View Full Version : Will eBooks create an elite reading class?


Madam Broshkina
02-24-2010, 06:20 PM
Bestselling author Karin Slaughter asks "Will eBooks create an elite reading class?"

On one hand, here is a device that can put a limitless supply of books at your fingertips. On the other hand, here is a device that is so expensive that only a select few can afford it. It seems to me that with digitized books, we are taking a giant leap into the past, when access to literature was available only to those of means.Read the whole article here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karin-slaughter/will-ebooks-create-an-eli_b_471677.html

dmaul1114
02-24-2010, 06:26 PM
Prices will come down way before any elite reading class can be created.

They're are already good readers for $200, simple e-ink devices will be under $100 in couple years and her point will be bunk.

And besides that, people can buy the e-books and read them on their PCs, laptops etc.--you don't HAVE to have an e-reader to get to them.

And besides that, it's not like there are many books ONLY being put out in e-versions. We're decades away from that happening and print largely disappearing.

So I don't see how reading is again a province of the upper class etc. Libraries aren't going anywhere, so even the poorest can read most books.

SCION
02-24-2010, 06:28 PM
More than a tad overstated! :rolleyes:

toomanybooks
02-24-2010, 06:34 PM
So are the $200 plus Ipods creating an elite music listening class?

GlennD
02-24-2010, 06:58 PM
MP3 players are a little different - the major cost difference between models is the amount of memory, and price/size has declined rapidly over the past few years. You can easily find small (2GB) players with a limited or no screen for $20 or less. They've replaced the music players of yesteryear with cheaper, more functional devices.

With ereaders the major cost is the screen. Mass production should help reduce costs per screen, but screen manufacturing has to become cheaper for the cost of ebook readers to dramatically drop.

I'd agree with DMaul though, that the price drop will happen way before dead tree books disappear. I have faith in capitalist ingenuity!

ficbot
02-24-2010, 07:30 PM
There was an article at Teleread about the TOC conference where a publisher talks about the state of the Egyptian book market and mentions that that 8-% of published books there are only available within 5 km of where the publishing house is and how some villages may not have a bookstore but will have 4 or 5 cell phone stores. It sounds like a digital platform will open up books to MORE people, not less.

ardeegee
02-24-2010, 07:31 PM
Wonder how long it takes people who "can't afford" an ebook reader to spend $200 on cigarettes? On beer? On cable TV? On junk food? On sporting events? It isn't what money you have-- it is how you choose to spend it.

nomesque
02-24-2010, 07:31 PM
"so expensive that only a select few can afford it" ?????

*boggle*

OK, maybe my viewpoint is thoroughly skewed because I'm not in the USA... over here a paperback often costs $17-20. A paperback classic (out of copyright) is often around $10. So a device which costs the same as 20 new books doesn't strike me as being particularly elitist, ya know? Especially when I wander around my low-income city streets and see all the ipods... :smack:

I'd go so far as to venture that the exact opposite will happen - that ebook readers will go mainstream and we'll find MORE people reading, not less. Partly because the shorter ebooks - ones which would never be published as DTBs because they're too low on wordage - will perfectly suit those with short attention spans and slow reading speeds.

Edited to add: I acknowledge that I'm writing from a very Western-world kind of viewpoint, where every house has a TV and the vast majority of houses have at least one computer... but surely one of the beauties of digital publishing is the possibility of printing it onto standard printer paper if needed?

Dusty
02-24-2010, 07:35 PM
The same was said about computers not so long ago.

Steven Lyle Jordan
02-24-2010, 09:51 PM
Slaughter is obviously forgetting (or overlooking) the fact that e-books can be read on devices other than dedicated readers, like computers, cellphones, gameboys, PDAs, and yes, some MP3 players. And many of those devices aren't that hard for people to afford, or share, worldwide.

E-books are no less unobtainable than printed books in some areas... and more obtainable in areas where access to a real library is limited to non-existent.

Barcey
02-24-2010, 10:24 PM
That's pretty funny considering that today for $300 you can give someone their own personal library of 3,000 books that they can take anywhere. What would that have cost 100 years ago? How much will it cost 3 years from now?

TallMomof2
02-24-2010, 10:30 PM
Maybe the author is unaware that ebooks are mostly read on PCs. Dedicated devices are a relatively new phenomenon but reading on multifunction devices has been around for a while.

tsantsa
02-24-2010, 11:54 PM
"Will eBooks create an elite reading class?"

I am of the opinion that simply READING has become an elitist class.

EDIT: Not that I'm saying readers are elitist in general, but some people see you as a snob if you read heavily. I don't know about you, but I have a dead-end job filled with knuckle-draggers (elitist? me? no! ;> ) and we have conversations throughout the day. I like to talk about my hobbies and likes. My co-workers are much the same, except for the reading part... Sometimes, I do sense a certain degree of "I bet he thinks he's better than us" responses or looks. Although, I bet when some of them are talking about whatever it is they do, I probably have the same attitude sometimes...

But my point is, they seem to view reading itself as elitist. I wonder what they teach their children.

phenomshel
02-25-2010, 12:50 AM
I'm disappointed. Karin used to have better research skills than that. I was on a board with her once, and she was a lot more coherent then...

Marcy
02-25-2010, 01:17 AM
What a load of crap that was. I particularly was entertained by her alarmist view that ebooks will make censorship easier. Please. They make it harder. Any place that tries to ban an ebook will have a lot of visitors to the darknet. That is much easier and safer than trying to get your hands on a banned pbook.

-Marcy

0utis
02-25-2010, 01:20 AM
I grew up in a very small town which had a tiny library and only one book store. Thanks to the internet I had access to the gutenberg library etc. and could read books on my computer which weren't available physically. So, in my experience, ebooks are a 'democratizing' element. Sometimes I think those who live in big cities forget that not all the world is the same, that many of us do not have access to good book stores.

Ebook devices are not that expensive. I am not rich, by any means, but I can afford one. My local library doesn't carry many books and if you want to read in a language other than Spanish, you are on your own, mostly. I used to spend about 100 euros a month in books and that was money I could hardly afford, but a voracious reader needs food, clothes can wait ;). Since I have my prs-505, I am spending much less.

zerospinboson
02-25-2010, 04:57 AM
Hm. Karin Slaughter worries about elitism? Why? Because she's afraid people won't read her books any more? This really sounds like table talk that should never have been put in writing.
above-average intelligence (though to be sure we all possess both):smack:

Anyway, after reading that 'article' I've seen enough trite statements to last me through the week. As said above: If I have to choose between buying a TV that costs 500$ and an ereader that costs the same, the choice really isn't that hard. It all comes down to choice.

OTOH, it seems entirely likely that, if she were to switch to ebooks only, she would sell far fewer books. Whether that's a bad thing, I don't dare say, but it seems prudent of her to worry about it. (Although it would mean that her "worried stance" is rather more self-interested than she would like us to believe.) :rofl:

abookreader
02-25-2010, 07:13 AM
"I am of the opinion that simply READING has become an elitist class."

Yeah, that.

It is funny that she talks about children in the South discovering the library as a means to get to the air conditioning. If I were to go up into the most poverty stricken areas of South Side Chicago today, I suspect I would find hundreds of children who couldn't even tell me where their nearest Public library is located. Pretty much the only books they are acquainted with are through their schools.

I guess there are many different ways of looking at the issues. One person might say "$275 - how can they afford that?" Another might say "For a mere $275 per household, I can give them a limitless bookcase right in their living room!"

dmaul1114
02-25-2010, 02:28 PM
"Will eBooks create an elite reading class?"

I am of the opinion that simply READING has become an elitist class.

EDIT: Not that I'm saying readers are elitist in general, but some people see you as a snob if you read heavily. I don't know about you, but I have a dead-end job filled with knuckle-draggers (elitist? me? no! ;> ) and we have conversations throughout the day. I like to talk about my hobbies and likes. My co-workers are much the same, except for the reading part... Sometimes, I do sense a certain degree of "I bet he thinks he's better than us" responses or looks. Although, I bet when some of them are talking about whatever it is they do, I probably have the same attitude sometimes...

