Although Kindle sales have seemed strong since its debut nearly two years ago, the future of Amazon’s e-reader may not be rosy, according to The Atlantic’s Kevin Maney, who sums up the “Kindle problem” thusly: “[I]n aiming to provide both a great experience and supreme convenience, it has achieved neither.” —KA
On the reading experience side, the Kindle ended up on shaky ground, too. For people who love books, there are quite a few intangibles that an electronic device will never quite be able to replicate. For example, the Kindle lets readers down with respect to one subtle but powerful element of the traditional book’s appeal: its role as an identity marker. Pulling out a particular book on an airline flight or in a doctor’s office can mean staking a claim to being a particular kind of person. Likewise, the books lining your living room or office can tell others about your interests and background. But on the Kindle, no matter what you’re reading, all anyone else will see is an unchanging plastic device.
All in all, the Kindle ended up caught in a no-man’s land: it has a number of nifty features and convenient aspects – but also significant drawbacks and a high price tag. All of which leaves many consumers unconvinced that they really need to buy the thing.