"Amazon, Apple and Google are a bit like medieval fortresses in their own ways. They’re secretive like China or Japan before they opened up to Westerners, or like Tibet or Mecca, closed to foreigners... There are two issues about secrecy here: social responsibility and intellectual property. As far as social responsibility goes, let me just say this: These companies have entire buildings filled with lawyers. They aren’t there to come up with new lawyer jokes. They are there, in part, to keep people like me from even answering this question.From his new book Burning the Page: The eBook revolution and the future of reading, available on Amazon Kindle of course.
If push came to shove, I think most of these execs would rather pull e-books from the store, effectively censoring them, if that would avoid bad press. These are major retailers, not your quirky corner bookstores. They’re manned by former management consultants in clean shirts and pressed Dockers, not eccentric book-lovers with beards and cats.
When it comes to book recommendations, retailers have the literary sensibilities of a spreadsheet — they’ll just recommend the most popular books to me, or books that other people also bought, but they know nothing of the soul and sparkle of a great book.
In 20 years, the space of one generation, print books will be as rare as vinyl LPs. You’ll still be able to find them in artsy hipster stores, but that’s about it.
Working at Amazon was like getting an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. at the same time. It was an incredible education. These were the smartest people I ever worked with. But Amazon had a dark side as well, as if it were the mean stepmother in a fairy tale. There was this push to get great products out to consumers. It makes a lot of teams very haggard. Amazon is held together by adrenaline, spreadsheets and people running around like crazy.
millions of copyrighted works are stored online [Google Books], one hacker away from worldwide dissemination for free.
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