Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Is that a Ferlinghetti in your pocket?

City Lights bookstore, San Francisco

After years of ebook-reader technical and marketing disasters, the Amazon Kindle may actually be the first with some hope of success (The End of Parchment, NY Times, December 22, 2008). But even so, I still think that physical, paper-bound books will still have a sensual allure that will remain a part of human experience. Some commenting on the above NY Times article (the "paper fetishists") agreed.

Coincidentally, the dimensions of the Kindle's screen (approx. 3.6 x 4.8 inches) is just slightly smaller than the City Lights' Pocket Poets Series (approx. 4.8 x 5.9 inches). This series (originated by Lawrence Ferlinghetti) is a perfect form-factor for small collections of poems, and is an especially good match for the Beat poetry which populates many of its volumes. (I only have three in this series: two Ginsbergs and one Corso.)

Wonderful collection. On the Amazon page for Howl (one of my Ginsbergs), it says, "If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to [this] book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store." But even if I had a Kindle (indeed, one might be able to store many Pocket books there) and a digital Howl, it would not be the same. (Or is that attitude too fuddy-duddy?)