“I kind of am grumpy when I am forced to read a physical book…”

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, on why he no longer likes to read physical books:

I kind of am grumpy when I am forced to read a physical book. Because it’s not as convenient. Turning the pages … I didn’t know this either, until I started using the Kindles a couple months ago, I mean a couple years ago, I didn’t understand all of the failings of a physical book, because I’m inured to them. But you can’t turn the page with one hand. The book is always flopping itself shut at the wrong moment. They’re heavy. You can only take one or two of them with you at a time. It’s had a great 500-year run. [Audience laughter.] It’s an unbelievably successful technology. But it’s time to change.

This quote was transcribed by Carolyn Kellogg in the LA Times’ Jacket Copy blog from a video of Bezos in conversation with Steven Levy at Wired’s Disruptive by Design conference. Tim O’Reilly transcribed a bunch of other notable quotes from the video on his blog. You can watch the entire video for yourself at Jacket Copy or MobyLives or Wired Video.

5 responses to ““I kind of am grumpy when I am forced to read a physical book…”

  1. … and when their batteries die? I hate that. And when they come out with a new version and your old book doesn’t work any more? SO FRUSTRATING!!

  2. In my statistics class today, I handed out a normal probability table. One of the students asked if it was possible to get the same numbers using Mathematica. I replied yes, and demonstrated how, and commented that it was wonderful that we could replace a 3-cent paper table with a $1200 laptop computer running a $1000 math package to generate the same numbers.

    I’m dragging my foot on the Kindle. While it sounds fun, I’m afraid of falling asleep and dropping it, which I do at least once a week with a book.

  3. i love this blog. i also love my kindle. i, too, ‘get grumpy’ if i have to read print. but in the end, it doesn’t matter worth a d@mn. the important thing is to use the device that results in *the very most reading possible*. if you’re like me and have found that the kindle makes that happen, cool. if you always have print with you and don’t mind the weight — or, worse, unconsciously choose your reading matter according to weight, cool. just. read. as much as possible. as long as you-all shall live. (and print-people, do be open to an e-ink reader *eventually*, because it’s large-print on-the-fly — with *way* more titles available than actual large-print – um – print.)

  4. (‘worse’ should not be in the above post.. bad proofreading!)

  5. Of course, Bezos has to sell his Kindles, so of course he now prefers them, but…

    Gimme a break! Heavy? Can’t turn the pages with one hand? The book closes at inconvenient moments?

    There are two good arguments for going to this technology that are hard to ignore. One is, to make books we cut down trees. Right now that has a dubious ethical ramifications.

    The other is, or would be (I don’t know if any of the e-readers do this) is the adjustability of font size for those of us whose arms grow shorter each year.

    As to only taking a few on vacation…well, everyone is different, I suppose, but I only ever take one on vacation and rarely ever get all the way through it on vacation, but I don’t know anyone who has to take 100 + books on vacation, as if they might run out of something to read.

    Grumble grumble. The product will sell itself, there is no point in trying to render the “old tech” obsolete.