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Jemaleddin

You know, the WSJ can put "online" in its URLS, but the fact that this article has exactly two links - to information on the stocks prices of Google and Amazon - is telling. It has a dreadful URL - and a link tag pointing to it with rel instead of rev = canonical in the source - that only a URL-shortening service could love.

You've written a great piece that demonstrates how fundamentally you understand the web and left it in the hands of people who don't. Sad, that.

Perianne

Great piece. Read it first in my own paid print copy of the WSJ (print beat twitter this morning). You cite two reasons for the shift. There may be a third, overall reason; consumer control of content. Case in point: TV DVR penetration has risen to 30% of US HH's and in "upscale" homes is +60%. Consumers are so used to controlling, managing and time shifting their own content that the K2 feeds those needs perfectly and removes the barrier of location to book/mag/newsp/blog access.

Amanda Seyderhelm

Your article is the first really insightful review on ebooks I have read! And thanks for the link to Kevin's piece. I saw it as an optimistic piece - there are tremendous opportunities now for writers to mix content with commercialism, and challenges with 'attention' for readers. Any idea how Kindle performs on the beach - all that sand?!

Bill Schaffer

An extremely well-written and interesting article.
Is there any concern about technological changes in media, such that the e-book readers of today will have to upgrade h/w from time to time? I have in mind the disappearance of card readers, paper tape, magnetic tape (some uses), floppies of all sizes, and now CDs and DVDs.Would Amazon "replace" (guarantee accessibility to)my e-copy of Brothers Karamazov if, twenty years from now, or 500 years from now, compatibility is totally broken?
I was at an exhibit years ago, and the Book of Kells was on display. Made in the year 800, it is readable today (providing one knows Latin)....

Bill

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Technology is going so fast. Now its not ebooks, its about microblogging and nanoblogging

Rob

The more that these developments unfold, the more I recall the transformations of reading and publishing that took place during the Victorian period (which you allude to here). It's as if the era of penny dreadfuls and shilling shockers is poised for a digital comeback.

Maybe Richard Altick's "English Common Reader" could help us make sense of these changes. In any case, it's certainly hard not to think about Dickens in this context.

Vladimir

What do you think about interactivity in usual printed editions?
http://linkod.com/en.html

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Would you please provide a URL for this quote so I can send it to friends, or at least WSJ publication date, article title
"If you like to see the strong slap around the weak -- and deep down, you know you do -- this was the sports weekend for you." - WSJ

Dan Gabriels

Sorry if this is dated intelligence, but I just read your discussion of DevonThink. There was/is a tool well beyond this, which began as software that had a desktop manifestation, the free Kenjin, but went Corporate server-based and mega-costly. Check www.autonomy.com. This software uses Bayes Theorem and some other wonders to "understand" text, and I gather at this point video and audio. Not only does this pemit searching by meaning, but autonomy has some added functionalities for creating visual maps of how the bulk of information you've given it to analyze relates, part-to-part. MY Dream was to employ this to understand the 8000 pages of my own text in such a way as to facilitate a linear presentation of the core of it--i.e., a book. But the individual-user form did not continue in development. This felt to me a bit like keeping the Printing Press for Corporations only.

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Technology is going so fast. Now its not ebooks, its about microblogging and nanoblogging

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My Photo
I'm a father of three boys, husband of one wife, and author of nine books, host of one television series, and co-founder of three web sites. We split our time between Brooklyn, NY and Marin County, CA. Personal correspondence should go to sbeej68 at gmail dot com. If you're interested in having me speak at an event, drop a line to Wesley Neff at the Leigh Bureau (WesN at Leighbureau dot com.)

My Books

  • Steven Johnson: How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World

    Steven Johnson: How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
    A history of innovation accompanied by a 6-part TV series on PBS and the BBC, this was the first of my books to crack the top 5 on the NY Times bestseller list. Appropriately for a book that celebrates diverse networks, this was the most collaborative of any of my books. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • Steven Johnson: Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age

    Steven Johnson: Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age
    My first book-length attempt to organize my writings about emergence and networks into something resembling a political philosophy, which I called Peer Progressivism. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

    Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
    An exploration of environments that lead to breakthrough innovation, in science, technology, business, and the arts. I conceived it as the closing book in a trilogy on innovative thinking, after Ghost Map and Invention. But in a way, it completes an investigation that runs through all the books, and laid the groundwork for How We Got To Now. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : The Invention of Air

    The Invention of Air
    The story of the British radical chemist Joseph Priestley, who ended up having a Zelig-like role in the American Revolution. My version of a founding fathers book, and a reminder that most of the Enlightenment was driven by open source ideals. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : The Ghost Map

    The Ghost Map
    The story of a terrifying outbreak of cholera in 1854 London 1854 that ended up changing the world. An idea book wrapped around a page-turner. I like to think of it as a sequel to Emergence if Emergence had been a disease thriller. You can see a trailer for the book here. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter

    Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter
    The title says it all. This one sparked a slightly insane international conversation about the state of pop culture -- and particularly games. There were more than a few dissenters, but the response was more positive than I had expected. And it got me on The Daily Show, which made it all worthwhile. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life

    Mind Wide Open : Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life
    My first best-seller, and the only book I've written in which I appear as a recurring character, subjecting myself to a battery of humiliating brain scans. The last chapter on Freud and the neuroscientific model of the mind is one of my personal favorites. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

    Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software
    The story of bottom-up intelligence, from slime mold to Slashdot. Most of my books sold more copies than this one, but Emergence has influenced the most eclectic mix of fields: political campaigns, web business models, urban planning, the war on terror. (Available from IndieBound here.)

  • : Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate

    Interface Culture : How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate
    My first. The book I wrote instead of finishing my dissertation, predicting the growing cultural significance of interface and information design. Still relevant, I think. But I haven't read it in a while, so who knows what's in there! (Available from IndieBound here.)

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