Amazon's Kindle is one of those little devices that started a revolution. It made more books accessible to more people than ever but also included quite a bit of collateral damage, to wit, the virtual sacking and burning of the nation's bookstores.
The hardest thing about revolutions, of course, isn't starting them, it's keeping them going. Amazon has worked hard to keep the Kindle current, tweaking the display, controls, and battery life with each new edition.
The latest edition, the Kindle Oasis, made its debut today and features, among other things, a cover that includes a charger-battery combination that helps extend battery life to months instead of weeks -- assuming you don't read much.
We're told you can also hold the Kindle in one hand. That sounds simple, but those of us who are more or less permanently attached to the previous Kindle, the Voyage, will tell you that it can be hard to hold one-handed without inadvertently hitting page-turn controls located along both sides of the screen.
The Oasis, by contrast, is thicker on one side than the other, creating a sort of natural handle. It works for both right-handed people and southpaws. Just flip it over and the right side becomes the left, and so on.
One thing about the Kindles -- they only do one thing: deliver and display books. You can't call a friend, play a game, or pay your bills. But in their defense, each generation of the Kindle has gotten just a bit slicker than its predecessor and thus displays books very well indeed.
They've gotten pricier too. The Oasis, when it ships later this month, will set you back $290 while the original Kindle was somewhere around $80.
One consolation: the Oasis includes a leather cover, which was an option for earlier editions.
A modest suggestion
For awhile there, it looks like Amazon was more or less giving away the Kindle to help it sell more books, which were once priced beginning at 99 cents. Now the books are more expensive and so are the Kindles, but those who are hopelessly addicted to reading or allergic to streaming videos continue to cling to them.
Oh, about those leather covers: they all come in dark shades, like brown, black, and merlot. Those of us who carry our Kindles around all day are constantly losing them because the dark-colored covers blend into most backgrounds.
Maybe we could get a canary yellow or flaming red next time? Or a "find my Kindle" app?
Shocking disclosure: We order our Kindles and pay full price for them, just like everyone else. No promotional considerations accepted.