The Amazon Kindle DX has been touted by some, such as J.K. Rowling, as the harbinger of doom for the printed word. They claim it takes the magic away from holding a good paper book in your hands while you read. But others, such as the publishers at the New York Times are looking to the Kindle DX as a beacon of hope in their darkening business. The newspaper industry is suffering heavily and nearly all news publications have had to make huge cutbacks and layoffs. Now, they look to the Kindle to rekindle, so to speak, the people’s interest in news publications.
If the internet is any clue, people are still very much interested in the daily goings on of the world. iTunes shows that USA today is one of the top 30 most downloaded free offerings, letting on that people still want to read the news. But subscriptions through daily deliveries to households have plummeted recently and there is no rise in site according to most analysts. But many in the industry are still divided as to whether or not the Amazon Kindle DX really is the knight in shining armor, come to save the day.
On the pro side, people claim that the Kindle takes advantage of a much simpler system for getting the paper. Rather than picking the soggy bag off your driveway every morning, the Kindle DX automatically downloads whatever paper you’re subscribed to right onto the hard drive. You can get up in the morning and your paper is waiting for you, no need to even put on your slippers. You also don’t have to worry about what to do with a bulky paper every day, nor do you have to wait for your computer to start up so you can check the news online.
But there are naysayers, as there are wont to be. Some people claim that the subscription price tag, which is essentially the same as it is for the paper edition, will put many people off. Most of the printed news stories are now available for free online. So why would someone pay $15 a month for a subscription to something they can see on the publication’s website for free? And no one who just wants to read paper or magazine subscriptions is going to run out and drop $500 on a device that lets them read them digitally. Most people who think the Kindle is not going to revitalize the industry would like to see newspapers stick to their current, albeit failing, methods.
Only time will truly tell if the Kindle has what it takes to get newspapers back on their feet. But one thing is for certain: the Kindle is not the death of the printed word, but the reimagining of it. As the world enters a new digital age, the printed word is destined to move to the computer screen. The Amazon Kindle DX may or may not have what it takes to save the newspaper industry, but it is inevitable that newspapers will end up on the Kindle regardless.
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