Are ebooks in your future?

Amazon kindleAmazon kindle

On the off chance you were under a rock last week or didn't catch the Newsweek cover story, you may have missed some potentially big news for the book business: Amazon launched what some claim to be the iPod of ebooks, the Kindle. This 10.3 ounce piece of tech candy allows you to buy ebooks directly from Amazon.com, read blogs, and other such fun reading-related stuff. And it does all this wirelessly, using the same network as cell phones.

Businessfolk and librarians alike have been abuzz about the possibilities. Specifically, could the Kindle perhaps do what competitors never managed: create a viable market for books in electronic format?

To be sure, there are skeptics, your friendly neighborhood business correspondent included, but the Kindle does raise the profile of ebooks, perhaps causing more to consider replacing the pulp variety.

So what do you think? Would you give up your paper & ink for zeros & ones? Is a Kindle on your holiday wish list perhaps (even if they are sold out)? For those of you who think that ebooks could never replace a nice paperback, don't knock 'em till you've tried 'em. Perhaps you'd like to give some of AADL's ebooks a spin first.

Comments

The wonderful thing about a library is that the books a free for everyone. It allows people with little or no income to still educate themselves and find answers to most of their questions. At a time when formal education becomes increasingly expensive this lone institution of community consciousness should be very wary of the social, and, ultimately, economic impact of electronic books. The popularity of ebooks could potentially diminish the titles that are available in traditional forms. The cost to consumers will limit the availability to the average individual. This may result in an ever greater weakening of the education level of the general public. This loss will result in a loss of skills and intellectual capabilities. That will, in turn, result in a loss of innovation, and, consequently, economic strength. This assault on our society is already occurring in higher education due to the increasing expense. It has been well documented that the GI Bill, started in World War Two resulted in academic achievement that spanned across socio-economic lines and resulted in greater economic growth due to over all more educational opportunity and the results of that education. Knowledge was no longer simply an opportunity for the wealthy. The fact is, several Nobel Prize winners were educated on the GI Bill. Had they not had this opportunity of education, our society would have lost out on both their discoveries and the billions of dollars that their discoveries generated. Anything that may limit the ability of any individual to gain knowledge is harmful to a society. I am afraid that the ebook has just that potential.


LucienLucien

Great points! And sure enough, one of the concerns with the Kindle is its Digital Rights Management embedded into both the ebooks themselves and the terms of use. Libraries can operate because of the first-sale doctrine. If ebook publishers and sellers limit people's rights to transfer their books to others, it'll be a sad day for libraries and society. For more on how the digital environment will affect our rights, check out the work of Lawrence Lessig, including Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace and Code: Version 2.0.


As the happy owner of a Sony Portable Reader, I am alert for advances in this area. eInk IS the advance we needed. The Kindle model concerns me as I'm not terribly comfortable with the idea that changes can be downloaded to me when they occur. And while Whispernet is free now, I can see a day when it is now. And, I like living a bit offline and having my online life on my own schedule.

I would like the keyboard & search functions the Kindle offers, but I'm not ready to carry around 50%+ more weight for that when other things are also a concern. I'm going to check out AADL's ebooks on my Reader!


LucienLucien

One of my colleagues has a Sony Reader as well as is quite pleased with it, and similarly skeptical of the Kindle. It is a little bit disconcerting, in some ways, that changes are automatically updated to the Kindle. I read some reviews that such a feature could be used to rewrite the past, not unlike in 1984. An interesting issue.


it's 2011 and i still don't own an ebook, or ereader for that matter. and i don't plan on buying one either!