Reading devices out to woo you

Net gain for avid readers

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Reading devices out to woo you


    Ever so often we experience technology in a way that changes our lives forever. It's like a switch that is flipped and we can never go back. I remember when this happened with me and the Internet; I could fulfil my desire for information without even leaving the comfort of my house. I was mesmerised by the technology and my life wasn't the same from that point.

    This sort of change was something I experienced with the mobile phone and then with Facebook.

    As someone who has always been interested in acquiring knowledge, like a lot of us are, I have been interested in books and the information they contain. The fact that writing a book takes up over a year of a writers life on average has always fascinated me. Going back a decade or so, I always wanted to read but I could never settle on a book, besides the ones that were labelled as bestsellers. This wasn't a problem I was facing alone, a lot of people happened to be confronted with the same choices. There were lots of books available and no meaningful ways to sort through them besides the fiction and non-fiction categories at the bookstore. The only source I had to both hear about and decide on a book was the people I knew, and they did not really like reading.

    All of this changed with the advent of e-commerce and the internet which lead to the creation of devices such as the Kindle. The kindle is a unique e-reader or a device capable of reading digitised versions of books. The digitisation of books is a huge step forward for people interested in reading but Amazon really took it one step forward with the Kindle. By combining the power of the Amazon store and it's built in customer review system with access to purchasing and reading books wherever you are on a device that is designed to provide you with the closest digital representation of the experience of reading a book, the Kindle is no small achievement.

    Everybody has a story to tell, but publishers cannot afford to publish everyone's story. The digital revolution of reading has changed that, people can now self publish e-books at a fraction of the cost of what was possible a decade ago and hence are not dependant on the Publishers approval. This process was made possible because of self-publishing on platforms like Amazon and Google Play Store that has lead to the discovery of so many great books that would not have been available otherwise.

    Reading while travelling has also changed in a profound way. The latest generation of the Amazon Kindle which includes devices such as the Kindle Voyage provide you with free network access so you can download books while you are travelling and do not have access to Wi-Fi. This is huge because you might be on a long vacation and somebody just told you about a book that you cannot pickup locally but want to read. The Kindle makes this possible.

    Even though it is an obvious result of digitisation, hard to find and books that sell out quickly are always available now. I remember spending a lot of time looking for two transformative books, The Fall of the Human Intellect and The Holocaust of Attachment, both written by Swami Parthasarathy, which are not available at most places and sell out quickly where they are. The Amazon store delivered both the books to me within seconds. This was one of those moments where I had realised that a profound change had taken place in terms of my access to books.

    In addition to the Kindle, the digitisation of reading has also lead to the easy distribution of audiobooks. What used to be difficult to acquire before is now available easily. Thanks to digitisation it is also possible to get different voices for the same book giving the listener the option to choose which voice he or she likes the most. Both audiobooks and e-books have made it to the mobile, making books a lot more accessible regardless of where you are.

    The world of writers and readers alike has been changed for good. Brick and Mortar establishments are disappearing and new e-commerce websites are popping up all the time.

    Although everybody might not like it, this is the direction we are moving towards and it is the direction that will benefit everybody involved and create an environment where the best information can thrive.

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