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Old 01-14-2013, 08:14 PM   #59
taustin
Wizard
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Posts: 1,140
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Device: Nook
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
First, we lose the idea that we own a book. When you "buy" an eBook, you are technically purchasing a lease, which can be revoked at any time by the seller and/or publisher. If printed books go away, it would not be impossible to imagine a government that could make a book disappear from every ereading device overnight. Finding every printed copy of that same book would be a daunting task.
While that is the most common business model, it simply isn't a universal truth, nor is it inherent to ebooks. Baen is the best known example, but there are certainly others. Amazon has the lion's share of the ebook market, but they aren't the entirety of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
Second, we lose the privacy we had with a book. The stores that sell us the books are tracking our usage, they're tracking how long we linger on a page, they're tracking how frequently we read and for how long. What nefarious uses that information could be put to, I don't know. But again, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to come up with a scenario where a totalitarian government could use that data to identify "subversives."
Again, that simply isn't a universal truth. There are plenty of book readers that work just fine without connecting to any kind of network whatsoever. Again, don't assume that Amazon is the only game in town.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
Third, we lose the permanence of a book. Yes, books burn, become dog-eared, yellow, etc.
If my house burned down, I'd lose very paper book there, permanently. My trivial to completely automate offsite backups, for the average person. Carbonite is under $60/year. If you can't afford that, you can't afford much in the way of books anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
But a book as a physical object engages more of the senses than an ebook does.
A purely subjective opinion. And frankly, for me, I would prefer a reading experience in which the medium does not impinge on my senses at all. It's distracting from the imaginative senses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
There's the texture of the page, the smell of the book. Those senses can help up to go back and remember when we first read a passage. And the format is fixed, meaning that a firmware update that changes the font or margins can't change where on each page a sentence appears.
Nor can those things be changed to make reading easier for those with special needs, or just different preferences from the typographer at the publisher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
Fourth, we lose the sharing of books. Anyone who loves books knows how special it is to be handed a book with a recommendation. Now, we send them a link and they have to buy their own copy, because we're not allowed to pass on our DRM ebook files. Libraries can't hold used ebook sales as fundraisers, either.
Again, simply not true. There are plenty of places that sell DRM free books, and a growing number of DRM encumbered books do allowing lending, at least once. The market will rule on that. If lending books actually matters to the market overall, the ability to do so will improve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
We're losing the experience of the bookstore. You can't replace a store full of reading material with a web site. Wandering the aisles has often led me to finding books I would never have otherwise heard about.
I have found more books online that no book store would likely carry than I have found in books stores that I wouldn't have found online.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
Yes, there are new technologies that make talking about books possible, and the web stores are getting ever better at suggesting stuff to us, but it all runs around our own interests - we won't wander past a section of history books on our way to the computer books, because the Internet doesn't work that way.
It works other ways, starting with active links to take you to related subjects. EPUB3 will be a lot better at that. But, of course, you'll have to connect to follow those links, but you know what? That doesn't actually do anything that the local book store can't do by watching you as you wander the shelves. A retail store, like the internet, is a public place, with no real privacy possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post

Finally, I think we lose the specialness of a printed book.
That's in the real of fetish. Again, not everyone has the same preferences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
eBooks are just another content delivery system, no different from a web page, a newspaper, or a magazine.
And how is a paper book different from a newspaper or magazine? Different formatting, but then, CNN's web site is differnetly formatted than an ebook.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
While e-content has it's place, it is rarely as carefully edited as a physical book is.
That has nothing whatsoever to do with an ebook, and everything to do with publishers being lazy and greedy. Paper books aren't nearly as carefully edited as they use be, either. By a long shot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
Because it is so hard to change, because it is so permanent, authors tend to exercise a bit more care before submitting their work.
Then how do you explain the ubiquitous accounts of ebook versions of the same book being poorly (or at all differently) edited compared to the paper versions? Because it isn't the author who is reponsible for that, it's the publisher, and most publishers, so far, do a poor job on the new medium. This will continue until their expensive publishing software packages catch up to the new medium, and editing only has to be done once for all outputs. Then, it'll be automated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
This isn't always the case, and print-on-demand and vanity presses are diluting it (yet another way technology is giving with one hand while it takes away with the other), but it still is generally true.

When television came into existence, the promises of the technology were great. We were going to be smarter than ever with all the educational possibilities this new technology offered. No one at the time saw television dividing families, taking them away from other pursuits, and ultimately leading to the degrading fare that populates the airwaves these days. And the educational value of television has proven to be a pie-in-the-sky fantasy, as television makes people dumber and dumber, regardless of the content.

I'm not saying eBooks will have the same impacts television did - it's not the same technology. But I am saying that technology never just gives, without taking something.
And technology that lasts never just takes without giving back more. Nobody is forcing the market to buy ebooks over paper books.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sregener View Post
And all too often, we jump headlong into the promise of the new and discover all too late what it is we lost. eBooks have some wonderful purposes and uses, and I've bought some and read even more (thanks to free ebooks and libraries.) I am not simply willing to jump up and down and say that, finally, we have discovered a technology that only makes our lives better.
It will last if it provides more than it demands in return. Prices are trending lower (though not as much lower as many people would like, but hey, people are cheap), convenience is a lot higher, variety of goods available is exploding in all genres, and the technical issues you mention either not inherent to ebooks, but only to lazy publishers, or simply not issues. Ebooks look like they're here to say, because the market prefers them for many things.

An example of what happens when a new (or, rather, "new") technology doesn't prove superious to what it aims to replace is 3D movies. Higher prices, dodgy, at best, 3d simulation, higher prices, more difficult production process, higher prices, and did I mention, it costs more? Thus, after a several year long fad, it's quickly dying, despite the studios trying to shove it down our throat. Very few new movies take in more from 3D showings than 2D, and the percentage is dropping (not slowing in its increase, but dropping). Ebooks are still increasing as a percentage of the overall market. That's a sign that there here to stay.
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