What could make e-books go over the top in terms of consumer buy-in? Already this year Kindle books outsold print books on Christmas Day (see correction note at end of my post about this) on Amazon–but what would make e-books even more ubiquitous?
I’m imagining a killer app similar to “Bump” for the iPhone or Pokemon for the Nintendo DS where you could bump your Kindle or iPhone and instead of exchanging addresses or a Pokemon character, you could exchange book passages or entire books.
What happens to copyright and ownership then? Imagine the utility in this sort of app–teachers could “share” key passages straight to their students’ iTouches; bloggers could share significant quotes with a simple bump of the phone; libraries could “check out” books to their patrons by simply bumping their device.
But what happens economically to the book market with a technology like this? What would it look like for print libraries? book stores?
There may be a lot of issues for publishers to work out for this sort of technology exchange, but the truth is that it’s already technically possible. Are we preparing for changes like this that will knock our socks off? Can we even begin to imagine the possibilities?
Correction: Blogger Walt Crawford rightly drew my attention to the misleading wording in my opening paragraph. Kindle ebooks outsold print books only on Christmas Day on Amazon. While my wonderings in the rest of this blog post still stand, I wanted to correct that detail.