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Old 08-07-2009, 05:18 PM   #61
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I was basically just stating that really the manga industry doesn't have to change anything, based on their current standards of printing. Most of the mangas I've seen, have been smaller format books, not too far different in size from the screen of my 6" Sony.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:26 PM   #62
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Oh, then we agree, it seems.

Sorry. I thought your initial message may have been sarcastic.

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Old 08-08-2009, 06:49 AM   #63
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I'd agree on the Doctorow front, he basically has his own marketing wing through the popularity of BoingBoing. I'm very interested to see how he'll approach selling his books when the paper trade starts tailing off. As it is he loses nothing at all from giving away his wares, because paper sales make up the bulk of his income. I wonder if he'll turn his coat once the paper sales fall away?
I'm not entirely convinced the paper sales will fall away any time soon. I have no doubt that ebooks and devices are the future but at the moment it's simply not attracting your average reader and that's probably going to take a couple of generations of people growing up with the technology before it really makes a dent on treeware.

Cost is of course a major factor, once the devices can be picked up for little at your local supermarket or possibly subsidised by some sort of contract like mobile phones then things might take off.

In the UK things are even slower than the US where the Kindle has at least had a lot of media coverage. Half the people who see my reader didn't even know they existed.
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:44 AM   #64
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I'm not entirely convinced the paper sales will fall away any time soon. I have no doubt that ebooks and devices are the future but at the moment it's simply not attracting your average reader and that's probably going to take a couple of generations of people growing up with the technology before it really makes a dent on treeware.
I disagree. Four or five years ago I had a comparable opinion about MP3 players and digital music. For at least 2 years now I've listened to all my music digitally, and buy most digitally. I have been very surprised at how quickly I went from loving my CD/record collection to sticking them all in boxes and listening on a media center and MP3 player.

It will take longer for ereader devices to reach critical mass, and there are hurdles with electronic books that didn't exist for music (i.e. books are harder to reproduce digitally than music), but generations? I don't think so.

We're already seeing better, cheaper devices with each new batch. Within a decade I think that $100 ereaders will be commonplace, and they will be streets ahead of the devices we have right now - just the refining of eink can give us more shades of grey, faster (instant) refresh rates, better battery life, higher resolultion, and better contrast. Look at how far TVs have come in the last decade or mobile phones - I have a phone that is more powerful than the PC I had 10 years ago.

If the last 15 years in technology can teach us anything it is that we should never underestimate technological advances. Kids that are in primary school today will probably be reading on electronic devices almost exclusively by the time they are in high school.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:15 PM   #65
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This really isn't about rights and wrongs, or stealing from a supermarket, it's about whether you want to embrace reality or fight against it. The reality is your material will be shared if its popular enough and in a digital form. The reality is you can do very little about it, bar firing up the waaambulance. The reality is that if you embrace sharing you gain sales (Coehlo, Doctorow, many others).
This reality is fine, if you happen to be an established author that makes his living off of printed books. Those of us who embrace the e-book as a legitimate format in its own right, disdain paper for its wasteful and limiting physical properties, and don't have Big Publishing backing us up, don't benefit too well from the examples of printed authors.

Following your "reality" will only doom indie authors to obscurity, while maintaining the status quo of Big Pub and holding back an industry that needs to evolve to the new era.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:28 PM   #66
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This reality is fine, if you happen to be an established author that makes his living off of printed books. Those of us who embrace the e-book as a legitimate format in its own right, disdain paper for its wasteful and limiting physical properties, and don't have Big Publishing backing us up, don't benefit too well from the examples of printed authors.

Following your "reality" will only doom indie authors to obscurity, while maintaining the status quo of Big Pub and holding back an industry that needs to evolve to the new era.
Indie authors can never really fail as in the digital era they will always have an avenue of publication and always have the opportunity to be read by someone.

I'm not sure how you can "doom" to obscurity that which is already in obscurity. But as we're talking about file sharing, I can't see how exposing yourself to a possible audience of tens of millions, as you would through file sharing, could ever be a bad thing. If we again go by the Golden rule of 5% (as most of the free escalating to premium cost websites use) you're still quite likely to come out ahead, whoever you are.

Have you not considered experimenting with that model? Releasing your next book for free on the torrent sites, Feedbooks and elsewhere and seeing if it drives up sales of the rest? You could always do it for a limited time and then replace the pricing if you didn't like the results.
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:59 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by djgreedo View Post
I disagree. Four or five years ago I had a comparable opinion about MP3 players and digital music. For at least 2 years now I've listened to all my music digitally, and buy most digitally. I have been very surprised at how quickly I went from loving my CD/record collection to sticking them all in boxes and listening on a media center and MP3 player.

