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Old 11-16-2006, 01:50 PM   #91
NatCh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgrimm
Well, is rtf a "standard?"
Depends on how you define it I suppose.

Certainly it has to be considered a standard file type, as it's widely accepted and pretty much everyone can use it.

PDF also fits that definition, but it's fundamentally flawed as an e-reading format, because it doesn't accommodate different screen sizes (re-flow) well. But now we're getting into the question of which standard format is better for which application.

As an aside, I can (and do!) get books as RTF files from Baen, so there's at least one place that considers it a book file format.

I submit that these tech manuals you mention, if they're anything like the ones I'm familiar with (as I expect they are) are probably very dependant on the actual layout of the text on the page. That is the diagrams need to line up with the text in a way that makes sense to the reader, etc.

That sort of thing isn't really a candidate for reflowing in the first place (even if it worked the way it sounds like it's supposed to). That is to say that it's only going to look good on a display that's as big or bigger than the native size of the doc -- most likely A4. Yes, zoom and pan would help, but it'd be a massive pain on a 6" screen. I don't think I'd be happy with it until there's an A4 sized e-reader.

There are a lot of things that need that form factor, this is just another example.

The Sony Reader is aimed at reading text. It doesn't do diagrams and layout dependant stuff very well, mostly because that's not what it was designed to do. However, it does do what it is designed to do remarkably well.

I'll agree that the buttons could be larger and placed differently, but there's too much variation to accommodate the full range of humanity perfectly (an uncongenial fact, but still a fact), so while it could be better, it'll never be perfect for everyone.

As to the RTF crashing Connect thing, that is odd. I've seen a few folks comment on it, but I haven't had the issue myself. I'll also merrily jump on the Connect Software bashing wagon, that thing is really in need of overhaul.

For older non PD stuff, I see a number of possible complications. But let's set aside, for the moment, the texts that don't already exist electronically, and the publishers/copyright holders who don't want to play in the e-sandbox. There's still a matter of starting from scratch with the Store and its offerings, and only being able to do so much in a given period of time with a given set of resources.

I want those older, non-PD books too, but I also want the new ones. I want it all, but I know that it's not reasonable. I ask for it all, hoping to get as much as I can, knowing that I won't get everything.

One bright point here is that Fictionwise.com is apparently looking into a Reader compatible format, if that comes to pass, then there will suddenly be a lot more depth in what's available.
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Old 11-16-2006, 03:30 PM   #92
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Steve wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan
The "average" person may only read 2 books/year, but I'll bet they read a lot more periodicals... in newspapers' case, the "average" person reads a daily newspaper... well, pretty much daily... and a magazine subscription means 12 mags a year, or 52 issues a year for weeklies, at $15-$30 for each. That can amount to some good sales numbers per person.

Sony may understand this, and hope the Reader will crack the periodical market eventually. If it does, maybe it'll pull e-books along with it.

Sony also probably expects a value-added advantage to work in their favor, like playing music, or (in the future) tying in ads and online purchasing, to make the Reader more popular and spur sales.

I think Sony knows the market. The only question is whether or not their hardware will hit the mark.
Sony doesn't know the market at all! They are attempting the same thing that Gemstar tried- selling content. Gemstar crashed and burned. What is going to make Sony succeed here? Their business plan looks very much like, if not identical to, the Gemstar approach.

Consider-
1. The Sony Reader and the REB 1100 are priced (at introduction, at least) within $20 of each other. Both are nifty pieces of hardware.
2. Neither Gemstar or Sony seems to care at all that many readers want to put their own content on the device, not buy exclusively from the store. The software/hardware is geared towards displaying proprietary commercial, pricey "content."
3. Neither company asked why a periodical reader (of newspapers, magazines whatever) would want to shell out 300+ clams for an electronic reader that they have to fiddle with, hook up to a computer, keep charged, and then pay the same price for what they now get in print form.
4. Both companies initially believed the "PR hoopla" that was generated around their device.

Watch- Sony will crash and burn by April. By crash and burn, I mean they will realize they will never be the "ipod of ebooks" and will admit that their readers will grab only small market share. Gemstar did its final burn when the servers went down in August.



Someone will come along in a year or so and get this right. I hope.
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Old 11-16-2006, 04:22 PM   #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgrimm
Neither Gemstar or Sony seems to care at all that many readers want to put their own content on the device, not buy exclusively from the store. The software/hardware is geared towards displaying proprietary commercial, pricey "content."
Only if you define "their own content" as "PDF Files."

Your other points are more compelling (whether I agree or not, they're not demonstrably incorrect), but (repeatedly) claiming that the Sony doesn't allow users to put their own content on the device, in the face of plain facts to the contrary undermines your case.

RTFs, and stuff that can be saved as RTF will work on the Sony. I know you've had some issues with Connect and RTFs but those issues aren't design specs on Sony's part. Aside from those issues, I just don't find being 'forced' to use RTF to be that burdensome.

Regarding Jinke -- yes they offer more formats (theoretically), but they also only offer screens smaller than A4 -- you're going to have the same issues with PDF, to a varying degree, on them. And let's not forget that they're now 6 months behind on their V2 unit, with no release in sight. And now they're talking about 6 more models ... you could have a long wait, indeed.

