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Burning the Page: The eBook Revolution and the Future of Reading

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  215 ratings  ·  53 reviews
The definitive book about ebooks, Burning the Page offers a revolutionary vision for the future of reading from an ebooks insider who was Amazon's first technology evangelist and an early innovator on the Kindle team.

The world of books is changing rapidly, and we're witnessing a revolution that's transforming both the reading experience and our culture as a whole. For many
Paperback, 233 pages
Published April 9th 2013 by Sourcebooks (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.31  · 
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 ·  215 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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Apr 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished, 2013
That's it. At 39%, I am putting this book down in protest. Well, what I mean is going to my Kindle home page and choosing another one. Actually, it is this sort of book that makes me yearn for print editions, for the sheer satisfaction of being able to hurl it against a wall.

Firstly, I thought this would be an 'insider's' account of the development of Amazon's Kindle, with some speculation on the future direction of the technology and its social impact in general. (I recently read the Jeff Bezos
Paul Bartusiak
Jul 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Burning the Page is in part a personal account of Jason Merkoski's experiences as a member of the Amazon team that developed the Kindle device and ecosystem. It also includes quirky accounts of various work/life experiences of Mr. Merkoski, historical discussions on the development of the printing industry in general, and musings about future technological directions for novels and storytelling.

If the above description seems to describe somewhat random or scattershot subject matter, that's a
Janette Fuller
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a comprehensive story about the history of books, the development of ebooks and the future of reading itself. Mr. Merkoski shares his experiences as one of the founding members of Amazon's Kindle team, a small group of people with the goal to make all books downloadable in less than sixty seconds.

Jason Merkoski was at the helm of the ebook revolution. The Amazon Kindle (and other ereaders) has changed the way we live, think and perceive the world around us. The author provides "insider"
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was very excited to delve into this book. My library wrote a grant last year to help us get e-reader training for our staff so we can offer help to our customers. I'm also working on a presentation about the future of books, so I was excited that this work would so neatly tie into the two topics. Jason Merkoski may have been part of the first Kindle team, but he certainly seems to take a lot of credit for his intelligence (more so than the readers need to hear), yet he also has a sense of ...more
Thierry Wasserman
Nov 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Repetitive, insults the intelligence of the reader, metaphors pushed too far, etc. If there was something interesting to say about the development of the Kindle or the future of ebooks, it might've been worth it, but he's excessively vague about everything and seemingly afraid of delving too deeply into anything. It fails as a history of the development of the Kindle, fails as an analysis of the ebook revolution, fails as a personal memoir. Waste of time.
John Brumbaugh
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting story of eBooks, but I felt he went too much into what he thought eBooks would become and not enough in the story of how they were made, especially the Kindle. It seemed like he was trying to not give up anything that could be considered a trade secret by Amazon in writing the book.
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sociology
Jason Merkoski was involved on the development team for the Kindle e-book reader and, for a time became a "technology evangelist" for Amazon. This book is a combination memoir and thoughtful exploration of the future of reading in as we make the shift from "analog" to digital in books.

He begins with some history of Ebooks and the development and launch of the first Kindle and then moves into the various implications of the shift to digital, ranging from how we read to what it means to have
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
As you might expect from a book reviewer, one is surrounded by books. Piles and piles of books. Yet the so-called eBook revolution is changing how books are read, whether that is for pleasure, for study or for business. Indeed, this book was provided as a digital file, sent at the click of a mouse button.

Many purists will though scoff at this digital intrusion into a paper world. This reviewer shares the romantic view of paper (until you have to move boxes and boxes of books around!), still
Simon Howard
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jason Merkoski was on the team at Amazon which developed the Kindle. This book gives insights into how the process of developing the Kindle felt, and gives a personal account of Merkoski’s relationship with books and his ideas of where the medium is going.

