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Hearst To Launch E-Reader For Newspapers

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the years-too-late dept.

The Media 143

thefickler writes "The credit crisis couldn't have come at a worse time for newspapers, which were already suffering at the hands of the Internet. Now it seems that the Hearst Corporation is planning to launch an e-reader later this year to try to save its dwindling newspaper readerships. Apparently the e-reader will have a bigger screen than the Kindle, helping it to accommodate ads. It's not clear whether Hearst will go it alone, or try to gather wider industry support for its venture. As one pundit observed, 'it seems a slender thread on which to hang the entire American newspaper industry.'"

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Free Wikipedia Access? (3, Funny)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 4 years ago | (#27030905)

Yeah, but will it have free Wikipedia Access [xkcd.com] ?

A much more pressing question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031251)

Will there be titty?

Re:A much more pressing question (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032457)

Sure, why not? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Free Wikipedia Access? (2, Informative)

Mista2 (1093071) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032221)

I was wondering, could a newspaper sell ther editions on Amazon? If so, they could still charge their normal rate but by bypassing all the messy printing delivering and recycling, wouldn't they need fewer or no ads? Also as all of your Amazon books are still available for you to download even after you have deleted them from the Kindle, you could still go back and read stuff that is older, and not have to worry about all that paper left lying around the house 8)
Mybe there should be another class of download for the kindle, the kindle-cast! Browse an RSS feed to know when new editions are ready to read, download them, and keep only the latest two or three. then delete the rest.
Shit, I should patent this idea now and stop anyone actually doing it.

Re:Free Wikipedia Access? (2, Funny)

OolimPhon (1120895) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033207)

and not have to worry about all that paper left lying around the house 8)

I don't think putting a kindle under the parrot is going to do the kindle much good...

Re:Free Wikipedia Access? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034423)

This post should be modded entertaining. There is nothing intrinsic to the post that is funny.

The joy of flipping pages? (5, Informative)

txoof (553270) | more than 4 years ago | (#27030907)

After borrowing a Kindle I for a weekend, I'm almost sold on the device, but not quite. The screen quality was simply amazing. The only thing I can't quite get over is that the sensory experience is very, very bland. I don't know if all the cool technology can win me over with the lack of a more sensory-rich experience.

I was simply amazed at how clear the epaper screen was and how easy it was to read in almost any light. If the light was adequate for reading a book, the kindle did great. The button layout was weak and I kept changing the page when I didn't want to. At least the update was speedy. I just can't quite get into a book on the Kindle the way I get into a real book. The rough feel of the pages, the smell of old binding glue, or the waft of a woman's perfume in a library book are great. Even the sound of turning a page, or the satisfying crackle of the fabric binding on a brand new hard cover are fantastic.

Similarly, the smell of newsprint and the act of folding and unfolding each section is very much tied up in my overall experience of reading the paper. I don't think that any e-reader, no matter the spiffy features, could replace all that.

On the other hand, I could probably learn to love an e-reader for other reasons. For example, the mass of paper waiting to be recycled in the corner of my kitchen would not be missed. I love the idea that distributing news paper electronically would save thousands of tons of trees, CO2 emissions and eventual landfill space.

If the Hurst e-reader is easy to use, inexpensive and isn't as locked down as the Kindle, I would give it a chance. I would even consider switching my subscriptions to full-week instead of Sunday only if they were cheaper and I didn't have to haul off 3 tons of newsprint each week. I hope it actually makes it to the market at a price well under $300.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (0, Redundant)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#27030985)

Even the sound of turning a page, or the satisfying crackle of the fabric binding on a brand new hard cover are fantastic

For me, the good thing in turning pages, at least in reference books, is how your "favorites" end being implanted into the book structure itself. All my reference books open automatically in the pages I need most frequently.

But what will really convert me to ebooks someday when the cost comes down is the volume of data. The conversion factor from digital books to bookshelf space is roughly two megabytes / centimeter. A 2GB SD card will hold ten meters of bookshelf, how's that, maybe a Library of Congress per gym bag?

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032311)

I smell a new volume unit: The gym bag.

So how many gym bags fit in a olympic-sized swimming pool?
And how many of those fit in a SydHarb (Sydney Harbour)?

Who updates http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_strange_units_of_measurement [wikipedia.org] ?
The hogshead is missing too.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (2, Funny)

Your Pal Dave (33229) | more than 4 years ago | (#27034251)

I smell a new volume unit: The gym bag.

No, that's just your sneakers in there.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (4, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031029)

There's certainly a big break in the very practice reading with the advent of digital media. People growing up today perhaps less concerned about the smell of the paper, the feel of the binding and so forth as you mention. But it's not just that. Traditions of typography have been eroded now that a lot of publishers are allowing layout to be done with word processors like Microsoft Word instead of a real typesetting engine, with IMO a severe loss of readability and aesthetic craft.

Nonetheless, I myself travel most of the year, so carting around a lot of books isn't possible, but reading off my notebook screen isn't so pleasant (and I'm always chasing AC power sources). Now that the Kindle 2 [amazon.com] has been released, I may get one. But it sucks to be a member of a generation torn between older traditions and these newfangled devices.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (2, Informative)

coryking (104614) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031797)

Traditions of typography have been eroded now that a lot of publishers are allowing layout to be done with word processors like Microsoft Word

Most content is written in a language that only lets you suggest which font to be used, let alone manage fancier things like kerning. You blame Word for the erosion of typography, I'll blame HTML. At least Word has a notion of "columns" and content flow. HTML doesn't even do columns, at least by name.

reading off my notebook screen isn't so pleasant

Two factors are at play:

1) The DPI of your screen is still to small. While I dont have anything to back it up, the last thinkpad I used has a DPI of about 100 or so. The desktop LCD I'm looking at is about 73. Neither is close to what a printer can do--600 DPI or more.

2) Back in Windows XP, the only way to "make the font bigger" on that 100DPI thinkpad was to scale the font or run at a non-native resolution. Either option made your display look like shit.

Vista and OSX (I think) let you change the DPI, which makes a *huge* difference. You can keep your windows looking "normal" and reap the benefits of a higher DPI monitor instead of the hacks you had to do in XP.

Bottom line is reading on your notebook screen sucks because the DPI sucks. Wait a few more years when we get 300 DPI screens and we can talk :-)

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031901)

Bottom line is reading on your notebook screen sucks because the DPI sucks. Wait a few more years when we get 300 DPI screens and we can talk :-)

On modern displays with a modern OS (not XP), reading text is an easy, pleasant experience. I do it all day (sigh). Even the eInk readers are only 160 DPI (the Iliad, IIRC). The higher contrast is nice. The lack of a backlight on most of the readers isn't nice though.

Every time one of these threads shows up, I go over to the Iliad site and stare a little longer. I just can't get myself to buy YADD (Yet Another Digital Device). With anywhere between three and five laptops in the house, a tower, two cell phones and a random PDA I think it's time to call it quits....

Just load up a couple books on the MacBook and call it a day.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034387)

I find cleartype (on XP) to be far better than a wide range of other font engines. Am I doing it wrong?