But my point is, they seem to view reading itself as elitist. I wonder what they teach their children.


Yeah, this is really bad in the US. There's just a huge wave against intellectualism period lately.

With the bitter partisan divide between liberals and conservatives, and the rise of people like Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly etc. and this Tea Party movement there's a lot of anti-intellectualism going on.

Especially in rural, conservative states. I grew up in one, and I'm still big fan of my state universities sports teams. But man if you mention reading, or I mention I'm a professor etc. on the off topic boards on such sites, you get shouted down as an elitist snob, and out of touch intellectual, have gay slurs thrown at you and everything else.

It's really disconcerting that it's becoming a bad thing to read, to be an intellectual, to do intellectual work in many segments of society in the US. And you're right, it doesn't give much hope for the future if people have these attitudes and pass them onto their children.

MrBlueSky
02-25-2010, 02:30 PM
What's the story?

People will always read if they chose and WANT to do so. It's a lifestyle choice.

Access to e-readers is a nothing issue. Access to FILES is the important point.

joblack
02-25-2010, 02:31 PM
Todays problem isn't the availability of books but the missing motivation of the masses to use them :D

darylbrayman
02-26-2010, 10:52 AM
I hope she's right, I've always wanted to be an elitist :D

Joykins
02-26-2010, 11:13 AM
This is kind of misleading, though. I got started e-reading at no expense at all, given that I already owned a computer, and most people do.

Download ADE if you want to get your books from the library. Hell, download the Kindle PC App or the B&N PC app, or epub reader and just start chugging away at the free classics and promos (or, heck, the bargain bin ebooks that are 99 cents to 2 dollars). Read the Baen free library. Pull your books off bittorrent if you can't afford the price of new. If anything, e-reading is cheaper than regular books if done on the shady side, and it doesn't require bus fare to the library!

The real barrier is computer ownership or at least the use of a computer.

Oh, and people don't see you as a snob if you read mostly SF or mostly romance. They see you as a totally different kind of stereotype completely ;)

mgmueller
02-26-2010, 11:32 AM
I'm disappointed. Karin used to have better research skills than that. I was on a board with her once, and she was a lot more coherent then...

I wouldn't entirely disagree with her. If I just look at my niece (6 years), who just got into school. And in first class they already talk about needing a laptop. Of course she will get hers. But I'm pretty sure, not all parents will be able or willing to afford it. And if I look at my threads, about 1/3rd of the questions rank around costs (for the unit and the books). Obviously, costs are a factor. And if lots of people can't afford certain technologies, it will affect their children as well. So, at very early age, some already will have huge advantages, and lots of others will have respective disadvantages. Whether you call this "elitist" or "social darwinism" or whatever, the fact remains. (But of course that's nothing new. And tons of examples show, that the smart underdog still can beat the less talented "rich kid".)

mgmueller
02-26-2010, 11:34 AM
Access to e-readers is a nothing issue.

Maybe to you or me. But if I look at the tons of threads, talking about "budget", it seems to be an issue for many.

Hellmark
02-26-2010, 11:42 AM
Maybe to you or me. But if I look at the tons of threads, talking about "budget", it seems to be an issue for many.

Ereaders are not needed to use ebooks though. Yes, budgeting is important for those who buy them, but they only make the experience more pleasant for those who can afford it. For most who cannot afford it, they typically own other devices that already can read ebooks.

FireRunner
02-26-2010, 11:45 AM
I believe it will/does. At work there are only two who use eReaders, myself and another, and we talk about books and devices together. It's to the point others may be purchasing one just to know what we're talking about. We even joke about having "eReader time outs".

sianon
02-26-2010, 11:09 PM
I work with disadvantaged families who rely on income benefits for survival. I frequently walk into homes where paretns styate they struggle to clother their children spprorpaitely or pay rent, yet there in the livingn room is an emormous plasma TV with xbox or similar, oh and of course cable TV is on as well. Sorry but an E-reader is not such an expensive item for what it offers. A kindle is only $250 US and a fraction of the cost of a plasma TV. Does that sound like a value judgement, well yes it is, those who value reading will prioritise this in their expenditure, those who don't will not.

HarryT
02-27-2010, 05:10 AM
Anyway, after reading that 'article' I've seen enough trite statements to last me through the week. As said above: If I have to choose between buying a TV that costs 500$ and an ereader that costs the same, the choice really isn't that hard. It all comes down to choice.


Not hard at all. For me it would be the reader; I read far, far more than I watch TV. I could happily live without TV; I wouldn't want to live without reading.

tompe
02-27-2010, 05:46 AM
What a load of crap that was. I particularly was entertained by her alarmist view that ebooks will make censorship easier. Please. They make it harder. Any place that tries to ban an ebook will have a lot of visitors to the darknet. That is much easier and safer than trying to get your hands on a banned pbook.


But then they can threaten to sue for copyright infringement.

It will also be easier for moral panic people to subtly change content of the ebooks available in for example school libraries.

dmaul1114
02-27-2010, 01:20 PM
Not hard at all. For me it would be the reader; I read far, far more than I watch TV. I could happily live without TV; I wouldn't want to live without reading.

I'd go with the TV, both because I watch a lot of TV (especially sports) and I wouldn't have to give up reading as I could always make use of the library for free.

That's the main thing I see this as a non-issue. Even if someone is so badly off that they can't afford an e-reader nor a PC or other devices that can access e-books, they can make use of the library. If their in a small, rural area the selection may not be great--but they'll probably have most of the old, public domain stuff that they could get in free on e-readers, as well as PCs they could read e-books online on etc.

So I just don't see how it will create any elite reading class. By the time paper books start to diminish (if they ever do) and many books are only available as e-books, e-readers will be very cheap. Public schools will be giving them to students as it's cheaper for them to do that and give them e-textbooks than to give every student all the paper textbooks they need to use each year etc. down the road.

So currently, there's not much of anything only in e-book format, so it's a non issue. And down the road, if anything e-readers will improve access to books among the lower class when e-readers are dirt cheap, given out by schools to students etc.

eGeezer
02-27-2010, 02:41 PM
I'm not following the logic at all.

For ereaders to create elitist reading they would have to dominate the book market and drive pbooks to (or over) the edge of extinction, which won't happen until the majority of people have abandoned pbooks in favor of ereading devices with which to read the ebooks.

Not sure I understand the part where being available to the majority equates to elitism.

I guess with that definition in hand, we can rest easy.

Since books aren't readily available to every single person in the world, even now, those of us with books available in any form are just a bunch of elitists already, anyway.

I agree with darylbrayman -- now that I understand it, its great to finally be an elitist at something.

guyanonymous
02-27-2010, 02:47 PM
eGeezer, well said!

If price or selective availability (e.g., geographic restrictions) is a barrier to buying a reader or an ebook, then we're already elitists. But then, books, as you said, are elitist as not everyone in the world has access financially or physically to books.

As those barriers come down, the elitist nature of the situation also falls because they are AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

njm
02-28-2010, 09:14 AM
eGeezer, well said!

If price or selective availability (e.g., geographic restrictions) is a barrier to buying a reader or an ebook, then we're already elitists. But then, books, as you said, are elitist as not everyone in the world has access financially or physically to books.

As those barriers come down, the elitist nature of the situation also falls because they are AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

When I first started listening to rock music, the records I bought depended on a combination of saved up lunch money and whatever was available locally. Now, anyone can get absolutely whatever they want. It might not always be legal but the availability of just about anything isn't elitist. It's anti-elitist, like you said, because everyone has access to everything.

I'm hoping the same thing happens with ebooks. It's got a long way to go.
But eventually we'll get to a situation where whatever you want to read, it's just a click away, and I don't see how that's catering to an elitist class because the prices on ereaders are only gonna come down, just like everything else. Buying a microwave oven seemed like an elite thing to do, back when they were new. Same as VCRs and just about any new technology.

frank.w
02-28-2010, 09:44 AM
What's the point of being an elite if you can't lord it over others less fortunate than yourself? How would this reading elite exercise their dominance? Ride around on busses I suppose and ask people "Have you read the latest Harry Potter? Well, I have - so there.

