Jeff Bezos wrote:
A strange thing happened on the way to the paperless society. We humans created more paper than ever before. Computer printers (and their evil companion, the ink-toner cartridge) have proliferated, and most of us routinely print out and lug around loads of personal and professional documents. Why? It’s not that buying printers or changing ink-toner cartridges is fun. It’s because reading on paper is better than reading on traditional computer displays. Printing has been worth the hassle.
(It’s currently on the Amazon home page, but I didn’t see a permanent link.)
Reading on paper is better than reading on traditional computer displays? There was a time when that was certainly true, but it hasn’t been true in a long time.
Why do I print things out? There are a lot of factors, of course, but here are currently the primary ones.
Area: I can spread four sheets of paper out on my desk. Buying a display or multiple displays that can show as much at one time is expensive.
Flipping through papers is often easier than managing windows.
I do have a portable screen, but it has less area and flipping between documents on it can be more overhead than managing windows.
These are all trade-offs. The point is not that paper has a clear advantage for any of them. The point is that paper still has enough of an advantage enough of the time to make printing worth the hassle.
The Kindle DX does add another variable to the mix: A portable display with a larger area and different characteristics. It doesn’t, however, fundamentally change the equation.
Having said that, I’ve been wanting something the size of the Kindle DX for a long time. There’s a reason you can buy—e.g.—paper notebooks in pocket, digest, and letter sizes. I think there are roles for devices in similar sizes.