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Old 10-30-2006, 01:04 PM   #76
yvanleterrible
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Libraries invest in everything that concerns the written word. Remember microfilm?
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Old 10-30-2006, 02:59 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by yvanleterrible
Remember microfilm?
With great mourning.

But they don't ordinarily lend the stuff out.
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Old 10-30-2006, 03:48 PM   #78
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@bowerbird,

I love your vision of the future of publishing (which is no surprise, given my post on alternatives to traditional publishers last week). However, I'd like to make two comments:

1 - If you rate books on Amazon (usually books that you've bought, but not necessarily), or add them to your wishlist, Amazon starts recommending books that you might like based on those ratings, and I have to say they've made some excellent recommendations from my point of view -- stuff that I like a lot, that I would probably not have read (or even noticed) otherwise. This feature has come a long way in the last year or so.

2 - I think there's value in occasionally looking at something that doesn't match your usual profile. In David Brin's Earth, one of the main characters has a custom news/email filter written which makes sure she occasionally sees news items completely off her usual preferences (as well as a portion of email from her detractors as well as supporters -- she gets a ton of email, being an internationally known figure of some notoriety). This struck me as a really good idea at the time, and still does. Otherwise, I could see us stagnating into separate "silos" (or "phyles" if you like Stephenson's term better) of readers all over the world-- the 241 readers of your book may have formed a wonderful worldwide family, but that doesn't necessarily mean they should be avoiding communicating with anyone else in the world, I'm sure you would agree.

Just a couple of thoughts....
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Old 10-30-2006, 04:07 PM   #79
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I was trying to put that very thought together last week, nekokami, and couldn't manage it, thanks!
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:23 PM   #80
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nekokami said:
> If you rate books on Amazon (usually books that you've bought,
> but not necessarily), or add them to your wishlist, Amazon starts
> recommending books that you might like based on those ratings

nekokami, i didn't know that, so thanks for telling me! :+)


> and I have to say they've made some excellent recommendations
> from my point of view -- stuff that I like a lot, that I would probably
> not have read (or even noticed) otherwise. This feature has come
> a long way in the last year or so.

and that doesn't surprise me in the slightest, because amazon
certainly has enough data to make collaborative-filtering work.

one problem, though, is that _they_ have your data, and you don't.
so you can't take it elsewhere, to another system, for suggestions.

of course, that's the kind of "lock-in" that every business _wants_.
it's just not in our own best interest to actually _give_ it to them...

but that's a problem we're having all over cyberspace, most notably
with google and the other search engines, and the data they have...


> I think there's value in occasionally looking at something that
> doesn't match your usual profile.

most definitely. otherwise you might end up like president bush,
only hearing what you want to hear.

and _any_ collaborative-filtering system _can_ build this feature in.
and the good ones _will_, if only because they know that it is _only_
by having a prediction disconfirmed that the system becomes smarter.

one way a disconfirmation can take place is if you don't like something
that it thought you would like. the much harder case, however, is when
you _do_ like something that it predicted that you would _not_ like, since
you're less likely to have chosen to consume the thing in the first place.

so you have to "try" some of that stuff anyway, just to _see_ if you like it.

kinda like trying food that you've never liked in the past, just to ensure
that you _still_ don't like it. the important thing to keep in mind here is
that tastes toward content are likely much less stable than tastes in food.

so yes, the system has to be built from the perspective that your tastes
might change as time goes on -- indeed, are almost certain to change;
so a good amount of "experimentation" should be programmed in...

unfortunately, no system can _force_ a person to consume something
which they would rather not, so the best it can do is make suggestions.

***

but notice, if you will, how the original "problem" -- that we will be
overwhelmed by so much unenjoyable garbage that we won't be able
to find the "needles in the haystack" -- has been turned on its head,
such that now we're worried that we'll be handed so many "needles"
that we don't bother to look though the "haystack" any more at all...

so if the self-published stuff really is garbage, it will be sorted out,
cleanly and efficiently, without ruining our access to the good stuff.

so the original problem wasn't any problem at all!
in fact, we will be having the _opposite_ problem!

bottom-line: we don't need publishers to be our "screens" any more.

-bowerbird

Last edited by bowerbird; 10-30-2006 at 11:26 PM. Reason: to correct a typo
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Old 11-04-2006, 09:09 AM   #81
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowerbird
but notice, if you will, how the original "problem" -- that we will be
overwhelmed by so much unenjoyable garbage that we won't be able
to find the "needles in the haystack" -- has been turned on its head,
such that now we're worried that we'll be handed so many "needles"
that we don't bother to look though the "haystack" any more at all...
Well put. I have exactly that problem in big bookstores now: So many titles crammed into the shelves, neck cramps from craning my head sideways to read all those spines, uninformative (or uninteresting) titles, generic cover art. The bookstore has become my "haystack," life is too short, and I'm losing interest in digging through it for those few needles!

What I long for are the days when a bookstore clerk knew me and my interests, and knew his stock, so he could point out material that he thinks I'd like, but wouldn't necessarily find without his advice. If I can get that by some online means, yes, I would spend a lot less time digging through the haystacks, and I might miss some needles.

But honestly, I'd consider it a worthwhile risk.

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 11-06-2006 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 11-05-2006, 02:21 PM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowerbird
one problem, though, is that _they_ have your data, and you don't. so you can't take it elsewhere, to another system, for suggestions.
Agreed. Unfortunately, lots of people have to give their data to *some* kind of system to get the recommendations we want. I suppose one way to make this better would be to have some kind of format you could extract your preferences in (something in XML, probably) that you could use to upload to some other source (or hold privately).

Actually, it might be possible to take a booklist on your own system and repeatedly ping the Amazon (or other) site, looking for recommendations, parse them out of the HTML, then compile them locally. I was thinking about this a while back when I bought a copy of ReaderWare (a program that lets you scan the ISBN codes off of books that have them and looks up all kinds of great data on them). Amazon has an interface used by affiliates, I just haven't had time to look into how to do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowerbird
but notice, if you will, how the original "problem" -- that we will be overwhelmed by so much unenjoyable garbage that we won't be able to find the "needles in the haystack" -- has been turned on its head, such that now we're worried that we'll be handed so many "needles" that we don't bother to look though the "haystack" any more at all...
That's a problem I'm willing to try to live with!
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Old 01-05-2010, 07:14 PM   #83
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Adobe Digital Editions

I just see this as another way to limit distribution of electronic books in yet another effort to crush Amazon. Why we're just not all allowed to use whatever format we're comfortable with is beyond me. Why one has to "win" is just crazy. Let the publishers provide the electronic files and let the distributors figure out what format their readers want to use. This is all just crazy!!!

I just recently purchased a book only available in Adobe Digital edition only to find that (a) I could only read it if I had a Sony reader or (b) was willing to sit and read it on my computer or (c) read the teeny, tiny screen on my BlackBerry. So - this is not an easier technology for ebooks it's actually more restrictive than just purchasing an ordinary PDF and converting it to .mobi. And now I can't get my $5.99 back for the book I bought
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