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The Kindle and a Talking Head

Posted by Mariko Fujinaka in E-books books technology textbook publishing on September 4, 2009

David Byrne speaking at the 2006 Future of Mus...
Image via Wikipedia

I have long been a fan of David Byrne. Not only do I consider him to be a genius artist and musician but he also seems to be a thoughtful and keen observer. I was thus quite curious when I discovered he tried out the Amazon Kindle DX and blogged about his experiences.

It appears my assessment of Byrne as “thoughtful” may have been correct, as he goes into a lot of detail about features on the Kindle DX he liked and didn’t like so much. There are no extremes, either; he didn’t think the Kindle DX was the most incredible invention ever, and he didn’t think it was a piece of garbage. Byrne also seems to know quite a bit about other ereaders on the market, and he comments with authority about the available formats.

All in all, Byrne enjoyed using the Kindle DX. Things he didn’t particularly care for, such as the absence of a backlight or its inability to display newspaper or magazine photos well, were not deal breakers. In fact, he offered positive spins on these points: the sacrifice of a backlight means you get an impressive battery life, and if you load your Kindle DX primarily with text, who cares if the graphics don’t look red hot?

Byrne also imagines how the future of publishing will change as ereaders become more commonplace. For the Kindle DX, which offers a larger screen than the regular Kindle and is designed to accommodate textbooks, Byrne muses, “If those textbooks can be sold as weightless $10 downloads the students and their parents will cheer, and the chiropractors will cry.” Again, though, Byrne is positive. Though he believes publishers will grumble at the lower prices ebook readers will demand, he says publishers will benefit from the reduction in distribution costs.

      

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