Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Kindle

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Nov 23, 2007

Originally posted on Half an Hour, November 23, 2007.

Responding to Doug Johnson

Interesting post, but...

The thing is, people are depicting the Kindle as though it is replacing books. But this isn't the case.

What Kindle is replacing is the notebook computer. Because we already can read books with the notebook computer. Only:

- we can get them for free
- we can copy them share them all we want
- we can edit them, make comments about them, link to them
- we can make our own

We do this today on computers that cost roughly $1000. The Kindle lowers the cost of the device, but:

- we have to pay for the books
- we can't copy them and share them with our friends
- we can make notes, but we can't link to them
- we can't really make our own

See, the question here isn't, is Kindle a good replacement for books, but rather, is it worth exchanging our more expensive consumer for a device that doesn't let us do what we want with our books?

This question is especially relevant when we get full-feature computers for less than the thee cost of a Kindle.

I think most people will see the Kindle for what it is: an attempt by publishers to 'control the platform' the way telephone companies control the mobile phone platform and the way Apple is (trying to) control the MP3 player platform.

So - the negative reaction is not surprising. The emotion comes from the sighs of exasperation from people who thought we'd been through all this and rejected closed proprietary platforms.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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