A full page ad on the back of my morning paper features the well known tablet manufactured by a well known, hitherto tax-dodging1, e-retailer named after a famous river. The strapline is "#Have Kindle will travel" and then there is a bit of blurb starting with someone's Twitter username (but not their actual name and I can't be bothered to look them up) saying he/she was asked to take one and how nice it was to read a book on it. In Turkey.
OK, setting it in Istanbul fills out the "have travel" bit nicely. It is irrelevant as a a selling point unless you believe that hand-held devices (such as watches, cameras, mobile phones, compasses, swiss army knives and the like) can only actually be used in one's home, and who knows, there may be many thousands of such techno-phobes who do indeed shake their heads mournfully and put their ballpoint pens carefully down on the sideboard before going out to the shops because "they don't work outside, I've been told; but anyway I don't want anyone not from our street breathing over it".
What gives me pause is that the person supposedly2 penning this stuff was given the tablet. Of course it accompanied them on their travels. So what? If you give me a free lawnmower I'll do you the courtesy of taking it for a spin round my front garden. I'll happily quaff any reasonably authentic Scotch single malt should you proffer a bot. of same. Though it is more than 30 years since I abandoned using the stupidly overpriced products made by a famous company named after a fruit (and I don't mean Apricot, computer history buffs), I wouldn't chuck one away if they came round and presented me with one of their latest models and said "Go on son, the gigabytes are on us".
In short, testimonials from people who shell out their own cash mean something. Endorsements from those fortunate to have first class seats on the gravy train do not. Having said that, if you would like a favourable mention in these hallowed columns, then your course of action is clear.
1. Not any more, I'd like to make clear
2. I'd like to believe it because the text cunningly says almost nothing about the device and is mainly about the writer boasting about re-reading a book by Haruki Marukami3. But an ad means an ad agency and we all know who writes the copy for ad agencies, don't we boys and girls?
3. I've read it too, alright?