Richard Baum's Profile
The year of living digitally
Starting this blog was a costly decision. To be precise, $359. That’s how much I paid Amazon last night when I ordered a Kindle electronic book reader to kick off my plan to document the impact of digital media.
The Kindle is the missing piece in my digital life. I bought my first digital camera in 2000. I can’t remember the last time I purchase a CD. And since moving to the United States in September, I’ve largely given up DVDs in favor of videos streamed via broadband. My life is largely free of the clutter of silver discs and boxes of photos. The Kindle and devices like it promise to do the same for printed media.
But do I really want to give up books? As appealing as I find Amazon’s promise that I can carry 1,500 tomes in a device as thin as a magazine, is a house without shelves of wrinkled book spines really a home? And how can I share sections of the Sunday New York Times with my wife when I swap our print subscription for the Kindle version?
In the coming year, I’ll be exploring the cultural and business implications of the accelerating shift towards digital media. The forces that are reshaping the music industry and newspaper publishers are rippling to television and beyond. New social trends and corporate champions will emerge, just as Apple and the iPod changed the way we consume music. Names such as Roku and Boxee are challenging the relevance of the Blu-Ray DVD players that the big electronics makers want us to buy. Many of these trends are well underway in the United States and I’ll chart them through my personal experiences with the Kindle and other gadgets. With the help of my colleagues around the world and, I hope, our readers, I’ll also look at how they are taking root elsewhere. Your digital comments are welcome.