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Author Topic: When will eBooks become mainstream?  (Read 4530 times)

Michael Johnson

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When will eBooks become mainstream?
« on: 04/06/2009 14:30:02 »
Michael Johnson  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I was listening to your piece about eBooks the other day.

I just wanted to say that it is time that the publishers got behind this technology. There is a lot of atlk about how the publishers are going to avoid the mistakes made by the music industry, but precious little evidence of it.

I like physical books as much as the next person. But let's face it, if you are reading a detective novel, is it important that it is printed on paper, bound up, and shipped halfway round the world (in my case) for me to read it? Books are nice, but they are not really very environmentally friendly. Then there is the cost. Why on earth are the publishers charging a similar price for ebooks as for their paper counterpart? Surely there are many costs associated with the paper book which just do not figure in the delivery of an eBook.

Then there is this whole furore over the Kindle's ability to read (badly) the text to you. What is wrong with these people - what is the sense of stifling innovation. Embrace it, for goodness sake. How about this for an idea. Sell the ebook and the audio book as a combo, and synchronise them. Now I am reading a book and I have to go somewhere in the car. Start playing the audio version at the point I left off and listen to it in the car. Now I am back in the house again, back to reading. It all depends whether you see something as a threat or an opportunity. Most of the publishers seem to see this as a threat.

Ok, the distribution arrangements are going to change, and many bookshops will cease to exist. I will regret that as much as anyone. But you can't stop technical progress by ignoring it. We all know that. So start using it.


Kind regards

Michael

What do you think?


 

Offline Don_1

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When will eBooks become mainstream?
« Reply #1 on: 04/06/2009 14:56:46 »
The ebook is here and it isn't going to go away. Anyone can write a novel and publish it on the internet for readers to download (at a price). Since the internet is here, home computers are here and now ebooks, I see no reason for not utilising them. It could be a great saving in resources and perhaps encourage people to read.
 

lyner

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When will eBooks become mainstream?
« Reply #2 on: 04/06/2009 21:57:58 »
We will need e-readers to be roll-uppable and brighter than they are at present. Ideally, the battery will last a lot longer. There is no joy, any more, in the feel of the average book nowadays because the paper and the finish are so naff.
Whether we will be able to dispense with actual reading the written word is another issue. The experience of reading a paragraph, re-reading bits and experiencing the two dimensional layout cannot be reproduced by an audio book. Voice synthesis has a long way to go before it can be anything like a substitute for the written word. But, whilst driving, one could always use the alternative. However, I would rather the technology went into something to do the driving for me and let me get on with reading.
 

Offline chris

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When will eBooks become mainstream?
« Reply #3 on: 04/06/2009 22:53:36 »
But an eBook's not the same as an audio book -it still gives you a 2D visual representation of the text. Quite a cool development would be embedded text to voice information so that you can alternately read or listen to the book, as is your whim.

Chris
 

lyner

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When will eBooks become mainstream?
« Reply #4 on: 05/06/2009 15:53:30 »
I reckon ebooks are the way to go. I have read at least half a dozen on my ipod touch, even and, although a bit of a pokey little screen, it is sharp and great to use. You can scroll up, automatically and the reading speed is about right.
The intellectual property rights issue is still there and there will be a problem of paying authors properly (as with musicians and software writers) but I have a feeling that, once readers are as easy to carry round as magazines - and as rugged, the incentive for people to actually use them and to pay for new publications (I only go for out of copyright, natch). The beauty of an ereader would be that it has much more potential for illustration than a book. Just think- MOVING pictures!
I think it was on Material World (BBC Radio 4) that I heard an item on flexible displays and the implication was that they'd be here "Real soon".
Snag is that they must be cheap enough (<100 or so).
 

Offline Ophiolite

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When will eBooks become mainstream?
« Reply #5 on: 05/06/2009 17:26:25 »
As a sixty year old I am prone to be mired in tradition and slow to adapt to new ideas. I maintain a library of traditional books both fiction and non-fiction that probably contains around one thousand volumes and has taken a lifetime to acquire. I have been gathering e-books for about five years. Checking my hard drive I find that I have over four thousand files in my e-book folders. Now some of these are duplicates. Book cover jpgs are included. There are chapter titles as separate files in some cases. However I estimate that I probably have about one thousand volumes here also. That suggests a problem. It is easier (by a factor of about ten) to build an e-book collection than a hard copy collection. However, it takes the same amount of time to read either type.

Excuse me. I have to go read a book.
 

lyner

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When will eBooks become mainstream?
« Reply #6 on: 05/06/2009 19:19:42 »
You also need a good filing system.
But you raise a real problem of the new age. You (and I) feel we need to keep our own copies of files - music / pictures/ text which are, in fact, readily available and deliverable at a rate fast enough to consume (with broadband being available).
Why do we need such a vast amount of information locally? Even in the days of floppies, we used to buy new ones rather than overwrite files which we would clearly never need again. With Terabyte capacity at home, we all have our own effective 'mirror sites' which we could never use in all our lifetimes. The equipment makers are just larfing.
And now we need our own personal Google engines if we want to find it or even remember what we've got.
 

Offline JnA

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When will eBooks become mainstream?
« Reply #7 on: 06/06/2009 02:52:52 »
I am giving the same answer as in the other ebook thread.. but I also recently read about http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/features/display.var.2504132.0.whats_the_story_with_instant_books.php

"Its champions hope it will help save the high street bookshop from the relentless competition of online retailers. Bookstore romantics may see it as an unwelcome step towards a digital future for books and publishing. But it is consumers who will decide the fate of the Espresso Book Machine, the so-called ATM for books, and their reaction remains to be seen.

The Espresso makes up books to order rather like vending-machine coffee. Installed on a trial basis by the bookseller Blackwell in its flagship London store, and in operation from Monday, the Espresso, made by OnDemandBooks (ODB), can print out any one of hundreds of thousands of titles in minutes and spit it out at the end of the process bound to look like a book you'd just pick off the shelves. It is not the first ever machine to print on demand, but it is the first to be made available for public use in a British bookshop.

The competitive advantage it offers is simple: it saves on shelf space. Because book shops must make judgments about which books to stock owing to pressure of space, readers seeking older or more obscure titles are likely to leave empty-handed."
 

lyner

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When will eBooks become mainstream?
« Reply #8 on: 06/06/2009 09:19:54 »
IMO, the only reason for owning a papar book would be to have a 'quality item' in my posession. The Espresso doesn't produce quality. It does a useful job but it's usefulness will only last until a suitable ereader comes along. You have to go to the shop and the process is far from instant. It does avoid thousands of remaindered books, though and that is in it's favour.
 

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When will eBooks become mainstream?
« Reply #8 on: 06/06/2009 09:19:54 »

 

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