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Old 04-22-2009, 05:34 PM   #376
Alisa
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Originally Posted by markm View Post
An e-book reader is an example of technology that makes no sense, at least not to a consumer. An e-book reader costs $400 + maybe $40/year in electricity to keep it charged. At $9.99 each, books are the same price or more expensive in digital format than paperback. Much more expensive if you factor in discount pricing (e.g., Costco, Sams Club, B&N discount, etc...), used book resale, and borrowing from the library. Once purchased, a digital book cannot be resold. I cannot stack my digital books on shelves in my library. I cannot sell, loan or donate my digital book when I'm done reading it. If my e-book reader dies, something it will surely do every 3- to 5-years, I may not be able to re-read my digital books on my new device.

There are some specialized applications where an e-book reader might make sense, but those applications can just as easily be satisfied by a Tablet-PC, Netbook or Notebook-PC without requiring the user to carry a second electronic device. For general situations, ink on paper yields the best value and availability.
Price is not everybody's primary concern all the time. I could walk everywhere and that would be free except the price of shoe leather, but I don't. I could take transit and bike everywhere. It would be a little more expensive and faster than walking, and while I do these things sometimes, I still want a car. I get places faster. I don't get wet when it rains, etc. I could get the cheapest used car possible but I didn't. I got something a little larger with a few luxuries because I wanted it. It's pleasant and comfortable.

I could get all my paper books from the library and never spend a dime aside from the small fee I paid to get my library card. I don't. I get some that way but it's worth some money to me to get the books I want when I want them. I could buy all used or new paper books but it's worth something to me to have hundreds of books with me and the ability to get more most of the time even when I'm not at home or near a book shop. It's worth something to me to have my books conveniently searchable and to be able to click on a word and get a definition. I could do this with a tablet PC but it's also worth something to me to have something light and comfortable to read that will go for days on a charge rather than hours. Are the current readers the perfect solution for this? In my opinion, no, but the level of benefit they provide is obviously worth the price to the hundreds of thousands of people that have them. They're not worth it to you. That's fine. I have no need to convince you otherwise but it's simply not logical to argue that merely because something isn't the most economically sound option that it makes no sense at all.

Last edited by Alisa; 04-23-2009 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:53 PM   #377
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what a sad excuse for a thread, so sad
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Old 04-24-2009, 01:41 AM   #378
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Are you Jeff Bezos in a period dress? In any event, aspersions were also cast upon Ian....

But seriously, the Amazon email above is unclear.
I can publish the complete e-mail Amazon answer with metadata if you don't think it's original ...
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Old 04-24-2009, 01:22 PM   #379
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Originally Posted by poohbear_nc View Post
"I have now discovered that I cannot manage my Kindle2 account (I can't log into Amazon) or purchase any new content."

This statement (from Ian's first post) contains the basic falsehood in the entire case - since he was able to post on the Amazon boards he COULD log into Amazon
I just went to Amazon and made a test post to one of their discussion boards.

Without logging in.

So you don't have to log in to post, which means you don't have to have a working account to post.
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Old 04-24-2009, 01:31 PM   #380
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It's called a "book," more specifically, a paperback.
Oh, those. (Disappointed look.) Yes, I'm familiar with those. I have literally thousands of pounds of them, all of which I had to move when I moved house recently. But they do indeed work without batteries.
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Old 04-24-2009, 01:57 PM   #381
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An e-book reader is an example of technology that makes no sense, at least not to a consumer. An e-book reader costs $400 + maybe $40/year in electricity to keep it charged. At $9.99 each, books are the same price or more expensive in digital format than paperback.
The $9.99 price is for new release hardback best sellers. The price of the corresponding paper books is normally in the $ 16 range.

Forty dollars a year to keep it charged sounds like quite a bit--where are you getting that number?

Most of the time the Amazon e-book is cheaper than the corresponding paper book. The margin isn't as great with paperback books--usually a dollar or two instead of six.

On rare occasion, the e-book is more expensive than the paper book. In my experience this has been when the paperback was recently released and the Kindle price hadn't yet "caught up." I usually solve this problem by checking back in a week or two.

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Much more expensive if you factor in discount pricing (e.g., Costco, Sams Club, B&N discount, etc...), used book resale, and borrowing from the library.
I'm perfectly okay with factoring in these things as long as we also factor in free public domain e-books available from Manybooks.net, Fictionwise, and MobileRead. And as long as we factor in free e-books available from the public libraries that have such things (the one in my area, doesn't, alas, but maybe someday; in the meantime, many MobileRead readers are enjoying the fruits of their public libraries). And as long as we factor in free e-books from the Baen Free Library, and free e-books given out as promotions, like Tor's recent spate of them.

