OK. This does NOT replace the idea of going to a bookstore and buying books. (For a list of independent bookstores near you, click here for an entry I wrote a few months back.)
This Amazon Kindle device is being touted as the future of reading and books. It's a small electronic gadget, which stores hundreds of books, newspapers, blogs, etc... It's wireless. It's linked automatically to Amazon.com, who designed the device, so that you can buy and download your reading material. Much like you buy and download your music material from iTunes.
Again, I LOVE bookstores. I LOVE the idea of keeping a library of books. But this gadget looks really cool for someone like me, who when I travel, often have to decide books or clothes in the era of 50 pounds or less at the airport. And the idea of hearing about a book, then being able to download and read it on the spot is exciting.
But, there are definitely many sides to the story and the device. Many bookstores and other independent businesses cannot compete with the discounting and convenience of Amazon shopping. Many consumers are convenience-minded and savvy with electronics. Some say devices like this, which are portable, will reviatlize an interest in reading and books.
As well, the Hollywood writers are on strike because of the area of "new media" and studios not being willing to give a 4 cents raise on royalties on profits from "new media" -- cell phone, Internet, other electronic media.
As a novel writer, I have to wonder if this is an area that will be a point of discussion in contract negotiations in book deals. Not just for me, but for everyone who writes books that might be bought and downloaded on a device like this.
But additionally many publishers, including the label I'm currently signed to, Kensington, sell e-books that you can purchase directly from them for your laptop or desktop computer. Some consumers might want their reading material like their music, portable and available all the time, not just at home.
Lots to think about as we make our purchasing decisions.