One on One: Jason Merkoski and the View of E-Books From the Inside


Technology companies will occasionally acknowledge they were wrong — just last week Apple had to apologize to its Chinese customers — but you hardly ever hear them express doubt about the glorious future they are building for us all.

So it is refreshing to see Jason Merkoski, a leader of the team that built Amazon’s first Kindle, dispense with the usual techo-utopianism and say, “I think we’ve made a proverbial pact with the devil in digitizing our words.” And this: “If you’re willing to overlook the fact that Big Brother won’t be a politician but an ad man and that he’ll have the face of Google.” Mr. Merkoski even has mixed feelings about Amazon, which he left two years ago. “It’s hard to love Amazon,” he notes. “Not the way we love Apple or a bookstore.”

Full article

Mr. Merkoski just wrote a book - Burning the Page: The eBook revolution and the future of reading (Looks like the book is only coming out in ebook form)


For those who want to preserve physical books for as long as possible, the take-away here is clear: Don't waste your time arguing online or bemoaning the fate of the world. If you love books, then you need to start buying more of them. It's only going to count if you buy new books. Buying used books, borrowing books from friends, and checking them out from the library won't help the cause. Money talks, and in fact, it's the only thing the suits staring at spreadsheets will heed.

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