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Old 12-10-2006, 01:57 AM   #1
Azimuthal
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Thoughts about my sony reader

I love the concept behind the sony reader, as i'm currently serving in the navy, I don't always have access to paper copies of books i would like to read. After owning it only about a week and a half, i've gone through several classics that i acquired through gutenberg.org/manybooks.net.

Today i wanted to see what type of selection sony's connect service offered. I was very dissapointed, not only because there were very few books i was interested in, but also because they were, in most cases, equal in price or MORE EXPENSIVE than their paper counterparts (via amazon.com). this really amazed me, how does sony expect to create a market here? do any of you actually pay these prices? I know that i'm in a unique situation where it is actually worthwhile to have electronic versions of these books, but for the rest of you, what gives? do you just really love new technology? Surely you would prefer reading a paperbook than a 6 inch flashy screen?

I have several hundred ebooks on my computer -- many of which i can't read using sony reader because of format issues. Sure, the sony reader can display pdf, but don't expect to be able to read it. Also images present such a pain it's really not worth it. I'm really saddened by this product, i know sony could have done better making the software on the reader and also the connect software/website.

So if you're reading this, and you haven't bought one yet. research what you're buying, take a look at sony's connect site and ask to use one in store. if you plan to read a lot of gutenberg stuff i suppose this *might* be worth the price, but otherwise...
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Old 12-10-2006, 08:43 AM   #2
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Azimuthal -

First of all - thank you very much for your service in the Navy. I don't know where you are currently serving, but I really appreciate the sacrifices you are, undoubtedly, making.

Regarding the price of books - my overall impression has been that the prices are not so bad. I noticed some older books were really expensive, for example, if the book is in paperback, then it is much more on Connect. I didn't notice it as much in the case of bestsellers that are only out in hard cover. I need to check that out.

It might just be a case of my expectations, though. I had a Rocket e-Book and the prices of the books were outrageous. So, maybe Connect does not seem so bad just because of what I experienced with the Rocket.

Betty
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Old 12-10-2006, 09:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azimuthal
So if you're reading this, and you haven't bought one yet. research what you're buying, take a look at sony's connect site and ask to use one in store. if you plan to read a lot of gutenberg stuff i suppose this *might* be worth the price, but otherwise...
... but otherwise, there are many other sources of books apart from the "Connect" store and PG. It is, for example, trivial to convert any "LIT" file for use on the Reader, and there are a number of on-line bookstores which sell books in Microsoft Reader format.

If you're into SF and Fantasy, there's Baen, who publish stuff in open formats. (I'm a big fan of Baen, but since the death of Jim Baen they seem to have descended somewhat into publishing ultra-right-wing militaristic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, sado-masochistic, pornographic books such as "Ghost" which I find very unpleasant, but that's just a personal view).

Then there's the Usenet newsgroups. I'm not condoning piracy, but personally I feel no ethical qualms about reading a scanned version of a book I own as a paper book if it can't be legitimately bought as an e-book.

There are lots of sources of material to read. You just have to look around for it.
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Old 12-10-2006, 12:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT
.
If you're into SF and Fantasy, there's Baen, who publish stuff in open formats. (I'm a big fan of Baen, but since the death of Jim Baen they seem to have descended somewhat into publishing ultra-right-wing militaristic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, sado-masochistic, pornographic books such as "Ghost" which I find very unpleasant, but that's just a personal view).
Azimuthal, I don't entirely agree with the description of Baen'S site. Many of the authors there have served in the US military and write in that genre, but there are also many other styles. In addition, they have a "free Library" so you can try various authors to see if you like their style.

Also there are several sites where books in other formats (for which you can find conversion programs to convert to RTF) that are more reasonably priced than the Sony Connect. Keep looking and as said above, thanks for serving.
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Old 12-10-2006, 02:03 PM   #5
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'twas I who made that comment, slayda, and it's just a personal opinion. Let me stress that I'm a big fan of Baen - I've subscribed to every one of their monthly "webscriptions" since the outset, and shall continue to do so. I think they are one of the few publishers who do the "right thing" in publishing at sensible prices (US$15 for half a dozen books a month is pretty good value!) and in open formats.

