From The New Yorker:
The problem was not that the screen was in black-and-white; if it had really been black-and-white, that would have been fine. The problem was that the screen was gray. And it wasnâ€™t just gray; it was a greenish, sickly gray. A postmortem gray. The resizable typeface, Monotype Caecilia, appeared as a darker gray. Dark gray on paler greenish gray was the palette of the Amazon Kindle.
This was what they were calling e-paper? This four-by-five window onto an overcast afternoon? Where was paper white, or paper cream? Forget RGB or CMYK. Where were sharp black letters laid out like lacquered chopsticks on a clean tablecloth?
I showed it to my wife. â€œToo bad it doesnâ€™t have a little kickstand,â€ she said. â€œYou could prop it up like a dresser mirror and read while you eat.â€ My son clicked around in the Kindle edition of a Bernard Cornwell novel about ancient Britain. â€œItâ€™s not that bad,â€ he said. â€œThe map looks pretty good. Some of the littler names arenâ€™t readable. Iâ€™d rather be reading thatâ€â€”pointing to his Cornwell paperback, which was lying face down nearbyâ€”â€œbut I can definitely read this.â€
Yes, you can definitely read things on the Kindle. And I did. Bits of things at first. I read some of De Quinceyâ€™s â€œConfessions,â€ some of Robert Benchleyâ€™s â€œLove Conquers All,â€ and some of several versions of Kiplingâ€™s â€œThe Jungle Book.â€ I squeezed no new joy from these great books, though. The Gluyas Williams drawings were gone from the Benchley, and even the wasp passage in â€œDo Insects Think?â€ just wasnâ€™t the same in Kindle gray. I did an experiment. I found the Common Reader reprint edition of â€œLove Conquers Allâ€ and read the very same wasp passage. I laughed: ha-ha. Then I went back to the Kindle 2 and read the wasp passage again. No laugh. Of course, by then Iâ€™d read the passage three times, and it wasnâ€™t that funny anymore. But the point is that it wasnâ€™t funny the first time I came to it, when it was enscreened on the Kindle. Monotype Caecilia was grim and Calvinist; it had a way of reducing everything to arbitrary heaps of words.