I was just redownloading the Kindle app onto my iPad, after a few months of just using Kindle Cloud reader, and noticed something interesting in the text on the front of the app: "download all of the books that you own." I thought that was a bit misleading because with the Kindle service, you don't own anything. You are granted access rights, but ownership, nope.
My thoughts then went towards the same idea that with a library, your tax dollars grant you access to a building of books of which you have access to, but never ownership of. You don’t get much say as to what shows up in your local library without being on a committee of some sort. Though, being loud enough can get things thrown off the shelves pretty easily. But, you do get access. As long as the building is open, you get access to the books. And given your membership credentials (a library card), you are even able to lease some of those books into your physical space, away from that building, for some amount of time. If you keep it too long, you’ve got to pay a fee. But, its essentially an open(ish) access system.
Then I had another thought. Ben Franklin would have invented the Kindle service if he could have. That’s essentially what the library system is (today). A service by which you can, given your payment (tax) to Amazon, author, and publisher, lease the reading of a book for some kind of time. The system is neatly similar to a library – as your building is the application/browser (funded by tax dollars, service fees, device costs, etc.)…
I don’t have to go too far. Its just one of those thoughts. Seems like Jeff Bezos is basically repackaging (and better monetizing) the "library company" concept that Ben Franklin founded. Not bad really. Just, one of those things that’s full of implications that makes it seem that Franklin’s library company wasn’t about the democracy of reading and learning, but about something a little more sinister – the control of information in a republic that was basically looking for its feet in every area of society.
Nothing too revolutionary happening today on that scale, is it?