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Old 09-29-2006, 06:58 PM   #31
lordvetinari2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_ninja
Spending $350 for a device that will be used for 20-30 years is much easier to justify than for one which will last no more than 10 years.
Therefore, I will purchase V2 or V3 when it comes with the usual AA batteries compartment that enables easy replacement of batteries as they become too old.
Maybe I am too young (24), but I do not own a single gadget older than, say, 5 years. Anything older than 3 years, I give to my dad. My music player and cell phone are from last year, my camera and PC are from this year...
So, regarding user-replaceable batteries, I think it will be near impossible finding a suitable battery in 10 years. Plus, Ion-Lithium batteries discharge after a few years, so it's no use buying many now for later use. Our capitalist world is like that, it is easier and cheaper buying a new one, than trying to repair / maintain an old one.
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Old 09-29-2006, 10:18 PM   #32
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Let me address the backlight issue as 42 readers of the 60 some who responded on my blog wanted a backlight. We aren't technophiles but we are avid readers. For those who don't know, romance ebooks are currently the most downloaded genre. Look at any ebookstore for the bestsellers. At least half will be romances. Why is that? Because romance readers, on average, buy at least 5 books a month and sometimes up to 20.

We primarily read mass market titles and we are used to carry these things around everywhere we go. The need for a backlight or some integrated light source comes from the fact that we often read in lowlight situations. During movies with our kids, in the car (while someone else is driving of course), in bed with our SOs who frequently complain about the light (hence the huge aftermarket business of booklights).

When moving to a $350.00 ebook reader, the manufacturer has to better the reading experience. It cannot be an even trade. The backlight/integrated light source is something that is important to readers. It is not enough to say that the resolution is as good as paper. So what? I'll buy paper then and use my booklight or lamp. For one thing, you have to justify the cost issue. Romance readers are huge swap, ubs users so they are used to buying their 5-20 books with half of them being 50% off. Second, you have to make it easy as pie. Meaning, that you shouldn't have to convert a file 3 times in order to make it readable on Sony's ebook reader. Alot of ebooks today are sold by epublishers such as Ellora's Cave or Samhain. They don't currently offer their books in BBeB format so customers won't be able to view their existing content or they will have to go through a rigorous conversion methods to get their content on the BBeB.


I am pretty sure that the average reader will be content with their paper hardcovers and paperbacks. It's the AVID reader who is likely to buy this product and it is the AVID reader, not the techno geek loving reader (like me), who needs to fall in love with this product for it to be successful.
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:23 PM   #33
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@da_jane: Let me address the backlight issue as 42 readers of the 60 some who responded on my blog wanted a backlight

What Sony should have done is to include customized LightWedge (or similar) book light (for free!) and nice case (for free!) to fit both reader and the light. It would solve issues with reading in bad light condition. Making backlight built-in, if possible at all, will ruin battery life, imho.

Here is more info on LightWedge system:
(The light can run for 40 hours on four AAA batteries.)
Home Page, How it works, Amazon, Think Geek

Disclaimer: I don't work for or being paid by LightWedge
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Last edited by Slava; 09-29-2006 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:42 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da_jane
It's the AVID reader who is likely to buy this product and it is the AVID reader, not the techno geek loving reader (like me), who needs to fall in love with this product for it to be successful.
This sums it up to me. Most of us reading the forum are pretty comfortable with the idea of reading an e-book and the effort it can take to get a book into a format that can be loaded onto our reader. For me it's been various PDAs for the last 5 years or so. If I can't get it to text I don't read it. I have not had to resort to reading a paper book yet so no worries for geeks like me who are willing to do what it takes to get content. This is not going to work for the public at large.

The ability to share content is important as well. The one thing I miss more than anything due to my switch to using a PDA to read is swapping books with my father. He and I like the same kinds of books and when one of us likes a book it's great to share. Now if I really like a book I have to buy him the paper copy if I want to share. There is hope that the Sony Reader will make a believer out of him but to have to share the same connect store account in order to share books is pushing things (whose credit card will be on the account? How do we split up costs? ...). I guess if I still lived at home it would be easy but that was over 20 years ago... Hopefully there will be an evolution to allowing sharing to work in a fair manor.

Being a PDA reader whose wife goes to sleep before me, the ability to read in the dark without bothering her is a big deal to me. It is something I have now that I'll have to recreate with a clip on light or something. I am confident that I will be able to solve the problem and still have a better reading experience than my eye burning, sucks to read outside PDA gives me. That said I really don't think it's a big deal to paper book readers since they don't have expereince with backlighting. For the Sony Reader to be successful it's the paper readers that are going to need to be converted not us "techno geeks" who have already drunk the cool aid.

I'm really not sure if I think the Sony Reader will be successful. I know I want it to be. I am very sure that it will be successful for my usage. If I can get my wife to use it then it will be a hit for sure. So far she laughs at me for even suggesting that she would want to use it over a paper book. She loves her iPod though

Last edited by Greg G; 09-29-2006 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:54 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da_jane
...customers won't be able to view their existing content or they will have to go through a rigorous conversion methods to get their content on the BBeB.
Why? they can stop at RTF and have done with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slava
What Sony should have done is to include customized LightWedge (or similar) book light (for free!) and nice case (for free!) to fit both reader and the light.
I mentioned in my review that Sony tried to talk lightwedge into making a size for the Reader, LW wants to wait 'til they see Reader sales to justify their (LW's) investment.