Let me also stress that I am also a big fan of military SF - Jerry Pournelle, David Weber, and yes, even John Ringo; his "Posleen War" books are superb.

I do, however, think that he's slightly "lost it" with "Ghost" and its sequels, in that they have as their "hero" the most unlikeable central character since MacBeth , someone who says "I am a very unpleasant person, but I'm on the right side", and then goes on to prove just how deeply unpleasant he is with a series of scenes of explicit rape, sexual degradation, and wanton murder, while at the same time pushing what is to me a highly unpleasant ultra-right-wing political agenda.

I just find that set of books to be horrible (and if you read the reviews of them on "Amazon" you'll find that the majority of reviewers do to - one of them comments, of "Ghost", that "you read it with the same kind of sick fascination that makes you want to watch a horrific car crash").

I'm not kidding about the "S&M pornography" bit, by the way. "Ghost" consists of three connected short stories. The middle one of them is primarily a lengthy description of sado-masochistic sex - believe me when I say that this is not something you'd want a teenager or your elderly mother to read. Baen seriously need to warn potential buyers about the explicit sexual content of these books. I'm no "prude" but I was quite shocked by it. You might want to take a look at what the reviewers on "Amazon" have to say about it.

I am somewhat baffled why Baen, a publisher with a wonderful reputation for publishing excellent SF and fantasy, are churning out this stuff. Perhaps there's a market for it in the US, but I find it deeply disturbing. Nonetheless, I shall continue to buy everything Baen produces, but perhaps give Mr Ringo's future works a miss, or at least approach them with caution.

Last edited by HarryT; 12-10-2006 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 12-10-2006, 03:45 PM   #6
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Azimuthal, I too want to thank you for your service. Not too many things I respect as much as the sort of sacrifice you and your shipmates are making. Thank you.

I agree with Harry and Slayda about Baen's e-offerings, and I generally like John Ringo's work, but I've given Ghost and the rest of the "chooser of the slain" series a total miss too. I could tell from the cover blurbs that it was rather too graphic for me to enjoy. I'd commend his other works, and David Weber's in particular to you. I've found them to be very thoughful and thought provoking, as well as just really good reads. And hey, at $4~$6 each (if you buy them individually) for the ones that aren't in the free library, the prices are well within reasonable.

Yeah, the Connect store ... has a ways to go in getting its act together. They're working on adding new titles, but I think they need to focus some more resources on getting their current listings and interface up to snuff, both getting the prices in-line with the going rates (you've clearly found some of the ones that aren't ), and improving the function of the service (there are a number of areas that need work).

Fortunately, MobileRead has a pretty good collection of information, and a lot of workarounds for some of the more annoying bits. Maybe some of the info around here will help you get more out of your Reader. That seems to be one of the driving forces in the MR community, sharing usefull info.

BTW, welcome to MobileRead, we're very glad to have you.
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Old 12-10-2006, 05:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT
'twas I who made that comment, slayda, ...

I do, however, think that he's slightly "lost it" with "Ghost" and its sequels, in that they have as their "hero" the most unlikeable central character since MacBeth , someone who says "I am a very unpleasant person, but I'm on the right side", and then goes on to prove just how deeply unpleasant he is with a series of scenes of explicit rape, sexual degradation, and wanton murder, while at the same time pushing what is to me a highly unpleasant ultra-right-wing political agenda.

Harry, I have to admit to not reading Ghost. Also there are several, even in the Free Library, that don't look appealing. But as you & Nathan both said, there are good authors and very good books there. I'd add Wen Spencer, Elisabeth Moon & Andre Norton to your list of good authors.

