Books, Gotham City & All That Jazz

I'm back!

Just came back from five nights in NYC and boy was it hectic. I'm a serious nerd, I love computers, yes I do, but the technology holiday was worth its weight in gold. My wrists feel amazing, my eyes relaxed, the only news I consumed was who was doing who on Maury.

I also had a bit of a book holiday - didn't do anything seriously literary, unless you count some aimless browsing in The Strand, Borders and Barnes & Noble. Like it or not, though, I did get a much needed sense of how Americans interact with books in terms of the sales channels they buy them in and the ads they see.

Let's start off with an easy one, the above ad for the M-Edge Kindle covers. This photo was taken last week on the B train that runs north-south on the west side.This wasn't one lonely ad, that particular car (and several others I encountered later) was plastered in them.

Maybe, being Canadian, I'm not used to book-related ad campaigns of this magnitude but these ads told me that the Kindle is gaining ground and serious about doing so (M-Edge also makes covers for the Sony, among others, but the Kindle was the only reader featured in these ads).

I didn't see a single Kindle in use while I was there but I have a feeling that if I whipped out my Sony E-reader in NYC I wouldn't get badgered with questions the way I do here (in Toronto it's kind of like I've stepped out of the future).

Two questions: first, the Amazon has its toehold, does the average reader really care about drawbacks the bookish community has identified (i.e. withdrawing already purchased books due to copyright issues, having its own file format)? Second, can the Kindle succeed as a status symbol, by being fashionable (i.e. M-Edge accessories), or is this not enough to overcome the popular attachment to the physical product?

More NYC-related posts to come!

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