Three new things walked into a bar…

Here’s a simple check on your perceptions. Which of the following do you consider to be successful–either currently or as some form of inevitable game-changer in the near future?

  • Blu-ray Disc
  • FriendFeed
  • Kindle

Now, let’s put it another way: Which of these has greater actual marketplace impact–that is, which is actually used by the most people?

Based on what I’ve seen from The Punditry, the answers to the first question seem to be dramatically different from those for the second. I wonder why that is?

For now, your comments and responses are invited (here or, ahem, on FriendFeed). In a few days, I’ll come back with answers to the second question. Not sure whether I’ll offer an opinion on the first…

An even better question!

Which of these do you believe public libraries should be going out of their way to introduce to patrons–e.g., for the two hardware items, buying devices? Why?


“Answers to the second question” and some other comments appear here.

12 Responses to “Three new things walked into a bar…”

  1. laura Says:

    Well, I won’t be introducing any of them in my library anytime soon. I think our main branch has added a couple of Blu-Ray discs that were donated, but there has not yet been enough patron demand to justify purchasing them. Many people are grateful to the library for being the only place in town that still has VHS tapes. I have no answers for your other questions.

  2. Mark Says:

    Can’t speak to Blu-Ray and won’t speak to FriendFeed. But seeing as I finally just saw my 1st Kindle “out in the wild” at Ebertfest a couple of days ago (S said she saw 2 side-by-side in use the next night) I find it hard to believe they are a game-changer, much less in widespread use.

    The Kindle and amazon will certainly have some kind of influence. Seeing as “game-changing” could be defined as either a large or small influence that changes an “end game” then perhaps it is such. But, for me, game-changing generally means a large and direct causal impact.

    By the way, the Kindle is one of the ugliest devices I’ve seen in a while. Not relevant to much of the above, though.

  3. Steve Lawson Says:

    I have to assume that Blu-Ray is the most successful at this time. I can walk into a Borders and buy a Blu-Ray disk, and I think (but am not sure) I could rent them at my local Blockbuster. I believe that one of the current generation videogame consoles plays Blu-Rays? (I’m deliberately not checking my facts, as that seems the spirit of the question.)

    The only one of those three that seems to have the potential to be a “game changer” is the Kindle. FriendFeed is just another online social network. Blu-Ray is just another piece of plastic with media on it. IF (note the big “if”) the Kindle took off like mad, it really could change how upper-class Americans read in a significant way, I think. If, prompted by that success, Kindle competitors sprung up that were not so tightly linked to a single store, while still allowing easy downloading of books from a multitude of sources, things would get really interesting.

  4. GeekChic Says:

    Hmmm…. as someone who uses none of the things mentioned many of my thoughts will be based on wild speculation. I would think that FriendFeed is used by more people – but I don’t know if it is “successful”. Define success. I think all 3 are successful at generating hype – for what that’s worth. [A side note, people have been saying that a "game changing" ereader is just around the corner since I was a small child lo these many decades ago... so you'll have to forgive my skepticism at the notion that the Kindle is a "game changer"].

    As to whether the public library I work at will be purchasing / using these technologies, I can be more certain of my answers – no to all of them, with differing reasons as to why.

    – Blu-ray: Very little interest from patrons (despite having a film theatre as part of the library) and no desire to have yet another format. Surveyed patrons state that they are waiting for greater availability of downloadable content.

    – FriendFeed: Awareness of twitter and equivalent technologies on the part of a very few patrons – but no expressed desire for a library presence [we do have pages on Facebook for our branches, do IM reference, blog, etc.].

    – Kindle: Open question as to whether libraries can circulate such devices under Amazon’s terms of use. Greater desire on the library’s (and our patrons’) part to provide access to the content (ebooks) not the container.

  5. walt Says:

    So far, some interesting thoughts and comments (more interesting than I was expecting, actually). More?

  6. Jeff Says:

    I would probably bet none of these have significant impact or will have impact in the short-term.

    I think most patrons just want DVDs that work. Different DVD machines can’t play certain movies now. For instance, my JVC VHS/DVD player cannot play anything produced by Sony Pictures because of the Digital Rights Management.

    All three of these services really cater to those who can afford to use them. It will take a while for the general population, and in particular library patrons, to make this a demand on library services.

    However, a library can demonstrate that they are forward thinking and generate great PR by using and adopting these services, but I would doubt that patron generated demand will be that great if it exists at all.

  7. Melissa Says:

    Well I personally dont check out DVDs from my library because the RFID system we use will not work in my DVD player (the extra thickness I guess). I use Netflix instead.

    Playstation 3 has Blu-Ray. I only know because we got a playstation a couple of days ago. I have absolutely no intention of buying blu-ray personally or for the library. There is no need right now.

    I do have the kindle app for iphone and really enjoy the free ebooks they’ve put on there, but I’ve never seen a kindle either.

    So I would say more people use Blu-Ray but game changer? I don’t think any of them are… I know next to nothing about friendfeed

  8. Mike Says:

    I predict that Blu-Ray will go the way of the video tape and the CD in short order. Now that NetFlix and other video delivery services are moving into downloading video’s online that will be the future. I haven’t purchase a CD for years, opting instead to purchase music online via iTunes, WalMart, Amazon or other vendors. (Who would knowingly purchase a CD today?)

    Friendfeed is just another aggregator. In this case social networks like YouTube and Facebook. It will probably gain in popularity but is not a great game changer.

    The Kindle is a changemaker. Not to say that the Amazon Kindle itself will dominate the market and the the marketplace needs to use a single open source standard for publishing but the basic changes in how we purchase and read books will change. The publishing industry will change because of the emergence of this internet accessible ebook reader. See the WSJ article at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123980920727621353.html

  9. Steven Kaye Says:

    I have to agree with the Kindle being the closest to an actual game changer (major company putting significant promotion and design chops behind an ebook reader to the point it has cultural cachet, or at least subcultural cachet).

    But I think there’s the question of whether something has mass market success and whether it has wide adoption within a specific desirable niche. Is the iPhone a game changer? Lots of people don’t have them, but they do have cultural cachet and it’s one of the few examples I can think of of a mobile phone manufacturer dictating terms to a phone company.

  10. walt Says:

    See this post for my updated comments.

  11. Mark Says:

    Mike asks: “Who would knowingly purchase a CD today?”

    Uh, lots of us, sir.

  12. Horst Says:

    I think that the Kindle is the greatest changemaker simply because it’s something new and not simply an updated or expanded version of something we already know.

    Still, I would be hesitant to introduce any of these items at a library because tech update cycles are becoming shorter and shorter and technologies are becoming obsolete faster than the time it takes to build a proper collection of the respective media.

    With the general trend of media changing from storage to streaming, the decision of libraries which formats to support will not depend on the content or the provider, but mostly on the licenses under which the content may be used.


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