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Old 10-27-2006, 01:23 PM   #61
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Heh, maybe you should pitch your system to the Connect Store folks, bowerbird -- they clearly need whatever help they can get.
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Old 10-27-2006, 02:09 PM   #62
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NatCh, I'm genuinely surprised at your reaction. If I didn't care what you or Bowerbird on anyone else on this thread had to say, why would I participate? I am stating my view, which you are welcome to consign to the garbage heap, but which is a response to yours. It seems to me that that is what a discussion is, and I am delighted to be part of it. BTW, I love gadgets, so down underneath it all I hope you convince me that I need this ereader, so that I can run out and get still another e-marvel.

Elsewhere on this site, there is a discussion of an article on the Sony by one Mike Cane (for whom I do not have the warmest feelings in light of the way he responded to me and others on another site sometime ago): his view makes me wary, as first he hated and today he loves it, though tomorrow he might hate it again. I would like to have a sense of some certainty before plunking down $350!
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Old 10-27-2006, 03:17 PM   #63
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natch said:
> maybe you should pitch your system to the Connect Store folks

my first thought was "why would they support a system that destroys them?"

then i remembered you're talking about _sony_, the root-kit people, and
suddenly everything made perfect sense... ;+)

-bowerbird
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Old 10-27-2006, 03:34 PM   #64
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Ah, I think I'm getting a better read on you now, radleyp -- I think I was reading your comments as being meant more sharply than you were writing them.

Yah, I know about Mike's article, but I found most telling his comment that he was pretty unimpressed after a cursory glance (and after reading less than complementary reviews), but changed his mind after finding out more about the device and spending some time with it, i.e. getting some real information on it.

His present view seems pretty considered and informed considering his explanation of what it's founded on, so I don't look for it to change. Though you're right, there's nothing that garauntees that he won't change his mind again.

The real reason I'd give his review some weight (if I were still at the stage of making my own decision), is that he explains what his conclusions are based on. That means that the reader can look at what he says and decide how important those points are to him in his particular circumstances. In any case, the reader is left with more information than he had starting out, rather than just Mike's opinion. Sure, you get that too, but you don't get just his opinion.

As for needing a Reader, I don't know that you do. It's kinda like Tivo, I didn't need it until after I had it, now I won't go back to reading on my Palm.

I would recommend that you go see one for yourself (if you haven't already), and spend some time with it and see what you think of it then.



@Bowerbird: Actually I meant for their book store, they need some way for folks to find books they like in the thing.

My first thought was to pitch it to Amazon, but they probably wouldn't want to switch.
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Old 10-27-2006, 03:52 PM   #65
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NatCh, actually, I saw the Sony several months ago, as my friend V-P at New York Public Library showed it to me: the Sony folks had come to make a presentation. He thought, and I do too, that it's a beautiful design both in size and finish. But he thought the Sony marketers who showed it to him were, frankly, idiots: they never asked about NYPL's experience with ebooks, were not interested in how many people had downloaded ebooks or what the books were, and were unable to explain to him - who does not read ebooks - why he should give it a try. That's not encouraging.

You say you won't now read on your Palm, but if the book in question is available for the Palm, but not the Sony, then what? Both books I am reading now are so available, but are not downloadable to the Sony. This is the question that puzzles me: are you going to let the convenience of a device dictate what you read? Isn't that going about it backwards?
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Old 10-27-2006, 04:55 PM   #66
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:56 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radleyp
NatCh, actually, I saw the Sony several months ago, as my friend V-P at New York Public Library showed it to me: the Sony folks had come to make a presentation. He thought, and I do too, that it's a beautiful design both in size and finish. But he thought the Sony marketers who showed it to him were, frankly, idiots: they never asked about NYPL's experience with ebooks, were not interested in how many people had downloaded ebooks or what the books were, and were unable to explain to him - who does not read ebooks - why he should give it a try. That's not encouraging.
I'm a bit bewildered as to why they would even talk with a library, actually. It just doesn't seem to me to fit very well.

