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View Poll Results: How do you evaluate the current state of e-books?
It's a big disappointment for various reasons 4 4.35%
It's still at the crack of dawn and has all chances to become mainstream 84 91.30%
It'll always be a niche player only accessible to technophiles 4 4.35%
Voters: 92. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-27-2005, 06:01 AM   #1
Colin Dunstan
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E-book publishing is doomed - or not? [A 2005 thread]

Self-proclaimed paper-book lover David Coursey from ExtremeTech explained in a recent column why e-book publishing, in his opinion, will always be a sore loser. I am not surprised about his conclusion given that he believes, for instance, that e-books have to be short to be enjoyable... One reader responsed to his essay arguing that e-books offer "a way to live life without losing it, make studying seem like a game, and be able to do it by yourself without draining the resources of anyone that you're fortunate enough to have helping you."

We are interested in your opinion. On what side of the e-book debate do you stand? Do e-books make you merry or do they make your skin creep?
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Old 05-27-2005, 06:22 AM   #2
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I love ebooks, and don't read anyway other way now.

It sounds to me like Mr Coursey needs to broaden his experiences before making such blind statements. Sites like Fictionwise, eReader and Amazon amongst others are doing quite well, and ebook sales are growing at a very pleasing rate. As the market continues to grow, and reader hardware matures (and gets cheaper), I'm sure we'll see ebooks achieve an equal place of their own, alongside hard covers and trade paperbacks.

Craig.
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Old 05-27-2005, 07:16 AM   #3
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Here's the article that counters Mr. Coursey's article:
http://www.pdfzone.com/article2/0,1759,1817325,00.asp

It seemed to me, after reading the article, that Mr. Coursey really isn't that familiar with the technology. He didn't even list the ability to carry many different books as an advantage of the ebook. Plus questioning the length of ebooks was absolutely ridiculous. Why he feels that ebooks need to be short is beyond me.

I love ebooks. I have over sixteen on my Axim right now and I paid for the yearly Fictionwise subscription because I buy so many ebooks. The only traditional books that I buy are ones that can't be found on ebooks. I'm also a huge fan of Zinio as well and can't wait for "electronic reading" to really expand and become more popular.
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Old 05-27-2005, 10:30 AM   #4
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I'm finding this entire debate to be silly and pointless.

My preference for reading will still be books, but particularly for nice, durable hardcovers that I'm going to want to keep for a long time. For my technical titles (I think I've bought Tim O'Reilly a yacht by now), a paper book is a lot faster to leaf through and study than any e-book I've tried.

There are two applications of e-books that have been very successful for me. In the first instance, a lot of older titles that no longer remain in print. There's a lot of old pulp material surfacing on the usual channels, and even a fair amount of Burroughs and Howard that just don't get into print very often.

In the second instance, I have a number of old paperbacks of a 60's and 70's vintage; they have really crappy glue binding that has dried up and become brittle. I scanned them into pdf files (4x7" at 300dpi, not too shabby), and they display very nicely on the 800x470 7" screen my Intermec 6651 has. All the usual advantages of taking less space apply, and the Intermec is about as portably as any trade paperback.

In the last two years I've played around with this though, there are three very serious problems with e-books today. 1 and 2 are the DRM issue and the short lifespan of proprietary file formats. It's one thing not to be able to read a $5 magazine ten years from now, but a $15 book is entirely another matter. 3rd is the incredibly piss-poor proof-reading job many books get.
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Old 05-27-2005, 12:08 PM   #5
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I think that, right now, eBooks are too cutting edge for the masses. Most people with access to computers tend to forget that most people don't have access to computers, less still to online access, less still to the technical know-how to navigate and negotiate the various formats and whatever.

50-75 years from now, eBooks and digital media will be so ubiquitous that people then will wonder why we squabbled at all with all our various formats. Every book at the library will be available for download, magazine and book publishers will sell digital content, with paper products being the minority. The hardware readers will be given away in cereal boxes and be almost disposable. Schools will upload the various texts and assignments to some server or something and all the kid'll have to do is just download the texts to their laptops or whatever. Gone will be the days of kids with back problems from humping all those books and the market for kids' backpacks with travel wheels will shrivel up.

