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Old 10-02-2009, 10:53 AM   #1
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Why the Digital Revolution is Missing the Big Picture

I found an interesting editorial over at The Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessie..._b_306881.html

Here is a part that caught my eye:
Quote:
Now, I can sit in front of my computer for hours and read blogs, websites and multi-thousand word news articles. But when it comes to reading books, I just can't. I'm not sure if there's something wrong with me, or it's just that books themselves have an appeal that goes beyond the skeleton of words and paper. I don't mind lugging five paperbacks with me on a two-day trip, and there's something oddly enjoyable about scouring your shelf for the right five books, because heaven forbid you run out of reading material during those 48 hours. My shelves are lined with books -- read and unread -- and I have hundreds more in creased storage boxes. I pine for the day when I have enough shelves to house every one of them. I love physical books, love the weight, love the texture, love the feel. Yes, I am that guy in the bookstore picking up every new hardcover, who finds that books with a rough front make him feel fancy.
He just doesn't get it. When I go on a trip I don't have to pick only 5 books to take with me; I bring my entire collection. The right 5 books? Hah. Try the right five hundred books.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:00 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
He just doesn't get it. When I go on a trip I don't have to pick only 5 books to take with me; I bring my entire collection. The right 5 books? Hah. Try the right five hundred books.
That is because you read eBooks I think that for most people a single book is sufficient for a short trip and I always make sure that I have at least one on my Kindle that I want to read before I leave though you are right... it is great to have the ability to carry all that you want with you.
It is like music and the MP3 player. Sure, I could choose a hand full of CD's on a trip but why not take 100gigs of music. Am I going to listen to them all? Nope... but having the option is the best part
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcuadro View Post
That is because you read eBooks I think that for most people a single book is sufficient for a short trip and I always make sure that I have at least one on my Kindle that I want to read before I leave though you are right... it is great to have the ability to carry all that you want with you.
It is like music and the MP3 player. Sure, I could choose a hand full of CD's on a trip but why not take 100gigs of music. Am I going to listen to them all? Nope... but having the option is the best part
My point was that he and I are a lot a like; we both have hundreds and hundreds of books. (In fact, I still have a couple hundred paper books even after going digital.) And we both have to have enough reading material in hand at all times. The fact that he could have five hundred ebooks with him instead of only 5 paperbacks apparently escaped his notice. That was what I was trying to say.

EDIT: As I read your post a second time I see that you agree with me, so the tome of this post doesn't make much sense. I wonder how I missed that before.

Last edited by Nate the great; 10-02-2009 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:42 AM   #4
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I personally like traveling light. And it is very nice to be able to do that with my Ezreader with about 1000 books and articles.

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Old 10-02-2009, 11:47 AM   #5
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I can understand what the guy is saying.

It's kind of like the concept of Desert Island Discs. What are your top 10 discs that you'd take with you if stuck on a desert island? Why take 10 discs when I can take my MP3 player with 200 Albums on? It defeats the point of the exercise.

For this guy, choosing which 5 books he is going to take is part of the fun, something which is pointless when you have a reader full of books...
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:00 PM   #6
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Writer does have a point

Although I don't agree with the writer about the joy of "scouring your shelf for the right five books," I do agree that something has to be done to make reading "cool" in order for ereader devices to sell better.

If ereader devices are to become common place, they have to be marketed to more than just persons wanting to read the "classics."

I think the niche to fill is those persons wanting individualized information on devices bigger than a smartphone (whose screens are too small) and smaller than netbook/laptops (devices that are too heavy and take too long to start up).

How about the person wanting to read a personalized newspaper with RSS feeds they select? Or the company that sends the meeting agenda to everyone's ereader? How about the husband who gets the shopping list from his better half on his way home from work? Or the attorney who desperately needs case law in the court room and gets the cases sent to his ereader on the fly by her legal assistant.

I think that an ereader device that can receive and/or store individualized information and display it in a readable, shareable (try showing an news article on your phone to a group of people huddled around the phone) format quickly will become indispensable to the public.

Ereader devices can and need to be advertised as more than just an ebook reader. Heck, I even use mine to store recipes that I use frequently. It sure beats pulling out all the cookbooks just to find the one recipe that I need.
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acastillo View Post
If ereader devices are to become common place, they have to be marketed to more than just persons wanting to read the "classics."
Kindle is already doing this a little bit with newspaper and blog delivery and emphasis on best-sellers. Sony needs to catch up.