I'm not surprised by their reported disinterest in what books were downloaded, and only slightly so over their disinterest in the numbers. Seems to me that they'd trust their pitchee to know those things and evaluate for himself whether the numbers justify interest in the product. But as a library doesn't sell anything, I'm kind of at a loss as to why they should want to invest money in e-reading devices. Like I said, it just seems like a bad fit.

I'm curious: were they unable to explain why he should try such an e-reader, or were they just unable to convince him to do so? I don't know if that's something you'd be able to tell or not, as it sounds like you might be getting it second-hand? That sort of thing always makes it hard to tell. In any case, I can certainly understand his being unconvinced, for the reasons I've just commented on if nothing else.

If they were trying to convince him to offer books in a format that was compatible with the Reader ... well that would make sense to me. I see that NYPL seems to carry PDF and Mobi (both presumably secured), neither of which would work with the reader, of course. But that doesn't fit with what you're saying, because the NYPL clearly does see some reason to offer those two e-formats, so your friend presumably wouldn't need to be convinced as to "why he should give [any e-version] a try" when they're already doing just that.

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You say you won't now read on your Palm, but if the book in question is available for the Palm, but not the Sony, then what? Both books I am reading now are so available, but are not downloadable to the Sony. This is the question that puzzles me: are you going to let the convenience of a device dictate what you read? Isn't that going about it backwards?
When I read on my Palm, I was faced with exactly the same dilemma: some books weren't available, and others were. You might point out that I had several choices of format on the Palm, which is true. And I now have several choices of format for my PRS-500, just a different set of choices. (shrug)

In that case, I expect I'll make the same choice I used to make before when I can't get a text in a format that will work with my reading platform: paper. I won't let the convenience of a device dictate what I read, but it might affect the order in which I read what I read. And certainly if I can get a format that works with my new toy, I pretty likely will. I've already decided that I'm only buying future Baen releases electronically, for example (they don't do DRM).

A large part of the electronic reader world right now is speculative. Has been for a long time, actually. So those of us buying any reading device, or any locked e-book for that matter, are doing so partly in hopes that the industry will grow, and it has done so, if quite moderately.

The difference now is that we're seeing a milestone in the industry, the overcoming of one of the two great obstacles in its path. The obstacle that's being overcome is the need for a serviceable hardware, in terms of things like battery life, readability and such. The Sony is argueably an example of that triumph, and it's only a forerunner of an entire generation of devices.

The other obstacle, is the one you seem to be focused on, namely availability of electronic texts. You're quite correct that there's less point in buying a device to read e-books if you can't get e-books. But there's similarly slight point in buying e-books if you don't have anything decent to read them on. (Yes, PDA's work, but if they had been the answer to widespread adoption, we wouldn't be having this discussion )

You see the problem, they're intertwined. Why sell ebooks when there's nothing anyone wants to read them on? Why make an e-reader when there's nothing anyone wants to read on it?

With the advent of these new, usable Readers, one half of that dicotomy is broken, and it's encouraging to those of us who've been watching, waiting, and hoping for 20-ish years, because it's a huge change in what has been.

Whatever anyone thinks of Sony's Connect store, it and the Reader are clearly a concerted, out-on-a-limb attempt to take on both of those obstacles at once, and get things moving. Whether I happen to like the particulars of the deal or not, it's a sharp, brave move, that shows they recognize the things that have held e-reading back, and are trying to do something about them. The fact that they aren't forcing BBeB on us seems, to me, to be a recognition that the more open they are about such things the better it'll be for everyone, including Sony, as opposed to trying to keep all the marbles.

They don't have any rights to use anyone else's proprietary format (unless they pay for them, and what might that do to the Reader's price?), and I don't hold it against them particularly that they've chosen to use their own -- it allows them to sell books that they couldn't sell without throwing the Pubs a DRM bone, and there is no standard presently. If they were using their proprietary format in the face of a 'standard' one, then I'd be pretty disgusted with them, but they're not. The fact that they are allowing several openly available formats as well, further reassures me that they recognize what needs to happen for long term success.

