Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What I got for Christmas

Well, it hasn't come yet. But I won't let that stop me from telling what I think of it.

I think it just might turn out to
be revolutionary. In ways that might be good, and in some ways not so good. Scary for writers, scary for conventional publishing methods. It changes the equation in unpredictable ways. It doesn't take a genius to see the implications of being able to download books anywhere, anytime for about half of retail. Brick and mortar...well, I'm a little concerned.

You can download books wirelessly to the device. If you want to know more about it, you can go here and find out.

If I were running Amazon, here's what I'd do. It's what Hewlett-Packard did way back in the early eighties to make PC's (their PC's especially) more universally accepted. They gave away a ton of them. They gave a PC to every professor at my university for free. An old heroin dealer's trick.

Amazon should call up Rudy Crew (the head of Miami-Dade County school system) and say, "Hey, Rudy, you want every kid in Miami to stop carrying three tons of textbooks in their backpacks?" Give away a few hundred thousand of the devices and the deal would be done. Kids are the doorway to that future.

Once a few school systems adopt them as substitutes for textbooks, well, they become mainstream in no time.

Mine should come any month now. Before next Christmas I hope.

I'll give you a field test report when it's here.

I love books as much as the next bibliophile, but I can see a lot of advantages to this puppy. One thing I don't like already: the idea that I might have to turn it off and stop reading as we prepare to land. No, that's not good. That's the time when you need to be lost in your book.

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