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Old 03-13-2010, 08:42 PM   #1
Tom Swift
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Was in Shanghai yesterday and ebook readers were everywhere

I have not been to the major electronic mall in Shanghai for a while and I was surprised to see the amount of electronic books running on eink. When I came to the entrance, they had the usual stage set up with some usual bad dancing girls wearing hot pants and someone blasting on a microphone. Walking over to the stage, the product they were selling was an ebook reader. It was a Hanvon brand (never hear of it) and it was quite nice. It had a touch-sensitive screen which you could write on and it was quite sharp. Unfortunately, you could not change the default language to English so it was no good for me, and the price was very high. 3580 RMB or US 524$. When I went into the mall, they were everywhere. Different models were available as well for cheaper (saw one for 2100 RMB or US$307) but there were a lot of them for sale all over the place.

When I was there last year, nobody had any idea what I was talking about when I asked about book readers and now they were everywhere. Too bad the price is so steep though.
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Old 03-14-2010, 02:40 PM   #2
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Judging by all the reports from CES and other shows, it seems that eInk readers are the current hot-ticket item among mid-sector Chinese manufacturers. It's difficult to know if this is just a bizarre fad or a genuine response to demand in China (or maybe they're this year's fashion item among the Chinese middle class).

Are Chinese publishers getting into ebooks in a big way?
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:02 PM   #3
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Not too sure about the publishers, as this is China. They were advertising if you purchased the book reader, you will have access to tens of thousands of books, so I imagine it is all pirated. Nothing in English though that they mentioned.

When you go to a book store in China, you have to walk slowly due to the massive amounts of people sitting on the floor reading books, smoking away. And nobody seems to care. It really is a different mentality over here.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:24 PM   #4
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Just found this link.

http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article...&type=Business
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:42 PM   #5
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I still haven't seen anyone else using one here in the Kansai region (Osaka/Kyoto/Kobe) of Japan, although several tourists I've run in to have asked me 'Is that a Kindle?' My Japanese friends do their reading on mobile phones and PDA's. I have two Japanese stories in my mobile phone but it's waaaay too difficult for me to try to decipher the characters at that font size.

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Old 03-14-2010, 08:15 PM   #6
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Yeah, I was at CES this year and the number of ebook readers was crazy. But I think it's more like what the netbooks did when they came out. There's a market niche to be filled, and right now is the perfect time to fill it. But over time the market will settle down and a few key players will emerge. But for now ebook readers will be going huge.
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Old 03-14-2010, 09:12 PM   #7
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When I came to the entrance, they had the usual stage set up with some usual bad dancing girls wearing hot pants and someone blasting on a microphone.
Our shopping malls over here are definitely doing something very wrong ...
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:25 AM   #8
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Luckily Taiwan's ebook rage hasn't taken off yet, though there have been a few announcements full of pomp and the requisite feminine exploitation.

I hope most of the Taiwanese mass market can hold out until some better choices are around, as the stuff that's been announced and released thus far is fairly terrible, and traditional Chinese font display quality is even poorer than English.

Whenever I'm asked about mine, I make sure to tell Taiwanese people that it's a pretty poor quality technology, and it's best to not bother spending money on them now. Seems a lot of folks agree that they're not worth their prices yet, and the "prestige" of owning one is pretty much nil.
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Old 03-15-2010, 10:59 AM   #9
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Luckily Taiwan's ebook rage hasn't taken off yet, though there have been a few announcements full of pomp and the requisite feminine exploitation.

I hope most of the Taiwanese mass market can hold out until some better choices are around, as the stuff that's been announced and released thus far is fairly terrible, and traditional Chinese font display quality is even poorer than English.

Whenever I'm asked about mine, I make sure to tell Taiwanese people that it's a pretty poor quality technology, and it's best to not bother spending money on them now. Seems a lot of folks agree that they're not worth their prices yet, and the "prestige" of owning one is pretty much nil.

If its such low quality why do you continue to use it? I mean, you must be using it if people are asking you about it.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:04 AM   #10
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My beef with ebooks is that I prefer to have the actual book in my hands. I deal with enough technology every day. I don't need to be fussing with something else technological while I'm trying to enjoy a book. During times like that I actually want to unplug rather than simply switch technologies.
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:56 AM   #11
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If its such low quality why do you continue to use it? I mean, you must be using it if people are asking you about it.
Yes, I still use it for some reading. Pretty much all the electronic reading I do, I either cannot buy locally or is disposable reading that I don't have enough space to store. I buy paper books when it's feasible, and use an ebook device when it's not. It's also pretty thin, which makes it easy to put in one of my smaller bags.

But it is still a low quality device, and not especially worthwhile. I'm a frivolous spender, and if I were more thrifty or practical, I would have ignored e-paper reader devices altogether. Besides, I'm too lazy to sell it, and I wouldn't want to subject anyone else to the frustrations and difficulties of ebooks.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:39 PM   #12
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Yes, I still use it for some reading. Pretty much all the electronic reading I do, I either cannot buy locally or is disposable reading that I don't have enough space to store. I buy paper books when it's feasible, and use an ebook device when it's not. It's also pretty thin, which makes it easy to put in one of my smaller bags.

But it is still a low quality device, and not especially worthwhile. I'm a frivolous spender, and if I were more thrifty or practical, I would have ignored e-paper reader devices altogether. Besides, I'm too lazy to sell it, and I wouldn't want to subject anyone else to the frustrations and difficulties of ebooks.
You are an honest man. I respect that. I recognize that the display is more like newsprint than a paperback, but the portability trumps that concern for me.

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Old 03-15-2010, 03:57 PM   #13
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LDBoblo: I agree that the quality kinda sucks in general. However, it's somewhat of a tradeoff between portability with long battery and ease of reading. The next generation ebook readers will have the new and improved 7th generation eink displays (I think that's right. bob barry might know for certain) which go a long ways towards improved quality without loss of portability or battery life. The 7th gen screens I believe are also color if I remember right.
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:54 PM   #14
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LDBoblo: I agree that the quality kinda sucks in general. However, it's somewhat of a tradeoff between portability with long battery and ease of reading. The next generation ebook readers will have the new and improved 7th generation eink displays (I think that's right. bob barry might know for certain) which go a long ways towards improved quality without loss of portability or battery life. The 7th gen screens I believe are also color if I remember right.
E-Ink is just one brand of EPDs, now part of the company PVI. Before they make color available either at the end of this year or early next, there may be other alternatives around (both in terms of EPDs, which I'm not a fan of, and other, likely superior e-paper technologies), and PVI/E-Ink will likely have an intermediate step in the form of a higher-contrast monochrome screen. A higher resolution TFT backplane would be great, and speed is crucial. I don't know if EPDs will ever really be fast enough, but they're working on it.

Certainly future generations of ebook readers will get more and more promising, and with any luck, the software will develop for them too, as that's also disturbingly primitive right now.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:04 PM   #15
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They might have e-readers everywhere but I wonder what kinds of material are available for those e-readers?

Easy to get chairman Mao's memoirs, but difficult to get the Dalai Lamas autobiography I suspect!
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