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Old 01-04-2008, 03:18 AM   #1
shousa
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Ebook readers - a challenge to average users

You like your ebook reader?

Then respond to this thread to tell those of us (me included that really loves the IDEA) that cannot commit to purchasing an ebook reader.

Or did you buy it cause you love useless gadgets?!

Here are my arguments why all ebook readers now are SIMPLY NOWHERE NEAR GOOD ENOUGH for the average consumer IMHO.

If you have any financial or other ties to Sony, Hanlin, Cybook, Kindle or Irex then please do not participate at all, I want the view of the AVERAGE consumer not seller.

If we take the views that
1) an Ebook reader tied to one ebook store will die because of restrictive DRM
2) Ebook readers need more than one ebook store

Then the conclusion is:
- All current ebook readers will die.

See my post 1.5 years ago - Ebook readers the next dodo - nothing has changed....sigh
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6673

I challenge even one of the forum members to say they actually can use it for all their paperback needs, including keeping ebooks forever, buying all the books they want (can only get 1 of Colleen McCulloughs critically famous Masters of Rome Series) the list goes on eg multiple web pages of any reasonable size do not work etc etc etc

Are only techno freaks are buying ebook readers now? - I read somewhere Sony had poor sales records, if that is true I bet the CEO wished he had not got up at the annual general meeting with the Sony Ebook Reader touting how great it was gonna be.

Ebook reader = waste of money, can't get the books you want, DRM sucks, can't put webpages on it but can read old public domain stuff plus a very limited range of ebooks only.

Ebook reader lovers respond to this challenge or suffer the loss of face that silence will bring you!!
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Old 01-04-2008, 03:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shousa View Post
If we take the views that
1) an Ebook reader tied to one ebook store will die because of restrictive DRM
2) Ebook readers need more than one ebook store

Then the conclusion is:
- All current ebook readers will die.
Your data are incorrect. eBook readers are NOT tied to one store; there are, for example, more than 200 eBook stores selling MobiPocket books, plus many "independents" selling books which can be used on any reader - eg Fictionwise and Baen.

Quote:
Ebook reader = waste of money, can't get the books you want, DRM sucks, can't put webpages on it but can read old public domain stuff plus a very limited range of ebooks only.
We must agree to differ, I'm afraid. The specific reason I love eBook readers so much is specifically BECAUSE of what you call the "old public domain stuff". My main love is 19th century novels and most of those CANNOT BE BOUGHT in paper books. eBooks are the ONLY way to read these without a fruitless (and expensive!) search through antiquarian book shops.
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Old 01-04-2008, 04:36 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Your data are incorrect. eBook readers are NOT tied to one store; there are, for example, more than 200 eBook stores selling MobiPocket books, plus many "independents" selling books which can be used on any reader - eg Fictionwise and Baen.


Sony is tied to their connect store - I said AVERAGE users (to spell it out - will not be using hacking software in legal grey areas to convert their books and I am talking about BRAND NEW BOOKS NOT OLD PUBLIC DOMAIN). You needed to read my message more carefully or possibly I should have spelt this out - mea culpa. I therefore define Sony's reader, for the average user as being tied to their connect store since other store's ebooks will not work eg Amazon et al (as an extra note Mobipocket and their ebook store and format as I understand it are now owned by Amazon - is this important to Cybook Ebook readers?!).

Is the Kindle not tied to Amazon? Can I put Sony ebooks (LRF files) from Connect on the Kindle? and vice-versa? No you cannot (without "hacking" - see above).

So I think saying they are tied is not only fair but a fact for the "average user" if we are talking about buying new non-public domain books which typically have DRM.

Your comments about public domain, given the terms of my post, are not relevant as my post specifically excluded it as a topic.
( I admitted they can be put on so no need to go further - make sense?)

You mention other stores - none of which has the critically acclaimed and famous 6 books of the Masters of Rome series so my point here remains unchanged. If you are saying all your needs are met by Baen then I say good luck to you but it does not make my statement untrue about the range of ebooks available. As a consumer I want the SAME RANGE AS PAPERBACKS not 200 sources each with a small range adding up all together to less than what is currently available for paperbacks - end of story.

Any other challengers?

Last edited by shousa; 01-04-2008 at 04:48 AM.
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shousa View Post
Sony is tied to their connect store - I said AVERAGE users (to spell it out - will not be using hacking software in legal grey areas to convert their books and I am talking about BRAND NEW BOOKS NOT OLD PUBLIC DOMAIN). You needed to read my message more carefully or possibly I should have spelt this out - mea culpa. I therefore define Sony's reader, for the average user as being tied to their connect store since other store's ebooks will not work eg Amazon et al (as an extra note Mobipocket and their ebook store and format as I understand it are now owned by Amazon - is this important to Cybook Ebook readers?!).

