Okay, I have now had time to read an entire book on the Kindle. Excellent experience. What is really amazing is the content delivery aspect of it. I was going to deliver a lecture on technology and culture and wanted to brush up on Orwell’s 1984. I downloaded it via the Kindle for .99. Instant delivery. No shipping. I was reading in the next minute.
I was worried about the issue of notetaking, highlighting, underlining, etc. Good news on that front. You can easily highlight text and then go to a separate page that keeps all of your highlighted sections. Outstanding. Only one minor complaint is that you can’t highlight text across pages. You highlight on the page you are on. Stop. Then highlight the section you want on the next page.
It takes a little reading experience to get used to holding this device in hand and reading. It is different from holding a book. No question. Feels different. At first, I thought I was going to reject it. But after reading for about 10 minutes, it became quite natural.
I think these e-readers are going to change the publishing business substantially. E-publishing will eventually grab maybe a quarter of the overall take. Just a prediction. Probably too modest.
The real question is what is this going to do to publishing companies. With a device like the Kindle, you simply do not NEED a publisher. At least, you do not need a publisher if you have established your own name and/or brand. Though the attempts have been abortive so far, there WILL come a time when the big writers, analysts, reporters, etc. just sell their stuff direct. It will be interesting to see what the political effect of that kind of democratization of discourse will be. The model, strangely enough, might be something like the old Evans and Novak report. Something like that would be perfect to just purchase direct via micro-payments or a cheap subscription.