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Once purchased, a digital book cannot be resold.
True.

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I cannot stack my digital books on shelves in my library.
I'm sorry, I thought you were listing disadvantages?

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I cannot sell, loan or donate my digital book when I'm done reading it.
You already said that above. I grant you that it is still true.

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If my e-book reader dies, something it will surely do every 3- to 5-years, I may not be able to re-read my digital books on my new device.
True, and this is actually something that even I see as a serious drawback. Of course, the free public domain stuff and the stuff from Fictionwise and the Baen Free Library is DRM-free, and thus widely readable. Reading books bought from Amazon on a non-Amazon reader (should I decide to get one) would require breaking the DRM, though.

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There are some specialized applications where an e-book reader might make sense, but those applications can just as easily be satisfied by a Tablet-PC, Netbook or Notebook-PC without requiring the user to carry a second electronic device. For general situations, ink on paper yields the best value and availability.
Not for me. Not until tablets or netbooks come the size and weight of an e-book reader, with e-ink screens, at which point they'll *be* e-book readers, so why bother?

Just for one example, I recently moved into a house with a serious dandelion problem. Every morning I spend 2 hours pulling dandelions. This job got a lot less tedious when I started putting my Kindle in a shoulder bag and having it read to me while I worked. I don't think I would enjoy that with a laptop, supposing a laptop could even do that, and could do that for 2 hours while folded up in a shoulder bag without overheating or battery life issues.

Furthermore, either I'm not the only one who finds an e-book reader a good value, or we're all a pack of fools, and why are you hanging out with a pack of fools, again?
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Old 04-24-2009, 02:32 PM   #382
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Price is not everybody's primary concern all the time. I could walk everywhere and that would be free except the price of shoe leather, but I don't. I could take transit and bike everywhere. It would be a little more expensive and faster than walking, and while I do these things sometimes, I still want a car. I get places faster. I don't get wet when it rains, etc. I could get the cheapest used car possible but I didn't. I got something a little larger with a few luxuries because I wanted it. It's pleasant and comfortable.

I agree whole heartedly with that. I'm very much willing to pay for luxury. It's part of the reason I got a lot of education and wanted to make decent money.

I didn't pick up a Kindle to save money. I picked it up for convenience. Don't have to go to a store or library to get a book. I don't have books cluttering up the house that will only be read once, or have to find time to sell or donate after reading.

I work hard and a lot of hours so convenience and luxury are very important to me.
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Old 04-24-2009, 03:09 PM   #383
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I can publish the complete e-mail Amazon answer with metadata if you don't think it's original ...
You misunderstood my post. I did not question if the email you posted is original.

My point was, it is unclear if it is new Amazon policy. Or if it has been Amazon's policy all along. Or if it is Amazon's policy at all, or just the opinion of one CSR.

It is also unclear, how exactly it applies to the Kindle account:

Is the Kindle account completely separate, and thus completely unaffected by a ban on purchases.

Or is the user banned from buying books, but can still use Wispernet to download already purchased books?

Or is the user limited to updates only?

Can the user continue to utilize Amazon's conversion service?

And so on. Again, IMHO, Amazon needs to state a clear policy, otherwise these posts will continue to appear.

Oh, and while they are at it, Amazon needs to tell us what exactly the Search function does, since it apparently doesn't spit out all the available results a user might be looking for. And it hides that fact from the user.
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Old 04-24-2009, 05:24 PM   #384
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An e-book reader costs $400 + maybe $40/year in electricity to keep it charged.
Are you serious? $40 is nearly my entire non-AC season electricity bill for a month, and while I try to be intelligent about energy use, I am no miser. There is at least one laptop running nearly 24/7, two DVRs, a 42" TV, various other electronics, and normal household appliances like a full-size refrigerator.

There is no way on earth that the Kindle, which needs charging for maybe 2 hours once a week (to be generous) uses nearly the same amount of electricity in a year that my entire house uses in the entire month of, say, February.

I would estimate more like $2-$3 a year.
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Old 04-25-2009, 01:21 PM   #385
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Are you serious? $40 is nearly my entire non-AC season electricity bill for a month...

I would estimate more like $2-$3 a year.
That hit me the same way as well. The only way you're going to pay $40 in electricity costs to keep a Kindle charged is to have a generator attached to a treadmill and pay someone to run on it for you.