Is the Kindle not tied to Amazon? Can I put Sony ebooks (LRF files) from Connect on the Kindle? and vice-versa? No you cannot (without "hacking" - see above).
I did read your message carefully. Your claim that books for the Sony Reader can only be purchased from the Sony Store is wrong. Fictionwise sell Sony (LRF) books and magazines as a part of their "multiformat" product range.

The Kindle is not tied to Amazon; any DRM-free MobiPocket book can be read on the Kindle, and once again these can be purchased from Fictionwise, Baen, etc.

No "hacking software" required; just buy and read.

The fact that the specific books that you want to read are not available as eBooks (and I must confess to never having heard of this "famous and aclaimed masters of Rome" series that you refer to) does not invalidate any of the above. There is NO eBook reader on the market that is tied to one specific eBook store. Your claims are therefore incorrect.
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I did read your message carefully. Your claim that books for the Sony Reader can only be purchased from the Sony Store is wrong. Fictionwise sell Sony (LRF) books and magazines as a part of their "multiformat" product range.

The Kindle is not tied to Amazon; any DRM-free MobiPocket book can be read on the Kindle, and once again these can be purchased from Fictionwise, Baen, etc.

No "hacking software" required; just buy and read.

The fact that the specific books that you want to read are not available as eBooks (and I must confess to never having heard of this "famous and aclaimed masters of Rome" series that you refer to) does not invalidate any of the above. There is NO eBook reader on the market that is tied to one specific eBook store. Your claims are therefore incorrect.
Points taken but again small stores without the same range as paperbacks are irrelevant to the average user who I have defined as needing the same range as paperbacks, Fictionwise and Baen's range may be fine for your needs but do not invalidate this point (I am just repeating this point again).

To put it bluntly (excuse caps) THE BIG STORES WITH A BIG RANGE ARE ALL I AM TALKING ABOUT NOT SMALL STORES WITH A SMALL RANGE NOR PUBLIC DOMAIN.

Kindle ebooks cannot be put on the Sony Reader (without hacking) and neither can Sony ebooks be put on Kindle - THIS IS MY POINT. So having now defined it more accurately I think you can see where I am coming from. Apologies again for my lack of a full definition.

The books in question are bestsellers - the first book (which is not available as an ebook from your sellers) being a new york times bestseller as this link shows. The fact you are ignorant of this book is not an argument.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fir...me_%28novel%29

I really think obscure small stores are not an issue for my defined "average user" and certainly not for me.
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Old 01-04-2008, 05:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shousa View Post
Kindle ebooks cannot be put on the Sony Reader (without hacking) and neither can Sony ebooks be put on Kindle - THIS IS MY POINT. So having now defined it more accurately I think you can see where I am coming from. Apologies again for my lack of a full definition.
The same could be said for the iPod and the Zune for example. Yet these devices are used by average users every day.
Portable audio players became mass market without any major store offering a large collection of songs. Even iTunes had a rough time building a decent collection.

Although DRM-less files, multiple stores and a very large number of e-books available would be heaven, the music industry already proved that you can reach mass-market appeal without all of this.
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:40 AM   #7
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I bought my ebook reader mostly because I'm a big book fan, not just because I like gadgets. I know there will be better systems out in the future and DRM is a big issue but I've already had so much use out of my PRS 500, and I am still loving it to bits. It's definitely been worthwhile for me. But then I'm happy to convert from one format to another and I can imagine that formats & DRM are a major issue that can prevent one from buying an ebook device.
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Old 01-04-2008, 06:56 AM   #8
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What reader you buy can certainly affect your ease of transferring books to future devices, but it doesn't really have much influence on what books you can buy for your current device. Pretty much all commercial fiction eBooks are available in all the popular eBook formats - you'll find much the same books at the Sony eBook store as at the Mobipocket stores.

If you're a person who re-reads all their books and is therefore buying with the long-term future in mind, it's worth considering buying in something like LIT format, which can easily be converted to many other formats.
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Old 01-04-2008, 09:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shousa View Post

I challenge even one of the forum members to say they actually can use it for all their paperback needs, including keeping ebooks forever, buying all the books they want (can only get 1 of Colleen McCulloughs critically famous Masters of Rome Series) the list goes on eg multiple web pages of any reasonable size do not work etc etc etc
I actually like the Masters of Rome series but the fact that it is not completley available to buy as ebooks is not a valid reason to slate ebooks, Currently in europe you will have a hard time finding "The Grass Crown" and "Ceasars Women" as the UK editions are currently out of print.

