ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

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Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 8th, 2007, 4:04 pm

Everyone,

How about looking at the data? Depending on what studies you believe since 2002 e-books have been growning at 30-40% year over year. (Richard, it is not a long way off!)

I also love real books, especially about our wonderful art. The good news is if we keep all our real books we will have a great investment! But this is like denying the impact of trains and planes guys.

Still a real book freak,

Bill

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 8th, 2007, 5:46 pm

One point that is repeatedly brought up on e-books is "you can have 100 magic books with you anywhere you travel".

Perhaps I don't get out often enough, but where would I be going that I'd have time to read 100 books, or even 5 books during my trip?

I suspect most people are like me, they generally live at home, travel a little for work, and take a couple of vacations a year, at which time, it's something exciting being done, hence driving or flying to the location for the vacation.

Heck, I've taken a single book with me traveling on many occasions, and I never have time to read the entire book, much less being excited about having 100 at my fingertips.

I travel to experience different places/people/cultures, not to get to some place 3000 geographical miles away just so I can read a book or a dozen books and not experience my surroundings.

Heck, I can read a book any time, but I can't experience Lake Tahoe at my convenience. If I'm in Tahoe, I'm experiencing Tahoe. I'll read a book when I get home.

I just don't understand the arguement of having 100 books with you at all times. Now, if you're using those books for reference in your work, that's one thing, but when I'm traveling, 1 books is plenty for me, and the weight difference between one book and one e-book with a laptop or reader is marginable.

Just my opinion. I'm sure some people really love reading on vacations and would have a different point of view, but these are my views.

Steve

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 8th, 2007, 6:06 pm

Originally posted by wcb39:
... How about looking at the data? Depending on what studies you believe since 2002 e-books have been growning at 30-40% year over year.
Bill,

Just curious. Is the increase related to the number of titles being published in e-form? Units of sales? Numbers of publishers who now publish e-books? Numbers of people who have purchased an e-book? Depending on what's being measured, IMHO there could indeed be such a huge percentage increase, but without really meaning much in the big picture.

Numbers are easy to manipulate, but even with my rather obvious bias, it seems evident that the e-book industry is growing.

But so is the "printed book" industry. I wish I could remember the source (Wall Street Journal?), but in the recent past I read that the number of published books (read "printed books") has never been higher. If that's the case, I'm not sure what that means for e-books or how it fits in with the growth of e-books.

I dont think there is much doubt that e-books will become a permanent part of the literary landscape or that they will have an effect on the publishing industry and the consumer. There are, however, many questions on the ultimate roles e-books will play in our daily lives.

Clay

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Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 8th, 2007, 6:30 pm

(Waving his hand)
... again, whatever growth you see is peanuts and will remain peanuts until there is a dependable high-capacity, reader with a long battery life and that will accept any kind of file that people can buy for $35.

Give me a call when that happens.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 8th, 2007, 8:27 pm

A large percentage of the books published each year are romance novels. When women start buying ebook readers to read romance novels, that will be a, perhaps THE, major sign that there has been a change in the public's reading habits...and possibly that Hell has frozen over.

The idea that an individual can carry around a library with them is of no consequence to the vast majority of the book buying public. A benefit to college students, given the cost of textbooks, but publishers have yet to exhibit the imagination to move in that direction.

As was well-articulated earlier, when most people travel for pleasure the carry one or two books to pass time on a plane or at the beach...and even then, every large plane I've been on of late has a tsunami of electronic entertainment choices delivered via an individual screen and dozens of channels.

Someone earlier mentioned a word that slipped by, but makes a point I meant to address earlier. The word was "investment." There is a massive secondary market for used books in the world. While Chris and a few others have done a wonderful thing by digitizing a number of titles that are normally not available to the non-collector, making them easily available to people who want them purely for the information the contain, in our little corner of reality used magic books are often sold for far more than they originally cost, given that most magic books are produced in relatively small editions.

Even with the inexpensive reader that RK states, correctly I believe, will be necessary for ebooks to become more popular, it will be decades before the availability of inexpensive digital editions slows the desire of many to own the book itself, the book as artifact, rather than just the information contained in the book in digital form.

