Friday, July 30, 2010

Wanting Stuff

The world is full of stuff. Just stuff. 

Millbrooker Towers is no exception; in terms of the amount of things that between us Mrs The MIllbrooker and I own we're positively swamped with stuff.

And yet, it's so easy to be seduced into wanting ever more.

This morning in the Guardian, I read a puff piece about Amazon's new generation "Kindle" e-reader.
With my slowly deteriorating eyesight, I've often thought that perhaps an e-reader might help; adjustable contrast, clear text etc (there's an early review of the product here).

But is that just an excuse for buying more stuff that, truthfully, we can ill afford with looming builder'sbills for works to stop Millbrooker Towers becoming Millbrooker Folly?

The simple fact is that I do want one, but I also have to get over the outrageous pricing of e-books themselves. How can a publishing house justify this, for example (and I've purposely chosen a well known best seller): Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" is on sale in paperback on at the price of £5.15 (presumably they're not selling it at a loss); the e-book version is on sale in US dollars at $7.58 which equates at current exchange rates to £4.87.

That's a reduction in price to the reader of 28p for a product that requires no physical storage, almost no staff to administer it and no manufacturing costs. Someone, somewhere is having a laugh. At our expense should we choose to buy our reading material in this way.

So - I find myself in a quandary. I could find £109 for the Amazon Kindle WiFi if I want it that badly and, perhaps, I can justify the purchase on visual impairment grounds. But am I prepared to contribute to the boosting of the private profits to large corporations of this new format for the downloadable reading matter?

Answers on a postcard please. 

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