Even more on the Kindle

I'm not sure why I'm so interested in the release of the new Kindle, but it appears Slate is as well.  Over the weekend, they published another article on the portable reading device: "How the Kindle will change the world."  The article by Jacob Weisberg doesn't say much that the other articles (here and here) didn't, except to strike a sunnier note:  while the potential rise of Kindle might make it harder for writers and independent publishers to make money, there's every reason to think that the opposite might happen, that it could "spur new forms while breathing life into old ones."  He doesn't say how this would happen.  One imagines that an Amazon-Kindle monopoly over electronic publishing is not the way, and competition (Sony and Google have partnered) will be necessary before anything positive can come from transitioning away from reading books on paper (and reading newspapers online). 

The article linked to a March post by Clay Shirky, "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable."  While it covers the perils facing the newspaper industry and doesn't mention electronic reading devices, it did include this nugget--amongst many--that could apply directly:

"With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem."