Amazon Rapids And the Dumbing-Down of Reading
At first I thought it was an SNL parody about ebooks for kids. We’re so addicted to info snacking, seemingly less able (and interested) in focusing on long form reading, so let’s create a new platform that helps foster even shorter attention spans for our kids.
Amazon Rapids is nothing more than a series of text messages disguised as a new way of encouraging kids to read. Go ahead. Download the app, read the sample content, and tell me whether you think it’s worth $2.99 a month to expose kids to these “short stories.” I wouldn’t recommend Rapids to kids even if it was offered for free.
Anyone who knows me would agree that I’m an unabashed digital enthusiast. Nobody wants technology to help make reading more accessible and interesting than me. I’ve given countless presentations about how today’s ebooks are nothing more than “print under glass” and how we spend so much time reading “dumb content on smart devices.”
With Rapids, Amazon now enables kids to read even dumber content on their smart devices. I really wish it were nothing more than an SNL skit but I think Amazon is serious about this one.
Joe Wikert is Publishing President at Our Sunday Visitor (www.osv.com). Before joining OSV Joe was Director of Strategy and Business Development at Olive Software. Prior to Olive Software he was General Manager, Publisher, & Chair of the Tools of Change (TOC) conference at O’Reilly Media, Inc., where he managed each of the editorial groups at O’Reilly as well as the Microsoft Press team and the retail sales organization. Before joining O’Reilly Joe was Vice President and Executive Publisher at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., in their P/T division.