enemies of progress and have been almost entirely extirpated by superior packet-switched systems; but surely all cool-looking-but-technologically-irrelevant mechanical and electromechanical systems deserve a second life as adorable miniatures fabricated on fab processes?


#7

I read on my Paperwhite. Before that, a Nexus 7, before that, a Nook STR, before that, a Sony 505.

The only thing I buy on paper anymore are large coffee table style books, art books, that sort of thing.


#8

Why can’t you read ebooks in the bath? Live dangerously.


#9

I still do most of my reading off of paper books, but this “in the bath” argument is old old old. “I’ll buy one of those new-fangled auto-mobiles when they sell one that will go faster when I strike it with my buggy whip!” I bet most e-book readers and tablets are more water resistant than most paperback books, and if not, several manufacturers sell waterproof cases.


#10

I primarily use a shonky old droid tablet to read books these days, and as a result, take MUCH shorter baths…


#11

eeOr, it’s a bit hyperbolic to equate my not wanting to drop electronics in the tub to my being some kind of elderly Luddite! To be honest, I just hadn’t kept up with the e-reader technology enough to realize they were reliably waterproof now. (I’d seen enough water-ruined iPhones to make me leery.) Glad to know this has changed.


#12

Well, expensively. Though I think a good ziplock and some conductive material inside (for touch-only devices) should work fine.

Edit: But why bother with ziplocks, when water resistant sleeves cost about four bucks.


#13

Paper books may suffer from the high humidity and wet fingers alone, but will probably survive getting submerged. They just won’t look pretty afterwards, but that’s not being broken.


#14

Since getting an e-reader I spend a lot more money on books, both electronic and physical… but I think that’s more a sad commentary on public libraries which coincidentally have crumbled at the same time e-readers and tablets rose in prominence. When I was growing up or in college I used libraries exclusively. But where I’ve lived the last few years the local libraries are only open from 8 to 6 on weekdays and have no weekend hours. The same hours I work.

The main reason I buy physical books is so I can lend them. If more of my friends had e-readers, or if I did not have to engage in moral arguments whenever I sent them a file (“it’s no different than lending a book as long as we don’t read it at the same time and/or I destroy my copy”) I would buy only ebooks.


#15

I wouldn’t want to take my ereader to the bath, but I wouldn’t take a print book either. The idea of reading in such a location is foreign to me. I have no idea whether this is a statistically significant use case with respect to explaining sales trends. But, I have to grant you that a single damaged print book (even if it is a total loss) less heartache than a destroyed $100+ piece of electronics. Last time I went camping I took a print book for the same reasons, even though it was physically heavier.


#16

Zip lock freezer bags. I’ve never managed to actually drop it in the bath, but certainly works for keeping the moisture at bay.


#17

I’m planning to get one of these for that:
http://waterfi.com/waterproof-kindle


#18

Yeah – I recently read “House of Leaves” (don’t know why I didn’t until now), and was annoyed that I couldn’t buy it on my Kindle. But when I gave in and bought a paper copy, I completely understood why – I don’t think the various typographical tricks used would really work in an ebook, at least current ones.


#19

I can personally attest that reading a kindle in the bath is not all that difficult unless you are a very young child or are very old and frail


#20

Absolutely. Like Bester’s ‘Golem 100’ and Selby’s ‘Last Exit To Brooklyn’, the fact you have to almost physically fight the book to read it is an important part of it. House of leaves really took that to another level. I ought to get my copy down & re-read it…