image So far the Kindle in most ways is far from the best gizmo for spreading knowledge, in the opinion of Upendra Shardanand, CEO of Daylife, writing in paidContent.

Agree or disagree?


  1. There is a fundamental (and possibly partisan) flaw in the “Kindle FAIL FAIL FAIL” argument of Upendra Shardanand.

    The case is laid out that the printing press and public libraries spread the “democratization of knowledge” … and Upendra tremulously wonders how do e-books fare?

    Upendra misses a couple of steps: the printing press, public libraries, english as the common language of commerce, American television, telephone communications and the Internet — all used to spread democracy and knowledge. Frankly, e-books are just a footnote to the Internet.

    Stating that Kindle e-books can only be shared by sharing the Kindle misses the point that the Kindle legitimizes the distribution of hundreds of thousands of non-DRM texts — such as Project Gutenberg — by providing a widely distributed reading device for those books to be consumed upon. When the dust settles, PG is likely to find downloads of its content hugely increased thanks to the arrival of e-readers — including and that surge led by the Kindle.

    What’s cheaper than free, btw? I have read a dozen PD books in the past few weeks — books I never got around to when they were “free” at the Library or via a web browser. Reading a book via Firefox at my desktop is not the same as reading in bed, in the bath, on the john, on the beach, on a plane. Kindle makes all those latter options a reality. I hardly need a secondary market for “free” product.

    I hate to mention it, but swap out “CDs” for books, and “MP3 player” for Kindle, and Upendra’s argument is equally plausible about the music scene circa 2004. We all know how that turned out.

    Like the iPod, the Kindle (and its competitors) legitimizes paying for content, and sharing lots of free content, including obtaining it from (and possibly ripped from) library sources. Early on, DRM owners always try to set the agenda; they always fail — cf. software, music, magazines, news, video and now books. Kindle/Amazon, like iPod/iTunes, will adapt and evolve and the world will end up at a better place. And probably more democratic. And almost certainly more English language oriented.

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