Kerry, let me answer as concisely as I can. The Kindle is disabling compared to the book because I cannot make or fix (or run) a Kindle by myself, whereas anyone can make a book by himself. Any time you add a layer of intermediate complexity, you disable people. I don't think this can be argued with.
But even if you assumed that industrial civilization would continue along present lines (an impossibility, as we know from physics), do you think poor people, who are the overwhelming majority of the world, will be buying Kindles and paying to download books from Amazon?
As to the matter of oversupply of reading materials, I am not worried. Unless one is befuddled by the idea of "choice" (i.e., I want to know all the possible choices before choosing something to read), the abundance of materials does not hurt anyone. Life is not lived along "optimization lines". There is no book that I _must_ read, nor any book that really has any advantage over any other book, as long as it satisfies the reader. Reading is an optional activity.
You speak of communication, but intrinsically, human communication is spoken. Writing is a recent auxiliary that may go without anybody suffering much, in my opinion. I am not sure that there is an overwhelming compulsion to communicate either. I have never felt such a thing. Express, maybe, but communicate?
And I reiterate that I consider this discussion to be fully on topic. I think it's a vital discussion unless we want to ignore what is going on, and in particular, what is going on in the lives of writers.
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