I do hope you do find the device that does what you need, if it's not the Sony (as it apparently is not), then it's not. No one thing is everything for everyone. I'm looking forward to an A4 e-ink device myself, but not for leisure reading, it'd be too big for that.
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Old 11-16-2006, 06:17 PM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jchallett
Been a long time since I've been around this site, but I couldn't resist answering this one.

Why don't I read more e-books?

PRICE

Why do so many e-books cost as much as their printed equivalent?
For example, the other day I was watching a great series on Elizabeth I. When it finished I took my TX and started looking for English history books.

I found this and thought "great".

Great_Tales_from_English_History

But then I saw the price: $16.95

Look at Amazon:

On Amazon

$16.75!! Same price more or less, for a lush hardback book

This isn't the only case I've found

Surely printing costs etc. should be discounted from e-books?

If a hardback costs 16 dollars why doesn't an e-book cost, say, half the price?

However handy it may be to have the e-book around to read where I want, somehow it seems you get so much more for your money with the hardcover edition, for example, it is much easier to lend it to a friend, looks nice on the bookshelf etc.

I say, drop the price, e-book sellers.
I have to agree. We are saving paper since it's not involved. I just think Electronic should be cheaper. But what do I know!!!!
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:27 AM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh
Your other points are more compelling (whether I agree or not, they're not demonstrably incorrect), but (repeatedly) claiming that the Sony doesn't allow users to put their own content on the device, in the face of plain facts to the contrary undermines your case.
I think it's more correct that Sony would prefer you don't put your own content and buy everything from them. Why wouldn't they prefer that?

But I think that since they have offered conduits for getting other content on the device, they've at least capitulated.

I do think there are some interesting parallels, but one thing Gem didn't have that I'm sure Sony has thought about extensively is that ... well ... Gem isn't Sony. Who's Gem? I dunno. But I know who Sony is: maker of the Playstation, the Walkman, and good televisions. (I'm not offering an opinion here on Sony products, rather I think that this is what most people think of them.)
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Old 11-17-2006, 10:32 AM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcv
I think it's more correct that Sony would prefer you don't put your own content and buy everything from them. Why wouldn't they prefer that?

But I think that since they have offered conduits for getting other content on the device, they've at least capitulated.

I do think there are some interesting parallels, but one thing Gem didn't have that I'm sure Sony has thought about extensively is that ... well ... Gem isn't Sony. Who's Gem? I dunno. But I know who Sony is: maker of the Playstation, the Walkman, and good televisions. (I'm not offering an opinion here on Sony products, rather I think that this is what most people think of them.)
I agree. Sony has a nice reputation for quality, but there is always an other side to any medal. Sony can also be ruthless, and does not mind being so.

At first glance, when thinking of Sony, they offer their quality product lines way over the prices I can afford. The other cheaper lines can be substituted by other manufacturers. One thing is definite, you can rely on them for what they offer.
They have one word. Period. Good or bad...
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Old 11-17-2006, 10:49 AM   #97
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Right. Reputations are deserving at some point. They may continue for awhile due to inertia, but a reputation doesn't build up when there is nothing deserving of it.

Either way, Sony, at least to me, obviously makes steps based upon how it thinks its brand name will carry them. This is why you get perceived missteps like the rootkit fiasco and a $700 PS3. If the marketplace really doesn't want a $350.00 ebook reader, then it won't sell and Sony will figure it out.

The only thing that worries me about this whole conversation is that I wonder if Sony is attempting to create a market it can corner and will stop if it can't do that. If the eBook reader is largely successful, Sony does two very important things: 1. Its Reader becomes Coke to everyone else's Pepsi; and 2. Sony becomes the iTunes of books with its fingers in the very lucrative publishing industry, an area where Sony likely wouldn't mind a few acquisitions.

Now if it doesn't succeed? I don't think it means eBooks are dead or that Sony necessarily did it wrong. But I think that because of Sony's large presence in the marketplace, it could give other manufacturers pause about jumping in.

My opinion, for what it's worth.
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Old 11-17-2006, 12:03 PM   #98
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Sony has the advantage of being a known company, with resources, and that can clearly help them in their efforts. However, I stand by my earlier statement: Their hardware will carry the day, not their name. If they try to mold the market to their liking (which the Connect store is clearly for), their hardware must support that mold. If Connect fails, people can still read other content on the Reader. But if the Reader turns out to be a dog, or too expensive, etc, Sony's Connect fails.

But that's happened before, and it won't ruin the market. Another company can try their take on it, and maybe they'll succeed. Sony has demonstrated great user design skills in the past, but their skills have been flagging lately (take a look at their MP3 players). But there are other good designers out there, like Apple, and plenty of independents. They'll be tapped eventually.
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Old 11-17-2006, 01:04 PM   #99
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Sony's had failures before like the Beta video standard and others, but they have maintained their support for all adopters. That is to their honor. This case will not be different. Ebooks can not die with Connect, they have existed, although not popularly, well before the Sony attempts at mastering the media. Connect will survive but it will need arm, leg and head transplant

Other players are out there, Amazon's unveiled attempts are proof. Of course as we have cried often enough about, ebabel has to be silenced and faded to a common unilateral format. Then and only then populism about ebooks will confirm it's pretty nose through the door.
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