View Full Version : Was in Shanghai yesterday and ebook readers were everywhere


Tom Swift
03-13-2010, 09:42 PM
I have not been to the major electronic mall in Shanghai for a while and I was surprised to see the amount of electronic books running on eink. When I came to the entrance, they had the usual stage set up with some usual bad dancing girls wearing hot pants and someone blasting on a microphone. Walking over to the stage, the product they were selling was an ebook reader. It was a Hanvon brand (never hear of it) and it was quite nice. It had a touch-sensitive screen which you could write on and it was quite sharp. Unfortunately, you could not change the default language to English so it was no good for me, and the price was very high. 3580 RMB or US 524$. When I went into the mall, they were everywhere. Different models were available as well for cheaper (saw one for 2100 RMB or US$307) but there were a lot of them for sale all over the place.

When I was there last year, nobody had any idea what I was talking about when I asked about book readers and now they were everywhere. Too bad the price is so steep though.

charleski
03-14-2010, 03:40 PM
Judging by all the reports from CES and other shows, it seems that eInk readers are the current hot-ticket item among mid-sector Chinese manufacturers. It's difficult to know if this is just a bizarre fad or a genuine response to demand in China (or maybe they're this year's fashion item among the Chinese middle class).

Are Chinese publishers getting into ebooks in a big way?

Tom Swift
03-14-2010, 08:02 PM
Not too sure about the publishers, as this is China. They were advertising if you purchased the book reader, you will have access to tens of thousands of books, so I imagine it is all pirated. Nothing in English though that they mentioned.

When you go to a book store in China, you have to walk slowly due to the massive amounts of people sitting on the floor reading books, smoking away. And nobody seems to care. It really is a different mentality over here.

Tom Swift
03-14-2010, 08:24 PM
Just found this link.

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/?id=431157&type=Business

Stitchawl
03-14-2010, 08:42 PM
I still haven't seen anyone else using one here in the Kansai region (Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe) of Japan, although several tourists I've run in to have asked me 'Is that a Kindle?' My Japanese friends do their reading on mobile phones and PDA's. I have two Japanese stories in my mobile phone but it's waaaay too difficult for me to try to decipher the characters at that font size.

Stitchawl

Steven Lake
03-14-2010, 09:15 PM
Yeah, I was at CES this year and the number of ebook readers was crazy. But I think it's more like what the netbooks did when they came out. There's a market niche to be filled, and right now is the perfect time to fill it. But over time the market will settle down and a few key players will emerge. But for now ebook readers will be going huge.

K-Thom
03-14-2010, 10:12 PM
When I came to the entrance, they had the usual stage set up with some usual bad dancing girls wearing hot pants and someone blasting on a microphone.

Our shopping malls over here are definitely doing something very wrong ... :p

LDBoblo
03-15-2010, 07:25 AM
Luckily Taiwan's ebook rage hasn't taken off yet, though there have been a few announcements full of pomp and the requisite feminine exploitation.

I hope most of the Taiwanese mass market can hold out until some better choices are around, as the stuff that's been announced and released thus far is fairly terrible, and traditional Chinese font display quality is even poorer than English.

Whenever I'm asked about mine, I make sure to tell Taiwanese people that it's a pretty poor quality technology, and it's best to not bother spending money on them now. Seems a lot of folks agree that they're not worth their prices yet, and the "prestige" of owning one is pretty much nil.

luqmaninbmore
03-15-2010, 11:59 AM
Luckily Taiwan's ebook rage hasn't taken off yet, though there have been a few announcements full of pomp and the requisite feminine exploitation.

I hope most of the Taiwanese mass market can hold out until some better choices are around, as the stuff that's been announced and released thus far is fairly terrible, and traditional Chinese font display quality is even poorer than English.

Whenever I'm asked about mine, I make sure to tell Taiwanese people that it's a pretty poor quality technology, and it's best to not bother spending money on them now. Seems a lot of folks agree that they're not worth their prices yet, and the "prestige" of owning one is pretty much nil.


If its such low quality why do you continue to use it? I mean, you must be using it if people are asking you about it.

Steven Lake
03-15-2010, 12:04 PM
My beef with ebooks is that I prefer to have the actual book in my hands. I deal with enough technology every day. I don't need to be fussing with something else technological while I'm trying to enjoy a book. During times like that I actually want to unplug rather than simply switch technologies.