Can it all still fail miserably? Yup, it sure could. But exactly what reason do we have to hope for it to fail? On the other hand, we have lots of reason to hope for success, and, finally, we're seeing reasons to think it might actually happen this time.
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:04 PM   #68
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NatCh, I think you got something backwards. It was Sony that requested the NYPL meeting, not the other way around. Thus it was natural to expect Sony to come with questions or at the very least explanations.

I never said that NYPL had to be convinced about ebooks: they already are, as evidenced by the fact that they offer them. They were looking for some reason to offer them in a Sony-readable format, and they never got one. I will tell you that if NYPL offerings were now available for the Sony, I would have to consider buying one. All those free (and current) ebooks!

Last Friday I went to the Borders in Danbury CT (a small city about one hour from NYC) and saw that they had the Sony reader display up. They told me they expected a supply of 6 readers the following day. I went there yesterday and learned they had gotten the 6 readers on Monday. They are all still there. In my 10 minutes there, I saw 2 adults and 2 teenagers eyeing the product. The teenagers were wowed by the technology, but did not care about the books available. Both adults thought the price too high for a "gadget".

I played with it for a few minutes and while I think the display is better than those on pda's or smartphones, it is still not as good as paper. I also found the page turning button less than adequate: at the least, I think they should have put one on both sides of the unit. But the main problem for me (I have small hands) was holding it: too big for one hand, but not big enough for two. When I read a book on paper, I don't always hold it the same way every time: that would be difficult to do with this.

In any case, I didn't buy for what remains my major problem: books. I just finished two books and am starting on two others. All are available for ereader, and I read them, when moving around the city, on my smartphone, and when at home on my T/X.

I'll wait for Sony's competition to convince of the need to own one of these.
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Old 10-29-2006, 05:34 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radleyp

Last Friday I went to the Borders in Danbury CT (a small city about one hour from NYC) and saw that they had the Sony reader display up. ....

In any case, I didn't buy for what remains my major problem: books. I just finished two books and am starting on two others. All are available for ereader, and I read them, when moving around the city, on my smartphone, and when at home on my T/X.

I'll wait for Sony's competition to convince of the need to own one of these.
WHAT! Youy held one and did'nt buy it?
Could have thought of your deprived foreign friends at MR
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Old 10-29-2006, 08:00 PM   #70
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WHAT! Youy held one and did'nt buy it?
Could have thought of your deprived foreign friends at MR
I'm afraid I held one and didn't get it either.
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Old 10-30-2006, 08:49 AM   #71
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I'm afraid I held one and didn't get it either.
Shame on both of you!
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Old 10-30-2006, 12:21 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by radleyp
NatCh, I think you got something backwards. It was Sony that requested the NYPL meeting, not the other way around.
Yah, that did have me confused.

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Originally Posted by radleyp
Thus it was natural to expect Sony to come with questions or at the very least explanations.
I agree, I would expect that to be the case under those circumstances.

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Originally Posted by radleyp
I never said that NYPL had to be convinced about ebooks: they already are, as evidenced by the fact that they offer them. They were looking for some reason to offer them in a Sony-readable format, and they never got one.
Yah, that had also confused me, I had about decided that it must be the case, because I'd figured out (as you say) that they are offering other e-formats. It does make sense that Sony would be interested in libraries offering their e-holdings in a Reader compatible format.

What I still have a hard time believing is that Sony would come in and say "we want you to offer your stuff in our format," and then then just say nothing further. There had to be some sort of discussion going on, in which the Sony rep had to have attempted to persuade your VP friend that this was a good idea. I have no trouble believing that the VP found the reasons unconvincing, but I find the claim that no reasons were offered difficult to buy.

Is it perhaps possible that your friend meant that Sony didn't give him any reasons that he found compelling, rather than that they didn't offer any at all? I mean, folks tend to exagerate sometimes, and I'm wondering if what he meant wasn't precisely what he said. I know you can't get inside his head and really know what he meant, so it's all hypothetical in the first place.