For some real world figures, the Kindle 1 adapter is rated at maximum 36 watts on the AC input which the Kindle would never actually require. I looked up a chart of electrical costs and the higher priced states are around 15 cents per kilowatt hour. Even if someone was charging their Kindle for eight hours a day every day (which is impossible) the annual cost would be $15.77. In real life use it would be more like $7 a year for the states with the highest electricity charges.

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Old 05-01-2009, 03:19 PM   #386
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I'm pretty sure internet connection wasn't "cheep" when it was first deployed.
Actually, Internet accounts, when first made available to the general public, were less expensive than they are today. The average price was $15.95/month for unlimited 56kbps analog dial-up access. Many ISP's were only $9.95/month. Though poky by today's standards, 56k was sufficient at that time for a satisfactory Internet experience.

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Neither are computers. I remember my parents buying our first one for $2,000 (IBM clone). It had a blazing fast 486DX2 processor, a whopping 16MB RAM and a massive 500MB hard drive.
The first IBM PC was introduce in 1981. The first IBM clone came in 1983. The 486DX2 around 1992. During this 11-year period system prices dropped from over $5,000 to about $2,000 while performance increased 55x (from 4.77MHxz to 66MHz and 8-bit bus to 32-bit bus) and storage increased from 343x (160k to 500MB).

WWW (http) was introduced in 1991 and the first general-purpose web browser, Mosaic, was released in 1993. Even before WWW, a vast but disorganized and largely hidden amount of information was available in network news groups, ftp sites and gopher sites. NetNews was used for everything from Q&A groups (including various school/homework topics) to distribution of research papers, technical documentation, software (both open source and pirated), and, of course, porn. Pirated music became popular a little later when the MP3 standard was created.

Parallel and more accessible to the general public were the commercial on-line services such as AOL, CompuServe and Prodigy, each of which ultimately open gateways to the Internet. But for $10.95 to to $15.95 per month, these services provided easily-navigated access to a wealth of information for computer users in the 1980's and early '90's.

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What problem did it actually solve? Nothing really. In fact, it was an added headache to my parents because instead of doing my homework, I was playing on the computer. Typing up homework and stuff (no widespread internet at the time) can easily be done on the typewriter. The cartridge for the dot matrix printer is also a great deal more expensive than typewriter ribbon.
I don't know anyone who would agree that typing-up any paper is easier with a typewriter than a computer. Ignoring the ability to easily correct and reorganize your work without messy correction fluid or retyping the entire page, just the sheer mechanical force involved in pressing the keys -- even on an electronic typewriter -- requires more effort than a computer.

And this is a key problem that computers solved: The ability to quickly store, analyze, reorganize and update lots of data. True: if you're filling-in a shipping label, a computer is not the solution. But if you're typing a three-page report for presentation (or a final grade), or playing "what if" with budget numbers or product specifications, a computer is the only solution that makes sense.

Even discussions such as these, which have gone on for more than 20 years on the Internet via on-line BBS systems (prior to WWW) and NetNews, would be impossible without the computer. Whether you agree or disagree, these discussions are worthwhile from an educational and developmental perspective.

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MP3 players were expensive when they were first released. I think the first one cost $250 and had around 32 or 64MB of storage. Nowadays, you can get 1GB no-name portable audio players for $10.

Yes, ebook readers are expensive now and yes, so are ebooks (this one's harder to stomach, specially when brand new paperbacks sometimes cost less). However, that's just how technology works. New tech is expensive, but as more people use the technology, manufacturing costs go down, more players (manufacturers) get into the game to get their slice of the pie, competition goes up and retail prices go down.
First of all, yes, I believe the Kindle is overpriced. The first eBook reader, the Rocket eBook, introduced in 1998, had a 4.5 x 3-inch touchscreen, 4MB internal RAM, and up to 33 hours battery life for $500. After 11 years of progress, the Kindle II has approximately a 5 x 3.5-inch screen, non-touchscreen, 2GB RAM and built-in cellular wireless for $360. Clearly, e-book readers have not progressed anywhere nearly as quickly as either PC's or MP3 players. E-book readers are not "NEW" technology, they've been around for a decade and the cost should have fallen much more steeply, but low user adoption keeps this technology firmly in the "expensive gadget" category. Why?

Hardware cost, DRM and overpriced media are the answers.

If you gave the hardware away or made it so cheap as to be a non-issue, you will drive adoption. More units sold means more media purchased. More media purchased potentially means cheaper media. Problem: Amazon can't afford to give it away.

