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Long-term implications of the Kindle

Thought-provoking post by Danny Bradbury:

Is a butt-ugly $400 electronic prison for books going to get America reading again, or cause those kids to suddenly get interested in Thomas Pynchon? Survey says no. If publishers are driven by anything to look at new and innovative ways to deliver content, that problem will be what drives them. And if they do figure out a way to deliver content in different forms more suitable to the net generation, it’s unlikely to look anything like a book. Which is unfortunate, given that Amazon just invested in a device designed to mimic it as closely as possible.

Curious thing, the book. So easy to digitize; so hard to digitize well.

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2 comments to Long-term implications of the Kindle

  • Clyde Davies

    In the circles I move in, a well-stocked library with shelves double- or even triple-parked is a badge of pride. Likewise, I’m always a bit sniffy about households that give the latest flat-screen telly pride of place yet don’t have a single book on show.

    And just think what would have happened if Ray Bradbury were writing at a future time when the Kindle had supplanted the printed word. How would have the awful scenes of book-burning in Fahrenheit 451 have been rendered then? Perhaps it’s called the ‘Kindle’ because it’s meant to achieve the metaphorical effect of book burning? No more lovely, smelly old bound volumes reeking of glue and leather. No more chocolate stains and dog-eared pages….

  • Clyde Davies

    I’ve just had another thought: How well does the Kindle deliver technical information? Until Donald Knuth devised TeX, it used to be the case that typesetting of mathematics was hideously expensive. Mow many maths textbooks are typeset in TeX through preference.

    Kindle might well succeed if it can deliver this kind of material when it is used mainly as a reference source.