Now the Wall Street Journal just announced its feature called My Journal which “introduces a new level of versatility with new ways to organize, manage and share breaking news, articles, videos and more.”
In My Journal users can set up folders to email content to friends and colleagues. Users can set up “Collections” and whenever new content is added to the collection, it’s automatically e-mailed to the addresses the user has identified to receive such updates. I’ll try this with our advanced legal research class this fall.
I was speaking at a law school panel discussion a couple of months ago. The session was being recorded, and the technician was using wireless microphones. He was picking up interference during sound checks and asked the six or seven law students who were on the panel if they had iPhones, and if they could turn them off if so. It seemed to me that just about every student, and certainly a majority, reached into his or her pocket and pulled out an iPhone.
What made me think of this incident is a Technology story in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal, “Publishers Nurture Rivals to Kindle,” by Shira Ovide and Geoffrey A. Fowler. The article talks about a number of efforts by different publishers teaming up with companies such as FirstPaper LLC ., Plastic Logic Ltd., and E Ink Corp.
What especially caught my eye was this paragraph:
Some publishers also are focusing their portable-reading efforts on devices people already use. The new iPhone applications store rolling out this summer will support subscription prices, spurring the Financial Times, Time Inc. and other publishers to tinker with ways to offer subscriptions on the iPhone. Last week, Amazon bought a small startup that makes free e-book reading application Stanza for the iPhone.
I think that they might really be on to something.
But you also can’t ever out-book the book. You need to look for a series of things that you can do with an electronic device like Kindle that you could never do with a physical book.
Some of them can be pretty simple, like dictionary lookup. I find I don’t know what lots of words mean, and I used to guess because — am I really going to get up off of the sofa and go find a dictionary?
Changing the font size, a very simple thing that’s much appreciated.
And then some whoppers. The big whopper is wireless delivery of books in less than 60 seconds. You don’t have the cognitive overhead of thinking about your monthly wireless bill. You don’t have to know who the wireless carrier is. We’re hiding all of that complexity.