I can't wait!

- Frank

mdovell
02-28-2010, 10:10 AM
Especially in rural, conservative states. I grew up in one, and I'm still big fan of my state universities sports teams. But man if you mention reading, or I mention I'm a professor etc. on the off topic boards on such sites, you get shouted down as an elitist snob, and out of touch intellectual, have gay slurs thrown at you and everything else.

It's really disconcerting that it's becoming a bad thing to read, to be an intellectual, to do intellectual work in many segments of society in the US. And you're right, it doesn't give much hope for the future if people have these attitudes and pass them onto their children.

I'd hate to break it to you but the same exists within liberal blue states. I'm in one and frankly it can be odd to see how things are. Some have blind faith to a given issue or number of issues and frankly don't challenge it. One candidate advertised he is against special interests and yet he owns part of the Boston Celtics! People will openly cite a study without realizing that unless one releases the raw data it can be highly questionable.

Few people read or at least read a significant amount. Sure there's the magazines and newspapers (which are anorexic) but unless someone is in school they probably aren't reading. Just in having a reference book at work would get questioning if I was in school. One women admitted to me outside of school she probably has only read three books in her life! I was taken aback by this.

I remember hearing an argument about US and Asian versions of electronics. Basically it was that in Asia they'll study the manual as if it is religious doctrine while in the USA they want things simplified to the point of no manual.

Making matters worse is even if tv is factored in as a replacement we haven't had significant intellectual debates at least with ratings for awhile. Outside 60 Minutes there's no high ratings news shows (local doesn't count). I'll give a reprieve for Intelligence Squared which is good but it's on Bloomberg rather than say PBS. The other problem with tv is some keep on surfing rather than um..planning. At least if someone has a recorder they can skip the commercials and not have to wait but that's the minority. The concept of instant gratification unfortunately is prevalent today.

Heck McDonalds still states that picture menus are "available upon request"

ever see this waffle house bit?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvs2g5Nj0NI

LDBoblo
02-28-2010, 11:58 AM
Books are snobbish in some very big subcultures (like academia). Ebooks just tag technological exclusivity right on top of the pre-existing subculture.

People who read without arrogance may continue reading without arrogance, or they may feel a sense of superiority with an expensive or uncommon gadget. Such behavior wouldn't surprise me from the early Kindle adoption crowd, especially the Oprah cult and similar.

Scholars are frequently condescending when it comes to reading, and ebooks will not really make any difference to the degree of douchebaggery or pride associated with being well-read. The worst I could see is that ebook-owning academics are much more likely to draw out the book they're going to quote to ensure they cite the pretentious language verbatim, believing themselves to simultaneously amaze with their erudition and impress with their financial status and technological prowess.

When the cost of ebook readers is more reasonable (far under $100usd) and commonplace, the gizmo-snobbery will take a backseat, assuming the devices are actually worth owning and the content market doesn't undermine everything. One of the big appeals of toys like ebook readers is that they are still a little bit exclusive. Once that disappears, it'll be interesting to see what supplants exclusivity as a primary market driver.

dmaul1114
02-28-2010, 01:54 PM
I'd hate to break it to you but the same exists within liberal blue states. I'm in one and frankly it can be odd to see how things are.

Oh definitely. I left the rural state in 2002 and spent 7 years in DC and live in Atlanta now. You see the kind of stuff everywhere. But it was muc worse in WV, is much worse on WVU sports forums than on boards for other universities in more liberal states (especially urban universities) etc.

It's an attitude that just results from ignorance. But it's especially hard coming from lower class conservatives who view intellectuals as out of touch elitists, latte sippers etc.--especially with people like Sarah Palin going around and saying that type of stuff as many in that group look up to people like here, Limbaugh etc. Now of course, the majority of people even in places like WV aren't these tea bagger types etc., there's just more of them there than say, in major cities etc. in my experience.

Books are snobbish in some very big subcultures (like academia). Ebooks just tag technological exclusivity right on top of the pre-existing subculture.

.....

Scholars are frequently condescending when it comes to reading, and ebooks will not really make any difference to the degree of douchebaggery or pride associated with being well-read.

I don't know that I can agree with that. I'm an academic, and I'll freely admit I'm a bit snobby/elitist in some regards. Hell, a big draw of doing this job vs. taking more money in the private sector was to be in the ivory tower sub-culture away from the ignorance of the unwashed masses I railed against above! :D

But in all seriousness, I'm not at all snobby about my reading. As I said in the "reading junk" thread, I'm usually mentally fatigued by the time I get around to any leisure reading, so most of the time I'm reading some fantasy series or other light and easy to read fiction. Certainly nothing to be snobby about.

Maybe you'd get that from certain disciplines more--some literature profs are probably snobby about what they read, some history profs probably snobby about fiction and feel people should be reading history etc.

But I don't think all or most academics are snobby about reading. In fact, most of my colleagues aren't doing much reading at all. They have to read so much for work (reading for the research, peer reviewing articles, serving as editors for journals and having to read all submissions ,reading student papers etc.) they have no desire to read in their free time.

joblack
02-28-2010, 01:55 PM
I work with disadvantaged families who rely on income benefits for survival. I frequently walk into homes where paretns styate they struggle to clother their children spprorpaitely or pay rent, yet there in the livingn room is an emormous plasma TV with xbox or similar, oh and of course cable TV is on as well. Sorry but an E-reader is not such an expensive item for what it offers. A kindle is only $250 US and a fraction of the cost of a plasma TV. Does that sound like a value judgement, well yes it is, those who value reading will prioritise this in their expenditure, those who don't will not.

The plasma TV is most probably not paid in cash but with a credit card (with horrible interest rate). It's not a measurement of wealth to have such gadgets (think about the subprime tragedy).

zerospinboson
02-28-2010, 02:23 PM
Scholars are frequently condescending when it comes to reading, and ebooks will not really make any difference to the degree of douchebaggery or pride associated with being well-read. The worst I could see is that ebook-owning academics are much more likely to draw out the book they're going to quote to ensure they cite the pretentious language verbatim, believing themselves to simultaneously amaze with their erudition and impress with their financial status and technological prowess.
Are you perchance angry at people who have enjoyed tertiary education? You seem very, very bitter.
I can see how this criticism of yours might apply to third-rate lit professors, but I really don't understand why this absolutely wonderful generalization applies to the entirety of the higher education (and research) system. Who cares that some scholars are frequently condescending when it comes to reading? You, on the other hand, seem to care very much that they can "pretentiously quote other people verbatim." Are you perhaps jealous?
If you want offensive, go live among people can with a straight face say "If you're so smart, how come you aren't a millionaire", yet who at the same time will crucify anyone interested in gaining elementary maths skills, because they resent anyone who has a better chance in life than they have.

The wonderful thing about ebooks is that people from South-America as well as Asia and Iran are able to download them "Illegally", so that they can gain access to information that will likely never in their lifetimes become available, let alone affordable, for them. If you want to suggest that to be a meaningless improvement, because of the anger you feel towards lit professors, be my guest, but know that you probably won't be able to convince me that you're saying anything I will think particularly to the point.

LDBoblo
02-28-2010, 04:35 PM
Are you perchance angry at people who have enjoyed tertiary education? You seem very, very bitter.
Nope, I used to in fact be one of the very types I'm generalizing, as were many of my colleagues and classmates.

You read far too much into my comment. I am probably guilty of baiting it though.

fugazied
02-28-2010, 04:38 PM
We didn't worry about VCRs creating an elite class of people who could watch movies at home! There are still print books available in public libraries in most countries, it is not like there aren't other ways to consumer books.