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034481)

E-reader, hmm, ever sat on a paperback you where looking, or the TV remote, or even a cell phone. At $359 an e-reader is just way to expensive, it has to achieve disposable prices to survive let alone get past the issue of just way too many devices. The closest in reality that most people will get to an e-reader is a netbook with a rotating touch screen display along the lines of http://www.cnet.com.au/laptops/laptops/0,239035649,339294108,00.htm [cnet.com.au] .

In a depression a mass market product like a newspaper has to be sufficiently cheap that it reaches the majority of it's target audience and make that audience available to advertisers, prices range from free to at most a couple of dollars ie. pocket change. An e-reader for the majority on a very limited income is completely unrealistic and sounds more like a desperate bid by the current executive team to bleed off as much of the shareholders remaining value in the company before the doors are finally shut or the shareholders wake up and remove the current way overpaid executive team and replace them with people who can adapt to internet publishing.

Oddly enough the print industry is likely to do a little better in the depression even in light of falling advertising revenues. As people wind back on their expenditures, cut back on internet access fees, don't buy a new computer, cancel cable TV, avoid expensive software and end up spending on the news the only thing they can afford, pocket change. After all newspaper often has many diverse money saving uses after you have read it, perhaps they are better off promoting those uses than spending money on expensive digital readers.

E-Readers have a definite niche. (5, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031253)

As an academic, an author, and an editor, I basically spend most of my life reading. I'm probably as close as you can get to a professional reader.

And I have fallen in love with the ugly, locked-down device that is the Kindle. I know this empirically because I am reading much more on my Kindle than I off of it. The experience of reading in modern society overflows the mere pages of a book and includes things like transportability, capacity, and cost.

Kindle wins hands-down on all three. Kindle books are damned cheap in comparison to print and even to other e-book formats and Kindle's capacity is more than enough to carry an unwieldy library with you at all times. It's also very thin and very light, much moreso than most serious books of any heft.

In comparison to other devices, Kindle offers unique benefits. I am amongst those that have read serious works on my smartphone, anything from Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls to the Journal of Housing Economics.

Reading on a smartphone always feels as though it is a matter of necessity. "I am reading this here because at the moment my mobility needs ensure that there are no other options." The moment it is possible to put down the phone and "switch" to the print copy, you do; you don't stare at that tiny screen any longer than is necessary.

Laptops require more physical interaction than you want to engage in when you're reading a 1,000 page tome. To read on a laptop you have to sit up, stare in one direction, operate a scroll wheel each time you want to see the next page (or click, or drag, or reach out and press a key). You can't "lounge about" on large pieces of soft furniture, adjusting your position as bits of you become overcompressed or uncomfortable. Laptops are fine for a little light reading, but they fail miserably for long stretches.

Finally, the problem of the book. Yes, books are substantively different from e-readers. At the same time, I think that the advantages of the book address a need beyond mere reading. There are certain books that one wants on one's shelf, as a presence, a kind of authority that descends from materiality. A book is not virtual, not ephemeral; it doesn't feel as though it can be deleted. Books that are thus very important to one's identity or to one's very life practices are likely always to be bought and kept as books, so that they're present, visible, can be experienced bodily, with a kind of tactility that encompasses all of the senses, that makes the book more a part of you.

Not all kinds of reading imply this level of commitment, though. In fact, I'd suggest that for most professional readers like myself, most don't. You don't particularly care whether you ever see a given nonfiction paperback again in your life; your goal is merely to read it, ingest what you can, and move on. If it turns out to revolutionize your life by the time you've arrived at the last page, you'll buy it in hardcover, I suspect.

But in the meantime, for the rest, you get them for a fraction of the cost on Kindle and read them on the move in a way and at a level of comfort and convenience that's otherwise impossible.

Re:E-Readers have a definite niche. (3, Informative)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031335)

If 2 gigs is enough for your "library" than I would guess you are not using handbooks which can encroach 400 megs a piece. If I had to wait for a handbook of that size to download over and over again with no way of offloading it unto media I would throw the fucking thing against the wall. My Sony PRS-700 has 16 gigs of memory at all times and I carry 6 8 gig SDHC cards with me when needs be. My library spans over 20,000 volumes of public, pirated and paid for e-books and the Amazon Kindle 2 is simple inadequate for anything beyond a few hundred books, imho.

Re:E-Readers have a definite niche. (2, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031575)

My library spans over 20,000 volumes of public, pirated and paid for e-books and the Amazon Kindle 2 is simple inadequate for anything beyond a few hundred books, imho.

I usually have a laptop with me. I view it as the library and the few hundred books on my e-book reader as the subset of current interest.

Re:E-Readers have a definite niche. (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033971)

And how many of those do you read a day, a week, a month ?
Stupid boy !

Try the Sony... (4, Informative)

da5idnetlimit.com (410908) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031715)

Disclaimer : I don't work for Sony but I have a PRS-505. Been reading almost exclusively on it for almost two years now.

1/ You can buy ebooks from Sony. Or get the from Gutemberg. Or Baen. Or anywhere else you want.

2/ No GSM in it. But it means they cannot revoke any licenced/copyrighted material remotely. And hell, who really needs a gsm in their book ? Remotely downloading a newspaper ? I'm too cheap to pay both for the news AND the data download. I got a computer doing that for me already...

3/ Converting books/manga/newspaper tools available for Windows/linux/Mac. I even got a linux script to mass tranform mangas in a pdf to read on the PRS-505 (using Gimp scripts to sharpen/resize...)

4/ nice, well placed buttons.

5/ Nice and pretty body

6/ Customised firmwares exist ...

7 / takes SDHC and Sony memory sticks

8/ recharge using USB or a wall wart (the dedicated one or a psp charger works)I read everyday 1-2 hours on it and recharge once a week.

Only problem I have is I cannot "shuffle" the book, flipping pages to find a chapter I want to re-read as easily I Ican with a paper book.

Compare both, make your choice. I hade both the kindle 1 and the Sony to choose from, and the PRS-505 won, not even a real match. Seen the kindle 2...well : let's just say I'm still very happy with the Sony.

I took it to extended trips in on 4 continents, and nothing beats having 400 books on a card and 800 mangas when the place you go to has neither tv nor radio...the music player isn't very good, but you have the option.

Re:Try the Sony... (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031861)

On the PRS-505, there's an excellent open source management tool for the Sony readers called Calibre [kovidgoyal.net] .

FD. I do work for Sony, but not in Consumer Electronics.

I burned my mod points for this, so pay attention. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27032975)

I burned my mod points for this, so pay attention.

Fuck Sony. Their egotistical, fuck-the-customer attitude, their shitty "works for at least 90 days" media, their over-hyped and overpriced consumer electronics, their "the customer is stealing from us, steal from them first" mentality, their cheerful willingness to invade any pc with a user stupid enough to put one of Sony's disks into it. Fuck them and everything they've ever touched. I wouldn't piss on a Sony employee if he/she were on fire, I sure as hell won't ever give them another cent of my money.