If I started ranting that pbooks were useless because the books I wanted to read were not available, people would laugh at me and rightly so.

There are many other bestselling historical fiction titles available as ebooks, many of them dealing with the same time period.

From a cost point of view it should be esier to campaign for a book to be realesed as an ebook than to convince a publisher to reprint a back list title that they may not be able to sell.

Ebooks are not in their infancy any more but could be considered to be in kindergarten. Lots of new titles are available and publishers are bringing their back list over as they see fit.

So yes, blame a publisher if a title from their back list is not yet available in electronic form but dont slate the entire industry.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:28 AM   #10
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What is an average user? All people I know that read a lot also read realtively widely so they will be interested to read old books and the will be interested to read other stuff that is available.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:41 AM   #11
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But ... what is an "average consumer"?

Quote:
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... I want the view of the AVERAGE consumer not seller.
Average consumer? Could you expand on that a bit? Do you mean the average consumer at large, or the average consumer of e-books?

If you're talking about Joe Blow on the street, then I'd agree: e-book devices aren't good enough for his use. But then again, statistics say that Joe Blow on the street isn't getting much use out of paper books either.

If that's the "average consumer" you have in mind, he's not going to be hanging around this forum.


However, if you're talking the average consumer of e-books, then this forum is probably an excellent place to find such a critter.

I would submit to you, however, that the average consumer of e-books is at least somewhat computer savvy or he wouldn't be reading e-books in the first place. Such a person could likely handle something like running a black-box utility to convert from one format to another (just as many average, "Joe Blow on the street" type of folks seem to manage running a ripper utility to make MP3 files from their CDs, for instance). Running a .LIT file through LIT2LRF to get an LRF file shouldn't be beyond this sort of "average consumer's" capabilities. Certainly loading an RTF file bought from Baen's Webscriptions service onto a device with no conversion at all ain't no hill for a stepper, as my grandma says.

I don't really think it's accurate to call such format conversions "hacking" -- certainly some formats are extremely involved to convert to and from, but many of them aren't. Given the right utilities, which are just a Google search away (assuming our "average consumer of e-books" speaks Google), conversion can take less time than a reading device needs to open the file.
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Old 01-04-2008, 10:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Your data are incorrect. eBook readers are NOT tied to one store; there are, for example, more than 200 eBook stores selling MobiPocket books, plus many "independents" selling books which can be used on any reader - eg Fictionwise and Baen.
Do you have a lit of these more then 200 ebook stores selling Mobipocket format ebooks?
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:05 AM   #13
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We are not the average consumer.
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:15 AM   #14
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Do you have a lit of these more then 200 ebook stores selling Mobipocket format ebooks?
Not personally, no. It's a figure that MobiPocket themselves claim, so I've no reason to doubt it. They presumably know how many retailers they have!
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Old 01-04-2008, 11:55 AM   #15
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Even though ia am not supposed to participate, i will drop a few lines here

I unfortunately have to agree with most of what you say.
None of the existing e-readers is the ultimate solution. There are lots of usability issues in hardware and software, that prevent these devices from beeing comfortable to the average joe. But this has been true for most new technologies that have been invented. Take cars for example.

The most important point in your post is, that the content is mostly not interchangable with different devices. But that is a problem the music industry with a standard is beginning to realise only now. And especially since there is alot less books available than any of us would like.

With these first devices though i see more and more future possibilites. When the displaysget bigger, lighter and colorfull, we will have new ways to distribute content, and that is not only fiction or entertainment, but educational boos with animations and more.

So even if most points of your post are true at the moment, i think we will have a very much different situation 10 years from now.

But for now i wish for more ebooks avaiable, and for better and tougher designed ebookdevices. So basically all current ebookreaders will "die", but thats the same what happende to my 2005 PC not long ago. And i personally will have a new reader that gets closer to my dream reader as soon as i can get my hands on it. Though i havent heard of it getting to the market yet.

Quote:
Ebook reader = waste of money, can't get the books you want, DRM sucks, can't put webpages on it but can read old public domain stuff plus a very limited range of ebooks only.
For me its all of the above but the first. I do not consider it a waste of money. I love my iLiad and the CyBook, although they are not perfect. But thats not the average user speaking here. But i am afraid, that there is not a single average user on this forum. So all the answers might be a bit biased.
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