The Internet on the other hand was a more realistic 'elite class creator'. When a lot of people lived in homes without a computer and access to the Internet that was a significant disadvantage to those people.

delphidb96
02-28-2010, 04:58 PM
What's the point of being an elite if you can't lord it over others less fortunate than yourself? How would this reading elite exercise their dominance? Ride around on busses I suppose and ask people "Have you read the latest Harry Potter? Well, I have - so there.

I can't wait!

- Frank

Ummm... As *one* of the 'reading elite', my first move was to buy adoring slaves and hire minions and thugs. One simply *cannot* be part of the 'elite' without slaves, minions and thugs! Now I'm looking for a secret headquarters, a lair, a laboratory and a villa in Tuscany. These, along with Gulfstream G-IVs (a matched set), 250 ft. mega yacht and a bevy of buxom beauties (barrel-chested, six-packed beaus for the female 'elite', of course) make a fair start.

BTW, has anyone seen my invite to join the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group??? I know, with *so* many members (what's BG up to these days? 3 billion? 4?) it is beginning to be somewhat of a joke, but it says right in "So You're Now One of the Reading Elite" handbook that I *must* join. :D :D :D

Derek

zerospinboson
02-28-2010, 06:41 PM
You read far too much into my comment. I am probably guilty of baiting it though.
Self-deprecation was hardly the vibe you were giving off, no.

Spoon Man
02-28-2010, 08:58 PM
Oh definitely. I left the rural state in 2002 and spent 7 years in DC and live in Atlanta now.

Woot, another person in GA!

guyanonymous
02-28-2010, 08:59 PM
You make GA sound like a desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland, where you, Spoon Man, have been fighting zombies while searching for another survivor to discuss books with.

Xanthe
02-28-2010, 09:59 PM
Sounds like Karin really had her tin hat on when she wrote that article. :rolleyes:

Digital books make censorship easier? I would say that it would make it harder, given the current P2P networks, usenet, etc.

As for ebook readers being pricey, the price has been coming down since they were first offered, and as more and more manufacturers enter the field, the prices will go even lower, just as has happened with MP3 players.

Sorry, Karin, but the $179 that I paid for my ebook reader doesn't even come close to what some kids pay for sneakers or the latest cell phone. Do you consider people who wear fancy sneakers or who have the latest cell phone to be an elite class?

Although ebooks finally seem to be finally breaking into the mainstream, there are always going to be people who don't like them, don't want them, and will never use them. Also, using them doesn't have to be an either/or proposition. I can use a ebook reader and still read paper books.

I would suggest that ebooks might encourage MORE reading because the technology is going to intrigue some, the convenience will draw others, and the ability to adjust font size is going to allow older readers to be able to read despite visual problems.

Logseman
03-01-2010, 02:20 AM
Erm... A device which costs, in its highest tiers, the same as an iPhone does, and in its lowest tiers it's practically an iPod touch, and could be serviced exclusively with free content forever... unlike an iPsomething, which would require (legally, of course) songs and apps to be bought.

Is that supposed to be the "so expensive than only a few can afford it" device? The woman has honoured her family name with that text.

What could be interesting is, if the relatively high pricing for new ebooks continues, the question of people returning to the classics they can get for free. Could Pickwick become again a meme creator as it was in its time? :chinscratch:

Crowl
03-01-2010, 10:11 AM
Yeah, this is really bad in the US. There's just a huge wave against intellectualism period lately.

With the bitter partisan divide between liberals and conservatives, and the rise of people like Palin, Limbaugh, Beck, O'Reilly etc. and this Tea Party movement there's a lot of anti-intellectualism going on.

Especially in rural, conservative states. I grew up in one, and I'm still big fan of my state universities sports teams. But man if you mention reading, or I mention I'm a professor etc. on the off topic boards on such sites, you get shouted down as an elitist snob, and out of touch intellectual, have gay slurs thrown at you and everything else.

It's really disconcerting that it's becoming a bad thing to read, to be an intellectual, to do intellectual work in many segments of society in the US. And you're right, it doesn't give much hope for the future if people have these attitudes and pass them onto their children.

While a very disappointing situation, it isn't a new thing, Bill Hicks has been dead since 1994 and even in one of his routines he had the following joke:

"I was in Nashville, Tennesee last year. After the show, I went to a Waffle House. I'm not proud of it, I was hungry. And I'm eating, I'm alone and I'm reading a book, right? Waitress walks over to me: 'Hey, what you readin' for?' Is that like the weirdest fucking question you've ever heard? Not what am I reading, but what am I reading ... for. 'Well, God damn it, you stumped me. Why do I read? Hmm ... I guess I read for a lot of reasons, and the main one is ... so I don't end up being a fucking waffle waitress.'

But then, this trucker in the next booth gets up, stands over me and goes: 'Well, looks like we got ourselves a reader.' What the fuck's going on here? It's not like I walked into a Klan rally in a Boy George outfit, God damn it. It's a book!"

emonti8384
03-01-2010, 11:32 AM
The Internet on the other hand was a more realistic 'elite class creator'. When a lot of people lived in homes without a computer and access to the Internet that was a significant disadvantage to those people.


It's funny, because I was in middle school when the internet started moving on up the evolutionary ladder. My dad wouldn't get the internet for anything, I had a Gateway1000 (or was it a 2000?) to do my homework on and I had the Encarta encyclopedia to look up things-it was definitely limited! I didn't have a car and public transportation was not available to me, so I couldn't go to the library on any kind of regular basis. I didn't have access to the internet until 2 years after I graduated high school b/c I couldn't afford a computer until then.

I don't believe ereaders create any kind of group other than the I-like-to-read-and-I'm deciding-to-read-like-this group ;)

dmaul1114
03-01-2010, 12:42 PM
You make GA sound like a desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland, where you, Spoon Man, have been fighting zombies while searching for another survivor to discuss books with.

Well, outside of Atlanta..... :D

While not a post-apocalyptic wasteland, it is the south! Atlanta is probably the only place in the south I'd live. Maybe New Orleans.

TGS
03-01-2010, 03:17 PM
Bestselling author Karin Slaughter asks "Will eBooks create an elite reading class?"


Oooh, I do hope so! But there's not much evidence of it.

Logseman
03-01-2010, 06:01 PM
Shall I start building the "Gentlemen's Distinguished Club for Fine Literature in State-of-the-art Electronic Means"? Each member would have a secret name and would declare adherence to the principles of Theosophy.

nomesque
03-01-2010, 06:21 PM
Shall I start building the "Gentlemen's Distinguished Club for Fine Literature in State-of-the-art Electronic Means"? Each member would have a secret name and would declare adherence to the principles of Theosophy.

TSK! We said elitist, not sexist scumbags!!! :furious3:

:rofl:

karenr_nz
03-01-2010, 07:05 PM
I would like to suggest an alternative view point. Instead of e-readers and e-books creating an elite reading class, what if they actually make reading 'cool', enticing kids to start reading?

Why I suggest this is that many of the kids in school and university today have grown up surrounded by electronic devices. And then we expect them to read these really primitive things called books, in a format that is essentially unchanged over the last 200 years. With ebooks and e-readers, and the chance to read either via or over the internet, it may be slightly more attractive for the tech-savvy.

scottjl
03-01-2010, 07:22 PM
I'd say we're more in danger of masses simply being illiterate than eReaders creating a reading class.

Logseman
03-01-2010, 08:34 PM
TSK! We said elitist, not sexist scumbags!!! :furious3:

:rofl:

Come on, women ought not to be touching books, be they on paper or electronic. Their bodily functions would dry up and they'd become infertile! That is a great discovery of the 19th century English scientifics. Look at the Augusta Golf Club, those are an example to follow. They won't allow women to enter the club! They know how disruptive it can be!

nomesque
03-01-2010, 08:49 PM
Come on, women ought not to be touching books, be they on paper or electronic. Their bodily functions would dry up and they'd become infertile! That is a great discovery of the 19th century English scientifics. Look at the Augusta Golf Club, those are an example to follow. They won't allow women to enter the club! They know how disruptive it can be!

