I apologize for writing something only tangentially related to writing, but it has to do with eBooks, Kindles, and stuff.
Ebooks will change the way books are read and published. This threatens some of the not-poor who will have to change the way they do business. Just ask Borders books. It also will disrupt patterns of power distribution between writers, agents, and publishers. None of this should be news.
Do-gooders often like to write hand-wringing essays about The Poor. I recently read here and here that the widespread adoption of ebooks will freeze out poor children from reading. And you probably know that Amazon as dropped its prices to $79 for the normal Kindle, and $199 for the Fire. Now add one more component to this equation: public schools.
here that public school systems are poised to save a lot of money in storage space and shipping costs by switching their texts to ebooks.
Can these savings subsize Kindles for public school children? One of Newt Gingrich's more outrageous ideas was to give laptops to homeless people. I still think it's ridiculous. But it makes sense to give Kindles to disadvantaged school children with their ebook texts.
I can see some very well-heeled corporations spending millions demonizing this idea. But there are even more millions to be made by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and/or Apple switching public school children from dead-tree texts to ebooks.
Update: I hear that the Indian government is moving forward on something along these lines.