At the Ref Desk (11/18/17): Lots of phone requests today. Wonder why... :-) [more...]
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Kindle Swindle

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 11/21/07 (12:34pm)

Please stop talking about the demise of the traditional book! To do so in the same breath as the Amazon Kindle gives this contraption way more credibility than it’s due.

The defenders of this device say we shouldn’t rush to judgment while at the same time they make such extraordinary associations.

It’s marketing. That’s all.

UPDATE: Ultimately, we're going to describe all the hype surrounding the Amazon Kindle as "The Little Bandwagon Effect That Couldn't".

I mean, Amazon said to the media, 'jump', and the media responded, 'how high'? (Here's a particularly embarrassing example from Businessweek.)

But the public won't have any of this. The level of resistance is due in large part to how far the claims for this device simply defy common sense.

Kindle Schmindle

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 11/18/07 (9:15pm)

amazon_kindle.jpg

So every time some new 'ebook' device is announced, we're 'sposed to drop everything and proclaim it a paradigm shift? At least that's the routine.

This week's candidate is the Amazon Kindle -- at least as presented in an article in Newsweek extolling its virtues titled "The Future of Reading" by Steven Levy.

Institution: 

eBooks are from the Department of Bad Ideas

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/10/06 (12:36pm)

Sony eBook Reader Someone asked about eBooks on one of the library lists I'm on. They wanted to know what the prospects were. I responded on the list but I thought I'd share my opinion here as well.

I've never really understood the rationale behind these devices. I mean, I already have something that reads "electronic books" -- it's called a laptop. If I wanted something even more mobile, I'd get a smaller laptop -- or maybe use my PDA. The advantages of using my laptop -- besides the fact that I already own it -- is that I can play most formats on it, and not just one.

Hallmark of Failed Techonogy: Sony Memory Stick Walkman (NW-MS7)Furthermore, my laptop can do more than just "read" the thing -- I can cut out parts, re-use it, send it to friends and colleagues. I can link to the file, 'digg it', list it on del.icio.us. In other words, I can do everything I've become accustomed to do on a computer in a networked environment. Why would I want something that could do anything less?

I think if the sole purpose of a device is simply to serve as a platform for a proprietary format, it's doomed. This kind of "lock-in" is not popular with consumers. Just ask Sony how its own version of the iPod is doing.

Institution: 

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