I found myself sitting down recently with a relative of a friend of a friend, back on a break during her first year in college, and talking about my enthusiasm for the eReader concept in general and a few of my specific favorite features on the devices I own. When I mentioned web browsing, after the initial scoffing that I’ve come to expect from somebody who has trouble imagining an internet without bright colors and video, she got thoughtful and said “…but it handles text files really well, I’d imagine, right? I think I might need to get one after all.”
Now, I tend to view the browsing on these devices as a peripheral thing. I might use it to get a book for my Kindle from a non-amazon source or to check some piece of information that catches my fancy on Wikipedia while I’m away from a computer, but it’s a convenience for me and not a selling point at the moment. I couldn’t even imagine, off the top of my head, where one might come across large enough sources of plain old text files to make a sale on no other factor.
She went on to explain to me that one of her more esoteric interests was the reading of Fan Fiction based on her favorite books and movies. I won’t deny that this seems like an odd hobby to me. I’ve been aware that such things exist on the internet for quite a while now, in the same way one might be aware that there’s an Indian/Italian/Korean Fusion Bakery on the other end of town somewhere. You know it’s there for some reason, but it’s hard to imagine walking into it yourself. It seems, however, that there are gigantic databases of homemade work from rabidly enthusiastic consumers of popular media eager to explore the many imagined possibilities that the original creators never would have had the inclination, time, or sometimes even bad taste, to throw into the official story lines.
Putting aside the questionable moral ground on which the distributors of such things stand, since I’ll make the assumption for my own peace of mind that the majority of these amateur authors would desist instantly at a request from the owners of the properties they’re playing with, I can see this being a draw to these devices. It’s always fun to know that your favorite piece of gadgetry can be appealing even in unorthodox areas.