And "inexpensive" is the other watchword here. Currently some digital editions sell for more than the paper edition. This is a mistake too many publishers are making. Barak Obama's current book, The Audicity of Hope, is available in several ebook formats for $16.15. I can buy it in hardcover from Amazon for $13.75 and from Barnes & Noble for $15. James Patterson's latest novel, Cross, is available in digital format for $17 and from Amazon, in paper, for $15.39, new. Used copies are far less for both titles. Where is the sense in paying more and getting less?

While I'm going to be doing a bit of electronic publishing in the near future (nothing magic related), I well-understand that ebooks, ie. information, can be successfully marketed to specific markets for specific purposes, but given that, digital books aren't about to replace ink on paper any time soon. For the selling of information, however, they are an excellent solution to the cost of traditional publishing when aiming at a narrowly focussed market.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 8th, 2007, 8:33 pm

One manner in which it's hard to forsee e-books making a dent for a long, long time (if ever) is in teaching kids to read.

I've got a 16-month-old at home, and her shelves are bursting with "board books" (for the uninitiated, these are colorful, easy-to-read books printed on extremely heavy cardboard, often laminated...rendering them far less liable to become ruined by a child's handling).

I wouldn't give my kid an electronic device of any kind to learn to use to read. Kids chew on books, they throw them around, they pull on them. I don't care if an e-book reader is $35, I don't even care if it's $5. I want my child to grow up surrounded by books so that they're at her hands at any time she wants them, and if she wants to chew on them or toss them, fine -- she's got plenty of time to learn to respect them, but first I want her to love them, to learn to turn the pages and look at the pictures. If I had to yank the e-book reader out of her hands every time she did something too rough with it, I think they'd cease to become as much fun for her as they are.

On a related issue, if anyone read "Freakonomics," they'd have read that when it comes to literacy, in the opinion of the author (and supposedly buttressed with numbers), it matters far less how much you read to your child than it does how many books you have in your house. I wonder if that will still hold true when all your books are on one or two small electronic devices constantly taken out of the house.

--Josh

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 6:34 am

The quantitative evaluation of ebook growth and overall market as well as pricing is something I am very keen in understanding better. So I am very happy the discussion turned into this direction.

David, I think everybody will agree with you that if an ebook is more expensive than the hard cover paper version (and the ebook is identical in contents to the book), then something is wrong. This underscores that most traditional print publishers have not yet developed an ebook concept. They just throw it out there into the market place because they can, not because they have thought about it or have put a sound strategy behind it. In my opinion this is one of the big reasons why ebooks have not yet broken through in a big way.

At least I am trying with Lybrary.com in the magic subject area to offer value, service and convenience features on top of the contents itself.

Bill, where did you find the 30-40% growth data for ebooks? For the time being, let's say ebooks would continue to grow 40% year over year. Today the ebook market is tiny compared to books. However, everyone who understands exponential growth will understand that even a large gap can be closed rapidly. 40% would mean a doubling every two years, a 1000x in the next 20 years and 1 million x in the next 40 years. This would be consistent with my prediction of a required generational change of ~30 years. To repeat this prediction: I think in about 20-30 years from today the ebook market will be as large as the book market. (For all nay sayers - I am not claiming books will go away in this time frame. I am just saying ebooks will catch up and be as large as books.)

We should also look at how many authors are adopting the ebook medium rather than paper. If we stay in the magic domain, look at what Peter Duffie and Michael Close are doing. They have completely switched to the digital domain. I see many new and upcoming authors (many of which you can find at Lybrary.com) are very comfortable with the ebook medium. And I also see quite a bit of the old guard experimenting with the digital medium. Collectively we are also making a lot of the old material available. And availability and access to this information drives use and adoption.

On top of that it is likely that this is a non-linear system, which if you look at the weather (another famous non-linear system) can change unpredictable and rapidly. So this can mean that next year ebooks see a growth of 10x rather than 40% because the various factors of new and better reading hardware, more available ebooks, new generational inflow of readers and authors, Google's push for archiving all information digitally, ... combine non-linearly. Of course, it could also mean that ebooks are banned by law due to copyright riots in the streets or other developments which supress this digital medium.

