The Amazon Kindle is kind of amazing. At the risk of sounding cheesy, you can get everything on there! Books, magazines, blogs, etc; all there on your shiny white screen! CNN explained yesterday why Amazon should just start giving the things away for free and hints that Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, kind of likes that plan. A tech blogger predicted that the Kindle’s price by 2011 should be $0. When asked about that projection Bezos apparently “merely smiled and said, ‘Oh, you noticed that!’ And then smiled again.” Bezos is so the new Oprah: you get a Kindle, you get a Kindle, you get a Kindle!!!
According to CNN: “Last year, nearly $1 billion in e-books were sold, according to Forrester. By 2015, this is expected to jump to $3 billion. That’s an awful lot of money to be made selling e-books.” That’s a lot of copies of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”! (Don’t you feel like that’s all people have read in the past year?!)
The article ends on a scary note:
As a matter of fact, I’m writing this article sitting in the former card catalog room of Doheny Library on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. It’s a gorgeous space, all four walls lined with built-in wooden card catalog drawers, stacked six feet high. Every one of those drawers is empty.
Like in most libraries today, students now search the library catalog from computer terminals. But they still must go to the shelves to get their books. With free e-readers, maybe libraries could be everywhere, and open all the time.
Hmm, maybe Amazon wouldn’t like that so much. But if their e-book market was big enough, they probably wouldn’t care.
Will giving away free copies of books kill libraries? We hope not because then what would happen to the “sexy librarian fantasy”? There’s no such thing as a sexy free kindle hander-outer fantasies yet but we’re not really comfortable with that being our future — not yet at least.