From Kindle Nation Daily:
I traveled to Seattle this week to sit down on July 26th with Jeff Bezos for an 18-minute conversation about the Kindle. We met in an unadorned conference room at Amazon’s fast-growing campus of nondescript buildings.
. . . .
Len Edgerly: It’s been seven years since you did the early design for the Kindle.
Jeff Bezos: Yes.
LE: When you think back to what you saw then, what’s been the biggest surprise in how it’s all unfolded?
JB: The biggest surprise by far is how quickly it has grown. When we did this, we were very optimistic that Kindle would eventually be a success and that it would accelerate the adoption of eBooks. But what has actually happened, happened so much faster than any reasonable person would have expected.
Today eBooks have become a huge fraction of the books sold, and we wouldn’t have anticipated that. That’s a big surprise.
. . . .
LE: What do you think will be the same five to seven years or further out about the way we read, never mind how the technology advances?
JB: I think one thing that you can count on is that human nature doesn’t change. The human brain doesn’t change. And so one thing that seems to be very, very fundamental is that we like narrative. We like stories. So I don’t think that any amount of eBook technology is going to change the fact that we humans like narrative. And so I think that linear narrative, where somebody has really put a lot of work into guiding us along in a great story—a great storyteller, that’s what they do. I think that’s going to stay the same.
LE: Do you think that at some point the all-text story will be kind of an historical anomaly because the digital editions, the enhanced audio video and all that will just create a more compelling experience of a story than all text?
JB: I doubt it. We sort of have done that experiment in a way already, because sometimes really good books get made into movies. And even if the movie is a good movie—there’s also the case where they get made into bad movies. But even if they’re good movies, there are things about the book that never get replicated in the movie.
And I think the all-text story, as you put it, is its own medium, and I think that is likely to continue. I don’t think, for example, that audio snippets would make Hemingway better. I’m not sure multimedia would make Hemingway better. So I think it’s its own thing.
Now will there be new kinds of things invented that take advantage of these new technologies? Yes. Just like movies, moving pictures, was a completely new medium. But you didn’t try to do books with moving pictures—they might be derived from a book. But it’s its own art form, and they had to invent all the things that make movies good—all the different ways from cutting from one scene to the next—and it didn’t displace books. And I think that’s what you’ll see happen here, too. There’ll be new kinds of multimedia offerings that people can interact with on Kindles, but they won’t displace all-text stories.
Link to the rest at Kindle Nation Daily