the kindle 2: the future of academia?

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Photo by Flicker user pt

I wasn’t too excited when I first heard about Kindle 2:, but after reading Flavorpill’s recent rave about Amazon’s new wireless reading device, I just might have to try it. According to Matt Compton,

“With the new Kindle 2 — unveiled this month — I can now carry a personal library of 1,500 books in my pocket, and that is fundamentally changing the nature of what, and how, I read.

Amazon offers more than 230,000 cheap, Kindle-ready books through its online store. Through the Internet at large, I have access to thousands of classics that I can download for free. What used to be a difficult calculation of what I wanted to read, balanced against the cost of a new book and the available shelf space in my apartment, has become a far more simple equation.

[…]

Apple introduced the iPod on October 23, 2001, and its success has transformed the physical album into a relative artifact. The power of capacity, the freedom that comes with a nearly infinite choice of songs, has trumped every argument about the inherent superiority of a non-digital format.”

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Photo by Flickr user laanba

Similar to Matt Compton, the iPod revolutionized the way I consume and listen to music. I can only imagine the Kindle would do the same with books, but I’ll probably hold out until the next version comes out.

Marketing and business blogger Seth Godin recently posted an interesting entry on the ways in which the Kindle 2 could be improved. The Kindle obviously still has its fair share of issues, but what excites me about it are the possibilities its holds for the future of reading and writing, particularly for academia. As much as I love having hard copies of books, I move around the world a lot and usually end up leaving most of my library behind. When I moved from Edinburgh to Seoul, I brought less than 10 books with me. With an electronic device like Kindle, I might one day be able take my whole library around the world with me.

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Photo by Flicker user Squonk11

In addition to storage space, think about how much easier it will be to search for quotes and passages. I’ve had several instances when I’ve wrote down a citatation but forgot to write the page number, then spent half an hour trying to find the quote in the book.  Also, imagine about how much easier it will be to simultaneously  highlight, take notes, and create bibliographies while reading.

Of course, it may be a while before the Kindle gets to this point. But, then I think about the development of the Ipod, and how it has evolved from a bulky dial-operated music player to a sleek, touch-screen multimedia player containing not only music, but also, user-built applications, internet, and so much more than I imagined when I first heard about it in 2001. It only took about 6 years.

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2 Responses to “the kindle 2: the future of academia?”

  1. Sun Yi Says:

    I didn’t like it when it first came out, but having seen the second version and the reviews online, I might as well give it ago.

    But what’s putting off now is the cost 😦

  2. melissa andrada Says:

    The $359 price tag is off-putting, that’s why I’m going to wait for the kindle 3. I’m hoping it’ll have more social network and user-built features.

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