But right now we're feeling the growing pains of this emerging market.
POL9A

P.S. I don't think it'll take 50-75 years for the technology to catch on, just that by that time it'll be absolutely everywhere.
POL9A

Last edited by Pride Of Lions; 05-27-2005 at 12:10 PM. Reason: Clarification.
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Old 05-27-2005, 03:26 PM   #6
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I love reading ebooks and have read hundreds over the last few years. I have been a subscriber at Baen, mobipocket, Ebooks.com(formerly peanut reader) and Fictionwise for years. I have several different ebook publishers and websites book marked so that I can peruse them for new titles on a weekly or daily basis. I have several books in both paper and ebook format. I have the ebooks with me for quick reference and rereading. I have over 100 books with me at any given time (yes, I do have large SD disks that I fill with titles.) I have bought ebooks for the old rocket reader, the hiebook and my palm. I have adobe,ebookreader, mobipocket and TiBR as well as wordsmith as readers for various formats and have books in each format. I have three books open at any given time so I can read different types of books depending on my mood. when I go out of town, I don't carry a large bag full of books to read, just my palm T3. I have also downloaded various lawbooks on my palm as well since I am a lawyer and find them easy to reference in court rather than carrying 10 lbs of books and my files.
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:05 AM   #7
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E-books also breath new life into old literature that is no longer published in hard copy.
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:51 AM   #8
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It's the story that counts, rather than the way in which it is presented (electronically or paper).
But the publishers have still to 'learn' that the quality of formatting, in an electronic environment, should be as high as that in the paper.
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:10 PM   #9
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Ok peoples, this article, poll and post are over 5 years old.

Your time is your own concern, but I recommend you ignore the Lazarus Thread.
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Old 01-26-2011, 05:35 PM   #10
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It is my firm belief that electronic books will follow the photography's lead. We used to have photographs printed, whether they were good or not, then threw away the pictures where your thumb covered Aunt Ida's head. Now our pictures are digital and we only print those we really, really want printed. Books will be almost entirely digital. Those which are printed won't be cheap paperbacks or hardbacks, but special editions meant to grace a coffee table or office bookcase. Books are going digital and it's going to happen sooner than even most ebook lovers realize.
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Old 01-26-2011, 06:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdav View Post
E-books also breath new life into old literature that is no longer published in hard copy.
You must do penance for this sin (resurrecting a 5 year old thread).

You must say 120 "Our DeDRM Tools" and 150 "Hail Baens".
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:39 AM   #12
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Sorry Clever, I'm a bit new here. Visited your lovely city many times on the way to visit my sisters in Vancouver. Anyway, I will vacate this thread immediately.
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:05 PM   #13
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e-books aren't going anywhere anytime soon. The next step would be to download books into the brain, and that's a long way off. As e-readers and tablets become cheaper, which is what happens with all technology, the more acceptable the form will become. Plus the rise of independent authors will have a profound effect on the market. The famous authors will continue to thrive, the independent authors will find their niche, and the ones in the middle, the ones who don't have the name recognition, will probably sink to the independent's status but will not have the independent's control. In other words, the haves will still have and everyone else will hope to join them, but e-readers will play an intricate part.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:03 AM   #14
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Point taken, Kali, but I really did find another look at this oldie fascinating -- the way potential was so underestimed such a short time ago. Also interesting to see from the posters' device choices that all opionion expressed was so obviously pre-Kindle and the general boost that sparked (kindled) general ebook popularity. Like it or lump it, Kindle really got the ball roling and introduced millions to the ebook concept and experience. A similar thread today would be so very different in predictions made based on recent realities and phenominal growth. Very best. Neil
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Old 02-01-2011, 03:11 AM   #15
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Yes, Neil, reading these kind of ancient threads can be fun, some kind of "what if" in reverse
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