23 November, 2007

Biggest change in a millenia?

This has nothing to do with debating. Sorry and all, I just find it a little exciting!

Amazon.com has just brought out a new digital reader called the Kindle. Despite it costing US$400 (£200) it’s already sold out. It doesn’t save people money on books (they’re still £5 a go), so what’s so exciting?

Well, for me it would be the ability to carry around a library whilst on the move. The Kindle is very light and is a reasonable size (ie: not too large but not too small either). When I go away- even if just for a weekend- I carry around several kilos of books. For a longer trip, it would be fantastic!

I also like the fact that it uses a wireless internet connection (not wifi, more like the one in your phone) so you can download books from amazon.com where-ever you are.

The downside, as far as I’m concerned, is that it doesn’t read PDFs, it charges for blogs and newspapers (usually free, over the normal internet) and, more importantly, it’s not available in the UK. Of, and the £200 price tag, obviously.

I’m going to have a dilemma when it something similar is available over here in a budget I can afford. For me, books are just about reading, they’re about ownership too. That’s why I will download books online now but still find myself buying them in the shop too.

What I would love to see in the future, when these readers become more common, is for paper-books to come with a code or similar which lets you then have access to an electronic copy.

It’ll also be useful when boring law books are available too!

I wonder if the demise of the hardback book this week combined with the Kindle means we’re going to see a big shift in the nature of books, perhaps the biggest in the last millennia (since books moved from scrolls to sheets of paper bound in a cover). Or maybe I’m just over hyping it all.

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