That is all.

Re:E-Readers have a definite niche. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27032119)

Kindle books are damned cheap in comparison to print and even to other e-book formats

When I buy books, I typically buy paperbacks. Looking at the top 10 new york times trade paperbacks, an interesting pattern emerges.

I can buy The Shack for the same price on kindle or as a paperback on Amazon.

I'd save 38 cents buying The Reader on kindle.

I'd save $1.20 buying Sunday's at Tiffany's on kindle.

I'd save $1.02 on Firefly Lane with kindle.

I can't buy American Wife OR People of the Book on kindle.

I'd save $2.18 on Revolutionary Road

0.89 cheaper to buy A Thousand Splendid Suns on kindle.

Still Alice would save me a whopping 21 cents on kindle.

Loving Frank is the same price.

Buying the eight available books, and skipping the other two, I would save $5.88 over Amazon's price for the paperbacks. That's a savings of 73.5 cents per book.

At that pace, one would need to buy 488 books just to break even with the $359 price of the Kindle2. If buying two books a week, that translates to roughly 9 years.

"Damned Cheap compared to print" my ass.

Re:E-Readers have a definite niche. (4, Insightful)

Your Pal Dave (33229) | more than 4 years ago | (#27034331)

Don't forget that when you buy a Kindle book you cannot lend, sell, or give it away. If you purchase an interesting book for your Kindle and your wife wants to read it, she'll have to buy her own copy or borrow your entire Kindle.

Seems to me that this severely reduces the value of eBooks, so they should really cost about 1/3 - 1/2 of the paperback price to make up for it.

Re:E-Readers have a definite niche. (1)

Mista2 (1093071) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032289)

As Amazon have all of your marketing data, they could even offer discounts on the hardcovers to those who have bought the ebook. If the demand is low, even doing print on demand runs at the regular cost. Surely this must be cheaper than storing tons of pulped trees hoping someone will buy a certain number of them before returning them to a publisher to be re-pulped.

Re:E-Readers have a definite niche. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032453)

"Laptops require more physical interaction than you want to engage in when you're reading a 1,000 page tome. To read on a laptop you have to sit up, stare in one direction, operate a scroll wheel each time you want to see the next page (or click, or drag, or reach out and press a key). You can't "lounge about" on large pieces of soft furniture, adjusting your position as bits of you become overcompressed or uncomfortable. Laptops are fine for a little light reading, but they fail miserably for long stretches."

Reading comfort for me is all about preparing a suitable recumbent setting.

I read in my electric recliner ("medical lift chair", keep an eye out for used ones!) using my Thinkpad A31 on my lap (with a cooling pad Velcro'ed to the bottom to avoid roasted nuts) and a Logitech Marble Mouse for minimal hand movement. The setup is very comfortable, adjustable, and I can vegetate comfortably for many hours at a stretch. No need to hold the lappie up or hold it in place. I vnc into my other machines so no need to move about.

Re:E-Readers have a definite niche. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034781)

You should go all in and say "ooze about".

don't they have DRM? (1)

jopsen (885607) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033565)

I've not looked at Kindle or other e-reader, or ebooks in general as I assume they are encumbered with DRM...
Is my assumption wrong?
And if not, then how am I suppose to read a book on an ebook reader, when my desktop won't be able to crack the DRM before the Sun burns out? :)

can you actually read papers on it? (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#27034001)

As another academic, the main stumbling block to me getting an e-reader has been that I'd mainly use it to read papers, and I've yet to find an e-reader that can comfortably handle 8 1/2" x 11, two-column text with small (usually 9-point) font, which is the standard for many CS publication venues. In particular, a combination of horizontal and vertical scrolling with slow refresh rate is a nightmare.

It seems like it'd be fine for books, but I rarely read books professionally, just papers. When I do read books, I usually want a physical copy that I can read through without distractions, the exact opposite of what I'd use the e-reader for.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031397)

The only thing I can't quite get over is that the sensory experience is very, very bland. I don't know if all the cool technology can win me over with the lack of a more sensory-rich experience.

I get the idea that you're just not going to be satisfied with much of anything. If you want to find something to complain about, you will succeed every time.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (4, Funny)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031425)

"or the waft of a woman's perfume in a library book"

Some women may do this deliberatly, and could be from a practice from the World Wars when female volunteers would write to single soldiers, and would often dab some perfume on the letter.

I take a combination of this old practice and the one of the males of an African Tribe that smear a dab of semen behind their ears.

So next time that waft is a little musty, perhaps salty, then congratulations on reading that book after me.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033989)

That's if you can get the pages apart.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (2, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031545)

I just can't quite get into a book on the Kindle the way I get into a real book. The rough feel of the pages, the smell of old binding glue, or the waft of a woman's perfume in a library book are great. Even the sound of turning a page, or the satisfying crackle of the fabric binding on a brand new hard cover are fantastic.

Here's a contrasting perspective.

I got a Rocket e-Book a few years ago (for free; I'd never have paid money for it). I've gone through a couple of others since then, and I'm now to the point where my reading choices are hugely influenced by what I can get electronically. I actively DISLIKE reading paper books. I find them inconvenient and limited. You need two hands to hold them, you can't read in the dark (nor can you with a Kindle, unfortunately), you can't adjust the font size, you can't carry a dozen books conveniently, you can't search them, you can't back them up... paper books have lousy usability.

Even though I grew up reading huge amounts on paper and loving it -- through my high school years I averaged over 1000 pages per week -- and even though ebooks weren't even available until I was in my mid 30s, I have completely converted. I only read paper books if they come with strong recommendations from people I trust, and even then I grumble.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031701)

I swear, these are the exact same idiots who insist on vinyl records over digital music, because their nostalgia-riddled brains convince them how much "better" it is.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27032331)

And your tech-addled brain is significantly different?

There's so much coloration in the recording process that what you hear even on the highest bitrate digital recording is nothing like being in the room in which a band is playing. Your bias is just as much of a bias; it's just that most of the world shares your bias so it's called the norm.

Not that it matters in the long run. Recorded music will not be playable within 50 years anyway, after all the oil runs out and society collapses.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1)

archshade (1276436) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033875)

I haven't herd anyone say any recorded medium is anywhere close to seeing a live piece of music

Why else would bands tour

The biggest problem with digital stuff is making sure you have a decent DAC. Many better CD players have them. You'll need either a computer with a really decent sound card or a standalone system. If you have this I bet you cant tell difference between vinyl and a lossless compressed digital file

The thing I really like about books is its easy to buy them then use them at the airport. Or borrow someones book etc

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031947)

I'm generally with you on the environment, but "landfill space" doesn't count.

Think about it- there are these things called "rocks" in the ground. They take up space. Some are actually toxic!

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (2, Insightful)

crow5599 (994334) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032363)

From John Siracusa's article [arstechnica.com] on the history/current state/future of ebooks:

Take all of your arguments against the inevitability of e-books and substitute the word "horse" for "book" and the word "car" for "e-book." Here are a few examples to whet your appetite for the (really) inevitable debate in the discussion section at the end of this article.

