Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Thursday, May 7, 2009

why the Big New Kindle is not likely to succeed

Brendan has it exactly right: "The trend right now is smaller and smaller devices that allow you to multitask anything anytime from one device.  Having a device that’s locked down to a single purpose really doesn’t help students achieve what they want.  There’s a reason no one carries around 1) an MP3 player, 2) a cellphone, and 3) a camera jammed into their pockets.  They want less devices doing more, not more devices doing less!" I would prefer him to say fewer devices doing more, but other than that I second the motion.

3 comments:

  • Not sure I agree about the oversized Kindle not being a big seller for textbooks. Students are swapping something that's not much more than a file folder for a heavy backpack.

    And there are huge advantages to a full-size reading device for textbooks that displays the page as designed for print. Especially to handle graphs, charts, tables, maps, etc. which are very common in textbooks.

    I do think that the i-phone and similar devices will be a big success as an e-reader in place of paperbacks for all the one-device-for-all reasons you refer to.

    And, yes, I too am a bit of a crank on "fewer". I find fewer and fewer examples of people using a very nice word. I probably cringe at "less [items]" on the web at least once a day.

    However, that's an understandable trend. The trend that's driving me truly batty is the disappearance of irregularly conjugated verbs in the past participle. It used to be that only my cousins from Oklahoma "had went" somewhere. But where, oh where, has "has gone" went? "Gone" is the most common, but not unique, example of a seriously disconcerting trend. Today I ran across a "had taken" that someone apparently "had took" and tossed in the memory hole.

  • Just saw your kind comment on the prior post - thanks, as you can tell I greatly enjoy your blog.

    To add re the Kindle and textbooks. Brendan says students will just download to laptops. But there are big advantages to an e-reader over laptops in terms of usability. That's why I email pdfs to my Kindle rather than read them on my computer -- and an oversized Kindle would improve pdf usability. I also expect Kindle to improve over time its ability to integrate notetaking on the Kindle with one's other files.

  • Michael Straight said...

    _But there are big advantages to an e-reader over laptops in terms of usability._

    But how long will those advantages last? Either laptops are going to become more like Kindles, or Kindles are going to become more like laptops. Or both.

    Apple doesn't make full-size iPods anymore that only play music but not videos.

    I guess the questions are how long a Kindle will be superior to more universal portable devices for reading e-books, whether Amazon can make good profits on the device in that short/medium term, and whether they can leverage the Kindle into something that will translate into e-book sales on whatever devices we'll be carrying around ten years from now.

    Would you be more likely to buy a Kindle if it was also a good digital camera? Or if it was also a good mp3/movie player? Or if it was also a cell phone?

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