LDBoblo
03-15-2010, 12:56 PM
If its such low quality why do you continue to use it? I mean, you must be using it if people are asking you about it.
Yes, I still use it for some reading. Pretty much all the electronic reading I do, I either cannot buy locally or is disposable reading that I don't have enough space to store. I buy paper books when it's feasible, and use an ebook device when it's not. It's also pretty thin, which makes it easy to put in one of my smaller bags.

But it is still a low quality device, and not especially worthwhile. I'm a frivolous spender, and if I were more thrifty or practical, I would have ignored e-paper reader devices altogether. Besides, I'm too lazy to sell it, and I wouldn't want to subject anyone else to the frustrations and difficulties of ebooks.

luqmaninbmore
03-15-2010, 03:39 PM
Yes, I still use it for some reading. Pretty much all the electronic reading I do, I either cannot buy locally or is disposable reading that I don't have enough space to store. I buy paper books when it's feasible, and use an ebook device when it's not. It's also pretty thin, which makes it easy to put in one of my smaller bags.

But it is still a low quality device, and not especially worthwhile. I'm a frivolous spender, and if I were more thrifty or practical, I would have ignored e-paper reader devices altogether. Besides, I'm too lazy to sell it, and I wouldn't want to subject anyone else to the frustrations and difficulties of ebooks.

You are an honest man. I respect that. I recognize that the display is more like newsprint than a paperback, but the portability trumps that concern for me.

Luqman

Steven Lake
03-15-2010, 04:57 PM
LDBoblo: I agree that the quality kinda sucks in general. However, it's somewhat of a tradeoff between portability with long battery and ease of reading. The next generation ebook readers will have the new and improved 7th generation eink displays (I think that's right. bob barry might know for certain) which go a long ways towards improved quality without loss of portability or battery life. The 7th gen screens I believe are also color if I remember right.

LDBoblo
03-15-2010, 05:54 PM
LDBoblo: I agree that the quality kinda sucks in general. However, it's somewhat of a tradeoff between portability with long battery and ease of reading. The next generation ebook readers will have the new and improved 7th generation eink displays (I think that's right. bob barry might know for certain) which go a long ways towards improved quality without loss of portability or battery life. The 7th gen screens I believe are also color if I remember right.
E-Ink is just one brand of EPDs, now part of the company PVI. Before they make color available either at the end of this year or early next, there may be other alternatives around (both in terms of EPDs, which I'm not a fan of, and other, likely superior e-paper technologies), and PVI/E-Ink will likely have an intermediate step in the form of a higher-contrast monochrome screen. A higher resolution TFT backplane would be great, and speed is crucial. I don't know if EPDs will ever really be fast enough, but they're working on it.

Certainly future generations of ebook readers will get more and more promising, and with any luck, the software will develop for them too, as that's also disturbingly primitive right now.

fugazied
03-15-2010, 07:04 PM
They might have e-readers everywhere but I wonder what kinds of material are available for those e-readers?

Easy to get chairman Mao's memoirs, but difficult to get the Dalai Lamas autobiography I suspect!

arielinflux
03-16-2010, 11:32 PM
Truth is with Internet access, they have access to gazillions of Ebooks, most up-to-date, avialable in all kinds of languages, pirated and thus free of charge of course. Most of them can be downloaded via bitTorrent or from filesharing sites like rapidshare, megaupload..
Not a very honourable thing to say, but I did load my 160g harddisk full of ebooks and audiobooks(illegal to do so in Hong Kong) when I visited my friends in China.:book2::book2:
They might have e-readers everywhere but I wonder what kinds of material are available for those e-readers?

Easy to get chairman Mao's memoirs, but difficult to get the Dalai Lamas autobiography I suspect!

Steven Lake
03-16-2010, 11:51 PM
(*waits for all the authors here to gang up on arielinflux, lol*)

Dude, arielinflux, it might seem like you're doing a cool thing and saving a lot of money, but you're hurting a lot of people by doing that. It's one of the things we preach against in both the commercial world, and even more so in the Open Source world. There are plenty of free ebooks out there, and it's fine if you download those freely and legally. But if the books are not free and require you to pay for them, don't steal them.

