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Old 05-10-2012, 01:36 PM   #61
Harmon
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Repeating the same old line won't make it happen any more than putting out a mince pie for Santa works... Many of us already have both tablets and eReaders and still prefer eInk for recreational reading to using LCD screens. Tablets are fine for many things (and you can already get many perfectly functional tablets for less than £100) recreational and otherwise but, for straight novel reading, eInk wins hands down. Just because someone posts their ideas in a blog doesn't make them any more correct than those of us who don't need a blog to decide what we want.

Also if tablet costs drop why wouldn't eReader prices do the same like any other electronics products e.g. just seen 64GB memory sticks for £28... even a year ago such things would have been nearer £100... Gaming PCs were going to kill the console market... still going... even vinyl keeps going, maybe niche but still there... new doesn't necessarily eliminate older...
Did you read the article I linked to? The writer makes two points: (1) the technology underlying epub is ancient tech and (2) the publishing industry is being disaggregated.

Do you believe either point to be untrue?

As I understand the writer's conclusion, the net effect of these two factors is that dedicated EBRs based on epub and related formats are increasingly irrelevant, because they are being left in the dust technologically, and the publishing ecosystem they depend on is disappearing.

I merely add a third point, which is that it appears to me that Amazon does not intend to sell EBRs if there's not a profit to be made on that sale, without reference to the sale of ebooks.

Everyone seems to assume that for the dividing line between the old analog technology and the new digital technology, dedicated EBRs are on the digital side. But if in fact EBRs, despite being digital devices, are aligned with technology that is out of date, and depend on a pre-digital business arrangment that is being destroyed by the internet, for economic purposes they might be transitional devices, not permanent features of the digital future. I think that Amazon is betting that way. Apple already has. Sony has bet otherwise, and seems to be sinking. B&N appears to be hedging on the question, but ultimately, they'll have to do what Amazon is doing.
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:41 PM   #62
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:19 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by Harmon View Post
Did you read the article I linked to? The writer makes two points: (1) the technology underlying epub is ancient tech and (2) the publishing industry is being disaggregated.

Do you believe either point to be untrue?

As I understand the writer's conclusion, the net effect of these two factors is that dedicated EBRs based on epub and related formats are increasingly irrelevant, because they are being left in the dust technologically, and the publishing ecosystem they depend on is disappearing.
(1) is untrue as reading the comments on that blog (about EPUB 3) will tell you. (2) What does the publishing industry being disaggregated have to do with having a preference for reading on non-backlit screens? Furthermore, the publishing industry no longer existing does not mean that having the ability to package up long form writing into discrete packages with metadata that can be stored/transmitted/archived/processed in ways that webpages cannot, becomes irrelevant. A point also made in the comments on that blog.

That blog, like most blogs, is a classic example of someone generalizing globally from their own experience.

I think that as long as dedicated EBRs are the only way to read long-form digital text on reflective, refresh-only-power-draw screens, they will remain relevant, at least to me. I know many people are happy reading on LCDs, but, by the same token, many people are not happy doing that.

And it is important to note that dedicated EBRs will never be a huge market, given the limited number of people that read a lot, unlike say smartphones. So the declining sales numbers are inevitable as that market get saturated.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:48 AM   #64
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:56 AM   #65
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The technologies converge when there is an inexpensive display that works well enough in daylight and darkness. I'm not sure that hasn't happened already...
GlowNook?
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:39 PM   #66
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[QUOTE=kovidgoyal;2077196 (1) is untrue as reading the comments on that blog (about EPUB 3) will tell you.[/QUOTE]

Well, I certainly don't propose to argue that point with YOU!

Quote:
(2) What does the publishing industry being disaggregated have to do with having a preference for reading on non-backlit screens?
The preference for reading on non-backlit screens is a distinct minority preference among that aggregate of people who either purchase EBRs or tablets. When (and if, of course) tablet pricing becomes competative with EBR pricing, or EBR pricing stops being as marginally profitable as tablet pricing, major players will stop selling EBRS. That seems to me to be the message to get from Amazon's commitment to a separate, profitable division for the sale of Kindles. Non-backlit EBRs are a minority preference, and there is a market point at which that preference will cease to be indulged by the major players because the money won't be there - it will be in tablets.

The reason the disaggregation of publishing relates to that is that epub/mobi is important to publishers/Amazon. It appears to me that it was intended as a standard for the publishing industry (even though between having different flavors of epub and topping it off with DRM has resulted in the Balkanization of the standard). Once the publishers are disaggregated, that basis for using epub evaporates, and some kind of new standard will have room to emerge - one that is accessible to everyone on any kind of reading device (other than EBRs). Maybe that standard continues to be epub. But maybe it will be something from Apple. (Or, God forbid, Microsoft...I remember WordPerfect...)

Personally, and without any information or technical basis on which to support this, I expect that in a short while, the backlighting issue will somehow be solved on tablets - and for that matter, the battery life issue, which is the other major advantage of EBRs, will also become less important. I think that five years from now, EBRs will be an obvious transitional device to something more universal.

Quote:
Furthermore, the publishing industry no longer existing does not mean that having the ability to package up long form writing into discrete packages with metadata that can be stored/transmitted/archived/processed in ways that webpages cannot, becomes irrelevant. A point also made in the comments on that blog
.

