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Old 12-30-2009, 12:14 PM   #1
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How E-Books Will Change Reading And Writing (NPR)

I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but NPR is usually a good source of thought provoking editorials. The segment is about 5 minutes long, and it's also available for download as MP3.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=122026529
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:47 PM   #2
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Thanks for the link, it was an interesting piece.

As a writer, I must admit writing my novels and writing my blogs are two very different styles. The blogs must be more compact and keep the reader's interest without detailed back story. Novels can delve into the characters, interspersed with action. I see a home for both types of writing, and as an author, I like the challenge of the more compact format. Twitter? No.
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:37 PM   #3
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I heard it on my way to work this morning. I thought it was a bunch of baloney. Although I don't have a dedicated ereader, I have read ebooks on many different electronic devices since they were first introduced and I read the same way I always have.

"They scroll and scroll and scroll. You don't have this business of handling pages and turning them and savoring them."

Statements such as these are from the old school mindset that paper somehow is the holy grail of reading. If the content is worth savoring I can dwell on it just as well in electronic format.

Writing for blogs and the web doesn't compare to writing a novel either. Not every reader is trying to multitask and needs to be titillated within the first paragraph.

Marc
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:46 PM   #4
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What the hell, twitter books? Talk about crazy. Yes it does bash the electronic medium a bit as well.

A lot of the old school readers miss some major points which can increase the number of people reading and writing on a daily basis. In a few years everyone will have an electronic device in their pocket which can allow them to read ebooks. Phones or dedicated e-reader or tablets. So people who used to only read at home in bed, or people who used to only read on weekends (or not at all) can suddenly have the latest books in their pocket. If that doesn't increase readership, I don't know what will.

The Internet in general has increased reading by a huge magnitude. What were people doing before? Sitting in front of TVs like zombies. The Internet is interactive, people read and write on it for long periods. Look at the explosion of blogging and social networks - people writing daily and sharing that with many other people. Ok it might not be the same as reading war and peace, but talk about publishing for the masses! Makes the printing press seem very dated.

There are a lot of positive factors with the Internet and ebook technology, articles like this that hint at negatives ("look at this twitter junk, twitter books haw haw") are missing the point.
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:17 PM   #5
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I like NPR a lot, and get a lot from it, so I want to share a couple more NPR links that you might appreciate if you don't already know about them:

You Must Read This. Writers talk about books that they recommend to others.

Three Books. Authors recommend three books that have something in common.

Guilty Pleasures. Writers talk about books that they'd be embarrassed to be seen reading!

A contest for the writers amongst us, Three Minute Fiction.

Books Lots of other stuff about books!

And, changing the subject, this is my 500th post!
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:19 PM   #6
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I posted this story this morning here.
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:21 PM   #7
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And... some great other reasons

Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrdmn View Post
I heard it on my way to work this morning. I thought it was a bunch of baloney. Although I don't have a dedicated ereader, I have read ebooks on many different electronic devices since they were first introduced and I read the same way I always have.

"They scroll and scroll and scroll. You don't have this business of handling pages and turning them and savoring them."

Statements such as these are from the old school mindset that paper somehow is the holy grail of reading. If the content is worth savoring I can dwell on it just as well in electronic format.

Writing for blogs and the web doesn't compare to writing a novel either. Not every reader is trying to multitask and needs to be titillated within the first paragraph.

Marc
Dear Marc:

Thank you. Well said!!

Others might also consider that "paper is not naturally white". It has to be bleached white. Paper Mill Sludge contains 32 known carcinogens and this sludge is going to cost all of us in the wallet to attempt to mitigate. Whether you care about the environment or not... paperback books are steadily going up in price while eBooks are steadily going down in cost. Of course all of us know paper comes from trees and they are growing more scarce too. Then there is landfill or lack of it. Finally, try carrying 8,000 paperbacks around with you! You can easily carry 8,000 eBooks!