Huh, reading as birth control? Why didn't I think of that sooner?? :rofl:

Scott Nicholson
03-02-2010, 12:18 AM
Wealthy author lecturing the masses on elitism...and I'll bet she loves $15 ebooks, just like her publisher told her to.

Scott Nicholson
http://hauntedcomputerbooks.blogspot.com

Xanthe
03-02-2010, 10:20 PM
Isn't it amazing how so out-of-touch some authors are with their reading audience? I've noticed this with some other authors - there's this reverse snobbism that they evince, and their attempts to appear one-of-the-people and decry elitist pretentions - while in their blogs they talk about their housekeepers and all the assorted minions they have to handle the daily aspects of their lives, aspects that their readers handle by themselves 24/7. :rolleyes:

eGeezer
03-02-2010, 11:31 PM
I'd say we're more in danger of masses simply being illiterate than eReaders creating a reading class.

Excellent point.

jseay
03-04-2010, 04:13 PM
I think the ebook revolution may actually increase readership.

1. More authors who would not be traditionally published or published in print will begin to offer ebooks.

2. Ebooks can already be read on personal computers and smartphones. Mobile phone applications will continue to evolve which would make ereading available to most people who own a cell phone.

3. As the technology matures, dedicated ereader devices should decrease in cost. This would enable more readers to have access to a nicer ereading experience.

I'm excited about ebooks and think that they will change the way books are consumed.

mdovell
03-05-2010, 09:31 AM
The ease of publishing will also help. One author actually called me up because he self published the book and he said my review on amazon is what caused a publishing company to decide to print it.

If you want to read a rant by an author on writing rather than policies I highly suggest the snippet at the end of Fahrenheit 451. In a nutshell he writes a story not for people but to write a story.

Froide
09-25-2014, 09:38 AM
While a very disappointing situation, it isn't a new thing, Bill Hicks has been dead since 1994 and even in one of his routines he had the following joke:

"I was in Nashville, Tennesee last year. After the show, I went to a Waffle House. I'm not proud of it, I was hungry. And I'm eating, I'm alone and I'm reading a book, right? Waitress walks over to me: 'Hey, what you readin' for?' Is that like the weirdest fucking question you've ever heard? Not what am I reading, but what am I reading ... for. 'Well, God damn it, you stumped me. Why do I read? Hmm ... I guess I read for a lot of reasons, and the main one is ... so I don't end up being a fucking waffle waitress.'

But then, this trucker in the next booth gets up, stands over me and goes: 'Well, looks like we got ourselves a reader.' What the fuck's going on here? It's not like I walked into a Klan rally in a Boy George outfit, God damn it. It's a book!"

watch?v=Uvs2g5Nj0NI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvs2g5Nj0NI

crich70
09-25-2014, 09:47 AM
I'm excited about ebooks and think that they will change the way books are consumed.

Aren't they already doing that? At one time I'd have to either go to a brick and mortar store or order a customer catalog from a publisher and hope the prices of the books were still the same. In fact that very problem happened to me once. I had ordered some books of Philip Jose Farmer's riverworld series among others and only part of my order was shipped to me because it turned out the price of the books had gone up since I'd gotten the catalog. I ordered the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper via a book store in Janesville mall (they didn't have copies on site) and had to wait a couple weeks for them to arrive and a note sent out that my order was ready. Now I can go online, see a book I want, buy it and be reading it within 5 minutes or less. And the books often cost a lot less than their paper siblings. Sometimes they're even offered for free for a day or so. When was the last time you saw someone giving away free copies of a paper book?

Logseman
09-25-2014, 10:06 AM
Yesterday I saw an ebook, 4.3 inches of screen size, for thirty euros. I paid eight times that for the 5 inch reader I had in 2010. The elite has not lasted.

BTW, way to necro a 4 year old post :D

crich70
09-25-2014, 10:15 AM
Yesterday I saw an ebook, 4.3 inches of screen size, for thirty euros. I paid eight times that for the 5 inch reader I had in 2010. The elite has not lasted.

BTW, way to necro a 4 year old post :D
I didn't notice til you mentioned it how old the thread is. At least Froide beat me to it. :rofl:

Waylander
09-25-2014, 10:49 AM
Slaughter seems slightly alarmist, especially given that the upcoming basic Kindle is only 59 in the UK, which is pretty damn good value for something like this.

BookAdmin
09-25-2014, 11:07 AM
I agree with Waylander, there are also lot of free ebook for people who can't afford to buy "classics" books.

sl42
09-25-2014, 11:59 AM
Seems to be a rather badly thought out argument - first, an inexpensive dedicated reader can be found for the cost of two or three print books (I payed $48 for my Kobo Mini), and second you don't *need* a dedicated reader if you already have a tablet or "smart" phone. Finally, ebooks are generally slightly cheaper than print editions and if someone has *no* income that doesn't need to be spent on necessities like rent and food, anyone with an Internet connection can download a copy of any book they want any time they want - as pointed out by Cory Doctorow in this article ( http://www.locusmag.com/2006/Issues/07DoctorowCommentary.html ) it takes the same number of "clicks" to pirate a book as to purchase it, making it the reader's choice whether to pay or not.

crich70
09-25-2014, 12:00 PM
I agree with Waylander, there are also lot of free ebook for people who can't afford to buy "classics" books.

A lot of the "Classics" are also in the PD and therefore available at sites like Gutenberg and Mobile Read at no charge.

fjtorres
09-25-2014, 02:43 PM
Four years ago the concern was that ebook reading was too expensive and would become an activity solely for the elites--today it is the elites fretting that it has become too cheap and everybody can play both ends of the game.

That's pretty common, actually, in professional handwringer circles.

For example, back in the 70's, the big concern was that since we are smack dab in the middle of an ongoing ice age, any sign of cooling was a precursor of catastrophe:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Cooling-Next-Already-Begun/dp/013172312X

Give it a couple years and the wheel will turn and we'll be back to worrying about yesteryear's fears. :cool:

HomeInMyShoes
09-25-2014, 03:12 PM
"Will eBooks create an elite reading class?"

I am of the opinion that simply READING has become an elitist class.

EDIT: Not that I'm saying readers are elitist in general, but some people see you as a snob if you read heavily. I don't know about you, but I have a dead-end job filled with knuckle-draggers (elitist? me? no! ;> ) and we have conversations throughout the day. I like to talk about my hobbies and likes. My co-workers are much the same, except for the reading part... Sometimes, I do sense a certain degree of "I bet he thinks he's better than us" responses or looks. Although, I bet when some of them are talking about whatever it is they do, I probably have the same attitude sometimes...

But my point is, they seem to view reading itself as elitist. I wonder what they teach their children.

I work with a lot of very smart people, but only a few of us read a lot. Reading does not necessarily equate to smart or not in my experience. I do find people that read a little more interesting, but that's only because it is another common talking point.

Will eReaders create an elite class. Maybe. But I know almost everyone has a smartphone and most of them can be used as an eReader so I don't buy the argument much.

Andrew H.
09-25-2014, 03:34 PM
I work with a lot of very smart people, but only a few of us read a lot. Reading does not necessarily equate to smart or not in my experience. I do find people that read a little more interesting, but that's only because it is another common talking point.

Reading isn't an elite activity. Contrary to popular belief, most Americans (76%) read; the median number of books read is 5. Beyond a certain point, reading doesn't scale with education; the number of books read by people with some college, a college degree, and a graduate degree are all fairly close.

pidgeon92
09-25-2014, 04:40 PM
I work with a lot of very smart people, but only a few of us read a lot. Reading does not necessarily equate to smart or not in my experience. I do find people that read a little more interesting, but that's only because it is another common talking point.

I suppose it also depends on how you classify "reading." My husband doesn't read many books every year (and rarely reads fiction), but he reads the news daily and spends a lot of time researching financial topics. He's far more up on current events than I am.

Quexos
09-26-2014, 01:44 PM
No more of an elite than paper books created, if one considers there is even such an elite.

