Monday, January 28, 2008

Books

I've discussed the digitization of music and film in previous posts, but one other source of entertainment that I failed to mention is books. A NY Times Article reminded me of this less-popular phenomenon. Books are, much more slowly, beginning to become adopted digitally. Amazon tried to jump the gun by releasing its Kindle in November '07, a 10-ounce digital reader, that can store over 200 books, as well as newspapers, magazines, and even blogs such as this one (yes, if you're concerned that you can't read my blog everywhere you go, there's a solution...don't worry). Sony had actually already released a product like this in 2006, but the Kindle's kicker is that it can wirelessly download content. People's first reaction to these products is their display...which apparently is quite similar to an actual page of a book thanks to E Ink Technology.

With our booming trend of "being green," I'm sure environmentalists will love a product like this that eliminates printing on paper (imagine if all printed materials went digital...I wonder how much paper would be saved). But...it will probably take a much longer time for this technology to become popular. For one, there's just something about having an actual book and physically flipping through pages that would be taken away with a digital reader. For another, Amazon's Kindle sold for $400...people don't want to shell out that kind of money...especially considering point #3: people don't read!

Let me enlighten you on some statistics. A study done in August 2007 showed that 27% of Americans had not read a book in the previous year. Let's just say that 26% of those people are either illiterate or can not afford to buy books...that still means billions of people can not find the time in an entire year to even read a single Harry Potter book. I don't want to sound all high and mighty as if I read every day...I admit I give in to the urge of watching TV and playing video games all day sometimes. But it's something I'm working on...and not even a month into the year and I'm well into a second book (and no, it's not Goodnight Moon)...but I'd like to read more than that. I want to be part of the 8% who read 51+ books a year.

So the statistics are severely skewed...you'd think the book industry would be severely suffering. In reality, that small percentage of people who read a lot are maintaining a balance in book sales. And thank God...otherwise our country would end up like it did in the movie Idiocracy.

So next time you can't really find something worth watching from 400+ different channels...pick up a book!



2 comments:

Gail said...

I never heard of the Kindle, but let me get this straight. Sometime in the future, theoretically, I could be reading an electronic romance novel in the bathtub by candlelight. Yes, the Kindle by candle - when suddenly I drop the dang thing into the water and electrocute myself. No thanks. Unless that Kindle comes with a grounding wire, I'll be sticking to paper.

KW said...

I know Gail...I thought the same exact thing.