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My kids are responsible. For my birthday four years ago, it was a tiny, itty bitty iPod Shuffle.Bigger than a chicklet, smaller than a boom box, it said you could fit 250 songs on it but I goosed mine to 290 (the one minute Ramones songs created the additional space).
Last Hanukkah/Christmas, we’re one of THOSE households, it was the basic Kindle.
I was surprised and delighted by both. However the Kindle inspires to historical proportions.
The bottom line is that at the end of the day the written word is a bazillion times more important than recorded sound. Gutenberg’s printing press preceded Edison’s phonograph by 438 years. That’s just the historical perspective.
Now, with the Kindle Fire, Amazon has unveiled its answer to the iPad.
The event is much more than the business move of one big content distributor trying to compete with another big content distributor by unveiling a piece of hardware that makes accessing content easier.
It’s a bold, cultural explanation that, hopefully in time, will make us a smart people again. Digital music democratized the music industry.
Anyone with a song, a microphone, and a computer, can be the Beatles. The same is happening in the print publishing business.
A 20 something girl made a million bucks self publishing her own, teen vampire novels. That’s democratization and Amazon is storming the ramparts.
It’s all about price. The iPad, while technologically amazing (the MOST overused word of the last couple of years), is prohibitively expensive. Yes. $600 to $700 is a lot of money for a shiny toy to read on although it makes you look very cool at the airport or on the subway and would probably get you laid at some Starbucks. Fewer and fewer Americans can comfortably consume that price point.
However, at $199 on the high end to $79 for the basic reader, Amazon’s Kindle products are tiny, digital bookmobiles, coming to our neighborhoods and helping us fall in love with reading again. If you’ve been forced to go to Wal Mart on a Friday evening or have been stuck in line at the cable company office, you know firsthand that, as a society, we’re not quite the intellectual powerhouse that invented things like the telephone or accomplished feats like putting a man on the moon. We need to read more. A LOT more.
Program cutting happy, Tea Party congressmen have had a hard on to get rid of the Department of Education for decades. Here’s their chance. Deep six it and its $70 billion annual discretionary budget. Now, buy a basic Kindle for half of the American population, roughly 150 million mouth breathers. It would run Uncle Sam about $11.85 billion (probably less…
Amazon would probably give the government some kind of bulk for a savings of $58 billion. It’s a start. But it would accomplish two things. By killing an entire Federal bureaucracy, it would throw the Teabaggers a bone. The second result would be more people reading which would eventually translate into a smarter population. And just think of what that kind of revenue bump would do to Amazon’s earnings.
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