Kindle Stand Muses: Book-Reading Culture Shift

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Posted by admin on 23 Oct 10 - 0 Comments

Kindle Stand noted Amazon’s announcement about increased portability of periodicals and ebooks. The news is that newspapers and magazines to which you subscribe on your Kindle will be available on all your Kindle apps—on the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod touch. Eventually, Amazon will extend Kindle for Android and other platforms with the same capabilities.

The intent, Amazon says, is to make your subscriptions available wherever you are, just as Kindle books are: pay just once, and read anywhere.

Lend Your Kindle eBooks

In the same announcement, Amazon said that they will make it possible for you to loan your ebooks to other Kindle users for up to 14 days. While you’ve loaned out a book, you won’t be able to read it yourself.

Kindle Stand feels this is barely a decent start. Making it even less exciting, Amazon will let publishers determine whether you’ll be able to lend **their** books. So… if you buy the print version, you can give it a life of its own without interference… as long as you don’t distribute homemade copies of it. However, if you buy the Kindle version of a book, you can give one person at a time a peek as long as it’s OK with the publisher.

eBook Publishing Culture Shift

Electronic distribution of a book will eventually eliminate the cost of printing and traditional distribution. A publisher’s only costs will be to pay an author, handle promotion, and manage finances.

In fact, some publishers predict that eventually they will become service organizations that help build writer/reader relationships. The actual publishing contract will be between the writer and the readers.

In the meantime, publishers and Amazon seem to believe that because a book no longer comes on paper the publisher should control each copy’s movement among its readers.

  • Will the ebook publishing model eventually let a buyer resell the “used ebook” to another reader?
  • Will there be hundreds of Kindle stands selling used ebooks the way brick-and-mortar book stands sell paper-and-ink used books?
  • Will our public libraries hold fundraiser ebook sales where patrons can donate used ebooks to cover the libraries’ operating expenses?
  • Will college students be able to sell their used eTextbooks back to the campus bookstore so next year’s students can buy the books at a discount?

Amazon strives with the Kindle to provide a familiar book-reading experience that customers will embrace. However, if Amazon’s publishing model doesn’t change dramatically, the entire culture of book reading is going to look amazingly different really soon.

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