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Old 06-15-2010, 11:48 AM   #1
Mikewolf
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Are eBooks Moving to the Clouds (and Will Google Dominate)?

I look at this in my most recent article at elitzr.

The genesis for my piece was the recent article at Futurebook that looks at Google's cloud-centric approach and suggests it may be a sustainable competitive advantage for Google.

I tend to think Amazon, Apple and others will eventually adjust, and Amazon in particular will not hesitate to make the Kindle app and store a "service" that can be consumed in the clouds.

What do you think?
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:28 PM   #2
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If Google can convince publishers to put their books in the cloud in HTML5, and provide for offline (cached) downloading/reading then haven't they basically convinced publishers to abandon DRM? In which case, almost everyone wins?
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:40 PM   #3
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I think Google are more likely to require you to be online at the time of reading, with some app running in a browser. It won't just be html, people would save it and convert it to epub or whatever they need for their ebook reader. It will be like the book preview thing they have now.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:51 PM   #4
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If the books are free, I'm willing (but not necessarily happily willing) to have them stored in the cloud.

But if I have to pay for the book, then I want it in my hands not Google or Amazon's hands, and I want to be able to read it on the device of my choice, which excludes my computer.

However, if technology insists that I must buy the books and access them through the cloud, then I will simply put my money in the bank rather than buy any more books. I already own more books than I will ever be able to read before I die and I keep adding to that pile.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:59 PM   #5
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If the books are free, I'm willing (but not necessarily happily willing) to have them stored in the cloud.

But if I have to pay for the book, then I want it in my hands not Google or Amazon's hands, and I want to be able to read it on the device of my choice, which excludes my computer.

However, if technology insists that I must buy the books and access them through the cloud, then I will simply put my money in the bank rather than buy any more books. I already own more books than I will ever be able to read before I die and I keep adding to that pile.
I pretty much agree with this.

Unless they're planning to do something like Kobo does. They usually have three formats (you get all of them with your purchase) web which would be the 'cloud' I guess, mobile which downloads to their proprietary app's (this could be made a cloud format too I suppose) and ePub (usually Adept restricted). If Google were to offer books in the cloud, but also some type of downloadable format similar to Kobo I'd probably be interested.

I'm definitely not interested if it'll be similar to the free reads some publishers offer on their websites.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:15 PM   #6
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@kjk - I don't think DRM and cloud/browser centric viewing are mutually exclusive. Today you see video delivered through browser, and all the premium quality stuff is DRM'd (example is Hulu, etc). Even that which is sent through Google video sites, like YouTube, where its a premium/studio driven product, it has DRM on it.

I think books will be similar. Sure, offline caching and nearly universal signin from any device will make it seem seamless, but no doubt, the consumer won't be able to copy and paste the book into a word doc, for example, and send to 100 friends.

That said, I still think cloud/browser centric viewing will likely win, and Amazon will be right there with Google.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:24 PM   #7
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I pretty much agree with this.

I'm definitely not interested if it'll be similar to the free reads some publishers offer on their websites.
As in the steaming piles of you know what that all those paranoid crappy font flash applications are?

Having a read online option a la webscriptions is a great thing - if that is all there and it is worse than looking at it in a browser, it would want to be very cheap.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:24 PM   #8
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@kjk - I don't think DRM and cloud/browser centric viewing are mutually exclusive. Today you see video delivered through browser, and all the premium quality stuff is DRM'd (example is Hulu, etc). Even that which is sent through Google video sites, like YouTube, where its a premium/studio driven product, it has DRM on it.

I think books will be similar. Sure, offline caching and nearly universal signin from any device will make it seem seamless, but no doubt, the consumer won't be able to copy and paste the book into a word doc, for example, and send to 100 friends.

That said, I still think cloud/browser centric viewing will likely win, and Amazon will be right there with Google.
Possibly. I still think getting people to accept that they don't "own" a copy of their book (like music) is a tough sell for the masses.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:26 PM   #9
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Quite apart from it being a new account punting for another sub-standard, badly designed blog, this nonsense is getting old. The "cloud" movement being pushed to take away even our current minimal rights by a certain sub-section of the corporatist movement is foundering, and rightly, on users wanting at least some degree of control over their purchases.

The "cloud" is great for processing, but lousy for privacy, backups, offline working and any number of other issues which actually concern users. The way forward is Baens, not stripping user's rights further and demanding they be online to read!


kjk - People will pay rental prices for a rental. Or rather, if the prices are not rental, the darknet benefits.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:48 PM   #10
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Quite apart from it being a new account punting for another sub-standard, badly designed blog, this nonsense is getting old. The "cloud" movement being pushed to take away even our current minimal rights by a certain sub-section of the corporatist movement is foundering, and rightly, on users wanting at least some degree of control over their purchases.

