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Old 08-20-2008, 09:56 AM   #1
Steven Lyle Jordan
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From News.com: E-books discussed at Denvention 3

At Denvention 3, a yearly SF convention, it seems e-books were the subject of the year, according to the article by Peter Glaskowsky. He reports that e-book panels were in most time slots, and that there is a lot of disagreement in pro circles as to what will work in the e-book arena, and what is working now.

He also has some interesting personal observations. For instance, he points to estimates of Amazon Kindle sales to refute the claim by some panelists that DRM is unworkable, impractical and unpopular.

Unfortunately, I don't see any transcripts or podcasts available from the panels, but there is more info on the convention goings-on at the web news page.
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Old 08-20-2008, 01:44 PM   #2
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There was a special track called something like "the technology of reading". Some of the panels were interesting but if you read mobileread then some of the panels felt like they were on a too low level.

I might have recording from some of the panels. When I get back from my vacation I will check.
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:08 AM   #3
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Interesting. It's great to hear e-books are getting attention with the sci-fi presenters. SciFi has always been a top genre for e-books fans. I hope to see e-books become wildly successful with

I think the DRM issue will hit harder after people have invested in e-books and discover the problems. Just like music DRM was seemingly successful for a while until consumers got more educated. But the key leaders in the field will probably determine which way the industry goes. I really believe it could end up either onerous or very consumer oriented. We'll see.

I'm personally interested to see the influence of e-books and iPhone and netbooks on SciFi stories. I don't read a lot of SciFi anymore (other than many of Steve Jordan's books of course!), but there seems to only be sporadic influences in stories. It would be cool to see e-documents or even other forms of e-information show up in descriptions of future worlds.
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Old 08-21-2008, 10:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell View Post
It would be cool to see e-documents or even other forms of e-information show up in descriptions of future worlds.
I know what you mean... I rarely read much material with e-books and such in them... people more often than not get their entertainment by watching (or participating in) 3-D dramas and such, and computers just tell them verbally what they want to learn. Interestingly, this is usually the case in SF whether we're talking about a decade from now, or a few centuries.

And on television, most SF shows have given up on books, except for Star Trek, where they have been "rediscovered" as the most superior form of entertainment. (Well, they are serious history freaks on that series, anyway...)

I've dropped e-books into my own stories, of course, but generally as background material... not something that figured heavily into the plot, or influenced the characters. But a story about a character whose life is transformed by e-books might not be a bad idea (and you heard it here first!). And it doesn't even have to be SF: An individual in a remote part of the world, with few realistic prospects, could conceivably have his or her life transformed from bleak existence to fame and fortune by access to e-books today.

(I'd work on that, but I've got 2 stories and a site redesign ahead of it... it'll have to get in line!)
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Old 08-21-2008, 07:09 PM   #5
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But a story about a character whose life is transformed by e-books might not be a bad idea
You could always write one like this...

After the holocaust, technology and literature is almost completely lost.

But in the dark recesses of a bomb shelter is found a Sony Reader and a stack of SD cards with Gutenberg and technical libraries on them. They immediately set themselves to find a way to generate electricity to power it, and then assemble a team of writers to transcribe the contents as fast as possible and disseminate it everywhere. (Think of the battles for priorities and access!) Out of that one device, the world is reconstructed faster than would ever have been possible without it.

So.... e-books save the world! Yay!
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Old 08-21-2008, 08:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell View Post
You could always write one like this...

After the holocaust, technology and literature is almost completely lost.

But in the dark recesses of a bomb shelter is found a Sony Reader and a stack of SD cards with Gutenberg and technical libraries on them. They immediately set themselves to find a way to generate electricity to power it, and then assemble a team of writers to transcribe the contents as fast as possible and disseminate it everywhere. (Think of the battles for priorities and access!) Out of that one device, the world is reconstructed faster than would ever have been possible without it.

So.... e-books save the world! Yay!
Oh, a post-apocalyptic scenario, books, and the rebirth of technology. I'd read it.

Dreamer
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:11 PM   #7
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In the article, Glaskowsky says:

I think the disconnect in this case lies with the philosophical positions some people have taken against DRM, positions that generally date back to well before commercial electronic publishing was well established. Now that electronic publishing--with DRM--is achieving significant success and user acceptance, these people need to rethink their positions.

I found that comment both offensive and naive.

I'm aware of the issues around DRM and I'm opposed to it. I refuse to use formats in any media or document that are not open and available on multiple devices and operating systems. The imposition of DRM on end users inevitably restricts these choices.

Being told that I "need to rethink my position" is quite offensive.

For most people, ebooks are a new thing; people haven't yet experienced for themselves what happens when DRM rights are removed through circumstances outside of their control.

It will be interesting to see how widely accepted DRM on (for example) Sony's books will be if they just decided that they were no longer interested in ebook devices and just stopped making them.

To write in a somewhat cavalier manner (as Glaskowsky does) that DRM is achieving "success" and "acceptance" and that it must therefore be a good thing is unbelievably naive.

The "success" of DRM for the publisher is that it fragments the market and ties customers to their products.

The "acceptance" from the customer is because in general people aren't even aware that DRM exists or that things could be different to how they are. The customer just wants convenience; this may be provided by DRM managed documents and devices, but doesn't mandate them.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Russell View Post
You could always write one like this...

After the holocaust, technology and literature is almost completely lost.

But in the dark recesses of a bomb shelter is found a Sony Reader and a stack of SD cards with Gutenberg and technical libraries on them. They immediately set themselves to find a way to generate electricity to power it, and then assemble a team of writers to transcribe the contents as fast as possible and disseminate it everywhere. (Think of the battles for priorities and access!) Out of that one device, the world is reconstructed faster than would ever have been possible without it.

So.... e-books save the world! Yay!
In honor of the late Don La Fontaine, let's do it like this:

"In a world... where the books have been lost, and technology is AWOL... comes a man, carrying the knowledge of the past... and the stones to use it! Only his newly-formed team of scholars and mechanics have the ability to rebuild the grid and spread the knowledge... and only he has the ability to stop the Luddites before they bring the world back to its knees!

"Starring Val Kilmer, Kira Knightly, John Kusack, Jane Kusack, Naveen Andrews, Summer Glau... William Shatner as the Heretic... Scott Glenn as the Bookworm who Broke his Glasses... Bill Cobbs as the Wise Old Black Guy... and Dwayne Johnson as... The Librarian!"


(Oh, sorry... isn't this the Lounge?)

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 09-08-2008 at 11:11 AM. Reason: actually got the name wrong...
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