DiapDealer
09-26-2014, 02:12 PM
I hope it creates an elite fighting force of ereading warrior monks.

fjtorres
09-26-2014, 02:13 PM
No more of an elite than paper books created, if one considers there is even such an elite.

Actually, books were in fact an upscale product until well into the 20th century.
Most households might own a family bible, handed down through generations in some cases, and a book or two. It wasn't until late nineteenth that widespread literacy started to support a broad publishing industry. And it was a subject of debate among the literary elites whether it was a good thing or not into the 1930's.

saoir
09-26-2014, 07:42 PM
On the other hand, here is a device that is so expensive that only a select few can afford it.

Considering the price of hardbacks even most paperbacks, this old quote is just so much garbage isn't it.
Three hardbacks gets you a Kindle.

fjtorres
09-26-2014, 09:04 PM
Considering the price of hardbacks even most paperbacks, this old quote is just so much garbage isn't it.
Three hardbacks gets you a Kindle.

True, but consider the thread dates back to early 2010, when ereaders cost ten hardcovers' worth. Smartphones were not yet ubiquitous and iPad was just a rumor.

This is really a perfect example of how fast and thoroughly technology disruptions change things.

crich70
09-26-2014, 09:15 PM
No more of an elite than paper books created, if one considers there is even such an elite.
I was just thinking that paper backs (which displaced the pulp magazines I understand) did make reading more democratic if that's the word. I remember one book posted here in the Library had a copy of the ad posted for it when the book was new in 1914 and it cost (I think) $1.30 or something like that and that was probably a very expensive purchase for a time when .5 or .10 would buy you a meal in a restaurant. Of course the average wage was probably not very high back then either so that $1.30 was probably a large investment for the average person. Certainly even the hard cover books became cheaper in price after Gutenberg developed his movable type and printing press back in the 1450's. Now we've begun to go beyond that to ebooks. I wonder how low the cost of a book will drop?

fjtorres
09-26-2014, 09:21 PM
I wonder how low the cost of a book will drop?

Cheaper than a (large) cuppa joe. :)

(There is strong evidence from Smashwords and Amazon that, depending on genre, the sweetspot in ebook pricing runs from $2.99-4.99.)

saoir
09-26-2014, 09:40 PM
True, but consider the thread dates back to early 2010, when ereaders cost ten hardcovers' worth. Smartphones were not yet ubiquitous and iPad was just a rumor.

This is really a perfect example of how fast and thoroughly technology disruptions change things.

I take your point but I don't agree. It was wholly predictable that those prices would drop as much or more than they have, and will continue to drop.

fjtorres
09-26-2014, 10:21 PM
I take your point but I don't agree. It was wholly predictable that those prices would drop as much or more than they have, and will continue to drop.

Predictable? Maybe.
But not as fast as they did. And not as much as they did.

The only reason the hardware dropped as fast as it did was because Nook in June 2010 chose to price their ereaders at near (below?) cost and Amazon matched them. Until then, ereaders were priced like standalone products with healthy margins baked in. In fact, the recent trends have been for ereader prices to inch slightly higher.

Nook's strategy allowed them to sell $3B in ereaders and ebooks...at a cost of $4B. Hindsight says it was a bad move for them. Too big a drop, too fast.

(Amazon appears to have avoided those problems because their readers are supported by ads, which are bringing them close to $1B a year.)

So no, I don't think prices will continue to drop.
Not with ereader sales volumes declining due to hardware development stagnation and a good portion of ebook sales moving to phones and tablets.

Amazon's cheapest model is currently $10 higher than 2012, Nook $20+, and Kobo $30+. Features are nominally better but the entry level price is higher.

tompe
09-27-2014, 01:05 PM
Considering the price of hardbacks even most paperbacks, this old quote is just so much garbage isn't it.
Three hardbacks gets you a Kindle.

And most people never buy hardcover books and get there books second hand or from the library or borrow them from friends.

patrickt
09-27-2014, 06:23 PM
I went to Google to find out how many people in the U.S. actually read books. There was such a wide range of responses that the answer seems to be that no one knows. The problem is that all the statistics come from self-reporting. Most people are reluctant to say, "I haven't read a book in twenty years."

Just my opinion based on friends, people at work, and my observations is that less than 15% read regularly.

I also had occasion to test the employees where I worked for reading proficiency. All were high school graduates, some had been to college, and a few had college degrees. Twenty-five percent of the employees were functionally illiterate.

The sad thing is that after a series of reading improvement classes, all of the employees who took the classes moved up into functionally literate and even the ones who read well before the class were reading better. That means the students were stupid. Our school system had simply failed to teach them to read with proficiency. Two of the men were identified to have severe dyslexia and both had granduated from high school with no one noticing they couldn't read.

A reporter asked me once what I thought of sex eduction classes in junior high. I said it was a great idea because if the schools taught sex the way the teach reading adolescents wouldn't want to do it.

crich70
09-27-2014, 06:41 PM
I went to Google to find out how many people in the U.S. actually read books. There was such a wide range of responses that the answer seems to be that no one knows. The problem is that all the statistics come from self-reporting. Most people are reluctant to say, "I haven't read a book in twenty years."

Just my opinion based on friends, people at work, and my observations is that less than 15% read regularly.

I also had occasion to test the employees where I worked for reading proficiency. All were high school graduates, some had been to college, and a few had college degrees. Twenty-five percent of the employees were functionally illiterate.

The sad thing is that after a series of reading improvement classes, all of the employees who took the classes moved up into functionally literate and even the ones who read well before the class were reading better. That means the students were stupid. Our school system had simply failed to teach them to read with proficiency. Two of the men were identified to have severe dyslexia and both had granduated from high school with no one noticing they couldn't read.

A reporter asked me once what I thought of sex eduction classes in junior high. I said it was a great idea because if the schools taught sex the way the teach reading adolescents wouldn't want to do it.

When I was in college I heard a teacher bemoaning the fact of how bad his students reading comprehension was. I asked him if that wasn't something people were supposed to learn in grade school. He replied that that was his point. Mind I was in college some 20 yrs or so ago. Sad that it doesn't seem to have gotten any better.

fjtorres
09-27-2014, 07:10 PM
I went to Google to find out how many people in the U.S. actually read books. There was such a wide range of responses that the answer seems to be that no one knows. The problem is that all the statistics come from self-reporting. Most people are reluctant to say, "I haven't read a book in twenty years."

Just my opinion based on friends, people at work, and my observations is that less than 15% read regularly.


A number that has surfaced in several of the better polls is 25%, where reading regularly is expressed in books per month. A lot of people read a couple of books a year and to them that is "reading regularly".

The problem is that a lot of reading polls are about preference, not activity or, better yet, purchases. Some polls don't distinguish between reading for work or education and reading for enjoyment. Likewise, a lot of polls ask people whether they prefer print or digital without asking if they actually buy either, or what they read.

It really matters who is promoting the poll and what their agenda is.

Andrew H.
09-28-2014, 11:34 PM
Predictable? Maybe.
But not as fast as they did. And not as much as they did.

The only reason the hardware dropped as fast as it did was because Nook in June 2010 chose to price their ereaders at near (below?) cost and Amazon matched them. Until then, ereaders were priced like standalone products with healthy margins baked in. In fact, the recent trends have been for ereader prices to inch slightly higher.

This was a big factor - but the fact that the iPad (announced January 2010) was $400 pretty much meant that the writing was on the wall for $400 e-readers.

pholy
09-28-2014, 11:43 PM
The only reason the hardware dropped as fast as it did was because Nook in June 2010 chose to price their ereaders at near (below?) cost and Amazon matched them.

Actually, in March 2010, Kobo announced their first reader at $149.00, for delivery in May. I still have mine, and it still works, if slowly compared to my AuraHD. I think it was Kobo's announcement that started the price cutting.

fjtorres
09-29-2014, 12:24 AM
Actually, in March 2010, Kobo announced their first reader at $149.00, for delivery in May. I still have mine, and it still works, if slowly compared to my AuraHD. I think it was Kobo's announcement that started the price cutting.

