Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Kindle and the future of libraries

Several colleagues have sent emails about Amazon's new book device, the Kindle. It's an e-book reader with wireless access. Books, magazines, and some blogs can be downloaded from Amazon from almost anywhere using it's whispernet connection. Also, wikipedia can be accessed for more information while reading. There has been a lot of talk about the Kindle and the future of books and libraries. Will this change the library's role in society? My first thought when reading this Newsweek article was YES! We need to get ready! This is huge! But then I saw a picture of the Kindle on Amazon's website and started to change my mind. It is so ugly! And doesn't look that easy to use. And there are so many people who are resistant to technology that paper books will never go out of style! But then, the world is changing so rapidly, and the next generation is changing the way we seek for information. Why not change the book? Already, we have the ability to have almost instant access to information with the internet. Often when reading, I have to put down my book and pick up my computer to look something up. perhaps there is a cultural reference I didn't get, or the geography is unclear and I need a map to help me finish the chapter. Why not combine reading with this instant access to information? I do think that we are headed that direction, and in a couple of years, the Kindle will seem old and clunky and outdated, and we'll think "did we really think this was an alternative to the book?" But instead of returning to paper books, we will have something so snazzy and easy to use it will be comparing the new video ipod nanos to the first generation ipods. They have the same function, yet they are sooo different.

I checked Kindle on Google Trends and it didn't even register. People are more interested in Donda West's funeral and Oprah's favorite things, and I don't blame them.

1 comment:

dan rogy said...


* Electronic-paper display provides a sharp, high-resolution screen that looks and reads like real paper.
* No computer, no cables, no syncing.
* Wireless connectivity - you shop the Kindle Store directly from your Kindle from anywhere, just like using a cell phone! When you buy a book, it is auto-delivered wirelessly in less than one minute.
* More than 88,000 books available, including 100 of 112 current New York Times® Best Sellers. Free book samples. Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy.
* Read top U.S. newspapers including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post; read top magazines including TIME, Atlantic Monthly, and Forbes — all auto-delivered wirelessly. Read top international newspapers from France, Germany, and Ireland; Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine, and The Irish Times.
* Read more than 250 top blogs from the worlds of business, technology, sports, entertainment, and politics, including BoingBoing, Slashdot, TechCrunch, ESPN's Bill Simmons, The Onion, Michelle Malkin, and The Huffington Post.
* eBook device is lighter and thinner than a typical paperback; weighs only 10.3 ounces and holds over 200 titles.
* Long battery life. Leave wireless on and recharge approximately every other day. Turn wireless off and read for a week or more before recharging. Fully recharges in 2 hours.
* Unlike WiFi, Kindle utilizes the same high-speed data network (EVDO) as advanced cell phones, you never have to locate a hotspot. No monthly wireless bills, service plans, or commitments — Amazon.com takes care of the wireless delivery so you can simply click, buy, and read. Includes free wireless access to the planet's most exhaustive and up-to-date encyclopedia—Wikipedia.org.
* Email your Word documents and pictures (.JPG, .GIF, .BMP, .PNG) to Kindle for easy on-the-go viewing.