View Full Version : Ebook readers the next Dodo?


shousa
06-01-2006, 09:37 PM
Are ebook readers doomed to extinction?
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Sony - with content likely only downloadable from Connect.com and that being in massive trouble at the moment plus their record with the Librie in Japan I would have to say I would rate their chance of extinction as "Very high".
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Hanlin V2 - can put free content on easily BUT....I received the following answers from "May" at "Jinke". I rate their chance of extinction as "High".

1) If I buy DRM protected Acrobat Ebooks from Amazon.com can I read them on the V2 and V8?
May's answer - No, you can't read them on the V2 and V8.

2) If I buy DRM protected Acrobat Ebooks from Amazon.com that normally I
could keep forever - could I keep them forever on the V2 and V8?
(I only ask because Sony Librie Ebook reader has a 60-day time limit).
May's Answer - No, you can't.

Even though the Hanlin Reader can read NATIVE PDFs and runs on LINUX they could not think to allow DRM...C'mon!!
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Iliad - the only one of three that will allow DRM PDF content (they say it will happen but it has not happened yet) and therefore the only one, it seems to me anyway, that will not "tie" you to certain ebook stores that have an agreement with an ebook manufacturer. Price is very high though. I rate the chance of extinction as "Medium".


So there you have it. I believe it is likely ebook readers will do exactly what they have done in the past. Remember stories you have read on the net about people buying previous ebook readers? Remember the limited content? Remember the "tied" ebook stores? Remember the ebook prices often being the same even as a paperback? It goes on and on and on.

Those who ignore history are certainly doomed to repeat it. I, sad to say, have now totally given up. I will not buy an ebook reader and you will not see me on this board again (though you guys have all been very helpful..sniff :( )

I will buy either a computer controlled telescope for $291 or the unbelievable ultimate gadget (unique) for $399 the Celestron SkyScout
http://www.celestron.com/skyscout/new/

Good bye and good luck,

Shousa

bingle
06-02-2006, 12:34 AM
DRM is terrible for many reasons, one of which is that it puts control of the hardware in the DRM authors' or licensors' hands. I imagine Hanlin is not big enough or rich enough to negotiate with Amazon to include DRM decoding on their device. This is much the way Creative can't get protected Apple AAC files to play on their devices - it's not from lack of wanting, trust me. Likewise, it's not Hanlin's fault that Amazon's DRM doesn't work with their system - I'm sure that, given the chance, they would implement it.

Of course, this doesn't help you, the hapless ebook consumer. But refusing to support places that use DRM (or at least, proprietary DRM) is the only way to possibly get them to change their evil ways. As a consumer, you don't *want* DRM on your books. Tell Amazon that in the only way they understand!

Personally, I will never buy a proprietary DRM product. I'll pirate them first. If they want my money, they can give me a format that's convenient for me, not convenient for them.

shousa
06-02-2006, 02:16 AM
DRM is terrible for many reasons, one of which is that it puts control of the hardware in the DRM authors' or licensors' hands. I imagine Hanlin is not big enough or rich enough to negotiate with Amazon to include DRM decoding on their device. This is much the way Creative can't get protected Apple AAC files to play on their devices - it's not from lack of wanting, trust me. Likewise, it's not Hanlin's fault that Amazon's DRM doesn't work with their system - I'm sure that, given the chance, they would implement it.



Sorry to disagree but this simply is not correct in the case of Acrobat Ebook reader files. They do not have to make any "agreement" with Amazon or anyone else that supplies ebooks. Go to Adobe's site for details - anyone can make hardware and software to do it - they are CHOOSING not to do it so they can make money from ebook stores - pure and simple.

Now that was my last post!!
Sayonara!!

Stuart Young
06-02-2006, 03:57 AM
I think the ebook Market will exploded, just as the MP3 market has. People said the same thing when that started up.. DRM asside I have a business and a personal need to be able to view text formats e.g. PDF or html on the move without having to worry about a laptop.

RSS is now going very main stream an App which synched content from your favorite site for you to read on the subway would be great. Better yet if it has wifi or bluetooth you could in theory wake up and your morning paper has been delivered direct to your device.

my 2 cents

Snappy!
06-02-2006, 06:08 AM
http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/acrobat/sdk/index.html

Acrobat 7 SDK full installer
The full installation contains all of the sample code and documentation for development with the Acrobat API using C, C++, or Visual Basic.
Download for Linux (TAR.GZ: 50.0M)
Download for Solaris (TAR.GZ: 50.0M)

There is an SDK for linux.

