Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Kindle part 7 - The Future of Print

The Kindle is an electronic book reader produced by Amazon.

Holy hell does that title sound pretentious.  No lie, the tail end of this topic has been akin to pulling teeth.  I keep reminding myself that I am writing to improve and that all of this is merely practice.  For a week now the topic of next month's dull and dreary op eds has been a shifting and elusive target.  It snapped into focus this morning and the excitement built instantly within me pushes me to wrap this Kindle nonsense up.

The Kindle will not destroy the printed book.  The shift of a library here or there to an all-digital, all the time format is not the herald to a tide of technological revolution.  Everyone that comes down passionately on either side of this issue is fooling themselves with their personal brand of extremism.  The printed book is not going away.

The Kindle is a dependent technology. In order to function you must live in a world that gives you access to electricity.  You must live in a society where the materials presented by the Kindle are created and available.  You must live in a realm where possessing a Kindle is permitted.  And you must live in an environment where the Kindle will function. 

    What if Amazon goes under?
    What if authors stop producing Kindle works?
    What if there is a two week blackout?
    What if you are on a boat?
    In a cave?
    What if your job says no to unrestricted wireless connectivity?
    What if the Kindle is replaced by new technology?

The last is a sticky wicket and the only honest question of the bunch.  Ideally, Amazon will offer a migration path for your purchased content.  But beyond all these crazy hypotheticals there are three reasons that print will live on:

    1. Not everyone wants, needs, or will buy an electronic book reader.
    2. It is difficult for someone to take a physical book from your collection permanently.
    3. The mark-I eyeball does not need an upgrade to read a printed book (as long as you treat them well or are not already blind)

I have seen all sorts of dire what-if predictions relegating print books into the same historical bin as vinyl and 8-track tapes.  The people shouting are using their time on the soap box to decry the progression represented by electronic book readers.  I do not have anything classy to condemn that level of one-sided blindness.  All I can say is: suck it.  This time everyone wins.  Your print books are not going anywhere and neither are electronic book readers.

1 comment:

  1. The most fun observation on print media vs technology was some dude on TV who had qualifications in both departments who said something like, "You know, if all newspapers and magazines were digital, someone would come around and make a -lot of money- allowing you to have a printed copy that doesn't ever plug in."

    Good posts! Looking forward to the new topic.


About Me

My photo
Geek - Gamer - Librarian - Writer. Only awesome at one of those things at a time, unfortunately.

About Fading Interest

After writing op-eds and travelogues for several years, after finishing a few books, and after failing to get the ball rolling with project after project I stumbled into an idea that might just hold my interest long enough to enjoy some level of satisfaction with my writing.