Thursday, October 15, 2009

Trans Relative New Yorker Cartoon

To Kindle or not to Kindle

Notes to a friend on the Kindle and ebooks in general.

Today's Talk of the Nation was all about the e-book revolution. Tina Brown (Time, Vanity Fair and now The Daily Beast) Is starting up a new publishing company that will offer all it's books as ebooks first and foremost. She explained that the traditional time line for book development and publication is making "real" books obsolete because of the quickening pace of our culture. By the time a writer thinks of an idea, writes the book, sends it to a publisher, gets it approved and that publisher gets the book to the shelves years have passed. By that time an idea could have percolated thru the culture and become irrelevant.
Her new venture will be called Beast Books and she is going to be publishing lots of new kinds of ebooks, shorter and more like expanded magazine format (ie: the New Yorker) as well as standard length books. They will be available online quickly and for a relatively small cost.($5-$10) She mentioned that Phillip Roth has a new book coming out (applause from this fan) and she was able to read the book on one cross country flight. Her goal is to provide a similar high quality, readily available and culturally relevant product. Now I'm really excited about buying a Kindle! I do love my books and I will always have old timey books in my house.... going thru my books reminds me of how I cherished those volumes and how they changed me as a person. Infact.. I'm planning a book shelf just for books written by the Kennedy Family in my new place. ALSO: Kindle type ebooks allow for indexes and footnotes that by nature aren't available with audio books. But one has to wonder if the next generation will even care about the written word on real paper. Should we even care about that if the trade off is that the personal and cultural absorption of ideas and knowledge goes to warp speed? Are we on the verge of a "intellectual revolution" that will rival the industrial revolution in it's eventually explosive effect on our society? The consequences boggle the mind! I wish I was going to be here for another 50 years to witness it!!