CommanderROR
06-02-2006, 06:39 AM
if tehere is an sdk for linux, somebody could make a drm reader for both iliad anf hanlin...but I'd prefer them to just kill drm...^^

tribble
06-02-2006, 07:39 AM
Well, the only really good reason for DRM i can see is use in a library. The you can borrow a book just as you would now.

CommanderROR
06-02-2006, 08:15 AM
right you are tribble!

I'm a bit worried about the state of ebooks right now...I had been expecting the first round of devices to come out in spring, but apart from the chinese market (Hanlin V8) there is NOTHING!
In Germany you can't even pick up one of the "oldies" like the ebookwise 1150, the only way to read ebooks here is PDA or Cybook (though that doesn't come in a german version either so it could stop some people here from buying and it's useless anyway because you have to recharge it almost constantly aparently).

bingle
06-02-2006, 02:42 PM
Well, the only really good reason for DRM i can see is use in a library. The you can borrow a book just as you would now.

That's ridiculous, though. The reason for libraries to exist is to provide copies of works available to everyone. Due to the physical nature of books, though, only one person can have a book at a time - so they need to return it!

But in the modern world, everyone can have a copy of the book at the same time. There's no physical object to worry about, so the goal of the library is even easier to meet: they can provide copes of works to everyone, all the time!

Changing the way bits work in order to try to hold on to the physical limitations we've faced in the past is incredibly backwards. If we invented Star Trek-style replicators, allowing us to create food for everyone on the planet instantly, why would we work really hard to reintroduce food shortages? If we invented teleportation, allowing us to instantly travel anywhere in the world, why would we put in delays so that it still takes days to travel across a continent?

We are in a point of history that has been dreamed about since the library of Alexandria, where all humankind can have access for free to all the worlds' information, and we're desperately trying to undo it. It's enough to make one lose faith in humanity.

Edit: Just to clarify, I'm not trying to attack you or anything, or suggest that your position on libraries is "ridiculous", it was just a good jumping-off point for my rant about DRM. Sorry! ;-)

bingle
06-02-2006, 03:02 PM
Sorry to disagree but this simply is not correct in the case of Acrobat Ebook reader files. They do not have to make any "agreement" with Amazon or anyone else that supplies ebooks. Go to Adobe's site for details - anyone can make hardware and software to do it - they are CHOOSING not to do it so they can make money from ebook stores - pure and simple.

Now that was my last post!!
Sayonara!!


I'm not sure about this. It certainly seems that way from Adobe's site, but there are stories all over the internet about DRM protected ebooks not working under Linux - apparently the Linux community has been asking for DRM support from Adobe for a while. If it were possible for developers to do on their own, it seems like someone would have just made a DRM-enabled PDF reader for Linux.

Also, Adobe's ebooks site specifies that the software will work only on Mac OS and Windows. Of course, that could be simply because they don't want to point to any competitor's software for other OSes.

All in all, I can't tell whether anyone can create a reader for protected PDFs for free. It certainly seems that Adobe is more open than I gave them credit for, but I'm still not sure whether they're *that* open. In any case, it would seem like a good tack for Hanlin to take, since it seems Adobe isn't exerting Apple-like levels of control over their DRM, anyway.

tribble
06-02-2006, 03:31 PM
That's ridiculous, though. The reason for libraries to exist is to provide copies of works available to everyone. Due to the physical nature of books, though, only one person can have a book at a time - so they need to return it!

But in the modern world, everyone can have a copy of the book at the same time. There's no physical object to worry about, so the goal of the library is even easier to meet: they can provide copes of works to everyone, all the time![\QUOTE]

Hmm, that would only be true, if the authors are giving away their work for free. Nobody would ever buy a book again. I dont think thats very realistic what you say.

On the other hand, while books can be lend like physical books (payed for like now) you can keep the same system working. You can even get the advantage of receiving your book without leaving your home.


[QUOTE]Changing the way bits work in order to try to hold on to the physical limitations we've faced in the past is incredibly backwards.

Not really. Unless you are willing to pay the authors for their work.

If we invented Star Trek-style replicators, allowing us to create food for everyone on the planet instantly, why would we work really hard to reintroduce food shortages? If we invented teleportation, allowing us to instantly travel anywhere in the world, why would we put in delays so that it still takes days to travel across a continent?

