I don’t agree with all of this guy’s points about the future of digital books vis a vis the success of the Kindle. I’m optimistic that the presence of the Kindle and other e-readers will help drag book publishing out of the horrifically dysfunctional returnable bookstore model that it’s currently in.
But I don’t think that book publishing can be directly compared to the recording industry, and I really don’t think it’s advisable to tell publishers, “If you’ll just embrace this DRM-free, digital model, you can get your sales demolished just like the recording industry did. What are you waiting for?”
I also think Steve Jobs was full of crap when he said that Apple wouldn’t develop an e-reader becauseÂ “Americans don’t read.” I think he recognized that Amazon was already in position as the store of choice, and that meant Apple wouldn’t be able to create an iTunes store for books. No store, no device.
I’m still enjoying the heck out of my Kindle, but I’m also bummed that the new Pevear/Volokhonsky translation of War & Peace is selling for $20, rather than the $9.99 that they usually price new hardcovers. Grr.