They did say that the LW is a really excellent lighting device for the Reader, though ... and you don't have to move it for every page turn like you would with a paper book.
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Old 09-29-2006, 11:59 PM   #36
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Nathan,

I remember that part of your review, but I forgot what book light maker you've mentioned
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Old 09-30-2006, 12:02 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh

I mentioned in my review that Sony tried to talk lightwedge into making a size for the Reader, LW wants to wait 'til they see Reader sales to justify their (LW's) investment.

They did say that the LW is a really excellent lighting device for the Reader, though ... and you don't have to move it for every page turn like you would with a paper book.
One more reason to hope the Sony Reader is successful! I have a $10 clip on light on order but the LW would be so much better. It would be on my Christmas list if it is created

I predict lots of very cool threads talking about the best ways to light things up!
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Old 09-30-2006, 02:09 AM   #38
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I was about to rant a little, but da jane said most of what I was going to say.

People keep talking about the evils of a "backlight", but that is not what is needed, it is simply a "built-in" light.

For $350, people do not expect to have buy extra things, and aside from the financial aspect of it, they especially do not want to have a temporary, improvised light hanging off the thing that may not transport in the same case. I also do not want to have to change the batteries of a book light, or to have to carry a spare set of batteries for it (which would be 4 batteries for the light referred to in the post above).

I can guarantee that the reason there is not a built-in light is hysteria over "battery life". This is really foolish as people expect to put their cell phone and/or PDA in a charger every night, not to mention plugging in their laptop. As long as the battery lasts a full day or two of use, that's enough.

We are talking one LED bulb, after all - no engineering needed. Every IBM Thinkpad laptop for the last 6 years has had an LED bulb bult-in to the top of the LCD panel that shines on the keyboard for use in dark situations. It works great and barely affects the battery life.

PS I have not seen an e-ink display yet, but a review of the Sony Reader claims that it is gray rather than white, and that lack of contrast, combined with the ghosting (however toned down) makes the e-ink display still not ready for "prime time".

Irregardless of that, I think that the only question to be answered in the future is whether a second generation Sony Reader will be produced that a) corrects the criticisms, and b) has a list price of $199 or less.
Quote:
the quality of the book reading experience will trump them all.
But how many people will ever see the Sony Reader screen ?

The other problem is that it seems likely that the concept of reading a full length book will gradually fade out before books go digital. It came to my attention recently that many high schoolers skim books - even pleasure reading like Harry Potter - rather than read every word cover to cover. It's not an exagerrated cliche to say that the world is now a place of short attention spans and flash over substance.

If I had to predict, I would say that in 15 years, an author will be someone who writes for a online magazine.

As such, a second generation Nokia 770 with a faster processor and more memory may be more successful even than a second generation Sony Reader.

Last edited by Ken Stuart; 09-30-2006 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 09-30-2006, 02:54 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordvetinari2
Maybe I am too young (24), but I do not own a single gadget older than, say, 5 years. Anything older than 3 years, I give to my dad. My music player and cell phone are from last year, my camera and PC are from this year...
So, regarding user-replaceable batteries, I think it will be near impossible finding a suitable battery in 10 years. Plus, Ion-Lithium batteries discharge after a few years, so it's no use buying many now for later use. Our capitalist world is like that, it is easier and cheaper buying a new one, than trying to repair / maintain an old one.
Yeah, you are too young

I just bought a new notebook PC. Do you know how much time and effort it takes to set it up? Granted a reader is much simpler gizmo. Still there are different eBook formats and moving them to a new reader in 5 years may be a lot of hassle. Besides I suspect that a reader in 5-10 years will be still in a good shape, so I'd hate to throw it away just because of batteries.

Regarding LiIon, that is my point. Switch to standard AA NiMh batteries that will be around for a very long time and you no longer have to worry about finding the right LiIon pack. They are sold everywhere, so even without a charger you can always find disposable AAs.

I do wonder just how easy/difficult it will be to transfer different eBook formats to a new device in 5-10 years, either from Sony or another company.
If it used AAs, then at least I'd have a choice to switch or stay with the old reader.
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Old 09-30-2006, 06:00 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob_ninja
Yeah, you are too young
Hey, thanks, that is what I all wanted to hear! It makes me happy!

Anyway, I got my first PC when I was 12, I bought my first discman when I was 17 (after at least 2 walkmans). It's not that I have buying gadgets these last years, it's that I have always invested a lot of my money (well, before, a lot of my presents) in gadgets.

Regarding ebook formats, as far as I care, there are only RTF (and DOC and ODT if you must), HTM, TXT and PDF. Those will stay for some time, and those will be the ones I will be using, thanks.