Based on your recommendation (and Nathans) I will also probably forgo reading Ghost. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 12-10-2006, 06:04 PM   #8
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Dividing the CONNECT store into two parts -- the mechanical/software part and the content part will allow us to better shape our suggestions for their upgrade.

On the mechanical/software side they are at least a generation behind iTunes and most other online music stores. SInce the average book download is only 1/4 to 1/3 the size of a single song download, storage and bandwidth are not the problems. The site is just very awkward to get around in. It is a good beta site that just needs more refining and better ergonomics. I would think that having operated the music side of CONNECT for some time that the ebook side would be a snap. I was wrong.

Content (along with pricing) is another matter. Here I see a major change needed. While I have dismissed (in my mind) many of the problems as simply being the new kid on the block, it is becoming more clear day-by-day that the content problems run far deeper than the mechanical/software problems. For example pricing is corrected on a title one day and later the old price comes back and stays. Ebooks are at times priced higher than the same title in hard back from Amazon delivered. (I am a member of Amazon Prime so shipping is free.) A new release, "The Tao of Warren Buffett", is an example of this pricing inversion. Since the CONNECT site sells products that work only with the Sony Reader there should not be conflicts with publishers over agreements they may have with other sites. Should we already be getting paranoid that Amazon has exclusive agreements with certain publishers for certain works that will be available only in ebook formats for ebook readers sold by Amazon?

On the whole I love the Reader and would (and did) buy it again.

Azimuthal, I echo the expressions before, thank you for your service to this country.
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Old 12-10-2006, 06:54 PM   #9
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I've got to say, you've really got a messed up interpretation of events if you think that the Ghost (first book of Paladin of Shadows) was published after Jim Baen's death. Considering that Jim Baen himself (as well as several barflies) encouraged John Ringo to write the first of the Paladin of Shadows book back in 2005. The series was written with a specific audience in mind, mainly one that only differs from those that read romance novels in the specific that it was to be nominally male. In fact the first 3 of the sieres were post editing prior to Jim Baen's death. Most of the releases this year were in to the publisher prior to Jim's death.

Looking at their current scheduled releases for the next six months or so they're hardly the "ultra-right-wing militaristic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, sado-masochistic, pornographic books" you claim them to be. The whole "ultra-right-wing militaristic" part might be true, but Baen began publishing stories that could be claimed to be that way back in the 1980s with David Drake.

If you want to critize them then do so, by saying they publish books you do not like. Don't come down on the current management because truthfully they aren't the ones who signed the contract for the book series you don't like.

Jeb


Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT
... but otherwise, there are many other sources of books apart from the "Connect" store and PG. It is, for example, trivial to convert any "LIT" file for use on the Reader, and there are a number of on-line bookstores which sell books in Microsoft Reader format.

If you're into SF and Fantasy, there's Baen, who publish stuff in open formats. (I'm a big fan of Baen, but since the death of Jim Baen they seem to have descended somewhat into publishing ultra-right-wing militaristic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, sado-masochistic, pornographic books such as "Ghost" which I find very unpleasant, but that's just a personal view).

Then there's the Usenet newsgroups. I'm not condoning piracy, but personally I feel no ethical qualms about reading a scanned version of a book I own as a paper book if it can't be legitimately bought as an e-book.

There are lots of sources of material to read. You just have to look around for it.
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Old 12-11-2006, 03:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taralon
If you want to critize them then do so, by saying they publish books you do not like. Don't come down on the current management because truthfully they aren't the ones who signed the contract for the book series you don't like.

Jeb
Hi Jeb,

Fair enough - my mistake. I only read "Ghost" in the current "Webscriptions" offering but I see now that it's a re-issue; I didn't read it the 1st time around.

It's precisely because I'm such a big fan of Baen that I was so shocked by this. I normally very much enjoy everything they publish, and this is a radical (in every sense of the word) departure from their normal output, both in terms of its explicit sexual content and its overtly political slant.
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