"Books will never go away." True! Horses have not gone away either.

"Books have advantages over e-books that will never be overcome." True! Horses can travel over rough terrain that no car can navigate. Paved roads don't go everywhere, nor should they.

"Books provide sensory/sentimental/sensual experiences that e-books can't match." True! Cars just can't match the experience of caring for and riding a horse: the smells, the textures, the sensations, the companionship with another living being.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Did you ride a horse to work today? I didn't. I'm sure plenty of people swore they would never ride in or operate a "horseless carriage"--and they never did! And then they died.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (2, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#27034271)

"Books provide sensory/sentimental/sensual experiences that e-books can't match." True! Cars just can't match the experience of caring for and riding a horse: the smells, the textures, the sensations, the companionship with another living being.

I daresay the smells are one of the many advantages of using a car over using a horse.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27032491)

Interesting thing:

You have a lot of emotional binding-anchors with books.

I have too, they are bulky, and difficult to carry if you like to read multiple books, when I read a book I have problems with lighting when the other page tries to occlude the one I'm reading, the only solution being destroying the book...

I cant care less about "The smell and taste of newsprint". You now what? Printing ink is a
Carcinogen, no problem when its dry, a huge one when people eat breakfast reading newspaper(and its hands got dirty, you eat carcinogen).

You can sniff glue whenever you want, just buy a bottle in the shop.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034359)

>Printing ink is a carcinogen.

No it isn't.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1)

antic (29198) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033509)

What about lending books to friends? I discover most books I read through having recommendations from friends and borrowing their copy (often lending back one of mine).

Heart's plan isn't going to save anything - barking up the wrong (expensive) tree IMO.

Re:The joy of flipping pages? (1)

JasonB (15304) | more than 4 years ago | (#27034277)

I had to laugh when I came to this paragraph:

"If the Hurst e-reader is easy to use, inexpensive and isn't as locked down as the Kindle, I would give it a chance."

I would give them a 25% chance of it being easy to use, and about 10% chance of making it inexpensive enough to convince a large segment of their subscriber population to consider it affordable. I will give them a 0% chance it being less DRM-restricted than the Kindle.

In other words, this device will fail miserably.

It will be MUCH cheaper (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#27034281)

Hearst has already figured out that if he GIVES it away, and sells SMALL subscriptions, he would make more money. I think that Hearst will cut a deal with e-ink and we will see a reader sold for 100-150. Singly. It will probably be able to read a number of drm, but will be locked to hearst media.

trust me....I am a journalist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27030945)

It is to late the public has now become the reporters and journalists need to adapt to them not being the only one who controls what people hear. its the downside to technology world that we live in.

Re:trust me....I am a journalist (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031129)

Well you sure write like one!

Afro Negro Obama World (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27030949)

Dear Family and Friends,

I have been trying to think of a word that most accurately describes life in the small Zimbabwean town in which I live. Lots of words come to mind, many of which are unrepeatable but I think the most appropriate ones are paralyzed and exhausted.

Taking my soon to be 12 year old son shopping for a pair of long trousers for his birthday, we stopped in the middle of the road along with all the other pedestrians and cars and stared at a little parade of school children passing to commemorate what was World Environment Day.

It was a very cold and windy morning and empty packets, bags and other litter swirled and accumulated on the kerbs. Some who stopped to watch were the men who push great hand carts piled with firewood they have cut from trees on the newly liberated farms. Others who stopped were the women who carry 20 litres buckets filled with little fish they have caught in nearby dams, again from newly liberated farms.

There was one thing all of us who watched the parade had in common - we had all just survived a month of drinking the most foul water that both looked and smelled like sewage. For weeks we had been complaining to the Municipality. The water is green, we cried, it smells, we shouted, it has "things" floating in it.

None of us had dared to walk through the streets carrying posters saying "we demand clean water" or "we refuse to pay to drink sewage" so we did nothing, boiled the water twice and prayed that diarrhoea would not paralyze our children.

For over a month the entire town had suffered and now we stood staring at a parade commemorating "Environment Day". The irony was staggering.

As we stood on that street corner I looked at scores of people and I suppose the most common expression on their faces was exhaustion. There were no smiles and there was no chatter, just a sort of paralysis. Having lived here all my life I suppose the most striking thing about my home town is the silence. You seldom hear people laughing, seldom hear people talking in the street. The most dominant feeling is one of suspicion and of people looking over their shoulders to see who is listening.

When the parade had passed my son and I crossed the road and went into a big clothing shop. It was mid morning and we were the only customers in the entire shop. Eager sales staff, desperate for a buyer surrounded us. One escorted us to the rack of trousers, another hovered and held the coat hangers, another accompanied us to the fitting room and waited outside and two more sat at tills empty of customers. "How's business?" I asked. "It is paralyzed," came the response.

We are a town and a country paralyzed and exhausted. We listen to the incessant propaganda on State radio and then to the horrors reported on Short Wave Radio Africa and it is like living in two different countries at the same time.

We hear that the Governor of the Reserve Bank is in America, England and South Africa urging Zimbabweans to send their money home through his new systems, but we know those same people will not be allowed to vote when it comes to election time.

We hear of new fighter jets being ordered and wonder if it is the Zimbabweans in exile whose money will pay for them.

We hear that inflation has apparently gone down to 450% and yet the price of bread, maize and milk continue to go up.

We hear of a bumper harvest and yet we see the empty fields and we are tired, so tired of it all.

Until next time, with love, Cathy.

Newspaper Hazard (3, Insightful)

Kuromaguro (973466) | more than 4 years ago | (#27030957)

Unless they make the e-reader coffee and juice proof I rather have paper newspaper. I can't even count how many times i have spilled something over a newspaper while reading it at breakfast table.

Re:Newspaper Hazard (1)

Puffy Director Pants (1242492) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031111)

Well, I doubt it'd be immersion safe, but it should be possible to at least make it somewhat resistant to spills. At the least, a better form factor than a paper would be a plus.

Re:Newspaper Hazard (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031167)

Unless they make the e-reader coffee and juice proof I rather have paper newspaper. I can't even count how many times i have spilled something over a newspaper while reading it at breakfast table.

Some people are just clumsy-ass klutzes who refuse to learn how to stop being clumsy-ass klutzes. You appear to be one of those. That's not a good enough reason to hold back technology.

Plus (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031829)

Will the e-reader be cheap enough that a doctors office can leave them on the table in the waiting room and not have them stolen? Or will I have to read golf magazines from 2009 when I visit a doctor in 2012 because I forgot my e-reader at home?

Bold, but questionable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27030961)

Newspapers are a dying business. Once the classifieds went online this time sensitive manufacturing business became unsustainable.

Rather than move to a virtual product that connects to everyone via their favorite device, this plan is to simply begin manufacturing something else.

I think the better move is to drop the physical additions and center the expenses on what the newspapers do really well: original content.

Users connecting via a browser makes much more sense in the newspaper business model than development/distribution of consumer electronics.

