Amazon, the folks who created a whole new world of book selling, have announced a new version of their Kindle, a portable electronic gadget you can use to read e(lectronic)-books. The new version is larger and appears to be a more serious attempt at bringing reading 2.0 – consuming the written word via electronic platforms – to the market. Amazon is following the Apple model – provide the gadget and then provide access to the content you can use on it. No doubt they are hoping to repeat the financial success Apple has enjoyed with the iPod/iTunes and iPhone/AppsStore combos. If this gets folks reading – that’s a good thing. If it reduces the amount of paper tossed into the trash or blue bin – that’s a good thing too. Another modern method of consuming books is through services like Audible.com where the books are read to you. Some are theatrical events where actors are employed to provide the reading and give different voices to the characters in the book.
Like any technology which came before the Kindle, cost is the main issue. When you can pick up new and used books really cheap (almost free at the local library) and the Kindle or other e-readers (Sony makes one, iPhone/AppStore has books as well) cost hundreds of dollars it will be a few years before the revolution is completed. But it gives us another option. Disposable reading material – magazines, newspapers, romance novels, most fiction for instance are ideally suited to be consumed electronically. Here today and gone tomorrow.
If there are any professional educators or librarians out there who can comment on the impact e-books and audiobooks can have on literacy skills I’d really be interested in hearing from you. Do you think these gadgets will create a new reading culture? Particularly young people? Or is it just another gadget with limited use? Looking forward to hearing from you.
Talk with you later . . .