I've seen the "Kobo started it" thing before but...
...It was an old rebadged netronix. With no wireless. Almost identical to the Foxit and other models selling for even less.
If it triggered Nook's bad decision, they sure took their time responding. And at $199 in June it wasn't much of a counter.

On the other hand, June was when the Agency conspiracy kicked in, "guaranteeing" Nook a fat 30% margin on ebooks, which makes it a more likely trigger for the shift in pricing model that took the entry level price for connected readers from $259 to $139 in less than six months, all based on the premise of Agency margins.

Katsunami
09-29-2014, 04:29 AM
Even though the thread is old, I'll still reply :) I think the answer can be short:

"No."

Most technology doesn't create "elite" classes, as the price will steadily become lower. Of course, many people won't be able to afford the latest and greatest, but at some point, almost everybody can own a serviceable device. Because of this, for many people e-reading can become almost free. I've seen Trekstor readers in Germany being sold for under 35 euro's new. I've seen second hand readers for even less.

I can hardly call that "elite pricing"... e-reading dropped my reading costs to almost nothing compared to when I was reading paper. I had to buy every paperback at full price, because borrowing books in English in the Netherlands is almost impossible apart from the classics and the greatest best sellers.

Froide
09-29-2014, 06:02 AM
SparkNotes' vocabulary builder tools (http://www.sparknotes.com/testprep/books/newsat/powertactics/vocab/) (aimed at standardized test-takers in the USA) include five SAT/ACT Vocab Novels. The SAT (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAT) and ACT (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACT_%28test%29) are standardized college admission tests, and the basis for many other standardized tests (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardized_test#United_States) (e.g., for graduate school admission, scholarship selection, and various professions).

Geralt
09-29-2014, 08:23 AM
"On the other hand, here is a device that is so expensive that only a select few can afford it."
That is just for lols.
I guess they never heard of basic kindle or a number of PC apps that anyone can download for free, be it kindle, kobo, or any other.

Katsunami
09-29-2014, 08:47 AM
"On the other hand, here is a device that is so expensive that only a select few can afford it."

Also, what did the first Kindle cost? $400 or something?

If that is a price only "a select few can afford", then the western world has sunken very low in the last 30 years or so. Of course, there will always be people who won't be able to afford a device if it is not free, but $400 is hardly a back-breaking amount of money for a normal working person. Even a person working for minimum wage, who doesn't do any weird things can eventually afford this if he really wants, after a few months of saving.

(Note: I'm talking about the Netherlands here.)

I know people who easily spend $100 on a night out, four times a month (every weekend), and then complain that this or that is 'expensive'....

As said, for many people, it's just a matter of prioritizing.

saoir
09-29-2014, 10:20 AM
I haven't read the whole thread through, but something we are all forgetting here is reading on smart phones. I started reading on my iPhone and that is how I discovered eBooks for the first time. I ploughed through them at a fantastic rate and really enjoyed them. Even now I often read some of my books on my iPhone 5.

fjtorres
09-29-2014, 10:44 AM
As said, for many people, it's just a matter of prioritizing.

There are also professional handwringers, always on the lookout for new issues to lobby over.

If it weren't for smartphones there might be a shred of an issue there but,while eink readers are getting marginally more expensive, phones and tablets are getting ever cheaper and cost about the same at the lowest levels.

QuantumIguana
09-29-2014, 11:41 AM
If the price doesn't drop, books can't become an elite market, because few people would buy the devices. If the price does drop, then e-readers become affordable to most people, so books don't become an elite market. The price drop was inevitable, because that's what happens when there is competition.

The article ignores reading on phones, and most people have phones. Are phones elite? In rural areas, the nearest bookstore might be an hour away or more. With e-books, books are available in an instant, without having to go anywhere. Plus, nothing is out of stock. E-books allow you to change the font size to one more comfortable for you. E-readers are great for someone who has difficulty holding a paper book. There are tens of thousands of e-books that are available for free, and vast numbers that can be had cheaply.

What could be more anti-elite?

Geralt
09-29-2014, 11:51 AM
What could be more anti-elite?
The people who wrote that article are living in a bubble. I don't take anyone like that seriously.

covingtoncat73
09-29-2014, 12:24 PM
Wonder how long it takes people who "can't afford" an ebook reader to spend $200 on cigarettes? On beer? On cable TV? On junk food? On sporting events? It isn't what money you have-- it is how you choose to spend it.

"so expensive that only a select few can afford it" ?????

*boggle*

OK, maybe my viewpoint is thoroughly skewed because I'm not in the USA... over here a paperback often costs $17-20. A paperback classic (out of copyright) is often around $10. So a device which costs the same as 20 new books doesn't strike me as being particularly elitist, ya know? Especially when I wander around my low-income city streets and see all the ipods... :smack:

I'd go so far as to venture that the exact opposite will happen - that ebook readers will go mainstream and we'll find MORE people reading, not less. Partly because the shorter ebooks - ones which would never be published as DTBs because they're too low on wordage - will perfectly suit those with short attention spans and slow reading speeds.

Edited to add: I acknowledge that I'm writing from a very Western-world kind of viewpoint, where every house has a TV and the vast majority of houses have at least one computer... but surely one of the beauties of digital publishing is the possibility of printing it onto standard printer paper if needed?

This and that. I am by no means rich. I'm a librarian at a community college, for Pete's sake. I don't go out to bars and concerts every weekend and I rarely go to the theater to see a movie. I have a Kindle Paperwhite that I love. Like Nomesque, I realize that, though I am not rich by the standards of the United States or Western Europe, I am far better-off than most of the world.

QuantumIguana
09-29-2014, 12:49 PM
iPods now cost between sixty and two hundred fifty dollars, but the device revolutionized how we purchase and listen to music. I don't think many can argue that an eBook reader does the same for books--they have replaced a printed page with a digital one--but, barring the technological leap, can we honestly tell ourselves that just as many people are interested in reading books as are listening to music? Anyone with a teenager in their home can attest to that folly.

It's blindingly obvious that the e-reader transformed how we purchase and read books, for reasons which were listed earlier - and was blindingly obvious in 2010. But that wouldn't go along with the author's agenda. It may be the case that less people are interested in music than in books, but that's an utterly irrelevant red herring. In any case, it's always been true that people have been more interested in music than are interested in books.

I remember a couple years ago, someone published a censored version of Huckleberry Finn. There was some heated argument about that, but the censored book ranks #1,196,280 on Amazon. If someone tried to pass off a censored version as the uncensored version, people would notice.

And as long as there are paper books being printed, there will be used books. Paper books aren't going away any time soon.

crich70
09-29-2014, 01:21 PM
Also, what did the first Kindle cost? $400 or something?

If that is a price only "a select few can afford", then the western world has sunken very low in the last 30 years or so. Of course, there will always be people who won't be able to afford a device if it is not free, but $400 is hardly a back-breaking amount of money for a normal working working person. Even a person working for minimum wage, who doesn't do any weir things can eventually afford this if he really wants, after a few months of saving.

(Note: I'm talking about the Netherlands here.)

I know people who easily spend $100 on a ight out, four times a month (every weekend), and then complain that this or that is 'expensive'....

As said, for many people, it's just a matter of prioritizing.
Ah, but if you are on a fixed income then that $400.00 can be a lot of money to set aside for just one item. It was still a bit of an investment when I bought my 1st Kindle a few yrs back when it was around $130.00 but it was manageable at least. As for what caused prices to drop I think it was more a matter of following the pattern of what usually happens with new Tech. The 1st TV's, VCR's, and DVD players were very expensive at the 1st as well but then as they became more common place and it was shown there was a real market (ie. people willing to actually buy them) the prices went down.

