My daughter and I are flying to Florida later this week, and I’d love to get my hands on one of those nifty new Amazon Kindles to help pass the time on those long travel days, and perhaps a little more time while sitting by the pool. But to be honest, I’m not a speedy reader, and I doubt I’ll get through even one book on this trip, let alone the twenty-or-so books I could buy with the money spent on the $359.00 Kindle alone.
Sure, it’s a cool piece of hardware, and the electronic-ink display is literally easy on the eyes—the best display technology I’ve yet seen for reading large amounts of text… you know, short of the printed page. But the feature I covet most is the ability to wirelessly download one of hundreds of thousands of books, in minutes, from just about anywhere.
That’s the way content should be: totally and completely ubiquitous. And while the book may yet survive as our last physical medium holdout (despite Jeff Bezos’ best efforts), content consumption in general is inevitably moving online. No more CDs. No more DVDs or BlueRay. And in some cities, no more newsprint. Even radio and television broadcasters’ airwave monopoly will collapse as audio and video consumption increasingly shifts to the Internet.
I know there are a lot of people who worry about finding a business model that can support content creators in this new online world, but me, not so much, especially when there are so many smart, creative folks like Jeff Bezos out there willing to risk failure. Yeah, sure, in the short term these new technologies are incredibly disruptive, but then, history tells us that new technologies almost always are.
If we don’t find a viable business model, in the end, I believe, a viable business model will find us. In this, you could say, I almost have faith.