Have you ever thought, of what resources you need to do those things? Energy would be a major factor here. If you dont have that, you get shortages and delays. Who is paying for all that in the Star Trek Universe? Ever thought about that?

We are in a point of history that has been dreamed about since the library of Alexandria, where all humankind can have access for free to all the worlds' information, and we're desperately trying to undo it. It's enough to make one lose faith in humanity.

Well, knowledge should be accessible to everyone, but on the other hand, we live in a capitalistic world. Nothing is for free. Everything works with profit. Nobody funds research, if there is no profit to be made. People are just not the selfless good people you want them to be.

Edit: Just to clarify, I'm not trying to attack you or anything, or suggest that your position on libraries is "ridiculous", it was just a good jumping-off point for my rant about DRM. Sorry! ;-)

No problem. I dont like DRM either. Id rather see no DRM and reasonable prices for ebooks. I still believe people want to be honest, if the price is right.

CommanderROR
06-02-2006, 06:25 PM
Libraries are book-lenders.
If you want to own a book you have to buy it...that's the difference. I think I'd lik to keep it that way.
Imagine what would happen if everybody could just grab a book from the library for free (or for the few bucks a library membership costs per year) and keep it.
Bookstores wouldn't make any more profit, authors wouldn't earn much...so in the case of libraries a "countdown would be cool...you could still "own" the book by borrowing it again and again, but that wouldn't be worth the hassle.
You borrow a book, read it and it "vanishes" or expires and doesn't take up any space.

If you want a book you really love and read and reread it over and over again or use it as a reference work for an ongoing project you can buy it.

Where I see DRM as impractical is with books you buy. I don't want to have books I'll always have to be afraid will suddenly stop working if I put them on another device or store them in a backup folder somewhere.
I buy a paper book and can do wahtever I like with it including reselling it (with ebooks you have the problem that you don't lose the book if you resell it...but I doubt this would be a large-scale problem anyway) and tearing it apart and using hte pages as toilet paper.
Any DRM that makes ebooks more restrictive that paper books is bad.
End of Story...for me at least.

bingle
06-02-2006, 11:11 PM
Have you ever thought, of what resources you need to do those things? Energy would be a major factor here. If you dont have that, you get shortages and delays. Who is paying for all that in the Star Trek Universe? Ever thought about that?


Well, that's a natural barrier. But DRM is an unnatural barrier - it's deliberately reversing the new benefits technology has brought us for the sake of an old business model. It's not like running out of energy to make free food, it's like deciding apple farmers' income is more important than free food for everyone.

Before copyright existed, and before DRM, authors wrote books. Musicians wrote music, and artists created art. Suggesting that these things would cease without copyright and DRM is disingenuous. Business models made need to change, certainly. But to draw out the old chestnut, creating artificial barriers to hold back the march of progress is like creating laws to protect the buggy-whip manufacturers at the turn of the century. Sure, having automobiles changed many things for our society, some for the worse, but trying to hold back that progress is misguided and doomed to failure. Putting DRM on ebooks so that they act exactly like paper books is like putting speed limiters and hay-consumers on cars, so that they act exactly like horses.

Whole industries were wiped out when the world made that transition, and I'm sure it was difficult for those who had to change their way of doing things, but humanity as a whole is better off for it.

bingle
06-02-2006, 11:21 PM
Any DRM that makes ebooks more restrictive that paper books is bad.


But why are you willing to settle for that? I would say that any DRM that makes ebooks more restrictive than *ebooks could be* is bad. This technology has so much promise, why do we need to clip its wings? Bookstores might go out of business, and authors might make less money - but if we invented a cure for cancer, drug companies might go out of business and doctors make less money. Significant progress is always going to disrupt the economic landscape, but will probably lead to greater wealth overall.

We have done an amazing thing - we have eliminated shortage! Of course, it's shortage of information, not of food, medicine, or clean water, but it's still an accomplishment to be celebrated, not something that should be reversed as soon as possible.

NatCh
06-03-2006, 02:44 AM
...and authors might make less money....