Best,
Chris....
www.lybrary.com

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 10:21 am

I just checked out the Sony reader at the local Borders store. Here is my first hand review:

1) Resolution is unbelievable good. I challenge anyone to see any pixelation with the naked eye. Even at the smallest font size I didn't see any rough edges. Slanted lines do not have the typical jagged edges one sees at low resolutions. There is no immediate need to further increase resolution. This is as good as it needs to be.

2) Very paper like display. You just have to see this to believe it. It looks nothing like the screens we are used to. If this doesn't improve readability and eye strain I don't know what will. Once these screens become flexible they will be even more closer resembling paper.

3) Contrast is ok, but ultimately could be better. The background is a light grey and black isn't really black. It didn't bother me, because newspapers look just the same, but this is an area where incremental improvements would make sense.

4) Occasionally I saw ghost images of the page displayed before. This happened only a few times and looks like something that could be fixed in the firmware. Again, not a huge issue, but when it happens it is noticeable.

5) Navigation of menu is slow due to the slow screen refresh. This is a bit annoying to me, but I guess most of the time one will be reading and page forwarding, rather than poking around in the menu, as I did to check it out.

6) Font size can be changed easily with a button. Very convenient. Also a simple button allows you to mark a page to which you can later navigate through the menu.

7) Even photos look nice. I looked at some ebook covers which used photos. Since the resolution is so high, the greyscale photos look astonishingly good. I think there is also quite a bit one can do with dithering algorithms given the high resolution. Of course, no color.

8) Very cool device. Formfactor is great. Extremely thin and light. Much larger screen than PDAs, or cell phones, but overall a lot smaller than even the smallest and lightes laptops.

9) Cradle costs an additional $50 and cover costs another $40. So the total is more like $440 rather than $350 as advertised, because I think you want to buy both of these accessories.

10) Most books are formated with way too much white border, which means that a lot of the screen is wasted. I think here publishers could do a lot with better formatting.

I was close to just buy one of these devices, but decided to wait to see other e-ink devices to come to market and compare. But for anyone who loves ebooks and who intends to read a lot and is not happy with desktop or laptop, this is a very good alternative.

Best,
Chris....
www.lybrary.com

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 11:14 am

Ebooks for children is an intriguing idea. Children's toys are often electronic devices (including books) that talk to you etc. The market for that sort of thing has been proven, and it seems very likely there will be special simplified child-ruggedized ebook readers. So the possibility of having talking/animated content (i.e., the pictures in the stories come alive) in the books is a great example of the added interactivity ebooks can provide.

On the issue of whether people want to bring their libraries with them on vacations and trips, I don't see why not. People fill their mp3 players with as much music as they can fit on them. It gives the freedom to listen to what you want when you want. The same would apply to books. Just fill it with stuff you might want to read and it'll be available wherever you are. Not to mention that the same ebook readers could be presumably be used to read newspapers, magazines, and even web content (i.e. not just books).

On the issue of people wanting to own the book as artifact, that's becoming a relic of the past. People are perfectly fine with other media being digital (music, photos, games, etc) without owning something physical. I don't think books will be any different in that regard (for the mass market anyway).

So it mostly comes down to price and quality of the readers. Once that's in place, I think it'll spread rapidly from the niche markets and hi-tech gizmo status it's in now to the mass market.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 1:25 pm

Originally posted by Bob Coyne:
Ebooks for children is an intriguing idea. Children's toys are often electronic devices (including books) that talk to you etc. The market for that sort of thing has been proven, and it seems very likely there will be special simplified child-ruggedized ebook readers. So the possibility of having talking/animated content (i.e., the pictures in the stories come alive) in the books is a great example of the added interactivity ebooks can provide.
The kinds of toys you're talking about -- "books" that are melded with an electronic toy, and which talk, sing, and interact with the player on some level -- have been around for over 30 years, and they're getting more sophisticated all the time. They haven't made a dent in sales of "old-fashioned" children's books, though -- that market is experiencing explosive growth.

What you describe also exists already in the form of software for computers and videogame systems, both handheld and otherwise. It's only marginally more difficult these days to curl up in an armchair with a toy from V-Tech or a Gamecube controller than it is to curl up with a board book. People don't seem to want to do it very much, for a large number of reasons.

