Unofficial Guide to Kindle Hating

The proliferation of unskilled Kindle Haters threatens to give a bad name to this ancient and difficult art. This is a simple guide teaching practitioners how to rise through the various levels and reach the highest levels of Kindle Hating.

Warning: This guide is not meant for Publishers.

Kindle Hater – White Belt

First, ask yourself a few questions –

  1. Are you a bit annoyed that the Kindle is actually selling? 
  2. Do you think a device that does nothing except read is overrated? 
  3. Do you have a slight dislike of reading?

If you answered Yes to at least two of these questions you are ready to start training.

Focus on the Basics

You will focus your training and studies on three key areas –

  1. Abstinence – You shall not in any way use the Kindle or any of the reading apps. If you want to buy a Kindle or download a Kindle app just to be able to claim you know what you’re talking about – do so, but don’t actually use it.  
  2. Know thy Enemy and How to Attack It – Always focus on the obvious weaknesses – lack of color, it not being pretty like an Apple product, it not being open. Never bring up Kindle strengths unless it is to belittle them or question them. This means reading in sunlight, battery life, eInk, range of books in the Kindle Store, free Internet access, text to speech and other positive Kindle features don’t exist as far as you are concerned.
  3. Choose your Champions wisely – You are just beginning. Don’t choose a weak champion. Pick something strong like the PC or the iPhone.

At this stage you are still operating under the rules of logic and reality. It is imperative to stay away from any Kindle strengths. Have patience – soon you will be able to attack even those.

The best ways to practice are to write articles or comment on them. Avoid direct engagement. Do not engage people in the real world – you are not yet strong enough to face logic.  

Kindle Hater – Orange Belt

There are only two questions to ask yourself at this stage –

  1. Has your Kindle Hating grown to the point you are willing to let go of logic?
  2. Has your Kindle Hating given you the ability to ignore reality?

If you answer yes to one or both of these questions – Congratulations. You are now an Orange Belt in Kindle Hating. Most people have to actually buy 1 or 2 competing devices to reach this level – You made it on your own.

Hard Core Training

This is the time to quit if you’re not fully committed. There’s not turning back after this. 

  1. The first part is to find your inner anger and channel it against the Kindle.  
  2. Now let this anger override reality and all of the Kindle’s strengths. These are the things to focus on – eInk is terrible because it needs light to read, long battery life is terrible because plugs are always close by, having lots of books to choose from is terrible because it’s confusing, lower book prices are terrible because authors will starve. Find your own inner reasons – unleash all your anger and pain and fixate it on the Kindle.
  3. After this you will pick a new Champion. You now have to pick something other than the PC and the iPhone. If you’re feeling brave pick an iPod Touch or an Android Phone. If not pick an alternate eReader like the Nook.
  4. Continued Abstinence – Stay away from actual Kindles. Avoid using the apps too. These are all dangerous to your developing skills.

You will now try your first real life argument. Do not argue when an actual Kindle is around. Ideally argue in a big group where another Kindle Hater might be lurking.

Supplement this real life practice with lots of trolling at online sites and forums. Bonus points if you write a ‘I sold my Kindle and bought a Nook/iPad’ post at a Kindle Forum.

Kindle Hater – Brown Belt

You are ready to wear this belt when you have done the following –

  1. Actually touched a Kindle and been instantly pained by it.  
  2. Bought 1 or more devices that are Kindle rivals and actually read a book on them. 
  3. Had a real world argument (and hopefully won it).

Note that you shall still abstain from actually using a Kindle. You are not yet strong enough to resist the possibility that you might actually like reading on it.

Practice turns to Execution

You are now ready to wage a holy war.

  1. Find a few people every week who you can mislead about what the Kindle does.
  2. Spend at least 15 minutes every day commenting falsehoods about the Kindle at sites.  
  3. Make sure that no one in your family gets a Kindle. If need be buy them a Nook or an iPod touch to protect them.
  4. Find other Kindle Haters – do it in a very discrete way.
  5. Find a way to get into the secret Kindle Hating group and attend the meetings.

At this point you start channeling your anger at not just the Kindle but also at those who like it. Bonus points for ignoring the fact that their likes are just as valid as yours.

For extra credit find a newspaper or blog that will let you attack the Kindle. Make sure to write in very vague terms except when talking about the advantages of Kindle rivals. Remember to claim to own a Kindle (and do mention that you read on it occasionally) to maintain credibility.

Hang in there – soon even reading on a Kindle won’t affect your hate for it.