It will take longer for ereader devices to reach critical mass, and there are hurdles with electronic books that didn't exist for music (i.e. books are harder to reproduce digitally than music), but generations? I don't think so.

We're already seeing better, cheaper devices with each new batch. Within a decade I think that $100 ereaders will be commonplace, and they will be streets ahead of the devices we have right now - just the refining of eink can give us more shades of grey, faster (instant) refresh rates, better battery life, higher resolultion, and better contrast. Look at how far TVs have come in the last decade or mobile phones - I have a phone that is more powerful than the PC I had 10 years ago.

If the last 15 years in technology can teach us anything it is that we should never underestimate technological advances. Kids that are in primary school today will probably be reading on electronic devices almost exclusively by the time they are in high school.
I hope you are right but I'm not convinced by the comparison with the music industry. Music has dealt with format shifts quite regularly during the short lifetime of recorded music and much of that has been driven by either improvements in quality or usability.

The printed word hasn't really had a revolution since the days of Gutenberg which shows that people are extraordinarily happy with books as they are. I hear lots of comments from people who would "always prefer a real book" and I think that's a fairly common view still.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:03 PM   #68
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I hope you are right but I'm not convinced by the comparison with the music industry. Music has dealt with format shifts quite regularly during the short lifetime of recorded music and much of that has been driven by either improvements in quality or usability.

The printed word hasn't really had a revolution since the days of Gutenberg which shows that people are extraordinarily happy with books as they are. I hear lots of comments from people who would "always prefer a real book" and I think that's a fairly common view still.
Its strange because my experience after demonstrating my Sony has been the opposite.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:10 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
Its strange because my experience after demonstrating my Sony has been the opposite.
I feel the same way. I tried eBooks for the hell of it and, well, I wanted a new gadget. I have not looked back since. I do not buy CD's or paper books any more. It is either the iTunes store or Amazon for me
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:30 AM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
Its strange because my experience after demonstrating my Sony has been the opposite.
Oh I've certainly had some people who say it's great, usually my more technically minded friends but the telling thing is that none of them have actually bought a device and yet they still buy books regularly.

I think it's going to take more than a few price drops to convince some people it makes more sense than picking up a cheap/free book and that's life in a "rich" country, there are plenty of places in the world where it's a non starter completely.
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:04 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
Its strange because my experience after demonstrating my Sony has been the opposite.
It might be a matter of, do you like books for the books, or do you just like to read and don't care on what? The first will not switch to an electronic device quickly. They like the books, how they look on the shelves, etc. The second group will switch to electronic devices as soon as they see the books they generally read are also available there. I know of a few people who would like to buy an electronic reader, because it's much more handy, but don't because they can't get the books they want on it.
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:46 AM   #72
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I hope you are right but I'm not convinced by the comparison with the music industry. Music has dealt with format shifts quite regularly during the short lifetime of recorded music and much of that has been driven by either improvements in quality or usability.

The printed word hasn't really had a revolution since the days of Gutenberg which shows that people are extraordinarily happy with books as they are. I hear lots of comments from people who would "always prefer a real book" and I think that's a fairly common view still.
I agree. I think the availability of content (enough titles) will be a big hurdle. I can't see a lot of people buying an expensive device only for reading, unless there is a wide range of titles on offer - and that those ebooks also work well on several devices, etc. etc. (all the things we complain about all the time at Mobileread ). Music is "easy" in comparison, it's already in a digital format, and it doesn't need to be translated into other languages. And it's much, much easier to rip a CD than to digitalise a pbook - you can't take your existing books and digitalise them.
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:08 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by djgreedo View Post
I disagree. Four or five years ago I had a comparable opinion about MP3 players and digital music. For at least 2 years now I've listened to all my music digitally, and buy most digitally. I have been very surprised at how quickly I went from loving my CD/record collection to sticking them all in boxes and listening on a media center and MP3 player.

It will take longer for ereader devices to reach critical mass, and there are hurdles with electronic books that didn't exist for music (i.e. books are harder to reproduce digitally than music), but generations? I don't think so.
Recorded music is about a hundred years old, and has gone through several devices in its short life. Wax cylinders, vinyl discs of varying sizes, magnetic tape of varying sizes, CD, digital recordings of a handful of well-known and a double-handful of obscure formats--MP3 on portable players is just another shift in an ever-changing industry.

