E-readers are dead

Seriously, I am doubting my desire to ever have an e-reader or an iPad. Sure, they have a lot of really great uses: reading on the bus, reading when your relatives are bothering you, reading while walking around downtown to show off your e-reader or iPad. I still think that e-readers have the ability to revolutionize reading and reading devices by making it cool to have. Just look at the status symbol the iPhone has become. Heck, recent reports have it as a talisman of sexual… not prowess, but diversity? Actually, this sounds genius, create really sexy devices and market them to people who think they’ll get more sex if they own them (fetish? Or fetish? The links are SFW).

I digress… the simple reason that e-readers are dead is that you can’t use them when you are flying. Oh sure, once you get up to cruising altitude, you can switch on your device (one of kindle’s marketing points is that it turns on faster than any other device…). But the whole time you are buckled into your seat, either flying up to the magic 5000 feet or taxiing along the runway, all you can do with your slick reading device is stroke it. That’s not even the worst part; the thing that made me want to throw my feces at the FCC/airline/woman sitting next to me was the smug look on her face as she continued reading her book after I got told to turn my device off. Do you think that on the first carriage ride, everyone got told to put their books down before anyone could start their trip?

Further, they’ve stopped even pretending that there is any reason to have your electronic device off. It used to be the (obvious) lie that flight instrumentation would get disrupted. These days, they call out that your device will not in any way damage their ability to fly the plane. Please, just lie to me again, the maddening lack of any reason is worse.


E-readers are dead

4 thoughts on “E-readers are dead

  1. They even make you turn it off if it’s in “airplane mode” or whatever? Lame. Do they also make people turn off ereaders that have no wi-fi or 3G ability whatsoever?

  2. I flew yesterday, and they made me stop playing with my iPhone (Wifi, 3G) but didn’t bug my girlfriend Jess about her open and active Nook (Wifi, 3G).

    Problems I have with your conclusion that e-readers are dead:
    1. Take off and landing comprise a very small portion of your overall time in a plane, which is only one of the many places people read. I don’t tend to read during takeoff and landing anyway.
    2. People own e-readers to solve problems that physical books create, such as ease of acquisition, bulk, etc. Jess bought one because she reads 500+wpm and doesn’t like to lug around multiple books at a time.

    I propose a new conclusion: the TSA’s security theater is a waste of time.

    1. Sam, I agree with most of your points with some caveats. 1. it may be a small portion of some trips, but certainly not all. In fact, for business commuters, (Seattle to Portland, Boise to Sacramento, Sacramento to San Jose), those are significant portions of your travel time. 2. this is right on, I keep 100 books on my reader at any moment so that I can burn through a few a week at least.

      The initial point is interesting, though every device on all of my planes were asked to be shut off. This included an e-reader, a Nintendo DS and my airplane-mode phone.

      I agree that TSA security is bullshit, that’s really what this blog post is about, because I love e-readers and iPads :D.

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