Friday, August 13, 2010

A library in each pocket

The technological revolutions underway are giving the phrase “pocket library” a whole new and more literal meaning. The potential of a range of devices, from Kindle to India’s own $35 computer tablet, to revolutionise access to books is truly astonishing. It was reported recently that Kindle book sales at Amazon are now surpassing the sale of regular books. The astonishing facility of being able to download potentially millions of books and journals (and if they are sufficiently old, free of cost) on devices that will increasingly cost little has the potential to equalise access to knowledge in unprecedented ways.

The implications of this technological revolution for the protocols of reading are yet to be fully fathomed. The idea that each one of us can literally carry thousands of books with us at any given moment ought to excite the imagination of even the most reluctant bibliophile. But the fact that this technology is now available also means that we need to think more systematically about it. For relatively little investment it should be possible to expand access to books, by disseminating these kinds of devices.

Full report here Indian Express

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