Re:Bold, but questionable. (2, Insightful)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031297)

It's not that simple. If it wasn't for the fact that so many of them were acquired in heavily leveraged buyouts, or went into debt to branch into other businesses, they'd be in better shape, even with circulation down. A lot of "troubled" papers would be doing OK if it wasn't for the non-operational debt that they're buried under. A lot of that can be blamed on so-called "moguls" who bought up a ton of papers over the past decade or so.

Part of it is that they don't want to just hand more revenue over to Amazon. If this had industry-wide adoption, including other types of periodicals, I think it could do well with the bigger screen. And they can do something where if you commit to getting the newspaper for a year or two, you get the reader at a big discount. If it allows them to ditch a lot of the print circulation, it'll save them a bundle.

The kindle needed ads (5, Funny)

LittleBigScript (618162) | more than 4 years ago | (#27030991)

That's what was missing!

Re:The kindle needed ads (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031245)

Yes that's just what we need, targeted advertising based on the book you're reading; mid-way through reading Lady Chatterley's Lover and you're suddenly presented with a pop-ups advertising viagra & penis enlargement pills...

Re:The kindle needed ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031347)

Actually, that's exactly what we need. Just like internet... Ads to pay for the content, and adblock to get rid of those ads.

Re-creating the gated electronic world. (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031095)

Does anyone else think this idea of trying to re-create the subscription based model of AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, etc that the Internet successfully killed off 10 years ago is a bit strange?

The proposition is "we've come up with this great new wizz-bang technology to deliver "e-book/e-newspaper" to your living room. But then you lock it down into a single device->provider->Customer model. The entry costs are relatively high, so a few early adopters buy the thing. Most people don't because they're very cautious (rightly so) about the new wizz-bang technology.

I guess my quandry is, how can the device->provider->customer model compete with the open model of the internet? What happens when someone comes up with the equivalent wizz-bang device that uses your existing wireless internet connection, and can buy from anyone directly instead of a single provider, is an open platform, and winds up being cheaper?

Re:Re-creating the gated electronic world. (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031209)

What happens when someone comes up with the equivalent wizz-bang device that uses your existing wireless internet connection, and can buy from anyone directly instead of a single provider, is an open platform, and winds up being cheaper?

A lawsuit?

Already happening (2, Interesting)

the grace of R'hllor (530051) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031361)

There is already some movement from an "Anybody can provide" model, to an "Only we provide, but we do it very well" model. Case in point, iTunes music store, and the iPod.

I wonder if an iTunes model would work. Get any magazine for $1. Maybe back issues older than a year for $0.50. Blend it with the mobile phone market's ideas, and subsidize the device with a two-year subscription on (a group of) magazines. Get the major magazine publishers and papers on board and split the proceeds honestly.

Of course, if they could actually do the right thing wrt technology and consumers, their industry wouldn't be dying right now.

Re:Re-creating the gated electronic world. (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031753)

Does anyone else think this idea of trying to re-create the subscription based model of AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, etc that the Internet successfully killed off 10 years ago is a bit strange?

I'm not sure how old you are, but if you have enough experience watching the world, then it shouldn't be too strange to see old ideas come back after seeming to be "killed off". If anything, that's the default state of things. Ideas don't disappear; they just recycled.

I think we're in a very strange place right now, because it's clear that there has to be some kind of business model that makes money from intellectual property, but selling "copies" doesn't make sense now that an unlimited number of digital copies can be made for free (or at least virtually "free"). So what's the business model going to be?

I think the best possible thing to happen right now is for businesses to be experimenting to find something that works. I would find it strange if they weren't trying to make money from facilitating distribution, storage, and use of intellectual property rather than "copies". Copies are easy and free. Distribution, storage, backups-- and generally ensuring that you have what you want, when you want it, where you want it, and how you want it-- that stuff is still challenging. There's money to be made there, still.

Re:Re-creating the gated electronic world. (2, Insightful)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031975)

Copies are easy and free. Distribution, storage, backups-- and generally ensuring that you have what you want, when you want it, where you want it, and how you want it-- that stuff is still challenging. There's money to be made there, still.

Don't forget the generation of content, still a challenge to make it compelling and worth distributing, storing, and making backups of.

The biggest concern is making sure that people can make a living from generating content. Without the goose, there won't be any more golden eggs.

Re:Re-creating the gated electronic world. (2, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032459)

Well yes, I had in mind that the actual goal in us, as a society, supporting a business model that supplies us with intellectual content is, in the end, to financially support those who create the content.

To backtrack and restate my post a little more thoroughly, our past and current attempt to do this has been focused on the creation of copies. The people printing the books and cutting the records, and that in itself was a valid business. In addition, those businesses had an exclusive right to create those copies, and in having such exclusivity, they were able to mark up the cost of those copies well above the production costs, thereby having enough enough money to subsidize the creative process. That was the mechanism by which artists and musicians got paid.

Now that we have computers and cheap storage and networks and the internet, we can make an unlimited number of copies without losing any quality and at virtually no cost. The result has been that the business of "copying" often provides no value anymore, and in itself is no longer a valid business.

So I'm saying that there are a lot of people trying to work out all the details of the new business model that will replace the businesses whose main value was in "copying". An obvious business model to explore is in distribution, and to some degree, that's the avenue that businesses are already headed down. Copyright has essentially been repurposed, through technicalities, from regulating the actual act of "copying" to the regulation of content distribution. Legal/technical technicalities aside, copyright holders effectively have no control over copies being made of their work anymore, but instead are giving control of any wide distribution channels of their work. Customers then pay the distributor for the ability to download the work, and copyright holders get a share of that fee.

This is already pretty much what's happening, and as far as I've seen, that's the direction things will continue to go. So the rest is just an issue of how you make it profitable and keep it profitable.

Re:Re-creating the gated electronic world. (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032895)

Thanks for the clarification and expansion of your comments.

I think the key to keeping the money flowing to content creators is for them to increasingly cut out the middle man. With the advent of things like the Kindle, it is making more and more sense for an author to self-publish an ebook version only. As we move closer to that, we'll see some of the problems with the music industry. I'm sure there is lots of music out there that I would enjoy, but it is hard to find a content filter to narrow the choices down that creates a subset that I actually like. There have been some attempts but as it stands now I still have to go out there and manually filter through tons of detrius to get at the brine.

Things like Valve's Steam [steampowered.com] and Slashdot both provide models where content filtering lets me find a little better what I want.

Right now, the filters in place end up sending a lot of perfectly good content that at least someone out there would have bought to the rubbish heap, because it costs too much ink and paper (or whatever) to take a chance on it. I guess in a perfect world, everything put up for publshing would be available, and people would have the option to filter for themselves. A small filtering fee per transaction, with most of the money going to the creators, and you could sell a lot fewer units at a lower price than currently and still keep the same amount of artists in work.

If I had a million dollars I'd hire a couple of coders and start a company to provide the software backend to publishers to do for ebooks what steam does for games. I think that is probably a good step in the right direction.