On the other hand, you can make the media less expensive than traditional media. The media is already protected by DRM so there's no secondary market for used ebooks. Cut the price of media by half that of store-bought books and give the average consumer a real benefit for switching formats. For publishers, if you can get the majority of your customers to switch to DRM-protected format you wind up gaining sales by taking library loans and used book sales off the table.

Or go with another concept that's helped attract consumers to the on-line music and video stores: offer a monthly subscription that allows you pay one price each month and read as many books as you want. The catch is you can't permanently store the book, and maybe you can only have two or four active titles at a time, but after you mark one title "finished" you can access another title. I'd pay $250 for a Kindle (what I believe represents a fair value for the technology) plus $14.95/month for this unlimited download service.

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By the way, I have no complaints whatsoever that ebooks don't take up any physical space on my bookshelves. All my shelves are full and I even have books underneath the bed, the couch, the entertainment center, in boxes, etc.
Sounds like time for a book sale!
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Old 05-01-2009, 04:19 PM   #387
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First of all, yes, I believe the Kindle is overpriced. The first eBook reader, the Rocket eBook, introduced in 1998, had a 4.5 x 3-inch touchscreen, 4MB internal RAM, and up to 33 hours battery life for $500. After 11 years of progress, the Kindle II has approximately a 5 x 3.5-inch screen, non-touchscreen, 2GB RAM and built-in cellular wireless for $360. Clearly, e-book readers have not progressed anywhere nearly as quickly as either PC's or MP3 players. E-book readers are not "NEW" technology, they've been around for a decade and the cost should have fallen much more steeply, but low user adoption keeps this technology firmly in the "expensive gadget" category. Why?
Miniaturization is also a big factor that you did not touch on. The Kindle is half the weight of the first eBook, and less bulky, which were major drawbacks of early eReaders.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:53 PM   #388
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Actually, Internet accounts, when first made available to the general public, were less expensive than they are today. The average price was $15.95/month for unlimited 56kbps analog dial-up access.

(snip)

First of all, yes, I believe the Kindle is overpriced. The first eBook reader, the Rocket eBook, introduced in 1998, had a 4.5 x 3-inch touchscreen, 4MB internal RAM, and up to 33 hours battery life for $500. After 11 years of progress, the Kindle II has approximately a 5 x 3.5-inch screen, non-touchscreen, 2GB RAM and built-in cellular wireless for $360.

(snip)
This is an interesting discussion, however to be really meaningful all the dollar amounts would have to be translated into constant dollars. Because $15.95 in, say, 1995, bought a lot more than it does today. Ditto for $500 in 1998.
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Old 05-01-2009, 11:34 PM   #389
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I thought the Kindle was overpriced - for heaven's sake, I could get books from the library for free. So, I had to wait, I couldn't read what I wanted when I wanted, and I had to decide in advance which book to bring with me, and I hoped it wasn't a hardcover. Then, I got the Kindle, just because I couldn't get a book I really wanted to read for 4 months (the book would have cost $4!)

Now that I have had the Kindle since Thanksgiving, if you took it away, and said I could only have it back for $1000, I'd be there (If you said I could have folders for $2000, I would be there). It is small enough that I take it EVERYWHERE. I can read for 2 minutes - I never waste time waiting anymore. I get what I want to read immediately, and I don't even have to get into the car, search for parking at the mall, have to special order the book and come back next week, . . . .

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Old 05-02-2009, 12:34 PM   #390
Alisa
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Alisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongueAlisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongueAlisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongueAlisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongueAlisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongueAlisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongueAlisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongueAlisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongueAlisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongueAlisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongueAlisa can tie a knot in a cherry stem with his or her tongue
 
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Posts: 2,324
Karma: 22221
Join Date: Aug 2007
Device: Paperwhite, Kindle 3 (retired), Skindle 1.2 (retired)
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsittingstill View Post
This is an interesting discussion, however to be really meaningful all the dollar amounts would have to be translated into constant dollars. Because $15.95 in, say, 1995, bought a lot more than it does today. Ditto for $500 in 1998.
I frequently find myself turning here for things like this. It's handy little inflation calculator.

BTW, it's $21.51 and $633.53, respectively. So the Kindle is actually a little more than half the price of the old reader. That's not bad. Internet connections are a bit more now but you get a lot more functionality out of broadband so I would argue it's worth more.

Oh, and I'm curious. How much did ebooks cost back in 98?
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