Its one of life’s little ironies that with the Kindle, Amazon has espoused a download method for distributing digital books, approximating to the traditional model of bookshop which feeds individual libraries. In the world according to Kindle we all have our own individual libraries, which are defined by the content held on the Kindles that we own. Google is going with a books as streamed-service approach, in its Google Book Search platform, which approximates to a universal library service. With the Kindle approach there are lots of ‘local copies’, but with the Google library in the cloud, there may ultimately only be one copy of each title. Google’s (and that is what people find worrying).
I find this Amazon position mildly ironic, because one of the few areas in which Amazon is competing directly with Google and possibly winning, is in the provision of Cloud Computing Services to third parties (Google’s own cloud infrastructure is much better than anyone else’s, but they are not making such a success of engendering third party use of their system). Amazon has an impressive cloud infrastructure of which the S3 service [S3 = Simple Storage Service] is the best known example. Amazon has just announced that it is extending and enhancing its S3 service with an improved method of delivering content rich services. If Amazon decides to switch tack on the Kindle and treat it simply as a blank slate on which users can rent rather than outright buy titles, they will have the infrastructure in place to make this change. Amazon is a true believer in the ‘cloud’ for next generation computing, but it apparently thinks that digital books are different: droplets on the ground rather than nodes in the cloud network.