Re:Re-creating the gated electronic world. (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27034835)

I agree, and that was more or less what I was expressing, I think. By saying that I believe the business model will shift from being copy-based to distribution-based, I'm saying that businesses that were build around "copying" (e.g. book publishers and record labels) will decrease in relevance because copying is becoming irrelevant. The business models that seem to be increasing in relevance are services like iTunes, Amazon (ebooks and MP3s), Netflix, and Steam. In other words: the distributors.

As wide distribution becomes the primary legal issue and the primary mechanism by which creators are compensated, excess middlemen can be cut out, but these distributors can still provide some important services for the creator. They can provide search features and recommendation engines, take care of all the technical issues of distribution, set up the groundwork for receiving payments, and probably some other things that I'm not thinking of at the moment. Oh, right, and they can also device a business model and marketing plan for how this content can be viewed/used-- in the sense that Netflix can market a set-top box, Amazon can market the Kindle, and Apple can market the iPod/iPhone/AppleTV.

The way ahead isn't simple, but I think we're agreeing that distributors are in line to take over the role of compensating content creators in the way that labels/publishers have traditionally done.

Re:Re-creating the gated electronic world. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033365)


I'm not sure how old you are, but if you have enough experience watching the world, then it shouldn't be too strange to see old ideas come back after seeming to be "killed off".

Old enough to know that people who bring back failed ideas are really just people that haven't learned.

but selling "copies" doesn't make sense now that an unlimited number of digital copies can be made for free (or at least virtually "free").So what's the business model going to be?

Making the copies may be free, but finding the copies is work. People are always willing to pay something to avoid work. It's the reason the Kindle is as successful as it is. It's convenient. Tying it into a proprietary format, with a single provider might work short term, but it's a poor business model to link yourself to long term. If Amazon/Hearst are really worried about piracy they've seriously got the wrong idea about how their business works.

Re:Re-creating the gated electronic world. (1)

az-saguaro (1231754) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033221)

There is a big difference between AOL/CompuServe/Prodigy/MSN and Hearst style newspapers and magazines. The AOL's were glorified bulletin boards. In the 1980's, they created communities and on-line access when there was nothing else. As they evolved in the early 1990's, they provided access to limited amounts of content. Then, in the latter 1990's, the WWW opened up the Internet to the general public, giving consumers unedited access to content and social networking, making the AOL's stodgy, kludgy, and expensive with marginal value, in a word, irrelevant. It wasn't that the subscription based model failed, it's just that once you have tasted something sweeter, AOL kind of soured. The monthly fees you pay to your ISP ARE your subscription fees, its just that you are paying for much greater choice. Which just goes to show, that people ARE willing to pay for the content and quality they choose.

The biggest difference between the AOL's and Newspapers is that the AOL's just dish up someone else's reporting. Newspapers create content. Even busy blogs like Slashdot depend on bulletin board style posting of news content generated by real news organizations and reporters. If all newspapers dried up and went away, the rest of the Internet would be starved for real content. The world and society need the newspapers, or the function they serve - news professionals. The problem these days is finding a way to keep them in business when their primary revenue stream is drying up. Historically, newspapers, TV news, magazines, (Traditional News Organizations - TNA's) used to handle BOTH content reporting/creation and content delivery. Content creation is costly, eating cash without inherently generating revenue, making content delivery the money side of the business. Now, the public is spending money on alternative means of delivery, curtailing the revenues to TNAs that create content for the rest of us.

It is a time of flux for everyone, and TNAs are especially challenged to stay in business because of declining revenues. But we need them. Every problem like this is someone else's opportunity, and over the next 10-20-30 years, the dynamics of it all will change, but there will still be news content providers. Exactly who, how we pay for it, who splits the revenue stream, how we receive and read it all - that's the big experiment we are just entering. Kudos to venerable organizations like Hearst to not just sit idly by and sink into oblivion (like so many companies do), but at least try to adapt, to win or go down fighting.

What I foresee is a combination of models that seem to be emerging. There will be Kindle-like readers that are bigger, richer, more like a magazine in size and resolution. You will subscribe through your ISP to receive your newspapers. Perhaps there will be a "basic cable" type of service that gives you your local paper and USA Today. Then, there will be a premium service that gives you the NY Times, The Washington Post, and 3 premium newspapers of your choice. Then there will be similar plans for your magazines. You pay one fee to your ISP company, and they forward the revenues to the publishers, just like TV/cable, and HBO-Showtime- Cinemax, etc.

Re:Re-creating the gated electronic world. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033537)

"Does anyone else think this idea of trying to re-create the subscription based model of AOL, Compuserve, Prodigy, etc that the Internet successfully killed off 10 years ago is a bit strange?"

Yeah, but their business model isn't my problem.

Maybe it will result in a cool gadget for me to play with (for cheap when it ends up at the flea market) or maybe not.

I hope they call it... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031133)

"Rosebud"
(it'll be interesting to see how this gets modded)

Re:I hope they call it... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27032785)

Rosebud was also used as kindling.

The newspapers are profitable (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031137)

These papers are returning a 15% profit. This would be plenty to sustain the papers, if it weren't for the debt their owners took on from these recent acquisitions.

The problem is that these papers were acquired by folks who borrowed heavily in order to make the purchases. 15% revenues isn't enough with all the outstanding debt.

The crisis with papers is the same as the rest. Greedy corps over-leveraging, and now that reality has kicked in, they find themselves in trouble.

E-Reader for Newspaper makes some sense (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031211)

Never really saw the great benefit of an e-reader for books. Last year the author Nick Hornby wrote an excellent piece in the times on the key problems [[http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article4321701.ece]]. Essentially pointing out that, except for manuals, you don't use book material in the same way you do music. However, I think a newspaper is a completely different proposition.

Re:E-Reader for Newspaper makes some sense (1)

OolimPhon (1120895) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033299)

Having worked in IT for 25 years, got dot-commed out in 2002 and was a (van) courier for four years. You spend a fair bit of time waiting for jobs (when you're not run off your feet :) and I had a Palm m505 from a previous job. Loaded up loads of books to read while waiting in the office (thanks Jim Baen). Still use it, in fact. Job comes in, press the power button and I'm on the road. Layover somewhere eating lunch? Out comes the Palm. Much better than filling up the cab with paperbacks.

The problem . . . (1)

Chihuahuabot (561670) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031237)

. . . isn't the technology but the people in suits. They really need two things to make e-readers work. 1) Open standards. Investing in a given proprietary format is risky to the consumer. What if future devices won't support current formats? When my reader breaks and I want to buy a new one from a different manufacturer, how can I move my library? Self-publishing? Open standards addresses all this. I will not buy one until I can really own my e-books. 2) Aggregation with value added service. A virtual news stand where you can pick out magazines and newspapers cafeteria style with different levels of subscription. For example, the basic would be two monthly magazine and one daily paper. The next level would be three magazines, two daily papers and an annual. I could pick out a variety of publications but only have to pay one bill. For an example of a value added service, consider a magazine like Time or a newspaper such as the New York Times making their archives available online to subscribers. Under this model there are definite advantages to subscription. I'd have the entire "paper" and the archives (or other value added service) rather than an abbreviated online version. I'd have it all on a device that I can take into my living room and stretch out on the couch and enjoy my coffee. Just my two cents.