Paper books, on the other hand, have used the same basic technology for centuries. Books recorded 400 years ago are readable today, unlike music recorded 80 years ago. Also, conversion from paper to digital is not simple or cheap (could be either, for a very tech-savvy person, but for most people it's neither).

And most of the book-reading world does not have computers.
Let me repeat that: Most of the population of the world that reads books, don't own a computer. And aren't going to. Because books are cheap, especially used ones, and computers are not, not even used ones, and computers require an expensive infrastructure to support them.

Most of the world that listens to music, does *not* listen to recorded music. The billion people in China... the majority of them don't have music-playing devices. But they have music. Their use and enjoyment of music will not be affected by whatever packaging or format takes over the music-device world.

Books are not going away for the same reason that synthesizers didn't replace violins, drums, and guitars: because there's a huge populace that's not going to get their entertainment (or education) from an electrically-powered device.

Of course, that populace is under-represented in discussions like these, for obvious reasons. But any thoughts about "when ebooks will replace books" will have to consider how many people read in houses without electrical lighting, much less computers.

It may be less than a generation from major changes in publishing industries, but the market for paper books isn't going to vanish even if the entire NYT bestseller list goes 100% digital.
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Old 08-10-2009, 12:32 PM   #74
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> Most of the population of the world that reads books,
> don't own a computer.

Well, not sure if there are any decent numbers on how many people own computers.. But there are numbers for iternet usage. Firstly, according to www.internetworldstats.com the global "internet penetration" currently sits at 23% In europe it's 48% In US it's 72%

As for books, a quote from http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/aug/22/news

> A quarter of US adults say they read no books at all in
> the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

So for US it's 75% that read books and 73% that "use internet".

Even the global 23% is pretty decent one. Certainly not something that indivcates this:

> Kids that are in primary school today will probably be reading
> on electronic devices almost exclusively by the time they are
> in high school.

..is impossible, or even unlikely. Assuming these kids are not those in developing countries.
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:39 PM   #75
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> Most of the population of the world that reads books,
> don't own a computer.

Well, not sure if there are any decent numbers on how many people own computers.. But there are numbers for iternet usage. Firstly, according to www.internetworldstats.com the global "internet penetration" currently sits at 23% In europe it's 48% In US it's 72%
And in India? China? Iran? The entire continent of Africa?
They do have books in those places.

Quote:
As for books, a quote from http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/aug/22/news

> A quarter of US adults say they read no books at all in
> the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

So for US it's 75% that read books and 73% that "use internet".
Adults who claim they read books on polls, is a very different number from people who read paper at all.

The idea of moving "from books to ebooks" includes moving from newspapers to rss feeds, from printed catalogs to web listings, from instruction manuals to instructional DVDs. And all those things are happening, but that switch isn't going to happen overnight across all the industries involved.

The move from leisure reading on paper to on screen is just a section of the paper-to-pixels transition. Some of the other aspects are going to take a lot longer to change, if they ever do.

Quote:
Even the global 23% is pretty decent one. Certainly not something that indivcates this:

> Kids that are in primary school today will probably be reading
> on electronic devices almost exclusively by the time they are
> in high school.

..is impossible, or even unlikely. Assuming these kids are not those in developing countries.
Developing countries is exactly what I'm thinking of. Books aren't going away as long as they're profitable, and they'll continue to be profitable as long as large numbers of people can't or won't switch to digital information sources.

75% of the globe not having computers indicates that books will be around for quite a while.

And those kids reading on digital devices? They'll only be exclusive about it if copyright law changes rather drastically in the next ten years. Otherwise, a lot of their casual reading is going to be on paper, because it's not available as ebooks, or they can't afford it. Six teens can read a single copy of Twilight on paper by handing it around; only one--the one whose parent authorized a credit-card purchase--can read it on an ebook device.

Keep that in mind: Minors can't even buy ebooks on their own. (There's a twist I haven't seen discussed yet.) Teens won't be buying ebooks as gifts for each other. They won't be skipping a soda at lunch to save up money for an ebook. They won't pick up an ebook they like at a sale. They won't be choosing to read ebooks; they'll read what's handed to them, because they can't buy or share them.

Unless the publishing industries start encouraging transferred ownership of ebooks, the switch to digital is going to be stalled. The wealthy will buy all their books new in digital forms; everyone else will buy a few new ebooks (or none), and deal with either paper or pirate versions for the rest.
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