Katsunami
09-29-2014, 01:57 PM
Yes, but you waited some time, prioritized, and got your Kindle. If it was an elitist item, like a Leica camera, or worse, a Ferrari, you wouldn't have stood a chance. To be honest, I could afford the new Leica and two lenses if I utterly save almost everything I can for two years and then heavily prioritize, but it would be a stretch indeed. The Ferrari? No way in hell.

crich70
09-29-2014, 02:04 PM
Yes, but you waited some time, prioritized, and got your Kindle. If it was an elitist item, like a Leica camera, or worse, a Ferrari, you wouldn't have stood a chance. To be honest, I could afford the new Leica and two lenses if I utterly save almost everything I can for two years and then heavily prioritize, but it would be a stretch indeed. The Ferrari? No way in hell.

True, there are some things I may want to get that I'll never be able to afford. The point I was trying to make is just that most things do come down in price as they become more common place. Watch old re-runs of 1950's game shows where the couple wins a brand new b&w TV set. To their generation that was an expense that many might never be able to afford. Or if they could afford it they bought it on time by making payments and hoped they'd pay it off before it wore out. Prior to flat screen TV's the price had really dropped. I have no doubt it will do so again as flat screens become more common place.

QuantumIguana
09-29-2014, 02:58 PM
Ah, but if you are on a fixed income then that $400.00 can be a lot of money to set aside for just one item. It was still a bit of an investment when I bought my 1st Kindle a few yrs back when it was around $130.00 but it was manageable at least. As for what caused prices to drop I think it was more a matter of following the pattern of what usually happens with new Tech. The 1st TV's, VCR's, and DVD players were very expensive at the 1st as well but then as they became more common place and it was shown there was a real market (ie. people willing to actually buy them) the prices went down.

I wouldn't have spent $400 for a Kindle, but at $139, it was reasonable. I could have come up with the $400 easily enough, it just didn't seem like a good use of my money. If someone doesn't want to spend even the $69 for a basic Kindle, there are plenty of paper books to choose from.

ApK
09-29-2014, 03:10 PM
This thread brought to mind a Nickel Creek lyric:

Hey those books you gave us look good on the shelves at home
And they'll burn warm in the fireplace
Teacher, when in Rome

chookie2
09-29-2014, 07:39 PM
Where but with an e reader could one have a long TBR list and KNOW it would be available when needed. Libraries notoriously lend out the the one we want to read now. To bring the elitist argument down to personal experience.....ebooks make reading possible for many who have no access to print books. I worked in rural China and in Saudi Arabia and mobile phones (prolific in both countries) offered more than a call.....they opened up vistas for people who otherwise were confined, books, reading ....the world was suddenly available. A Sudanese friend tells the same of his village in North Africa. Yes there are still many that have no access, but more now than ever before, do. The written word is being read by more people in more places more often than ever before imho. Maybe not whole books in many cases.....but it's a start.

crich70
09-29-2014, 08:48 PM
Where but with an e reader could one have a long TBR list and KNOW it would be available when needed. Libraries notoriously lend out the the one we want to read now. To bring the elitist argument down to personal experience.....ebooks make reading possible for many who have no access to print books. I worked in rural China and in Saudi Arabia and mobile phones (prolific in both countries) offered more than a call.....they opened up vistas for people who otherwise were confined, books, reading ....the world was suddenly available. A Sudanese friend tells the same of his village in North Africa. Yes there are still many that have no access, but more now than ever before, do. The written word is being read by more people in more places more often than ever before imho. Maybe not whole books in many cases.....but it's a start.
A good point, and it just continues the expansion of reading that started with Gutenberg. Prior to the printing press books were hand copied and only the wealthy could afford them. I wager there were many villages in the old days in Europe where there wasn't even one book. Not even a Bible for the local priest (assuming he could read). Now books are going through another change in media continuing the change from clay tablet, to scroll, to parchment, to paper. Prior to ebooks if I bought a book I had to wait a week or better (assuming I didn't find it on sale locally) for the book to arrive. Now it takes just a few seconds.

covingtoncat73
09-29-2014, 08:56 PM
A good point, and it just continues the expansion of reading that started with Gutenberg. Prior to the printing press books were hand copied and only the wealthy could afford them. I wager there were many villages in the old days in Europe where there wasn't even one book. Not even a Bible for the local priest (assuming he could read). Now books are going through another change in media continuing the change from clay tablet, to scroll, to parchment, to paper. Prior to ebooks if I bought a book I had to wait a week or better (assuming I didn't find it on sale locally) for the book to arrive. Now it takes just a few seconds.

Yeah and so many public domain classics are free in eBook.

crich70
09-30-2014, 02:41 AM
Yeah and so many public domain classics are free in eBook.

Yep, isn't it great! Many of them were only available to me when I was younger via the public library as I couldn't afford to buy a lot of books. Or if I did find a book it was via a garage sale or other book sale. Not anymore though. Just go to Gutenberg (or here) and find the book I want. :)

tompe
09-30-2014, 10:57 AM
Where but with an e reader could one have a long TBR list and KNOW it would be available when needed.

Well, at home in the bookcases?

chookie2
10-03-2014, 03:27 AM
Well, at home in the bookcases?

yes if you want to reread a book, but TBR is usually an unread book we plan on reading..my bookshelves(over 3000 books) contain old friends and references and some TBRA (again) but not unread books I want to read...don't yours?

fjtorres
10-03-2014, 10:53 AM
yes if you want to reread a book, but TBR is usually an unread book we plan on reading..my bookshelves(over 3000 books) contain old friends and references and some TBRA (again) but not unread books I want to read...don't yours?

Nope.
Mine are a mix.
Too many TBRs to keep in a separate location.
If I don't keep'em front and center I'll never get to them. Especially the non-fiction.

ApK
10-03-2014, 11:37 AM
My physical shelves are probably almost half TBR at this point. The majority of the rest are reference of one sort or another, and less than a quarter are "old friends" as you say.
Though if I had to pare down farther, the first to go would be from the TBRs.

chookie2
10-10-2014, 07:12 PM
E books have , for me, reduced my TBR pile to three print books beside my bed and a series of five beside my chair....and i pick up the e reader instead of them each time. There are three library books on my kitchen table too...reference books. My shelves hold no TBR, only olf friends, reference and tbrAgain ...which really fits into old friens....i find myself reading less print nowadays except for referencing, but would never part with my print library.

william z
10-12-2014, 12:55 PM
"Will eBooks create an elite reading class?"

I am of the opinion that simply READING has become an elitist class.

EDIT: Not that I'm saying readers are elitist in general, but some people see you as a snob if you read heavily. I don't know about you, but I have a dead-end job filled with knuckle-draggers (elitist? me? no! ;> ) and we have conversations throughout the day. I like to talk about my hobbies and likes. My co-workers are much the same, except for the reading part... Sometimes, I do sense a certain degree of "I bet he thinks he's better than us" responses or looks. Although, I bet when some of them are talking about whatever it is they do, I probably have the same attitude sometimes...

But my point is, they seem to view reading itself as elitist. I wonder what they teach their children.

You make a good point, but I think readers have always been a minority and things haven't changed all that much.

Katsunami
10-12-2014, 05:19 PM
But my point is, they seem to view reading itself as elitist. I wonder what they teach their children.

"I'm going to... <<enter some activity>>. What are you going to do this week... oh. Yeah. Enjoy your book. *giggle*"

That's how quite a lot of people I know react to reading as a hobby (or any other hobby requiring mental effort or practice, for that matter).

QuantumIguana
10-12-2014, 07:47 PM
"I'm going to... <<enter some activity>>. What are you going to do this week... oh. Yeah. Enjoy your book. *giggle*"

That's how quite a lot of people I know react to reading as a hobby (or any other hobby requiring mental effort or practice, for that matter).

It appears there are two kinds of elitism. One is that which is available only to wealthy, connected powerful elites, and another which is available to anyone, but is perceived as being "uppity". Terry Pratchett writes about the "crab bucket". He observes that with a bucket full of crabs, the crabs will not escape because other crabs will pull them back down. Mocking someone for reading is really just a way of attempting to establish dominance over them. If you don't give a crap what they think, they have no power over you. Such people are of no interest to me.