--Josh

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 2:06 pm

It's only marginally more difficult these days to curl up in an armchair with a toy from V-Tech or a Gamecube controller than it is to curl up with a board book. People don't seem to want to do it very much, for a large number of reasons.
I'm not sure what you mean. Kids use portable game systems like the Nintendo DS all the time. It's a huge and growing market. They can be curled up in a chair, lying down on the floor, sitting in a schoolbus, etc -- the same sort of places they might read a book. And with ebooks they will be able to do the same (assuming the technology is ready, etc). Plus I think the interactive aspect of ebooks will make them especially attractive to children. The fact that children might drop them or chew on them doesn't seem like a big problem -- they can just make special sturdier versions for children with simpler controls, bright colors, etc.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 2:43 pm

Bob,

I don't think you're understanding what I'm talking about. I'm not referring to older kids. I'm talking about what parents do with their infants, 1-year-olds, toddlers: they curl up with them and read them board books, books that are appropriate for brand-new humans -- with pictures, with words that parents read to their babies. These books are durable enough that they can be left lying around, and the babies/toddlers can pick them up, pretend to read them, chew on the pages, fling them...whatever.

Despite the fact that there have been the "electronic books" for decades already that do what you suggest -- illuminate the text with electronic enhancements (sound, music, lights, even animation) -- and in the form of software -- parents are not cuddling up with the infants, 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, etc., and using the electronic forms in place of board books.

Older kids sitting around with their Nintendos is something different altogether.

--Josh

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Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Jim Morton » January 9th, 2007, 3:02 pm

I think ebooks will continue to increase in popularity. The tipping point will probably come around the time that the Sony Reader dips below $100. Right now it is simply too expensive to warrant purchasing. Ditto for the other ebook readers as well. I think Sony will win this race thanks to their presence in Border's bookstores. Reading text on these things is not that different from a traditional book, and the fact that I can change the font size as my eyes get worse (which they seem to do day-by-day) is also a plus. There are some books that I wouldn't mind taking with me to read on the bus or the plane, but they are simply too big and heavy for the trips. The ebooks readers offer a solution.

Jim

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 3:24 pm

But the Sony Reader has no search function. Isn't that supposed to be one of the most basic selling points of e-books?

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 4:06 pm

Originally posted by Jim Morton:
... Reading text on these things is not that different from a traditional book ...
For reasons already discussed in this and other threads, it's very different. Of course, it's up to the individual to determine whether or not the differences are critical. For example, who wants to read Shakespeare on a small screen, where half the entertainment is savoring his words? In a standard-sized printed book (or even small printed books for that matter), one can re-read a passage without having to flip two or three "pages." The loss of continuity, for me, goes a long way toward ruining the poetic genius of Shakespeare.

Clay

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 6:55 pm

Chris,

Re: ebook growth. I just looked up some data on line but you spelled out what I like about the flexibility of the ebook format when you mentioned Close and Duffie (I have ordered from both). The ability to print out things as well as see pictures and streaming video is what makes me want to own both digital copies as well as the good old books. I happen to be one who doesn't like to make notations in my books but on a PDF copy, who cares. Personally I think they will co-exist for a while but the ability to print out one or two chapters on 8 1/2 x 11 and take them to the Y while I work out or wait in the Dr. office is pretty compelling to this old guy.

Bill

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 8:45 pm

Would one of these new readers be able to reproduce the video/audio portion of a disc like Michael Close's "Closely Guarded Secrets"?

My impression was that the text portions of the .pdf file in Michaels book would be readable, but the audio and video are links from the .pdf to actual files requiring a full blown computer to see.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 8:46 pm

Josh, thanks for clarifying what you meant. Agreed that older children are a different market/audience. But if an ebook is designed properly, I don't see why it couldn't be used with very young children. Electronic toys are made to withstand small children dropping them etc. So, assuming the e-ink displays are visually comparable to real paper, then I don't see the problem or difference -- you can curl up with one as well as the other.

