The Amazon Vision

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"Our vision for Kindle is to have every book ever printed, in any language, all available in under 30 seconds." (Quotation from the front page Amazon announcement of the Kindle 2)

Breathtaking vision, and perhaps not all good in consideration of some of the books printed. But to be able to get I Married a Witch, The Bishop's Jaegers, Allan and the Ice Gods, and the complete opus of Mrs. Oliphant is something that boggles the mind and gives hope for the future of literacy. Bravo for the vision.

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Of course, that sidesteps the question of whether that does good things for increasing literacy, or whether it just overwhelms the non-literate with mediocre literature, further increasing non-literacy.

Dear Brandon,

You raise a good point; however, I'm of a mind that more reading is more reading and not everyone is going to read _Mrs. Dalloway_ or _Portrait of a Lady_. However, if they can find and read what they enjoy and continue to read. . .

Well, I've always been a deep admirer of Oprah for her book club alone. She sends the message that reading is important and enriching. That's as much as we can expect.

So, yes, a tidal wave of mediocre stuff--but last night I was reading _Oblamov_ and browsing through a French edition of the short stories of de Maupassant, all available for free on-line. Those of us who know how to surf the Waimea or Coronado Banks of literature will find our way to what we want, and we'll teach the novices who are interested. The rest will enjoy the lovely waves lapping at the shore and will benefit from that contact.




Call me naive, but I think we're just as enriched by the books we can't read as the books we do read. The search for an elusive book--and maybe even the unexpected discovery of it in a used book store--can be a romantic experience.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on February 13, 2009 8:06 AM.

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