Content Matters (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031333)

The problem with newspapers is that the content sucks. Putting together a few writers and photographers doesn't do anything more. Any idiot with a blog can do that. If you want to sell a newspaper, you need to have something that is useful and has the capital costs sufficient to throw off enough competition and allow you some rent taking. The business is about content, and the internet is just a delivery mechanism for it. Even Slashdot succeeds partially because half of us look at it, and could envision something better, but its good and big and risky enough to keep us from doing so, at least for now.

Re:Content Matters (2, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031577)

Even Slashdot succeeds partially because half of us look at it, and could envision something better, but its good and big and risky enough to keep us from doing so, at least for now.

And it's free. And easy to get (well, at least on a real computer, on handhelds slashcode seems to be a bit, um, lacking.). Did I mention it was free.

Good newspapers, however, are hard to make. "A few writers and photographers" is an unfair cheap shot. There is a lot behind the scenes of any real publishing firm that don't necessarily show up on the page. Of course, those of us used to Slashdot have somehow stumbled along without "editors" or proofing copy or spell checking, but I'm not sure we should put this site up as an shining example of publication quality....

Re:Content Matters (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031697)

Slashdot is not a newspaper. It links to newspapers and other outfits with paid journalists. The day "the newspaper" dies, what will all the slashdots, gizmodos, diggs, reddits, twitters and blogs link to? Who will do the reporting they all link to?

Re:Content Matters (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032007)

Slashdot is not a newspaper. It links to newspapers and other outfits with paid journalists. The day "the newspaper" dies, what will all the slashdots, gizmodos, diggs, reddits, twitters and blogs link to? Who will do the reporting they all link to?

Some blogs do a lot of original reporting. Huffington Post [huffingtonpost.com] and Talking Points Memo [talkingpointsmemo.com] both immidiately come to mind.

Re:Content Matters (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032197)

The day "the newspaper" dies, what will all the slashdots, gizmodos, diggs, reddits, twitters and blogs link to?

Each other.

Then, one day, the Internet will implode in a giant race condition.

They don't call it "the Fourth Estate" for nothing (4, Insightful)

TimHunter (174406) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031883)

The problem with newspapers is that the content sucks.

I don't think you and I are reading the same newspapers. My local paper, The Raleigh (NC) News & Observer (http://www.newsobserver.com/ [newsobserver.com] ), has in the just past few years, put 5 elected state officials (including the Speaker of the House) in prison for corruption, uncovered systemic failures in our state mental health system and probation system, and put pressure on our state's judges to stop freeing speeding motorists with a slap on the wrist. Just this past week they told the story of a local company that sold filthy medical supplies and investigated where the FDA was when hundreds of people were getting sick and 5 people were dying from those supplies. They also find the time and money to sue the government for access to information that the government would rather we - that is, the citizens - not have access to.

That kind of journalism can't be done by any number of bloggers. It takes large staffs of trained and experienced journalists backed by an organization willing to fund multi-month investigations. It takes principled and idealistic owners to be able to stand up to the established interests when the truth comes out.

Nevertheless, with their advertising revenue gone to Craigslist the N&O has had round after round of staffing cuts. To save printing costs they've cut the paper to half its old size, and just today reduced the Sunday color comics section to 4 pages. (Bill Watterson would be ashamed.) I doubt the N&O will survive as a printed newspaper. As much as I love reading my news off of newsprint over breakfast, I'd take it in e-newspaper format in a heartbeat, if that's what it takes for them to stay in business.

Re:They don't call it "the Fourth Estate" for noth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27034083)

You are lucky to have those kind of journalists in that newspapers. I have somewhat opposite story.

We have the local newspaper which in my free opinion has around >80% of market share. The they have somewhat good journalists, great commentators, but all in somewhat global scale, I mean news from all parts of the country and global world news. But for the local part (which is the most important thing) they have the most disgusting scumbags you can imagine.

Lets take a step back here. I would wager that majority of people consider news reports, editorials etc in large part truthful, unbiased and complete. That seems generally true, until one himself gets in the papers too.

So here is a very short background story. So this (unnamed) city (population of 300K) has couple of city-run organizations for say public transport, utilities, parking etc. My dad was the director of one of those "organization" (so I know facts first hand). So after a few years of him being the (an excellent, I'm truly trying to be unbiased here) director, the mentioned newspapers got hold of him. You wouldn't imagine how bad those journalists can be. One can always imagine journalists from movies, with the perpetual spin, outright lying, twisting and mixing the facts, fiction and opinions (extremely dangerous). Those journalists are just like that. And they never stop until the guy gets replaced, fired, disgraced or something else.

The biggest problem is that nobody can sue them. Sure, you can sue them, but all trials take few years to complete (by the time everything is irrelevant, and sadly forgotten) and judges are keen to clear the defendants (the journalists) of all charges because they don't want to look like they are against the freedom of the press (not speech, ie one kid got jailed for drawing our prime minister with swastika on his shoulder) which is one of the top most priorities to became a member of EU.

And you can probably imagine what happens when you write a rebuttal in the same newspapers. Its like trying to argue with forum trolls. It is just giving them more materials for spin.

Those journalists are pretty powerful then, even when the people don't realize it. Unfortunately, they don't use their energy for positive things like you mention, here they are just a force of destruction. But the most sad thing is that people still believe that they write the truth and are excellent journalists.

Still waiting for ebooks to get it all sorted out (1)

RobertinXinyang (1001181) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031493)

Three problems. The first is that there is no mention of price in the article. In simple terms, the readers that have come out have been rather expensive; please, none of this, "well if you spread the price out over several years..." First, I am not convinced that these things will last several years, certainly not as long as physical books. For the amortization argument to work I would have to expect the device to last fifty to a hundred years, or more, just like a real book.
So, here we have one (possibly two, but they are both the same in economic terms), price and longevity.

The next is the price of the books themselves. Ebooks are not reasonable in price. I have read the writings of the past Jim Baen on the economics of publishing. Most of the cost is in production, transportation, and returns. Ebooks do not face these costs to nearly the same degree but do not reflect the reduced price. Very simply, there is no reason for it beyond markup. Now, there is noting wrong with markup, However, for the market to work, some have to refuse to pay for it at a certain price, and I refuse to pay for it at the price being charged.

The third is the problem, much lamented here in Slashdot, that the purchaser never owns the books that they have purchased, unlike real books. I can resell a real book. I can not resell an ebook; thus, I do not own it.
It is not simply that there is no current marketplace for used ebooks, there are legal and technological barriers to the resale of ebooks. It is the existence of legal barriers that makes it clear that, non-public domain, ebooks are never owned.

All that being said, I read, frequently, on my PDA (it is really one of the only reasons that I continue to use a PDA). However, I limit my reading to Public domain, and otherwise free (such as Jim Baen's releases) ebooks. I would like to see ebooks succeed; However, I think I am not the only person who is uncomfortable with the issues that I have mentioned.

