Critical Thinking Paper "Current Issue in Global Research Proposal

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Critical Thinking Paper "Current Issue in Global Business"

Critical Thinking Paper -- E-Readers

With its Kindle, Amazon is currently the leader of the electronic readers market. In the near future, competition is expected to increase, mainly from players such as Barnes and Noble, Sony or LG. The impact will be that of a growing industry of e-readers. In terms of the society, this will manifest in changing reading habits, changing book purchasing habits or an increased access to books (for blind people as well). The trend will not however lead to the demise of the traditional books sector.

Major technological advancements characterize the contemporaneous society. One particular innovation occurs within the field of lecture, namely referring to electronic readers, shortly, e-readers. The debate on the utility of these new applications is amounting, with some parties arguing their ability to save energy, whilst others blaming them for the gloomy future of the printing industry.

Amazon has been the door opener in the field of e-readers with their Kindle gadget; but competition is likely to occur from other parties as well. Barnes and Noble for instance have announced their intention to launch an electronic reader, Nook, which, unlike Kindle, would run on the Android platform. This new technology, the Android, is in fact a mobile operating system that is also gaining momentum due to its flexibility in the meaning that people, generally software developers, can customize Android running machines by writing new software applications.

Returning to electronic readers however, a question is being posed relative to the means by which they would impact the modern day society. This article strives to answer the inquiry by focusing on several aspects of the electronic reader.

2. What is an E-Reader? Introducing Kindle

An e-reader can simply be defined as hardware and software platform that allows users to upload electronic books onto it, and then read the books. This function is common to all electronic readers, be them from Sony, Amazon, LG or Barnes and Noble. Yet, each individual brand carries its specific additional functions. Take a look at Kindle for example. Aside allowing readers to upload and read books onto the device, it also lets them connect to the internet and directly download electronic books. It does not take more than 60 seconds to get a book, and this can be done without searching for Wi-Fi hotspots, due to the integration of the 3G wireless technology within the device.

Kindle is light and slim, with the depth of any average magazine, and only weighs 10.2 ounces. It is easy to carry around and reveals increased quality of the reading material, including lack of glare even in the strongest light. It also allows access to blogs, magazines, newspapers and other materials than books, as well as an ability to play audio books. A prospective future application is that of getting the Kindle to read out loud the contents of an electronic book. Today, the Kindle store grants access to more than 360,000 books, sold at the average price of $9.99 (Amazon, 2009). All these features, alongside with its ease of usage or its incorporated dictionary make the Kindle a valuable addition to one's assets.

Nevertheless, there are also some perceived downsides to the Kindle. For once, browsing through the pages of the book and looking up specific information is rather difficult, meaning as such that Kindle's research applicability is reduced. Then, the device is rather fragile and could easily break. The internet connection at a global level is reduced, meaning that only few countries, aside the U.S., allow the Kindle to connect to the World Wide Web. The device does not reveal abilities for memory enlargement, meaning that the construction of a vast virtual library is reduced (Biggs, 2009). All these constitute negative points to be considered when deciding whether or not to purchase the Amazon Kindle. It is possible that some of these disadvantages be eliminated by competitive products, but for now, Kindle remains the largest player and the one standing the most chances to make a difference within the contemporaneous society.

3. How Kindle Would Transform the World of Books?

With the launch of the electronic readers, the sales of electronic books exploded. Throughout the third quarter of 2008 for instance, the sale of e-books increased by 70 per cent comparative to the same period of 2007. It is even argued that the sales would have been greater had it not been for the effects of the economic crisis (Yoffie and Kim, 2009). In this context then, many ask themselves how would electronic books and electronic readers impact the traditional books. Clearly, less traditional books will be purchased as the electronic book is not only more easily accessible, but it is also cheaper.

It is also probable for the buying behavior of any individual to suffer modifications, without impacting however the number of books read. To explain, most traditional readers log on to Amazon to purchase a specific book, but while browsing through, they also make other purchases. Nevertheless, once the package arrives, the buyer will most likely only read the initially desired work, shelving the others. In the situation when the reader owns a Kindle, he will only purchase the one book he needs then, as the rest of them are only a click away, so he doesn't need to stack (Smith, 2009). What this basically means is that the primordial effect of electronic readers is that they will reduce the sale of books, any kind of books.

But not only actual books will be influenced by the growing popularity of Kindle. Newspapers and magazines would also be impacted in the meaning of a transition from printed materials to formats on e-paper. This will generate major cost savings, considering alone that, in France for instance, 30 per cent of all costs of a newspaper company are represented by printing efforts; distribution consists of another 20 per cent (Eisenmann, Stuart, Chakravorti, Dessain, Harrow and Corsi, 2009). All these expenditures would be drastically decreased by the enhanced usage of Kindle. Within the industry, it could also translate in a reduction of the demand for printed materials, which could imply the organizational necessity to downsize.

Nevertheless, similar arguments were forwarded through the 1990s decade, as the internet was introduced. And despite the perceived threat, printed books, magazines and newspapers continued to circulate within the market -- at a reduced number however. Extrapolating, it is highly probable for Kindle and other e-readers to generate a decrease in the number of printed materials, but it is highly improbable for them to lead to the complete demise of the traditional book. Traditional readers will continue to purchase and demand printed books as they cherish the feeling of holding a book, the smell of a new or old book, or the sensation of turning a page. In the words of Gina Trapani (2009), "the Kindle adds to, but doesn't replace, your book collection."

4. How Kindle Would Impact the Modern Day Society?

E-readers, hereby represented by Kindle as the current leader of the industry, are expected to generate a wide series of both positive as well as negative impacts. The following lines reveal some of the most popular effects pegged to the growing popularity of electronic readers.

Positive impacts

Revive the passion for reading

With the assurance that the electronic readers will not destroy the market and industry for traditional books, it is even possible to assume that gadgets such as Amazon's Kindle will increase the individuals' access to books, making lecturing once more a popular hobby. This feature is best exemplified by the rapid access to books offered by electronic readers. Individuals will no longer have to go to stores or to libraries, lose time standing in lines or returning books. They will be just one click away. And the extra time that will be saved on avoiding lines and going out to pick books could be used for reading, or any other activity, element which will significantly improve the individual's quality of life.

Another benefit imperative to be mentioned is the increased access to reading offered by electronic readers to people facing eye sight problems. The first version of the Kindle was only useful for people who had eyesight problems but still could see, as it allowed them to easily increase fonts. The new version however is useful for blind people as well, as it allows them to listen to audio books. Future versions will even integrate applications which read out loud the texts selected.

The Virtual Community

Another impact will be felt within the virtual community, probably even for Amazon's Kindle Store. Basically, this website asks customers to pay for the book they want to read, and only then will they get access to it. There are however other sources to get access to e-books. Not commenting on online piracy, fact remains that there exist websites which grant users free access to virtual books. Such a source is www.feedbooks.com. The usage of this and other similar… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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