It could be argued, I guess, that it's the physical act of turning paper pages rather than twisting a knob or dial or moving a slider that's important? But that's hard for me to believe. I think the quality and immediacy of the display itself is the biggest hurdle. If that problem is solved (and is cost effective) then I think the rest all will follow with good child-centric ergonomic design and the availability of content.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 9th, 2007, 9:43 pm

Originally posted by silverking:
Would one of these new readers be able to reproduce the video/audio portion of a disc like Michael Close's "Closely Guarded Secrets"?
No. The Sony reader can play audio in the form of MP3 files, but no video, because it is too slow. It takes about a second to change the screen. However, illustrations should be reproduced perfectly and I believe that photos would work reasonably well, too.

BTW, interesting news on screen technology. Philips spun off another screen company based on a technology called electrowetting, which is very fast and thus capable to display videos, and is also much better suited for full color screens. Power consumption is much reduced, probably not as good as e-ink, but a lot better than LCD, OLED and other technologies. It is also possible to make this screen flexible. So in terms of e-paper, we should see some interesting alternatives come to market in the next few years.

Don't underestimate technology. Books have dominated for a long time, but my bet is on technology to eventually replace them with something better.

Best,
Chris....
www.lybrary.com

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2007, 7:19 am

Bob,

I think there are a couple of other good reasons to keep very young children (infants, toddlers, etc.) away from ebooks. One of them is the materials used in electronic equipment. From the plastic to the batteries to the circuit boards to the displays, many of these materials are, or leach, toxic substances. Letting a child gnaw on plastics, especially plastics that house components, batteries, etc., is a horrific idea. (And yeah, it's just as horrific now with electronic busy boxes and similar toys.)

Another is EM fields, such as those generated by anything battery-operated. Some parents just don't think it's a good idea to bathe their young children in electromagnetic radiation for hours on end.

Unfortunately, most parents don't seem to care about these kinds of issues...they just assume that anything that makes it to the store shelves must be reasonably safe. These are, perhaps, the same parents who shrug their shoulders when they hear that staggering numbers of girls are now developing secondary sex characteristics and early menarche before they even reach 10, when they hear that autism and asthma have experienced explosive growth over the past generation, and so on.

It's kinda scary.

--Josh

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2007, 7:56 am

Josh, the issues you list aren't specific to ebooks. They apply to any plastic electronic toy for young children. The market is filled with such toys already, so I don't think that'll be a major factor in the market acceptance of ebooks for young children.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2007, 8:34 am

Originally posted by Bob Coyne:
Josh, the issues you list aren't specific to ebooks. They apply to any plastic electronic toy for young children. The market is filled with such toys already, so I don't think that'll be a major factor in the market acceptance of ebooks for young children.
Bob, that's all true...and that's actually part of my point. Electronic book-like toys (with words, pictures, voice, music, animation, etc.) already exist that are appropriate for the age range I'm talking about, and they've been around for decades, but they still haven't made a dent in sales of bound books for that same age range.

Maybe it's because babies don't need 600 books stored on a device, maybe it's because babies don't need search functionality. Maybe it's because the ineffable joy of curling up with a real book becomes that much more pleasurable when it's shared with a child.

--Josh

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2007, 10:01 am

Read the large LA Times article on the new Apple, Inc (no longer Apple Computer, Inc) device that apparently does "everything" from downloading television and films to Internet access to also being a telephone...but no mention that it would act as a book reader.

Left out of the story or left out of the product?

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2007, 10:08 am

Originally posted by David Alexander:
Read the large LA Times article on the new Apple, Inc (no longer Apple Computer, Inc) device that apparently does "everything" from downloading television and films to Internet access to also being a telephone...but no mention that it would act as a book reader.

Left out of the story or left out of the product?
There is no book reader functionality in the iPhone.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2007, 11:44 am

The iPhone screen is too small for extended reading and will not be marketed as such. However, I would be surprised if they would not support the viewing of PDFs and other text file formats.

A few more tidbits on upcoming ebook readers. First, I have heard that Sony might release a new ebook reader version in 2007. Perhaps this is to offer a larger screen as the iLiad does (20cm diagonal vs 15cm of the current Sony reader) and also to provide wireless internet connection as the iLiad offers.

The Amazon device has codename Kindle. Search for 'Kindle amazon' and you will find some interesting links.

iRiver is also rumored to release an e-ink reader in 2007.

Given all these new readers in 2007, I think it is best to wait out the year and compare the various offerings. But one thing is clear with so many product releases and ebook readers slated for 2007. Ebooks will receive another shot in the arm in the coming months.

