Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kindle: Project Wrap-up

Creating this mash-up was much more difficult than I expected. For one, trying to combine s many sources into an argument, especially when one’s sources aren’t necessarily even making an argument themselves, was a bit trying. The project was in a mess until I split up the sections into separate parts because it was just too big an its electronic nature made it impossible to step back and look at the bigger picture in a way I could have had I been writing a more traditional paper.

At the same time, avoiding plagiarism has been ingrained in me over the years of
higher education, and for the most part a project like this consists of editing and using others’ work. I included links to show where I obtained most of the words I used in these posts because I was uncomfortable with publishing them as my own, even with a disclaimer.

I also had to cut out some of the funnier aspects of the project when they didn’t really fit within any of the sections I opted for. For example, how will the Kindle affect literary snobbism? If you have 1,500 books on your Kindle — that’s how many it holds — does that make you any more or less of a bibliophile than if you have the same 1,500 books displayed on a shelf? (For the sake of argument, let’s assume that you’ve actually read a couple of them.)

The practice of judging people by the covers of their books is old and time-honored. And the Kindle, which looks kind of like a giant white calculator, is the technology equivalent of a plain brown wrapper. If people jettison their book collections or stop buying new volumes, it will grow increasingly hard to form snap opinions about them by wandering casually into their living rooms.

To some book lovers and editors, there are myriad reasons to deplore the Kindle. Publishers will no longer get the bump that comes when travelers see someone reading, say, the latest James Patterson and say to themselves: ‘I’ve been meaning to get that. I think I’ll buy a copy at Hudson News before I hop on the train.’

And as books migrate from paper, it means the death of the pickup line, ‘Oh, I see you’re reading the latest (insert highbrow author’s name here).’

A blogger on Amazon also published this chart to explain the process of determining whether or not to opt for an ebook version of a title.

But the most interesting aspect of this project for me was learning that in fact the purpose of Amazon’s Kindle is likely less about selling the hardware as it is to acclimate consumers to purchasing ebooks, much in the same way that Amazon helped consumers become comfortable with using their credit cards over the internet. And that is why the iPhone Kindle application is telling; you get all the advantages of reading on a Kindle without buying the very expensive hardware.

My guess is that with the new PDF technology in the DX, it will become less an issue of whether one can take a book from one device to another. But with the huge head start, Amazon is betting that when you can pick from any eReader program out there, for free becuase programs are separate from hardware, you’ll stick with them.

Previous entries can be found here:
Current Snapshot
Future of eBooks & their Marketing
Competition & the Future of the Kindle
Newspapers & Magazines
Textbooks & Use by the Handicapped

1 comment:

Jessica Murry said...

This does not mean we are getting a Kindle or an iphone. :)