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Originally Posted by radleyp
I also found the page turning button less than adequate: at the least, I think they should have put one on both sides of the unit.
That's a fairly common reaction, actually, I'd like a second pair of buttons on the right edge myself. They (more or less) told us that there was something in the way over there -- I'm suspicious that may be the point where the screen controller connects to the screen, which would qualify as something in the way. I find the second, round button to be a reasonable compromise, but again, that's a preference thing.

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Originally Posted by radleyp
In any case, I didn't buy for what remains my major problem: books. I just finished two books and am starting on two others. All are available for ereader, and I read them, when moving around the city, on my smartphone, and when at home on my T/X.
So ... let me ask you your own question: are you going to let format/device compatibility dictate what you read?

I have a guess that your answer will be pretty close to what mine was. If so, what it really comes down to is a set of personal preferences. If the T|X is working for you to your satisfaction, then by all means stick with it. What's important is that each of us find something that works for us. I'm just very pleased that the Reader has been added to the set of choices. Not because I think it's perfect, but because it's the best thing, for my needs, that I've seen in ~20 years of watching.
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Old 10-30-2006, 12:35 PM   #73
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I asked the V-P what he meant when he told me that Sony gave him no reasons, and his response was the following: they came in to market the device to us, they showed us how it worked, they let us handle it (and he, as you recall, kept one a few days to show it to me) and told us how important ebooks were. Well, he continued, we didn't need to be told that, we already knew it and were offering them, what we needed to know was whether it would be worth it TO US to spend time and money to make our offerings compatible with their device, especially since we knew that other devices were going to come on the market, and their response was to let us play with the devices.

We do agree on the matter of books, and if the books are more important and are offered in a non-Sony format, then we go with what will allow us to read what we want. Believe me, I want the Sony and other such readers to succeed because they are better than what I now use, but for me now such a purchase is premature, since I more than likely wouldn't use it.

By all means, however, let's keep the discussion going.

BTW, can you believe that ereader is now offering an idiot's guide to the ipod?
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Old 10-30-2006, 12:41 PM   #74
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NatCH - the reason that they showed it to libraries is that libraries may not sell things, but they do buy things. There are several libraries across the country that offer digital library copies. My GF in New York avails herself of this regularly. There are also libraries that have used ebookwise as a way to lend those digital copies to patrons who do not have an e-reading device. The library market could be a large purchasing block of Sony E-Readers.
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Old 10-30-2006, 01:02 PM   #75
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I asked the V-P what he meant when he told me that Sony gave him no reasons, and his response was the following: they came in to market the device to us, they showed us how it worked, they let us handle it (and he, as you recall, kept one a few days to show it to me) and told us how important ebooks were. Well, he continued, we didn't need to be told that, we already knew it and were offering them, what we needed to know was whether it would be worth it TO US to spend time and money to make our offerings compatible with their device, especially since we knew that other devices were going to come on the market, and their response was to let us play with the devices.
That does sound pretty bone-headed. They should have at least said something like "we expect these to be very popular and your patrons would find it really handy if your offerrings worked on these devices." Of course that would really only be saying that they're trying to get as much content available for as many sources as possible so that folks will see a greater need for buying the rascals. But they could have at least said that much.


Actually, I'm rather surprised that there is an "idiot's guide to the iPod" -- the advances they've made in idiots the last few years is simply staggering! Why, I remember when even a first-rate idiot could figure out an iPod without a whole book to explain it to him. Wait ... no, no I don't remember such a time.




Quote:
Originally Posted by da_jane
...the reason that they showed it to libraries is that libraries may not sell things, but they do buy things. There are several libraries across the country that offer digital library copies. My GF in New York avails herself of this regularly. There are also libraries that have used ebookwise as a way to lend those digital copies to patrons who do not have an e-reading device. The library market could be a large purchasing block of Sony E-Readers.
Wow, the idea that a library would be willing to lend out a $350 device to patrons simply never crossed my mind, but then the library system in Houston is so underfunded (don't get me started on the previous Mayor's shenanigans) that they can barely afford to loan books to anyone.

But now that you've pointed out the idea, Jane, I can certainly see its merit!
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