Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Jeff Bezos: Visionary

Of course you have to respect the business acumen of the founder of Amazon, but before you get all excited about Amazon's new e-book reader, keep in mind Jeff Bezos was pretty excited about the Segway prior to its launch, saying, "You have a product so revolutionary, you'll have no problem selling it." I also recall him saying something along the lines of "They're going to have to redesign cities around this invention!"

The thought of “curling up on the couch with a good handheld e-book reader” just doesn’t cut it. So you’re on the beach with a great e-novel and you get to a good part and suddenly your “Low Battery” indicator goes on? Maybe it will turn into a nice toy for some Sharper Image-type catalogs, but e-books are not going to take off anytime soon. They've been forecast, prototyped and failed for years now, and no one is really that into them.

When I say, "Where's My Jetpack?" I'm not talking about e-book readers. I love technology, but I also have great respect for the old-fashioned ways. The printed word is here to stay. It requires no power source and goes with you anywhere. You can read it by firelight and set it down without turning it off. The only accessory you might need is a bookmark, and even that is not required. Just dog-ear the corner.

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