My friend just got a Kindle. Like lots of people, she had to wait. The electronic reader from Amazon sold out in 5 1/2 hours.

Some caveats: I’m not a techie. I love my independent bookstore. I love my library. I’m not one to chase after the latest gadgets. I’m not an industry analyst. I love holding a book in my hands.

But everything I hear about the Kindle has been over-the-top. There’s no back-lit screen. You can do all sorts of annotation. It uses the same technology as advanced wireless phones. Sixty seconds after you order a book, you’re reading it. It’s light and easy for travel. It stores 200 books. You can adjust the print size, a plus for readers with vision issues.

A great device for folks who live in the Bush with no access to bookstores. Anyone know if the downloading works in those areas?

Here’s what gets me really jazzed about Kindle. The publishing industry is broken. Warehousing and return issues in the unweildy hands of megacorporations mean that only blockbusters see the light of day, and out-of-print times are measured in months instead of years. But with devices like Kindle, books don’t need to be warehoused or returned. They’ll never go out of print.

A revolution? I think so. And one that’s long overdue. The paradigm is shifting, and readers will benefit.

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