The "cloud" is great for processing, but lousy for privacy, backups, offline working and any number of other issues which actually concern users. The way forward is Baens, not stripping user's rights further and demanding they be online to read!


kjk - People will pay rental prices for a rental. Or rather, if the prices are not rental, the darknet benefits.
First - Not sure why DawnFalcon resorts to insults. I'd like to see your well-designed blog before you start hurling those around. Please include a link in your response.

On the your more relevant comment - the cloud movement isn't being pushed due to some dark conspiracy to take away your rights. Cloud computing is, quite simply, a large-scale shift of computing away from desktop and single-server centric to abstracting the compute towards multiple, virtualized instances that is an order of magnitude more efficient than the way computing has worked in the past.

From a consumer standpoint, pervasive broadband has allowed more content to be stored in the cloud, and the move to HTML5 enables offline caching so you aren't cut off from your content when, if by chance, you're cut off to your broadband. Read up on HTML5 (better yet - if you used Google Gears, which is being replaced by HTML5 by Google for their offline caching), and you'll see you aren't "required to be online to read".

Again, much better deal, something most consumers would agree with.

Dark conspiracy theories aside, pushing content into the cloud the future, might as well embrace it.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:55 PM   #11
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On the your more relevant comment - the cloud movement isn't being pushed due to some dark conspiracy to take away your rights.
Whether it is the intention or not, it can have that effect.
If you have 'bought' a book from Google and it is stored by Google, they can simply choose to remove your access to it. Amazon have remotely deleted a book from Kindles, Fictionwise no longer allow redownloads of some titles that were previously available, as they are now covered by geo-restrictions that did not exist previously, and so on.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:56 PM   #12
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The only "cloud" service I guess I really use is Netflix's Watch Instantly thing, and that is only because it came free with my Netflix account And, to tell the truth, I'm never sure if the movie I put on my queue today will still be there tomorrow to stream, given the weird rights/expiring situation that occurs from time to time.

If books were like that, it would drive me batty, because I re-read many of them on a consistent basis.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:58 PM   #13
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Whether it is the intention or not, it can have that effect.
If you have 'bought' a book from Google and it is stored by Google, they can simply choose to remove your access to it. Amazon have remotely deleted a book from Kindles, Fictionwise no longer allow redownloads of some titles that were previously available, as they are now covered by geo-restrictions that did not exist previously, and so on.
But DRM and cloud-computing are separate issues. The Kindle rights being pulled had nothing to do with cloud computing. If you push more content into the cloud, sure it can disappear or rights can be pulled, and same for content downloaded but local-resident.

I just don't see the conspiracy around cloud-computing and DRM being tied together.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:58 PM   #14
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Mike;

I don't know if you're a paid shill or not. Frankly, I don't care when you're a new account promoting a blog and making precisely the same tired corporatist arguments about needing to remove user rights.

Cloud computing is inefficient for many uses. Processing speed advances faster than bandwidth prices fall - only for tasks involving a considerable degree of computing power (such as rendering farms) does it make sense now to offload tasks to a "cloud" at the end of a long internet connection, and the business case for it will never be better than todays!

There is a case for a local distributed mesh network, but that is NOT the cloud as currently envisioned.

Storing "content" in the cloud is an entirely different use case and no more and no less than taking content out of consumer hands and adding additional restrictions on its usage, without an appropriate price drop. Most consumers are not going to agree to that. All you're doing is, indirectly, chearleading the darknet.

HTML5 is a red herring, HTML5/CSS3 is all about empowering web designers at the expense of everyone else. To quote reddit's CSS3 dev:

"Perhaps the biggest annoyance with CSS3 is the need to define multiple properties multiple times. Each rendering engine seems to have its own prefix for most everything, so you have to do a lot of copy and paste coding."

That's your future, right there.
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Old 06-15-2010, 02:04 PM   #15
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But DRM and cloud-computing are separate issues. The Kindle rights being pulled had nothing to do with cloud computing. If you push more content into the cloud, sure it can disappear or rights can be pulled, and same for content downloaded but local-resident.

I just don't see the conspiracy around cloud-computing and DRM being tied together.
No, I agree. There are two issues-DRM, and cloud computing.

I think my concern is how cloud-computing is being *used* as another form of DRM-by basically letting someone else hold onto my purchased content for me to use whenever I want.

But, I'll stipulate that I'm old-fashioned that way-I never wanted to use subscription music services like Microsoft's Plays for Sure, or Yahoo Music, or even Spotify, which sounds nifty.
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