The Kindle is to E-Books as the IPod is to…

Or rather not. Today over at the Guardian, Jack Schofield asks if the Kindle ebook reader is becoming Amazon’s IPod. Schofield argues that it may be newspapers, not books, that lauch the e-reader revolution and draw the Kindle up to IPod status. But as Schofield himself points out, its more likely that e-books will proceed down the path they have already established, on general purpose portable media devices – PDA’s, smartphones, and even IPods themselves – rather than dedicated readers like the Kindle.

After some consideration, I’m no longer expecting an ebook or ereader revolution. Ebooks will slowly grow in popularity as a format, and while there may be a few minor or even major casualties in the print sector, publishers will reach the common sense realisation that it is to their benefit to provide their content in as many formats as they possibly can. The idea that a brand like the Guardian exists purely in print, or even on the web, is already becoming more and more difficult to sustain. Brands, be they national newspapers or bestselling authors, are going to make their work available in every format. I’ll be very surprised if major novels aren’t simultaneously released as print, ebook, audio, blog-serialsation and the rest within the next few years. And in coming years the number of possible formats will multiply massively, until the central function of a publisher will be making contet available through them all.

Of course, the ugly head or Digital Rights Management and Intellectual Property is the boggie man in the corner of my utopian vision. I wonder how long it can be maintained, or will it even manage to cripple the media entirely as it currently threatening?


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.


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