Amazon launches Kindle
Lots of words today throughout both the blogs and the regular media about Kindle, Amazon’s e-book reader that was launched today. It’s a testament to Amazon’s juice that anyone’s paying attention at all – e-book readers in the past have been greeted mostly by crickets.
Is it going to keep our attention? That’s harder to say. It seems that the specs are reasonably interesting – long battery life, decent (though not exceptional) storage capacity, interesting (if fussy) form factor.
Beyond that, there’s a huge differentiator – the built-in EVDO magic means that it can be a standalone device that nevertheless has very good access to a potentially very deep well of material.
The devil, however, is always in the details. To do what Amazon is doing requires pretty heavy DRM and very controlled pathways into (and out of) the device. The main comparison has been to the iPod – but there’s a huge difference (one that Gruber’s Daring Fireball also mentioned): you can’t get your own content in there. Other than high-production-value game consoles (and even those have opened up recently), can you think of a single other successful platform that has been tied to a single content supplier?
On the Internet, content may be king… but we’ve learned in the last 4 years or more that a LOT of that content is going to be my own in some way – my own writing, or at the very least, my own collection (or playlist). Along the long tail, the things that I make myself become just as important to me as the things I can buy, and curating all of that is the primary way of interacting with the long tail. If you assume that the long tail (of text) refers only to things that can be bought… I think it’s a vision of the long tail that might seem reasonable but will confound most users.
A thinker whose work I struggled with
I may be the last to have noticed
that Shelfari is a pretty darned good site, both from the perspective of someone who is interested in well-developed sites and from the perspective of a book lover.
Since last year
when we learned that Leonard Cohen had been fleeced by some people who have worked for him for a long time, he has slowly but surely started to raise his profile once again. Knowing the circumstances, I haven’t heard anyone begrudge Cohen this sortie to make money, which is refreshing. Claire Crighton in Maisonneuve magazine makes a very good point in her article about Cohen, “Canadian Idol,” when she suggests that he should really be considered as a writer and poet more than as a songwriter or singer.
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