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What’s A Kindle?

Some people predict doom and gloom for the newspaper industry because profits are down.  Just recently a major Massachusetts daily stated they were in jeopardy of folding unless crucial measures were taken.  Other periodicals such as the Rocky Mountain News in Washington, Christian Science Monitor, and Flint Journal, have ceased their hard copy distribution.  “Why?” you might ask.  Well, there are several theories.

A more than plausible one is the current economic downturn; advertising dollars are not what they used to be.  Another factor?  Younger people, such as Generation X and Y, do not read hard copy to the same degree as their parents and grandparents.  In fact, a mere ¼ of people under forty said they would become considerably distressed if the newspaper industry shut down.  So, if newspapers continue to decline, what news transmission might replace them?  Well, meet “Kindle!”

“What is a Kindle?” some of you might ask.  Kindle is a wireless hardware and software electronic designed to allow users the ability to read books and newspapers almost anywhere; the product is made by Amazon.  Reading material can be downloaded through the Kindle itself or by computer.  Of course, there is usually a charge associated with the download, but it is typically reasonable.  For example, classic book downloads might cost around $2, best-sellers, maybe $10, and newspapers, typically $6 to $15 per month.  Blogs, magazines, and the like, are also available.  In addition, the device offers a Web browser, and music can be played from MP3 files.

So why doesn’t everyone own a Kindle?  They cost money to buy.  The average price for an updated version is about $350.  Sony and Fujitsu have their own adaptations of Amazon’s e-reader.  Still, at least for now, Kindle seems to have the lion’s share of the market.

Some reasons to consider Kindle?

  1. It is phenomenal when traveling.  Almost any book or newspaper can be at your fingertips.
  2. You can e-mail.
  3. It might be the future.

And negatives?

  1. The device is small, so it may be difficult for some people to handle or read.
  2. It is battery generated, so you must recharge.
  3. Because it is electronic, you cannot use it when ascending and descending on a plane.

If the current popularity concerning e-books is any indicator, the Kindle is here to stay.  Some individuals openly embrace the technology, and others will kick and scream until the end.

Maybe a better way to look at this device is by seeing it as another reading opportunity in our library of choices.  Sure, it will be difficult to replace the smell, feel, and mystique, of printed paper, but possibly we won’t have to.  Perhaps we can have our Kindle and newspaper, too.

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