It seems like an inevitable move, as more and more people read books and magazines on Kindles, iPads, and the like. The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy has already announced a Kindle edition, selling for 99 cents an issue. How many other law reviews have done so or have plans to introduce them soon?
- Does anybody still read law journals cover to cover? My guess is no. Lawyers and judges don't read law reviews very much anymore even when researching an issue. They certainly don't curl up with a law review and an adult beverage at the end of long day anymore. Instead, at most, they might grab a project pertinent article off Westlaw and give it a quick skim. So what's the point of a Kindle edition?
- Academics probably get most of their professional reading off SSRN these days. Or off Westlaw or Lexis. For free.
- Put 1 and 2 together and who's the audience?
- If the articles are going to be in the native Kindle format, there's the basic problem that Kindle sucks at footnotes. And at graphics.
- If the articles are going to be in PDF, most of us of a certain age will want a bigger screen to avoid eye strain.
- The Kindle's filing and organizing system is too rudimentary to handle a law library of any size.
- If the idea is that you'll load up a bunch of law review issues that you'll read while trekking in Nepal, so you don't have to tote them up Everest, that's even dumber than the idea of using them in the office. If I ever pay to take a fancy eco-trek vacation, I'm going to be looking at the damn scenery not my Kindle. Plus, if I have a laptop with an internet connection, I can access thousands of articles via Lexis or Westlaw.
- Like anybody with the common sense God gave gravel, I've pretty much ditched my Kindle in favor of my iPad. A multi-tasker always beats a uni-tasker (just ask Alton Brown). About the only time I use the actual Kindle anymore, as opposed to the Kindle app on my iPad (or iPhone), is when I'm sitting in my own backyard in direct sunlight that would wash out the iPad display.
- Speaking of my iPad, I have several magazine subscriptions using iPad apps. They look cool and are way easier to read than anything on the Kindle. Why wouldn't the same be true of a law review? Especially since you could, I assume, copy a passage from the article and paste it into the iPad's word processor.
Inevitable? I don't think so.