While there’s plenty being written about the Kindle Fire and its putative battle with the iPad for tablet supremacy, the stealthier disruption of the original Kindle continues on cat feet, sneaking farther down the road with Kindle X-Ray, a service Amazon describes in these words:
With a single tap, readers can see all the passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them, as well as more detailed descriptions from Wikipedia and Shelfari, Amazon’s community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers.
A video of X-Ray tells more yet:
I have yet to experience this feature firsthand, but as a fan of non-fiction, the index, and reference works in general, this has an innate appeal for me — every book becomes a de facto reference work, indexed in a really new, interesting, and useful way.
With the Fire, as with its its whizzy-gizmo predecessors, the iPad and the Nook Color, we are seeing the e-book begin to assume its true aesthetic, which would seem to be far closer to the aesthetic of the web than to that of the printed page. . . . [T[he real importance of the Fire is what it presages: the ultimate form of the e-book. Historians may look back on September 28, 2011, as the day the book lost its bookishness.