I agree with that - which is, I suppose, where calibre saves the day for those who hang onto their EBRs.

Except for one thing: disagregation will probably have surprising results. I mean, who, besides Bezos, would have anticipated the distinct possibility that Amazon will be the Publishing House of the Future? The elephant in the room is whether Amazon takes over the turf the legacy publishers lose. Will Amazon support epub? And will tablets - iPad, Nook - continue to support epub? Assuming, of course, that they continue in the ebook business with the departure of the legacy publishing houses.

Suppose Apple decides it wants to make a universal 7 inch device that will, among other things, be the location for all publishing efforts - magazines, newspapers, books. One thing they might do is come out with some kind of Universal Writing Program - and give it away. (Haven't they already done something like that?) Who will support epub in the face of that? (Unless it is Apple itself that decides to do so...)

Quote:
And it is important to note that dedicated EBRs will never be a huge market, given the limited number of people that read a lot, unlike say smartphones. So the declining sales numbers are inevitable as that market get saturated.
Yep. Is there is a "critical mass" of people who want EBRs sufficient to sustain a profitable market in the face of increasingly efficient competition from tablets? There might not be, even if epub survives.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:57 PM   #67
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The preference for reading on non-backlit screens is a distinct minority preference among that aggregate of people who either purchase EBRs or tablets.
The real question is if reading on non-backlit screens is not a minority among people who actually read? Sure, more tablets are being sold, but who really uses them to read books? The polls among avid readers here show an overwhelming preference for e-ink. The vast majority of tablet buyers don't read, so they don't matter for the purpose of this discussion.

I have a tablet and I use it to read newspapers and websites --- but never books. And it is not the size and weight of a tablet, I have a Kindle DX. Occasionally I do read on my phone, when I am on the road. So we have to wait for new screen technologies before a real convergence can happen.
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:43 PM   #68
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Since I got my IPad, I have not read on my Kindle. That surprised me. I se my Kindles as being used for travel, the longer battery life is great on planes and in airports and will save the IPad time for silly video games and movies. The kindle will be the preferred reader for outdoor reading for glare purposes. I am happy I have both but I don't think the DX will get a ton of use.
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:17 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Harmon View Post
Did you read the article I linked to? The writer makes two points: (1) the technology underlying epub is ancient tech and (2) the publishing industry is being disaggregated.

Do you believe either point to be untrue?

As I understand the writer's conclusion, the net effect of these two factors is that dedicated EBRs based on epub and related formats are increasingly irrelevant, because they are being left in the dust technologically, and the publishing ecosystem they depend on is disappearing.

I merely add a third point, which is that it appears to me that Amazon does not intend to sell EBRs if there's not a profit to be made on that sale, without reference to the sale of ebooks.

Everyone seems to assume that for the dividing line between the old analog technology and the new digital technology, dedicated EBRs are on the digital side. But if in fact EBRs, despite being digital devices, are aligned with technology that is out of date, and depend on a pre-digital business arrangment that is being destroyed by the internet, for economic purposes they might be transitional devices, not permanent features of the digital future. I think that Amazon is betting that way. Apple already has. Sony has bet otherwise, and seems to be sinking. B&N appears to be hedging on the question, but ultimately, they'll have to do what Amazon is doing.
No of course I didn't read it, that's why I commented on it here...

And I stand by my comments... just because someone writes a blog and makes a few comments relating to their beliefs and experience, doesn't make it gospel... As Kovidgoyal says relating to inaccuracies in the article, they don't inspire confidence in the rest... it reads more like a sponsored info-ad from backlit screen producers... I mean you can equally say that 2D TV is an out of date tech and soon all TVs will be 3D - doesn't make that true either just as 3D hasn't dominated the cinema... none of these things affect the way people see... and there are many who don't wish to spend their entire lives having LCDs shining in their eyes...
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:58 PM   #70
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@Harmon: Certainly, as my comment implied, if the backlighting, battery life and weight issues are ever solved on tablets, that makes EBRs totally obsolete. But until/unless they are, EBRs remain an attractive proposition for people that read a lot. Not every person who reads a lot will prefer an EBR to a tablet, but many will. Whether that number is sufficient to sustain a market in EBRs is something that is impossible to predict with certainty, I feel it is, you feel it isn't, we both have no way of "proving" our feelings.

I dont really follow the rest of your argument. It's true that EPUB was "intended" for use by publishers, but it is, in actual fact, used by lots of non-publishers as well, therefore publishers disappearing does not mean that EPUB becomes irrelevant. I, for one, am not going to be content with having all my books hosted as webpages on someone else's servers. The fundamental issue when discussing the obsolescence of ebooks (whatever the format) vs. web publishing is whether there is a significant use case for giving readers total access to a work, rather than the read-only access, that web publishing implies. As such the issue of whether EPUB survives or not is not really the question, more fundamentally, it is whether the *ebook* will survive.

The alternative to the book that you present, web publishing, has significant disadvantages as well as significant advantages compared to the ebook. I doubt very much that either form will ever become extinct. It's like saying that streaming music/video will make all audio and video file formats disappear.
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