Sunday, November 18, 2007


Having just experienced the excitement overload that was Futures of Entertainment 2, I was relieved to come across the Future of Reading today. Only one future! And only one form of entertainment! Now that, I can manage.

However, after diving into this Future of Reading—a Newsweek article focused on's upcoming Kindle e-book reader—I have to say that its problems and potential look an awful lot like those facing other forms entertainment in the online sphere. The hazards of user engagement, the increasing brevity of audience attention spans, and the loss of canonical authorship are all fears that television, radio, and comic books face as well.

Photo from Engadget.

The Kindle is an intriguing object. It's engineered to be as book-like as possible. However, I have a feeling that the iPhone will become a successful e-book platform far before the Kindle. Given that the Kindle will cost $400, I'm having trouble imagining a teenager who would buy a Kindle before buying an iPod Touch, which sits in the same price range.

The Kindle is a great idea, and I think it probably will be successful as a bridge device for the digitally reluctant. But for now, I'm saving my money. From early photos (pictured above), it appears that the Kindle has done a good job of looking dated. Only, instead of looking appealingly dated, like the contents of a dusty used bookstore, the Kindle kind of looks dated like an NES. Nothing against NES, of course. It's just that now we have the Wii, you know?

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