It's a simple rule of economics. If you steal from someone, you deny them their income. Some people make their money from writing books. It'd be like you coming home from work and having someone steal your paycheck because they want to go out and party. It's no different. Just because the theft is digital doesn't change the fact that you've denied someone their income.

If they agree to give it to you for free, then more power to them. But if they are selling their ebook, have the decency to buy it from them. And I know you're not the only one doing it, as your statement attests, but at least have the decency to not condone what they're doing, and even encourage them to become honest readers too.

Xanthe
03-17-2010, 02:02 AM
I just wonder how many authors are now receiving income just because some of their work reached a broader audience via the torrent sites? Two copies of a debut novel with no publicity budget, in paperback form sitting on a bottom shelf at Barnes & Noble vs. being on one of the major torrent sites and being seen by hundreds of thousands of people? You writers might lose some sales, but then again, you might develop a loyal following of readers that you never would have had otherwise - ones who will put pressure on your publisher to find out when your next book is coming out when your three-book deal ends. ;)

Not to mention out-of-print authors being introduced to a whole new audience just because someone took the time and effort to turn their work into an ebook.

I understand your POV, but I don't think that the old business model fits very well in today's digital world, and to cling to it to the exclusion of all else will harm the writer in the long run. It may not seem fair, and it may not be what people in other professions face, but it is what it is, and it's going to be up to you authors to decide whether or not you want to demonize a portion of your readership, or if you are willing to accept a certain amount of "breakage" of your product, as manufacturers do.

Logseman
03-17-2010, 05:40 AM
Our shopping malls over here are definitely doing something very wrong ... :p
Maybe Karstadt could introduce new... concepts, now that they've got almost nothing to lose because they're going to bankrupt soon? :D

Richard Herley
03-17-2010, 06:20 AM
Thre's not much point rehearsing the old chestnut about authors getting free exposure from torrents -- it's been discussed to death here on MobileRead. The fact is, as Steven Lake says, writing is work, at least when done professionally, and when you don't pay the workman he eventually downs his tools.

When I was offering my novels as shareware, I was surprised by the huge number of hits my site was getting from China, second only to the U.S. and way ahead of Britain and the rest of Europe combined. Not a single payment was received from China.

Xanthe
03-17-2010, 03:03 PM
Sorry if it's been discussed to death, but I'm new here and I haven't participated in any of those discussions, as I'm sure many other newbies haven't. So while it might be an "old chestnut" to you, it isn't to me.

Using China as an example, though, is a bit disingenuous given the fact that the country is just opening up to information downloads from the rest of the world, and that the average annual income probably doesn't allow for much discretionary spending by the majority of the population. Nor, I would assume, in a formerly completely communistic country is the capitalistic notion of paying for everything second nature. I'm not excusing piracy, only saying that the core mindset might be different from yours or mine.

I think that writer's need to get out of their rarefied atmosphere a bit. The majority of us in other occupations do work in the course of jobs for which we don't receive remuneration - things we do above and beyond our job descriptions or pay grade, just because it is necessary or because it would help someone or because it will solve a future problem. That is life. We don't quit our jobs just because we have to do more than we planned or we don't get the payments we think we deserve. Instead, we get something better - we get known. We get known as someone who can be depended on, as someone who will get the job done. Sometimes the best remuneration in life is ephemeral, not concrete.

Tonycole
05-01-2013, 01:07 AM
Having seen those crowds of people in every book shop in China, sitting, leaning standing, all with their noses buried in a book, I understand that reading is an activity that the Chinese really value, and in spite of all one hears about censorship and similar, there are actually an enormous number of books in every genre published in China. Further, there are literally dozens of makes of ereaders from about 10 Kwai (RMB) each up to thousands.
Also, there is currently no shortage of ebooks from what I can gather, and as with everything in the PRC, some are expensive and legal, and many are cheap and illegal. Basically with brands like Hanvon as the flagship Chinese ereader, and the 10 RMB, back-street factory models (many of which end up being sold outside China in shops like Wall Mart for much fine money), the whole ereader.ebook market in China seems to me to be extremely healthy.

HansTWN
05-01-2013, 03:18 AM
Sorry if it's been discussed to death, but I'm new here and I haven't participated in any of those discussions, as I'm sure many other newbies haven't. So while it might be an "old chestnut" to you, it isn't to me.

