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Old 02-13-2007, 12:27 PM   #9
NatCh
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Republic of Texas Embassy at Jackson, TN
Device: Nook STGR
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdbenoit
If we want to convince low-tech pbook readers that ereading is great, conversions and incompatibilities are not the way to go.
Until there is a standard format, conversions and incompatibilities are an inevitable part of the landscape of e-reading.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdbenoit
I certainly will stick to my Palm Pilot and pbooks until I can find a reader that accepts all formats, whether converting them automatically, or supporting the base software.
That's certainly a logical conclusion, and valid enough as far as it goes, but there are a few points that you may not be considering. Please note, I'm not trying to convince you to buy a Reader, or any given reading device, just continuing the discussion.

First, your Pilot/PRC/PDB files, are just as proprietary as any other proprietary file, The stuff you're reading had to be converted to that format, just like Mobipocket or any other format. (I only mean to point out that PDB/PRC isn't the source format. )

They clearly work for you, and that's great, but it's also good to recognize that each proprietary format is just as proprietary as all the other proprietary formats -- in the absence of a standard file format, we're all stuck with picking the proprietary format that works best for us, and different ones suit the reading interests and other needs of different folks differently.

Personally I'd rather have that notional standard format, because it would mean that I'd only have to convert my existing files one more time.

I quite agree that most readers won't mess with a complicated process to open a book -- it's not complicated to open a p-book, why should they suddenly want to get all complicated to open an e-book? As a side note, speaking from several years of PalmReader experience, getting ConnStore books on the Sony Reader is just about as easy as it could realistically be -- and a good bit easier than getting stuff on the Palm was -- and getting RTF files on it is much easier.

One of the things we've been waiting/hoping/pushing for is decent reading hardware. I've yet to find anyone who could look at a PalmReader screen and an e-ink screen side by side and tell me that they'd rather read on the Palm.

Whatever else, e-ink is generating new interest in e-reading, which means more folks to holler for content, and more folks to push for that standard format. From that perspective, it's not just a "good looking gizmo," it's the first e-reading device that "most readers" will look at and not reflexively say "Why the heck would I want to read on that?"

I'm speaking from a bit of experience here: I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with the Sony folks in their booth at the Texas Book Festival last October (my wife loved it because I spent a whole day telling "not her" all about the Sony Reader), and I got to talk to a lot of folks who are readers. Once folks understood that we weren't actually trying to sell the things on the spot, they were quite interested in having a look. Among the folks who lost interest in it after talking to us, the number one reason seemed to be limitations as to what books they could get. Well, that and the price. They liked the readability of the screen, they liked the weight, they were suitably impressed with the battery life, they didn't grouse about conversion or loading, they were concerned about being able to get enough stuff to read to make it worth their while. Whatever any of us may think of the ConnStore, Sony seems to be onto something their target market wants in trying to provide access to reading material.

And that brings me to my final point. If you're going to wait for something that does everything, you're probably going to have a rather long wait. On top of that, proprietary formats have a habit of falling into disuse, so you might want to look at securing ways to convert your files (against some future time when it might be that nothing reads PRC/PDB files anymore), while those ways are still available. Just a suggestion so that you don't get totally stuck with a big library you can't get at anymore. PRC/PDB files are, fortunately, one of the more convertible file types, much better than say, PDFs.

Again, I'm not trying to convince you to buy any particular reading device, or any reading device at all. I say if what you've got works for you, go with it. I just wanted to suggest a few other points for your consideration.
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