Saturday, March 21, 2009

Will the Kindle Change the World?

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There has been a lot of new talk about the Kindle, Amazon's e-book reader, and e-books in general, since I posted some thoughts on the subject a few weeks ago. I have to reluctantly acknowledge that the chatter has nothing to do with my post, but with the release of Kindle 2.0. That led to lots of talk about some of its new features, including text-to-voice technology that lets the device read to you in a reasonably human voice. The overall verdict is mixed (it's still way over-priced), but the prattle over the technological innovations is also joined by ponderings about its cultural implications--a far more interesting and important issue.

In retrospect, my piece went a bit afield from my original intention, which was to reflect on how I, an unrepentant book person, experienced reading in this format. That point may have got a bit lost in my meanderings about discarding books during a time of housecleaning and remodeling. Sorry about that.

The main thought I wanted to explore was that the book person in me was finding the e-book experience to be far more redemptive than I had imagined.

Now comes a piece in Slate Magazine by Jacob Weisberg, who sees this phenomenon as world-changing. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

How the Kindle will change the world. - By Jacob Weisberg - Slate Magazine