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How long can the Kindle remain relevant? January 11, 2010

Posted by michaelpawlus in Uncategorized.
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With all the rumours surrounding the imminent release of an Apple-branded tablet computer, how long will the Amazon Kindle remain relevant?  I recently did some group research into ebook readers and we found that a large number of users don’t think that e-ink is worth the inconvenience of dragging around another device; a one-purpose device at that.  We found that many ebook readers instead chose to use the Stanza app for the iPhone (citation forthcoming).  Since users do not seem to mind reading on an LCD display, the only issue with the iPhone is its size.  This rumoured tablet computer seems to fix that problem and it doesn’t seem like the Kindle will be able to compete against the Apple tablet if it is even half as amazing as everyone is expecting it to be.

I really feel sorry for all the libraries that divided head first into the Kindle market especially the school that converted its entire collection over to Kindles.  It reminds me of last week, I was at my library and I was looking through the collection of VHS and cassette tapes and all I could think was these are already not being used and soon they won’t even be able to be used.  By contrast, we pulled out this book from the 1600’s and we could still open it and read it.  We have to really think about these barriers we put to materials when we make them device-dependent.  I think libraries do need to stay ahead of the curve but they also need to be able to analyse a market in order to differentiate between technologies that will shape the future and those that are just a passing fad.