It was a tough choice to decide on what to blog about today – Facebook’s new round of changes or Kindle becoming library-friendly. Both are big news items but I think in the long run Kindle’s decision is going to impact our lives a lot more.
Even as I say this, I remember all the mis-directed corporate judgement down the ages:
“Well informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value” is attributed to an editorial in the Boston Post from 1865.
“[Television] won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” – Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century-Fox, 1946.
“That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.”– Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909.
As they say, nothing like hindsight to provide 20/20 vision! So, let me use this paragraph to clarify that I am not questioning Facebook’s impact. I believe that today’s changes with the profile timeline and real time updates will be part of a cumulative package that influences our idea of social identity, privacy and maybe even affect our personal choices. However, the systemic change of FB is already in place and this is all the tweaking.
Kindle, on the other hand, is still working slowly at redefining the world of books and reading. While many have adopted ebooks and taken to the idea of electronic reading, ardent readers have always asked the question about whether the device will provide access to library books. This is because readers without deep pockets have always been earnest library patrons and frequented second-hand bookstores. I see today’s Kindle announcement as the point of shifting focus in the ebook debate. Yes, Nook and other e-readers had the library link but Kindle has the major market share in this market and so todays’ news is a BIG DEAL.
As someone who has checked out ebooks on my laptop at 10:00pm, I can see the appeal of easy access to free books anywhere, anytime! And the convenience of reading on an ereader is way better. The ABC news anchor joked this morning that soon we’ll not need those big buildings for storing books – I hope it never comes to that, but I do think this move by Kindle is a giant leap for ebooks!