Nicholas Carr argues that a key factor in Kindle‘s downfall is the lack of an already living and healthy market for free reading material. I share his misgivings about the Kindle, but I don’t agree with his reasoning. Although new books are generally locked up in copyright, there’s no lack of free reading material. That’s what we (as humans) have been busy developing for the past 15 years or so. It’s called the Internet.
And that’s really where Amazon is missing the ball. By locking down their device to access a tiny percentage of the potential content, and making it difficult to get the free content on and off, they’ve painted themselves into a proprietary corner. What they could have done was put a lightweight web browser into our hands – now that would have been fun.