I spend a good deal of my life in coffee shops--childhood trauma, don't ask. Anyway, one of the regular stops on my beat is the Palooklaville Barnes & Noble where the good folks provide a warm and comforting venue for meditation and silent study. They've got WiFi but it's paywall and even so addicted a web reader as I ought to be able to stay off line for just a few hours, not so?
But yesterday, I tried a little experiment. I prowled the aisles packin' my still-damp new Christmas Kindle. When I saw a book that caught my fancy, I punched it up on the Kindle to see what I could learn from Amazon. And here's the killer: Amazon jumps the paywall. You straight through from the keyboard to Amazon without so much as a hiccup.
Next thing I learn: about half the items that caught my fancy were not available on Kindle. Others arrested my attention perhaps only because they were on Kindle, i.e., I wouldn't have paid much attention otherwise.
But in time I ran across Graham Howe, The Discovery of France, which my friend Michael had been touting just last week. Retail $17.95. With my B&N discount card, I could shave off 10 percent off that, but then I'd have to pay sales tax. I could get it on line from B&N at $14.53 but then I might have to pay shipping.
But here it is on the Kindle. $9.99. Thunk, pause done: on board and waiting for action. I put the paper copy back on the shelf. I went and bought myself a tall Americano and settled down with the Kindle to read.
This cannot be good for Barnes & Noble.