These multiple strands make the book a bit of a mishmash of genres, which (no doubt) makes marketing it somewhat tricky. Despite this, I felt that it hung together quite nicely as a whole, though it is undeniable that it reads a little more
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
A FirstReads Giveaway Review

Overall impression: Fair/Good
General impression: Where to start? ...The best part of the book is the insider look at the development/production of eReaders; this is perhaps due to the fact that I know very little about this technology. The remainder of the text felt a little trite, especially to an avid reader and one who used to work at Zimmerman library on the University of New Mexico campus. And I would have to agree with Paul Bartusiak's review, Burning the Page:
Sep 19, 2015 marked it as to-read

I listened to Mr. Merkoski talk about "The Future of Reading: Storytelling, Social Networks, and Book Clubs" at the Fairfax Library Foundation's Book Club Conference on 19 September 2015.

The following include my notes from his talk:

"A decline in durability and a rise in convenience."

He references the book Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers

"When ebooks die, it's without a sigh."

There really is a wisdom of the crowd. As individuals we get things wrong, but as a group we are more
May 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa
Merkoski was in on the ground floor of the ebook development; one of the first to write hyperlinked novels on the web, one of the chief architects of the Kindle, and now apparently all-round Book Future guru. Burning The Page is about all of that - how we (or well, Amazon in particular and the US market in general) got to where they are today, what it means for the publishing business, and where it'll go from here. It's interesting stuff, and anyone interested in the digital transformation of ...more
Fei Fei
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
DISCLAIMER: This is a First Reads book won from a Goodreads giveaway.

I'm still not certain whether this book was meant to read as a personal memoir on his experiences with eBook development or if it's a nonfiction research work on the phenomenon. From the cover and preface, it appears to be marketed as the latter but the book tangents into so many personal reflections (particularly on irrelevant inferences to "insider" Amazon that never gets explained) that it's more like the former. In any
Apr 13, 2013 marked it as wishlist
After reading this interview with Jason Merkoski, I'm really interested in reading the book. I love discussions about the future of books and the way eBooks will (or maybe won't (view spoiler)) impact and change the future of reading. I'm like a puppy whose eyes get so big they'll pop out of its head because it's so easy to imagine what the future will be like but also pretty hard, too. All of it depends on so much more than what you're able to imagine, the ...more
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-geek
He had a great 2/3 of a book, but it felt stretched toward the end. Unique insight into development of the Kindle and ebooks, the culture of retailers and publishers, and interesting theory of the future. Would have been better if he backed up his opinions with more of the research going on, and more of the changes going on in related fields. As a Librarian, I can say that his chapter on libraries would have been better with some conversations with librarians, or visits to the meetings where ...more
May 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction, adult
It's a shame that this book about the ebook revolution was not based on more fact. Merkowski doesn't bother to do much research or use source notes, so the whole book is basically just his opinion on where the future of reading is headed. I found myself disagreeing with him quite often (i.e., used ebooks, DRM, kids and ebooks). I agree that the invention of ebooks was a game changer, but still believe that print and digital will coexist for quite some time given there are different advantages to ...more
Jul 21, 2013 rated it liked it
This book started out strong. I loved reading about the beginning of the Kindle and the secrecy and plotting behind it. I also enjoyed reading about the history of the book and I agree with many if his points behind the evolution of the ebook. About halfway through, though, the book loses steam and seems too repetitive to be interesting. Overall, it is a good and timely book...just not as interesting as I had hoped.
Torrance Public Library
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing, thought-provoking, discussion-starting look at the future of reading. Does this mean the death of libraries? Does this mean the end of literacy as we know it? Or, is this a leap forward like the printing press and the paperback book were? Each reader can make their own prediction.
Keith Lord
Feb 19, 2018 rated it liked it
While interesting at points the book feels dated 5 years after it came out and is way too much of a cheerleader for ebooks. The whole printed books will be completely gone and totally useless is not going to happen.
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
The best parts of this book are the first chapters where the author talks about his behind-the-scenes experiences with Amazon in the super secret months leading up to the launch of the first Kindle. He reveals how great masses of print books were covertly being turned into ebooks through destructive scanning so that all those Kindles would have something for buyers to read on them, and captures the excitement of launch day, where this baby was unveiled, seven years ago:

He then puts together an
Debbie Morrison
Dec 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
"Burning the Page", on my must-read list for 2014, unfortunately was a disappointment. I was hoping for more insight into the development of the e-book since the author, Jason Merkoski, was the program manager for the first Kindle e-reader for Amazon. He did provide background of the key events in how the Kindle came to be, but I was looking for descriptions of input and reaction from key stakeholders, publishers, marketers, potential and actual customers. I also was looking for an informed ...more
I wrote a detailed reason why I thought this was a 2 1/2 star book, and it went into a black hole when the Goodreads server tanked earlier today. I appreciate the irony given one of the things I mentioned was that I like having my "stuff" local so I can still access it if "the cloud" or any of its components has a seizure.