Regarding batteries, that's the status quo. If you can just recharge your gadget as easy as that, you will not buy a new one, and that's not good for the market.

I want the Reader to be a success and I will do everything I can to help the hardware, if they let me. But I am not interested in DRM'ed ebooks. It's happenning more and more these days in Europe, folks are more interested in media readers than in the media itself. The Government is charging us for media storage (and printers, and Internet connections), too, just in case we try something sneaky.

So, I will keep buying pbooks and then connecting to the IRC to get them in my reader.
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Old 09-30-2006, 09:57 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by da_jane
LThe need for a backlight or some integrated light source comes from the fact that we often read in lowlight situations. During movies with our kids, in the car (while someone else is driving of course), in bed with our SOs who frequently complain about the light (hence the huge aftermarket business of booklights).
I agree with da_jane in part. Also for such reading, the size (that can fit into a shirt pocket) is important for that type of reading whenever you get a moment.

That said, I am anxiously awaiting my Sony Reader so I can have 1) a larger screen, & 2) be able to read in bright sunlight.

For me an ideal reader would have all three characteristics, a light, small size, large screen that can be read in sublught. How about a roll up scroll type screen that would fit in a pocket, roll out to a nice size with optional light?
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Old 09-30-2006, 10:32 AM   #42
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Therefore there is no justification whatsoever for an eBook to be the same cost (or more) of a pBook. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch.
Did you not read what he had to say? People will pay for a better physical experience. If the above were true then no one would ever buy, say, expensive stereo speakers. After all, the content is the same on cheap speakers, no?

But music is much easier to listen to on good speakers and reading may well be much more pleasant on an ereader than with a paper book. Anyone who has tried to spend hours holding a heavy hardcover should realize this.
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Old 09-30-2006, 11:05 AM   #43
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Anyone who has tried to spend hours holding a heavy hardcover should realize this.
Hey, maybe I will finally be able to read TLOTR! If the Reader can make me do that, then there is no limit!
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Old 09-30-2006, 11:11 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Stuart
People keep talking about the evils of a "backlight", but that is not what is needed, it is simply a "built-in" light.

For $350, people do not expect to have buy extra things, and aside from the financial aspect of it, they especially do not want to have a temporary, improvised light hanging off the thing that may not transport in the same case. I also do not want to have to change the batteries of a book light, or to have to carry a spare set of batteries for it (which would be 4 batteries for the light referred to in the post above).
Okay, now that's a point I don't dispute. I don't find it as compelling as you or others may, but I agree that it is an issue that has to be decided by potential buyers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Stuart
I can guarantee that the reason there is not a built-in light is hysteria over "battery life". This is really foolish as people expect to put their cell phone and/or PDA in a charger every night, not to mention plugging in their laptop. As long as the battery lasts a full day or two of use, that's enough.
I've done a lot of reading on my Pilot, it's really annoying to have to wait for it to recharge so I can read more, or to strangle on the charging cord. I submit that a Reader isn't like a cell or PDA that gets used in relatively short spurts, and can be done without for a couple of hours while it charges with no loss of usefullness. It's more like, well, a book. If you get to the climax of a book, you don't want to stop and charge the rascal for a couple of hours before you find out what happens next! I expect to have to figure out when the best times to charge my Reader are (like when I'm going somewhere for a couple-three hours that I'm not going to be reading), and remember to plug it in. But that's a far cry from having to charge it on a daily basis, and it's a lot more of an issue to me than not having a built in light. Another thing folks will have to sort out for themselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Stuart
PS I have not seen an e-ink display yet, but a review of the Sony Reader claims that it is gray rather than white, and that lack of contrast, combined with the ghosting (however toned down) makes the e-ink display still not ready for "prime time".
Ghosting on e-ink is roughly equivalent to ghosting on a paper page, so I'd say it's as ready for prime time in that regard as paper is.

Seriously, though, I recall that the ghosting is worse after an image has been displayed for a while, but reduces to almost gone after a few page turns. Kind of an enertia effect, I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Stuart
But how many people will ever see the Sony Reader screen ?
As many people as I can show it to, speaking for myself.
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Old 11-05-2006, 12:31 AM   #45
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debate on cost of ebook

Several folks have implied that all (or most, or many) of the costs inherent in pbooks go away with ebooks. I would dispute that. Don't get me wrong, I think ebooks should be less expensive than they are now. But costs don't go away. Some costs are holdovers, some are new (this is not an exhaustive list):
  • author payment
  • publisher payment (this one might be the one that should go down)
  • bandwidth cost for the connect store (they pay for every byte we download)
  • backup costs - we want these things available for years, and I would get mad if I suddenly couldn't download books I bought - and the disk storage and backup costs are not negligible
  • computers to host the site
  • administrators to run the site
  • programmers to write the software for the site (and the ones who are writing the stuff for the Sony Connect Reader stuff need to be paid less - that software reeks!)

I'm sure I'm missing some, but this should make the point that the brick-and-mortar costs and the paper/binding costs do not simply go away - they get shifted to other costs so other people can take their cut. Electrons might not cost anything, but the electron support network does.
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