Using China as an example, though, is a bit disingenuous given the fact that the country is just opening up to information downloads from the rest of the world, and that the average annual income probably doesn't allow for much discretionary spending by the majority of the population. Nor, I would assume, in a formerly completely communistic country is the capitalistic notion of paying for everything second nature. I'm not excusing piracy, only saying that the core mindset might be different from yours or mine.

I think that writer's need to get out of their rarefied atmosphere a bit. The majority of us in other occupations do work in the course of jobs for which we don't receive remuneration - things we do above and beyond our job descriptions or pay grade, just because it is necessary or because it would help someone or because it will solve a future problem. That is life. We don't quit our jobs just because we have to do more than we planned or we don't get the payments we think we deserve. Instead, we get something better - we get known. We get known as someone who can be depended on, as someone who will get the job done. Sometimes the best remuneration in life is ephemeral, not concrete.

Your ideas regarding China are a bit dated. First there are at least 50 million filthy rich people, more than the total population of most other countries. Second, communism died with Mao and for the last 20 years China has been the most blatantly capitalistic system on the planet. Money rules (and connections, if only to make even more money). But honesty is not highly valued, in a departure from traditional Chinese values, if you can "stick it to someone" then it is regarded as a batch of honor (I was smarter) so don't expect people to pay for digital goods. What they like to pay for are luxury items to show off.

ForsCream
05-04-2013, 12:31 AM
As a Chinese MR member, I think I can explain some truth about eBooks in China.

1, the brand "Hanvon" is a pretty old brand, as far as I can remember, it might come out at the same time with Kindle. But these years they are dropping rapidly, and the the price which HansTWN mentioned (more than $300) is not the average e-ink reader price in China. Here we can also buy an e-ink reader under $100.

2, Chinese digital contents publisher are struggling fighting with the piracy, and there are 3-4 big B2C e-commerce sites are selling eBooks. One of them hit the sales record of 3,000,000,000 US Dollars on Nov. 11 last year. Yes, 3,000,000,000 US Dollars on just a single day.
(I don't mean it sells eBooks for $3,000,000,000 on that day. I just want you to know this site has a huge influence in China, and it begun to sell eBooks last year )

3, Since 2012, more and more people were beginning to know the e-ink reader, and in the first-level cities like Shanghai, Beijing, you can always see people reading eBooks on e-ink readers on the subway.

4, Most of Chinese people still think .txt is what an eBook is.

5, The most popular e-ink reader in China is Kindle. Although we can't buy a Kindle from amazon.cn, but we can buy it from other site like amazon.com or amazon.jp.

6, There are rumors that Kindle is going to enter China this year, I believe it will help China's eBook market become mature.

Chi Cygni
05-04-2013, 10:23 AM
This. Thread. Is. Three. Years. Old.

Xanthe
05-04-2013, 09:42 PM
Your ideas regarding China are a bit dated.

Of course they are dated. I wrote that post in 2010.:rolleyes:

JSWolf
05-04-2013, 11:06 PM
Let this thread go. It's old and obsolete.

rkomar
05-05-2013, 12:29 AM
I thought Tonycole's post was informative and interesting as an update on the past discussion. I really don't see why the thread shouldn't have been resumed. I guess he could have started a new thread, but his post makes more sense in the presence of the old ones. So, what's wrong with resurrecting an old thread if there's a current point to be made?

Tom Swift
05-06-2013, 02:21 AM
I will chirp in here, since I started this post all those years ago. e-ink books have pretty much vanished from the Shanghai shops, last time I looked. There were a few but everything now is LCD tablets, small and big. Since they are quite a lot cheaper than e-ink readers, nobody is buying them that I have seen. I was going to buy a new Paperwhite but the price was almost double than the North American price. Not worth it.

Rizla
05-07-2013, 05:14 PM
This thread might be old but I have not read it before and I found it more fascinating than anything else I've read today. Plus the update about the e-book market in China added to the value. So a big thumbs down to those complaining about necro-posting.

Blue Tyson
05-10-2013, 11:20 PM
I was reading a few months ago that there were bunches of the no-name type 7" tablets for 30-40 bucks...looking on ebay etc. there were similar for double that.