I don't think enough of this book to write the whole thing again. Suffice it to say that content of this book is part memoir (of the author's time at Amazon), part history of
Sep 04, 2013 rated it liked it
A book about inside the digital world.

This book feels in the first part a bit too much of "inside baseball" sort of story. It tells some things about the start of Kindle at Amazon and how the author took part in that. It is a nice read for what it is but I would have liked to seen that in a different book that went deeper into the actual thought processes behind the many decisions that happened. That would be a very different book than this though.

Burning the Page does gather up some of the
Nov 29, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I disliked this book so much! I thought that it was going to be about the creation process of the Kindle but it had very little information about the Kindle itself. It was more about the opinions the author had about the future of books and the publishing business. Reading it felt like reading a really long blog post.

The book was so incredible repetitive and by the time I had read around 25 percent of it really wished I had never even bought it.

Also what’s up with generalization like saying that
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved this book and hated to see it end! Since the author was involved with Amazon and the beginnings of their e-books, I was expecting a book mostly about that. However, he writes about all aspects of digital publishing in general.

This book would have gotten 5 stars, except for the fact that you could not view any of the extra content that is linked in the e-book unless you create an account! The links will let you sign up through Facebook or Twitter, while going to the main page will let you
Sarah Canfield
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
(Disclaimer - I also worked at Amazon on the Kindle team) This book is a great read for those interested in reading and books, the history and evolution of the printed word and some speculation on what the future of reading will look like. I found myself thinking what the current changes in reading culture will mean to my children. I am still disappointed that ebooks have only reached the education market in a limited sense (my nephew in Jr. High still carries a 25 lb backpack). I can't wait to ...more
Mar 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
While this book contained a modicum of interesting economic/innovation information, it could have been half as long. Removing the space for Merkoski's blue-sky musings, ego, and questionable "facts", would have made it at least a decent addition to those searching for ebook insight.

The review below is informative:

This book is what I worry will become the future of ebook publishing: Want-to-be authors publishing blather with little or no input from
Some of the history of e-book development and a number of Merkoski's ideas of what the future might hold for e-books & reading. It is clear that Merkoski understands the appeals and advantages of both e-books and "analog" books. I found his perceptions of some of these aspects to be spot on. Although I'm not so sure about his ideas for the future of reading, writing, and books, I still found the ideas quite interesting throughout.
Amber Polo
May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
A horror story or an exciting peak in to a sci-fi future. Merkoski entertains as he recounts creating the Kindle and changing the world of books and reading. And keeps repeating how he loves printed books. He doesn’t have a great grasp of real public libraries and seems to ignore authors in the ebook revolution.
Most frightening is the possibility that future generation will lose the ability to focus.
An end to mindfulness or a need for training in this ancient art?
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
As someone who loves to read and prefers to read using an e-ink reader (currently a Paperwhite 2), I found Burning the Page fascinating. The author describes the Kindle's early days, offers kudos for Barnes & Noble's innovative contributions (via their Nook e-reader), and describes his perspective for how ebooks are changing the way we read, learn and publish. Recommended.
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The Sword and Laser: A Book about eBooks 2 53 Apr 18, 2013 04:20AM  

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Jason Merkoski was a development manager, product manager, and the first technology evangelist at Amazon. He helped to invent technology used in today’s eBooks and was a member of the launch team for each of the first three Kindle devices. Trained in theoretical math at MIT, he worked for almost two decades in telecommunications and e-commerce with America’s biggest online retailers, and he’s ...more
“You don't see people getting pulled over by the police for reading ebooks on their smartphones.” 5 likes
“Just as we are what we eat, we are what we read.” 4 likes
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