Kindle Hater – Black Belt 1st Dan

This is a belt that can be earned only in three ways –

  1. Making 2 or more people buy something other than the Kindle when they originally intended to buy a Kindle.  
  2. Convincing a Kindle owner that the Kindle isn’t a good reading device and have them second-guess their choice. Bonus points if this is done via an imagined threat like eye cancer from eInk.
  3. Inventing a new angle of attack against which the Kindle has no defence. Example: The keyboard of the Kindle results in carpal tunnel syndrome.

In addition you have to pass a crucial test – Find a Kindle and read a book (or at least the first 10 pages) on it.

Does the experience pain your soul? Do you have to fight the impulse to throw the Kindle against the wall?

If so – You are ready.

At this stage you should have left the realm of logic and reality behind. You no longer need an actual weapon to attack the Kindle. You no longer need an actual reason to dislike the Kindle.

Kindle Hater Black Belt – Nicholson Baker Skills and Steve Jobs Reality Distortion

It is now time for you to learn from the masters.

Black Belt 3rd Dan Nicholson Baker exhibited what a weaponless attack on the Kindle constitutes. Study his treatise carefully.

  1. A concept or construct is more powerful than an actual rival device. A concept has no weaknesses.  
  2. Your words are more powerful than reality. You can conjure up Kindle faults that don’t exist – that can’t even be checked for.  
  3. You no longer need a device to read. You don’t even need a book to read. Reading is done entirely in your imagination and the Kindle is meaningless when compared to that.  

Take the time to absorb these skills. Soon you will supplement them with the ability to distort other people’s thinking.

Black Belt (level unknown) Steve Jobs demonstrated the art of misdirection and illusion.

  1. If you cannot convince someone the Kindle is terrible for reading convince them reading is terrible. 
  2. If that fails, get them to buy a device that isn’t meant for reading.  
  3. Use the power of words to beguile people – words like magical and innovation make a device something it’s not. Words like previous generation and restricted make a good device bad.

Combine the weaponless attack skills with the reality distortion skills. You will need both. Remember that you are working against the odds.  

Kindle Hating is a Journey, not a Destination

After hitting the Black Belt Level of Kindle Hating a few of us are tempted to revel in the glory. A few even feel they have achieved all they could and consider quitting.

Do not let these twin evils affect you. Kindles are spreading faster than vampires (well, perhaps not Twilight Vampires). There is no time for relaxation my fellow Kindle Haters. We must act now or the work of our patron Saints will be in vain.

Enroll others in the cause. Donate funds to Steve Jobs (his $36 billion are barely enough to fight the scourge of Kindles). Buy $15 books from Publishers. Attack the Kindle forums daily. Write articles that get progressively more and more obtuse. Lament against the Kindle’s closed nature. Find new angles of attack and propagate them.

Kindle Hater – It is a badge carried with pride. Do not let your fellow haters down.

Kindle & Biased Reviews – Thoughts on an article on the Kindle

OK – I’m going to not be my usual polite self and blast this article. I’m also going to list exactly why i think this article (which if i read correctly is sent via email by someone from Compete to the Compete blog) bothers me.

 The link to the Article – The Kindle, amazon’s latest search traffic driver.

The first trend in the article that bothers me is the author’s impressive demonstration that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. Amongst other things he manages to say

  1. “Mostly a glorified book and newspaper, the Kindle …” 
  2.  “Clearly, the new reader appeals particularly to this demographic (30 something business professionals). Perhaps its ‘80s throwback design reminds them of a simpler, clunkier time with bigger hair… or maybe they just read more books.”
  3. “In its first two months the Kindle has done well despite its body-only-a-techie-can-love: the initial launch with a paltry number of units immediately sold out, and readers popped up on eBay with markups twice over the original. Just how tired of papercuts are consumers?” 

The article has a demographic comparison of the Kindle against the iPhone which is interesting although completely irrelevant since they are targetting COMPLETELY different market segments and are completely different products. The article has the graph. 

This brings me to the second trend in the article that bothers me i.e. without actually asking customers ‘why’ they bought a Kindle or looking at reviews in detail, the author merely states his assumptions and prejudices.

There’s a lot more i’d say about the post – however, its just a bad form of journalism and bad analysis. It seems that the author is not really doing a proper investigation into the Kindle and is instead merely trying to be funny. And he seems unaware of his lack of talent on that front.

I’d write more about this post – however it seems to me that I have already spent more time (7 or so minutes) writing on his post than the author spent researching and writing it. And Compete is a good company – however seeing amateur, opinionated posts like this on their blog makes me wonder if this reflects their level of work or is just an exception to the rule. I’m mindful of the fact that it is a blog post – however, it is a blog post on the Compete Blog.