The fact of the matter is that "savoring" paper books entails "savoring" a whole lot of other not-so-nice problems!
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fugazied View Post
What the hell, twitter books? Talk about crazy.
You sure about that?

http://www.amazon.com/Basho-Complete...2219803&sr=8-1




Actually, one thing the article doesn't discuss is how ebooks could make it more feasible to publish novellas, or texts that land in between a short story and novella in length. The pricing is more flexible, you don't have to worry about it getting lost on a shelf, publication can be more rapid etc. So "shorter" does not necessarily need to mean "inferior in quality."
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrdmn View Post
...
"They scroll and scroll and scroll. You don't have this business of handling pages and turning them and savoring them."
..
I heard that and immediately realized that sucker didn't have a clue!
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:32 PM   #10
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Yeah, that scroll, scroll, scroll statement right after mentioning the Kindle told me that he had not used an ebook reader. Plus, I don't think scrolling particularly impedes savoring words. As for savoring words, I often use the bookmark feature when I'm reading an ebook when I see a line or paragraph that really impresses me and I'll go back and savor those parts and think about them. And then his statement about how novelists will have to adapt and capture readers interest right away. Well, hasn't that always been the case?

I listen to a lot of NPR myself, but when is one of its programs going to interview actual ebook enthusiasts?
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Old 12-31-2009, 03:50 AM   #11
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I don't think ebook popularity will affect traditional novel writing styles -- though it might well add a new dimension for fiction and non-ficton.

For instance there's a new wave of (usually teenaged) scribes in Japan who write free short episodic romances specifically for mobile phones. Last year, the county's top ten best-sellers included six of these that had been picked up and published in treebook form.

I'm guessing that the young readers who pushed these mini-books to the top slots would otherwise not have read fiction at all, so this brand new form of presentation (basically three-minutes-a-day reading) can only be a good thing. Here's hoping the easy and target-specific introduction to reading will encourage them to look further and become absorbed in more fulfilling literature in later years.

So that's maybe a sign that ereading will open up new fiction possiblities rather than stifle old ones. Non-fiction and text books are something else entirely. In these fields, I reckon authors and publishers will have to adapt themselves to electronic presentation, especially where graphics and tables are involved.

Cheers. Neil
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Old 12-31-2009, 03:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
For instance there's a new wave of (usually teenaged) scribes in Japan who write free short episodic romances specifically for mobile phones.
Nothin' new under the sun...who did this back in the 1800's?
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Old 12-31-2009, 06:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falbe Publishing View Post
..

I listen to a lot of NPR myself, but when is one of its programs going to interview actual ebook enthusiasts?
Yes they need to talk to Steve Jordan or do a CrossFire between Jordan and Sherman Alexi.
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:07 AM   #14
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I don't buy it. A book is a book, whether it's read on paper or on a computer screen or on an ebook reader. I don't think I read ebooks any differently than I read paper books. And I highly doubt the Twitter novel is going to replace the traditional novel anytime soon. Twitter novels and cell phone novels just add new methods of storytelling, and how is that a bad thing? There's room for plenty of types of stories out there; novels, graphic novels, TV, movies, video games, stage plays, and so on all coexist relatively peacefully.
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:31 AM   #15
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I want to comment on the "scroll, scroll, scroll" statement. I heard the broadcast and perhaps I didn't hear it correctly but I assumed he meant that readers of ebooks read very linearly - in fact, I think he uses that word doesn't he? And that's what I do when I read on my Sony. I don't often look back the way I frequently do with a pbook. And I don't glance ahead to see what's coming. I thought when I first got my Sony that I would do a lot more bookmarking and checking back to previous chapters but it's not easy to know what page to go to and you can't just thumb your way through it the way you can with a pbook. So reading has become very linear for me with ebooks. Sure, I pause and contemplate as often as I ever did with pbooks, but I'm now a fairly strict "scroll forward" reader.
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