Best,
Chris....
www.lybrary.com

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Pete Biro
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Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Pete Biro » January 10th, 2007, 6:49 pm

Forget the tech aspects, I just don't like ebooks.
Stay tooned.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 10th, 2007, 8:28 pm

Originally posted by Josh Mandel:
Electronic book-like toys (with words, pictures, voice, music, animation, etc.) already exist that are appropriate for the age range I'm talking about, and they've been around for decades, but they still haven't made a dent in sales of bound books for that same age range.
I think you were actually making two points. One was that the fragility of ebooks and potential hazard to children would prevent their market acceptance. I was using the huge market of plastic electronic toys for young children as a counter-example.

Your other point was about the fact that children's books still exist and thrive despite the fact that there are electronic, talking/animated books already. I think that's largely a technology issue, specifically the need for better displays. Whether or not e-ink displays measure up or not still remains to be proven. But assuming they do (and the rest of the interface is appropriately designed for children), I don't think there's any reason a child couldn't curl up with an ebook.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 1:40 am

What strikes me as most interesting is that most ebook 'luddites' put form/package before contents. Since when is the paper, glue and ink more important than the ideas, knowledge and information between the covers?

Maybe a solution for these people is to stroke a hefty paper volume while reading an ebook. :-)

Best,
Chris....
www.lybrary.com

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 3:17 am

One aspect that I dont think has yet been covered; because of the low cost of ebook production, as I buyer I am more skeptical of the likely contents of an ebook. Someone who goes to the considerable upfront expense of printing a paper book today needs to be pretty confident of the value of his/her work.
Of course, this can only be a rough rule of thumb; there are plenty of valuable ebooks out there. But with the current state of play, I consider myself more likely to get burned with an ebook.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 4:03 am

DomT, you are correct the reduced production cost will cause a lot of mediocre contents to see the form of an ebook. But this economic filter is more than compensated by online reviews, discussion forums like this one and other feedback which can quickly be gathered online.

Just post a questions like 'Has anybody read ebook X? Is it any good?' You will get plenty of responses that will separate the good from the bad.

However, I would also note that the economic filter also has a second side where a lot of good contents is turned down because of all kinds of reasons. Just look at the Harry Potter story. The manuscript was turned down several times until a small publisher took it on. I wonder how many great manuscripts have never been published because of some lofty opinions of a few powerful publishers. Relying on such an imperfect filter that is controlled by a few publishers is very dangerous. I rather have a system where readers write reviews, give feedback and recommend.

Best,
Chris....
www.lybrary.com

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 6:03 am

We're already seeing more junk being published in the realm of hardcopy books, with self publishing, print-to-order, online distribution channels, etc. So that trend exists anyway, even without ebooks. And as Chris points out, there's also more good stuff and diversity of content because of that.

The same thing is happening in almost every domain: youtube videos, self published games, information sources like wikipedia or Ask Alexander or google, user reviews on amazon, political blogs, online forums like this discussing niche topics, merchandise (ebay), etc. User generated content of all sorts has given us more content choices as well as channels to review that content -- ebooks are just part of that. In recognition of this trend, the Time Magazine person of the year was "You".

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 6:30 am

I have a Rocket Ebook 1200, the VGA color version of the reader, which has, I think , a 105 dpi resolution, though jpgs and such look much bettern than that would imply.

I love using it, especially while traveling. Chris' ebooks in particular have been terrific on the device, which accepts standard html files, text files, a variety of image files and most doc files . PDF files have to be converted, but that's not a successful venture in most cases. It's one of the reasons I like a lot of lybrary's materials (not so many now, though :( ) it takes just a bit of reformatting, but the results are generally successful.

I like it primarily because it lts me travel with copies of a ton of material, and airplanes rides offer a perfect environment for revisiting these old friends. Coupled with the REB 1200's ability to search, to add my own annotations or to highlight things has made this a great tool for me. My problem with upcoming ereaders is that I now will be looking for all those tools as well as the ability to easily read pdfs.

OTOH, I _hate_ reading ebooks on a computer screen. Almost every ebook that isn't over 100 pages has wound up printed -- using the computer screen as a substitute for paper hasn't really done it for me. The form of the REB has been the selling point for me. I am looking forward to eink devices that offer the benefits I for one, have grown accustomed to with the REB1200.