I know a bit about the publishing industry -- generally speaking, authors really don't make that much money to begin with, the publishers do. If the authors made less than the already small amount they make now, they wouldn't be able to spend their time writing, they'd have to spend it doing something that makes money so that they can get that not-free food you mention. :)

If it helps, think of the p-book mimicking e-book as a ... transitional stage, rather like a larva, that would allow all concerned to discover a new equilibrium, rather like mp3's are doing. Revolution is great so long as the battles aren't fought in your corn field. I'm thinking it's far better to have a more gradual shift than a great upheaval that causes huge destruction before it allows benefit to grow from the rubble.

Just my thoughts....

CommanderROR
06-03-2006, 10:12 AM
@Bingle

you are actually terribly wrong about something there...

You write that before copyright was invented musicians also wrote music and authors also wrote books.
That is true...
however...
I know a bit about history, especially concerning music and composer:

In the early days a composer was "attached" to the court of some bishop or king or whatever and got paid. For that money he composed and performed music for that king/bishop/duke...whatever.
Composing without that support was more or less useless and could only be done as a "hobby". There were actually no "free" composers around because everybody had to earn money and didnt' have enough free time to do something like write music.
The kind of music those composers wrote was also very much limited by the tastes of their "masters" and of course by the number of musicians the court supported.

In the epoch mostly referred to as "classic" the three big composers Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven show the transition from the composer with a fixed contract at court and the free composer who then has to market his works very well.

Haydn still worked for the court of Esterhazy for a long time, only in his old age when he was rich enough to afford it did he start writing the music he liked for himself.
Mozart tried to work that way from the beginning but couldn't pull it off all that well, partly due to his slightly flippant personality and partly because the time was not quite right yet.
Beethoven was the first successful free composer, he managed to support himself with the money he arned through his compositions.
The most importnat factors here were:
1) The "little people" had more time and more money and were willing and capable of visiting concerts and making chamber music in their own homes, so it started to make sense to print sheet-music, for both concerts and chamber music.
2) Due to 1) the publishing industry started and the "concert industry" also began, concert halls and opera houses fluorished because they now had a large "fan-base" to cater to and thus could make money.

Due to these facts the composers could write the music they wanted and could then "sell" it to the people, using publishers as the connecting item.
If you take that possibility away by using your "all books should be free" strategy, you drive authors/composers back to either working for a certain comoany/governement with all the drawbacks that has, or you force them to have a "proper job" and do their writing as a hobby.

Do you really want that?
The main mistake you make, is to assume that something that is not physical (e.g. printed on paper) isn't worth anything!!!
This is a very grave mistake however. You can cut the publishers, you can cut the printing, but you can't cut the authors away as well...otherwise you'll get another "dark age" where only a few people are literate and books are only written for the church and maybe the governement.
So...make the ebooks realistically priced, not restrictive, but keep them as a buyable commodity so that we can enjoy the works of well-paid authors (that are also motivated and free autors) alive!

Liviu_5
06-03-2006, 11:26 AM
Hi,

I agree that this is the big challenge of the era we are entering with cheap digital stuff, how to compensate authors in a fair way. As of now even Baen whom we all know as a big pioneer of drm free ebooks and inventive ebook models (Webscription, earcs..) still makes most money from print. If you read the Grantville Gazette it is instructive to read the preface to volume 6 by Mr. Flint about how still print dominates the revenue stream.
As an aside, Peter Hamilton wrote a book Mispent Youth (sort prequel to his Commonwealth's star saga) in which the main character invents the universal storage device and almost all creative works as we understand now stops soon after that exactly due to this issue of compensation, only "reality shows" (in a new version of course) survive.

Liviu



@Bingle
Do you really want that?
The main mistake you make, is to assume that something that is not physical (e.g. printed on paper) isn't worth anything!!!
This is a very grave mistake however. You can cut the publishers, you can cut the printing, but you can't cut the authors away as well...otherwise you'll get another "dark age" where only a few people are literate and books are only written for the church and maybe the governement.
So...make the ebooks realistically priced, not restrictive, but keep them as a buyable commodity so that we can enjoy the works of well-paid authors (that are also motivated and free autors) alive!

CCDMan
06-08-2006, 06:06 PM
I will buy either a computer controlled telescope for $291....
OK, those are cool as long as you don't want to take good astro images with them or see faint stuff (for that they suck).

I would disagree on the Sony reader for two reasons:

1) There is a lot of non-DRM content out there and will always be. Since it can use .txt and .rtf, I would buy one just for that, never mind the Connect store.

2) It is cheap enough to buy just for the above.