Online Newspaper Subscriptions (2, Interesting)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031571)

I was reading a blog article in the LA Times [latimes.com] concerning the Internet's killing of the printed newspaper. He comes up with a solution similar to the one I'd use: Make a "news" subscription fee that would include big newspapers that are interested in charging and meet certain criteria.

This could work either through a central site (which would be great as it could provide comparison stories between Fox, CNN, and BBC for example) or simply have it as an add-on to your ISP bill (which would give you a login and password).

A service like this could certainly provide E-book downloads, etc. Information does want to be free as in freedom, but collecting and organizing it takes people who still need to eat. I'd be for paying a fee for news sites, personally, as long as (just like the blog says), it's as simple as iTunes.

Remember back in Web 0.4b... (1)

coryking (104614) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031683)

I remember back before the dot.com thing, back when web was only at version 0.4, you used to go visit some place like ikea.com and instead of presenting you with an HTML, "web" catalog, they'd fire up some java-based gizmo that displayed a bitmap of the printed catalog. I think even a couple newspapers and magazines did something similar--display a bitmap ensconced in a java applet. Kind of like a poor mans PDF reader. Why did this pop into my head when I read this?

Either way, none of these will succeed unless there is a standard way to present content across all these e-reader things. Some kind of bastardized version of PDF or something.

Re:Remember back in Web 0.4b... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031893)

display a bitmap ensconced in a java applet. Kind of like a poor mans PDF reader. Why did this pop into my head when I read this?

Because you're stupid, and it's a stupid idea.

I hope it comes preloaded with one final headline (1)

jeffehobbs (419930) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031765)

..."Hearst eReader Judged Colossal Failure"

I hope there's room... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031851)

...in my briefcase for the Hearst eReader, my Kindle, Sony Reader, p0rn viewer, and the inevitable iSlashdot device.

I need e-book because I might have to run away... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27031903)

Right now, I use a PDA (HTC Universal, 3.8", 640x480, 300g), and a TabletPC (HP 2710p, 12.1" widescreen, 1.6Kg) as my e-book readers. It's not exactly a comfortable experience, but I need to use digital books, because where I currently live, I might have to run away in a very short notice, and I can't think about sending by post paper books to my next residence address...
I can't have a 3rd e-paper based device, because a PDA and a TabletPC are already too heavy to bring them with me on my run...
Better to buy a gun (for self-defense, of course), than an e-book reader...

Yes, but will it have text to speech? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#27031969)

Seems that might be a rare feature in future readers.

WIll only work (1)

sabernet (751826) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032003)

If you can purchase the confounded thing for less then the $200-$700 price point that exists now for the bloody gadgets.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to get one, but it's hard to justify paying the same amount for a small embedded greyscale gadget that really only needs to read a pdf and text file as I would a cellphone, netbook or laptop.

mine: Mosaic, NetScape, IE, Firefox (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032405)

I've been reading newspapers on the web since the beginning. I really hate the ones that insert two or three video ads.

If it is going to show me ads (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032597)

then I want the hardware for free!

I smell fail all over this. (1)

gigamonkey (973801) | more than 4 years ago | (#27032683)

Your device will fail unless you give up on what Hearst wants and figure out what the people want. That is all.

Why bigger? (1)

ParkyDR (1402323) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033079)

Why this obsession with making devices that imitate the technology they are replacing? They should be producing a version of the newspaper that's viewable on many devices or am I suppose to carry several devices to read different sized media?

Multiple incompatible "Readers"? (1)

shking (125052) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033233)

A moments thought after reading TFA suggest that you'd probably need to buy several readers (for hundreds of dollars each) because there'll be multiple competing devices and not every publisher will not be "allowed" on every device. There may also be an artificial separation by "format" (for example: Kindle for books, Hearst for magazines, Sony for ?)

Do they really believe that people will willingly own multiple e-readers? People will pick one reader and they will expect ALL content to be "readable" on it. E-reader manufacturers will need to set licensing fees low enough for publishers to distribute across multiple platforms (i.e. their reader and their competitors readers) or they will drive away attractive content... and nobody will want to buy a device without content.

this story is somewhat of a dupe (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033305)



There's currently another post on the front of Slashdot today describing an 'Ark' where biologists are collecting amphibians in the rainforest to preserve them until a cure can be found for the fungus that is decimating their populations and threatening thousands of species with extinction.

In this scenario, Craigslist is the fungus, the newspapers are the amphibians, and this eBook reader is the 'ark'.
The death of the American newspaper is one of the unintended consequences of a benign technological development [nymag.com] : free classified ads.

Seth

Competition is a good thing. While Kindle is... (1)

John3k (1489761) | more than 4 years ago | (#27033583)

Maybe all the new ebooks will help usher us into a new era. While I am very interested in Kindle, I am still waiting for these books to be DRM free. It's just so much easier and "thought-free" when I don't have to worry about DRM and how I use something. The higher the resolution, the better it is too. We are nowhere near true 300-dpi but that's a technical limitation at this point.

How other eBooks will handle copyright and DRM is unknown at this point. It's not clear to me how Hearst will handle it.

Speaking of DRM-free, Amazon does have an awesome MP3 store that is DRM-free with a large selection and often good prices. It would be nice if they had the same thing with books.

On the note about Amazon, I recently came across an interesting table that details the discounts on Amazon. Maybe someone will find it useful. It is at http://www.uberi.com [uberi.com]

Anyway, several new ebook readers are being released and we will probably see faster advancements in this area in the near future as competition heats up. It will be a fun ride.

Another one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#27033601)

I already have an e reader, its called a computer and a portable called a paper. As an occasional reader I will not buy multiple devices to read proprietary content. That content will be relegated to obscurity, where it belongs. The papers don't seem to understand that they are NOT dealing with a scarce commodity. The news will become public with or without them. The news will follow the path of least resistance.

My device (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#27034121)

I have no issue with the kindle, but it is too much hard work. To have a decent size screen, you have to have a large body to the case and that makes it cumbersome.
In my future there is a device about 6" long, and 1/2" in diameter. It has bluetooth to talk to my ear phone/mike and it has status leds and caller id on the outside. It has the fastest net access possible. Connected to this device, in fact concealed within it, is a pullout screen, which is either epaper or video standard according to need. The screen locks into position and is about 7" to 9" size. Laser positioning detects your finger activating controls on the screen. ebooks, movies, video calls, the net - all available in a slim tube with a bigger screen when you need it.
And a pony.

I need an e-book reader because I have to run away (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27034785)

I'd like to have an e-paper based e-book reader, because I can't have hard paper book, given the fact that, in my current situation where I currently live, I might have to run away in a very short notice, and I wouldn't have the time to send paper books by post to my new residence address (without mentioning that I might not know my new residence address). But it's too expensive, and I already have - A PDA (HTC Universal, 300g, 640x480, 3.8") - A TabletPC (HP 2710p, 1.6 Kg, 12.1") and I use them for my reading need, albeith it's not exactly a comfortable experience...
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