The first thing I do everyday is put the New York Times (or sometimes another paper) on my PRS-505. I love getting the news this way. I don't have to pay for and carry a big newspaper around all day or hurt my eyes reading the whole thing on the computer.
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:25 PM   #8
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I think ultimately, the whole point of the blog excerpt is that there is something intangible about a paper book... at least for the poster. There are people who love books for the content within them; for us, the transition to ebooks is an easy one. Then there are those who love books for being books; for them there is far more to love about books than simply their content. This guy clearly falls into the latter category.

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Old 10-02-2009, 12:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
He just doesn't get it. When I go on a trip I don't have to pick only 5 books to take with me; I bring my entire collection. The right 5 books? Hah. Try the right five hundred books.
The thing is, he could recreate the situation he likes by only adding books to his device as he reads them and thus would still have to choose the ones he wants to take before leaving.

Personally, when I am going on a short trip, I want to pack as lightly as possible and my reader is just perfect for that because I won't run out of stuff to read and its no heavier or bigger than a large paperback.

As far as ebooks being marketed to the wrong people, he is dead wrong for a number of reasons, firstly its a lot easier to get somebody interested in ebooks when they are already into reading and just need to be talked into a slight format change rather than a whole new interest and secondly word of mouth is huge benefit to sales.

Last edited by Crowl; 10-02-2009 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:35 PM   #10
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true enough

I have to agree with the author to an extent. While the function of the ebook device cannot be matched, the experience is not the same as a book. The ability to carry your entire library with you makes sense, but does not "feel" the same as carrying even one of your favorite books. Looking at shelves lined with books does indeed create a different feeling than a digital reader on the desk, even if it does contain thousands of ebooks.

What is not mentioned is that going digital (with all of its benefits) does not stop anyone from remaining a fan of the physical book. Why not keep one foot in each world? The quality of books on the shelf would most likely increase. It would be nice if publishers would allow us to download the digitial version of a book when we purchase the physical one.

Another route toward a solution is an ebook device that "felt" more like a book. Maybe a two-page device that opens like a book and could be covered with something nice like leather (or whatever). Maybe we could at least get closer to the experience that is missed by the flat device.

For those who desire function over experience, I think ebook devices are doing pretty good.
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Old 10-02-2009, 01:18 PM   #11
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What is not mentioned is that going digital (with all of its benefits) does not stop anyone from remaining a fan of the physical book. Why not keep one foot in each world?
I'm there with you 100%. I read both paper and digital. And listen both from CDs and MP3s)) Why not?


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It would be nice if publishers would allow us to download the digitial version of a book when we purchase the physical one.
THAT would be really great!
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Old 10-02-2009, 01:22 PM   #12
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You guys are missing the author's main point!

Quote:
I love physical books, love the weight, love the texture, love the feel. Yes, I am that guy in the bookstore picking up every new hardcover, who finds that books with a rough front make him feel fancy.
He likes the physicality of the books. With an ereader, it's always the same feel and weight in your hands. We also loose the cover's seduction (hey, for me, a good cover can add a lot to a book ), the smell and texture of paper, the pleasure of holding something physical in your hands (without the worry that it's fragile and can break easily).

I personally embraced the ebooks. And for about a year I pratically didn't touch pBooks. But know I can say it's 50/50. It's different the whole deal of receiving a new book by mail or by browsing a bookstore, and just downloading a file, loading it in your ereader and just have the words in there, nothing tangible (you don't even see the cover again!).

I think I know what the author feels... Although I'm extremely fond of ereader/ebooks virtues too.

(BTW, I'd rather take 5 books to a desert island than 500 in an ereader. The battery would be wasted after reading one or two ebooks, anyway. )
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Old 10-02-2009, 01:47 PM   #13
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Old 10-02-2009, 01:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
EDIT: As I read your post a second time I see that you agree with me, so the tome of this post doesn't make much sense. I wonder how I missed that before.
Yes we do agree
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Old 10-02-2009, 02:08 PM   #15
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We also loose the cover's seduction (hey, for me, a good cover can add a lot to a book )
There's no reason why you cannot have fancy colourful covers for your ebook reader. I have this
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