The death of the book?

So I wouldn’t have a crate full of books to carry on my trip to the west, I bought myself an Amazon Kindle. As I do with most things new, I took some shots for stock.

I took this and uploaded the pictures to Alamy two weeks ago. It made it’s first sale last night!

By the way; I’m finding the Kindle very satisfying. As an avid reader, I thought I’d have all sorts of printed page withdrawal symptoms. Not at all. Since I left I’ve read the “Stephen Fry Chronicles”, Keith Richards’ “Life”, Kipling’s “Man Who Would be King”, Thoreaux “On Civil Disobedience” (I was thinking of the Tasmanian pulp mill protests), and am presently in the middle of Gregory David Roberts “Shantaram”. The total cost of all these books was $36 (the Kipling and Thoreaux were free). The price on the last paperback I read (Greg Bearup’s “Travels in Caravanistan”) was $39.95.

While I wouldn’t predict the death of the book, I think traditional books are probably going to go the way of the vinyl LP or even the CD. There will be less and less of them printed and their cost will increase as they become more and more collectable.

I downloaded the Lonely Planet Guide to Australia before I set out on my drive across Australia. I’m using this every day as I travel.  The eBook  is $16 as opposed to $48.99 for the paper edition and the advantage of the Kindle edition is that it is keyword searchable. I’m looking forward to testing the download capabilities of the Kindle in the middle of the Nullarbor. And of course, as a travel aid and a photo prop my Kindle now becomes tax deductible…


Filed under Digital photography, documentary photography, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls, Stock photography, travel

11 responses to “The death of the book?

  1. You’ll have a blast in Australia. My wife and I really relied on that book when we visited Melbourne, Yarra Valley, the Great Ocean Road… in 2008.

  2. OK, so I just read your bio and feel silly, since you live in Tasmania. I need to get in the habit of reading those first!

    • Don’t feel silly. Some have been known to confuse Tasmania with Tanzania and to most Australians Tasmania is a foreign land. For me this is an overseas trip. I AM having a blast. I get a buzz out of travelling just anywhere, especially when you are paid to do it. I’ve got 6000km of driving ahead of me at a pace that I can set. No obligations other than to get home in early June and an entire continent in front of me. It would probably be superfluous to say, but I am very happy:-)

  3. I fear you might be right here, Rob, although for me it won’t change. I have been an avid reader all my life and can’t see myself with a digital box in my hands instead of a real book. I don’t enjoy reading things for a long time on the computer either, and costs will never change that for me. If I can’t afford new books I get them second hand or from the public library, who are happy to order them in. However as a travel companion what you are using is perfect without having the weight and bulk of lots of books in your car.


  4. I feel you are right …”Pads” are in, paper is out, and bound to get more expensive.

    Good post,

  5. I’m rather intrigued by the circularity of progress, John. Don’t get me wrong; I love books.

    To me the Kindle, iPad and most personal organisers remind me of nothing so much as the clay tablets of the Sumerians. The Sumerians were the inventors of the written word. They also used a stylus, though with touch screens these are already becoming superceded.

    The paperless society will arrive and the upside will be a saving of forests and eventually the elimination of stinking, polluting pulp mills. Resisting the move away from print is just pissing in the wind.

    Can’t you just hear those old Sumerians? “Nah, I’m sticking with clay tablets. You won’t catch me using that flimsy papyrus.”

  6. Irene walls

    Still think there is too much paper being used from trees.
    When you can grow 3 hemp crops a year, no pollution, no carbon loss + make material for clothing without fertilisers .
    There will always be paper in some form but please stop murdering trees.
    Can forestry workers retrain and save the world Rob, that would be my wish.
    I love my Macbook and read as much as poss on it but would be happy if the chunk of tree the Saturday Sydney morning Harold is hemp.

    • Not sure it’s quite that simple Irene. Sure hemp could replace forestry as a paper resource, but computers and ebook readers are probably just as bad for the environment as paper-making.

  7. returnoftheheroes

    How have you found the durability of the Kindle. My books some time slook liek they have been through a war zone by the time i am done with them. I am not sure if an ipad or a kindle could deal with that damage. But as you said book in australia are silly prices, i ahve now resorted to buyign all my books onlien from abroad.

    How have you found Shantaram? I liked it but i found his random 20-30 page bouts on his world phlisophy a little tiresome some times.

    • The Kindle has stood up well to my treatment. I’m not the kindest to hardware, even cameras get a pretty hard workout from me. I think the relatively small size of the Kindle…I’ve got the 6 inch screen model…probably helps. Reading yourself to sleep in a swag, means you haven’t got much room for the luxury of an Ipad or the 10 inch Kindle. Shantaram was the ideal read for such a long trip, though if I had had to carry even the paperback, I might have wearied of the philosophy. My arms would have been too tired from holding up that brick of a book.

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