FWIW

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 6:42 am

For all the book lovers there is a great article in yesterday's WSJ in the Personal Journal section called "The Continuing Saga Of Everyman's Library." Everyman's Lirary dates back to 1906.

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 7:24 am

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
What strikes me as most interesting is that most ebook 'luddites' put form/package before contents. Since when is the paper, glue and ink more important than the ideas, knowledge and information between the covers? www.lybrary.com
That's a funny observation. Wasn't this thread created specifically to hype the format rather than the contents? The point, all along, seems to be, "Any book is better simply by dint of its being digital." Isn't that just another example of placing the form above the function...just like the Luddite view?

Actually, there are no Luddites in this group, certainly. Luddites wouldn't be online in the first place. Even ignoring that, a Luddite would dismiss e-books entirely, without qualification. It's certainly not Luddite to say, "E-books have their advantages, but I don't want them entirely supplanting traditional books."

The only real zealots are the ones who feel that one format should entirely obviate the other.

--Josh

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 7:34 am

Josh, I used 'luddite' in quotations and hoped it would be understood with a bit of a smile and wink. I am sure you read my earlier posts in this thread in which I make the point that in the case of ebooks, the format improves the contents. I don't want to repeat the whole argument but think about video, audio, hyperlinking, size of the contents, organization of the contents, ...

In an abbreviated statement I would say that the digital format allows for much better and richer contents.

Best,
Chris....
www.lybrary.com

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 7:53 am

Hi, Chris,

Damn...next time use a smiley! ;-)

I would say, though, that a blanket statement that the multimedia included in an e-book makes it better or richer is insupportable. It depends entirely on the quality of the text AND, considered separately and together, the quality of the additional content.

It's like saying that any book that has illustrations is necessarily better and richer than the same book without illustrations. Yes, it might be richer from a TECHNICAL standpoint, but better? Not necessarily, not at all.

I dunno about anyone else, but I certainly have books that gain little or nothing from their photos or illustrations...some where the photos or illustrations actually confuse or detract...and some in which the photos or illustrations are the saving grace!

I do allow that as a small publisher, you can probably do more to ensure that the added media is high-quality and worthwhile. But for e-books in general, or print books in general, it's just not necessarily so.

--Josh

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 8:17 am

Josh, yes of course there is no guarantee that multimedia makes it better. That is why I wrote 'allows'. Just slapping a few photos or video clips into an ebook will in most cases not make it any better. But I would think that pretty much any text can in principle be made better with multimedia. The question is how and what is added.

Best,
Chris....

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 8:23 am

Pix, very interesting feedback on the Rocket-ebook reader. I would agree that currently this reader is the best of all compromises. It is cheap, has a decent form factor, has a search feature and allows annotations. Not bad for a ~$100 device.

Have you tried to convert some of my PDFs back to HTML and then further to the RB format?

This makes me wonder if I should also offer a simple HTML version of my ebooks. Anyone else with some thoughts on that issue?

Best,
Chris....

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 8:49 am

Originally posted by Josh Mandel:
a Luddite would dismiss e-books entirely, without qualification.
Isn't that what Pete Biro just did?
;)

Guest

Re: ebooks - the last two years - your opinion

Postby Guest » January 11th, 2007, 8:57 am

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber:
Josh, yes of course there is no guarantee that multimedia makes it better. That is why I wrote 'allows'.
Ah, I was responding to:

Originally posted by Chris Wasshuber: I am sure you read my earlier posts in this thread in which I make the point that in the case of ebooks, the format improves the contents.
Originally posted by Bob Walder:
Originally posted by Josh Mandel:
[b]a Luddite would dismiss e-books entirely, without qualification.
Isn't that what Pete Biro just did?
;) [/b]
Nah, he said he personally didn't like them, technological aspects aside. That's not saying they're objectively good, bad, or indifferent...a Luddite would say they're 100% bad, and BLAME the technological aspects...and would be likely to explain that the reason they're bad is that the technology behind them puts people out of work.

I think the fact that Pete is a frequent poster, here and elsewhere, proves pretty definitively that he's not a Luddite!

--Josh


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