Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Set To Tackle eBook Market

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the as-long-as-i-get-to-download-scanned-content-too dept.

Google 170

Mike writes "Google's latest decision to try its hand selling eBooks promises to make life in the eBook world more interesting, and will likely spur a standards war that in the end may prove beneficial to many consumers. Google's eBook store will pit it directly against Amazon and Amazon's Kindle — an enormously popular eBook reader. This will push many companies to create eBook readers to take advantage of Google's new store, and will flood the market with tough choices. Google does not have a dedicated eBook reader yet, but it seems a logical next step for the search giant."

cancel ×

170 comments

First GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28174031)

Gay Niggers Association of America.

Re:First GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28174251)

Sorry guys, I'm Steve Job's gay lover who gave him AIDS which is why he has been away from work for so long.

Obvious next step... (4, Insightful)

Newander (255463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174077)

I seem to remember people saying the same thing about cell phones, but Google is not a hardware company. I'd look for an API and not much else.

Re:Obvious next step... (0, Redundant)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174271)

You're right, Google's business is information and the distribution and flow of it. Why would they want to worry about the hassles of a physical product when they'll have a dozen companies all waiting in line? Google is a company of the intangible and that's their biggest strength.

Re:Obvious next step... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28174373)

I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing.

Re:Obvious next step... (2, Interesting)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175495)

Well, they do have android. I think that it would be pretty trivial for them to make an app for it that is an ebook reader.

Re:Obvious next step... (5, Insightful)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176225)

This is really, really, huge. We've had a number of articles on slashdot that clearly point out the danger Amazon poses to the e-book market. They're following an iTune-like model, with similar DRM, similarly ham-strung hardware, and they're waging a war to control e-book distribution. Google has the muscle to turn the tide in this battle, and to open the e-book market to many players, not just Amazon and Sony.

Consider an Amazon Kindle vs an Eee PC. The Eee PC has a bigger screen, costs less, has real wifi, and is a freaking great e-book reader. The only problem? F**king Amazon and Sony have locked up rights to distribute many of the most popular e-books. Screw e-book readers, IMO. Netbooks running a real OS (Ubuntu in my case) is the way to go. E-book readers like the Kindle are just another trap for us to fall into, where we lose choice, and pay outrageous prices for massively limited hardware and software, just so we can read the book we actually want to buy.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174279)

> Google is not a hardware company.

Neither is Amazon and you'll get my Kindle when you pry it from my cold, dead hands...

Seriously, I don't care who sells them so long as they offer the content I want and the cost is right.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175251)

Google is not a hardware company.

Neither is Amazon and you'll get my Kindle when you pry it from my cold, dead hands...

Seriously, I don't care who sells them so long as they offer the content I want and the cost is right.

Can't you get a "Netbook" for less than a Kindle and read whatever you want on it (and then some) DRM free?

I get the idea of free cell connection to download books (and I have yet to hold a Kindle myself and give it a go), but Amazon's deal seems over priced in my opinion.

I've also read a review on Amazon [amazon.com] from someone complaining about books they bought that they couldn't access anymore after moving to Kindle 2.

How is your experience with Kindle so far?

Re:Obvious next step... (5, Insightful)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175773)

The whole "can't you get a netbook instead" thing has been beaten to death, twice, with a dead horse tossed on top the second time. I mean, seriously. People have suggested this, the iPhone, the Nintendo DS, etc. Yeah, yeah, they do oh-so-much more. Different products. If you can read for extended periods of time on an LCD, and have a place to recharge it conveniently, then get a netbook.

The rest of us will enjoy immitation printed paper, with weeks between charging.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176533)

I seem to have missed those discussions. This wasn't a troll or flame-bait though, honest!

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176591)

Maybe it's that I read every eInk related link posted on digg, but the same comparison is made there multiple times per story. It as happens on random blogs and their comments. Even on this page, there's a similar comparison and rebuttal farther down.

Re:Obvious next step... (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28177213)

The rest of us will enjoy immitation printed paper, with weeks between charging.

There's no reason you can't have e-paper on a netbook.

Re:Obvious next step... (4, Interesting)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28177285)

The rest of us will enjoy immitation printed paper, with weeks between charging.

No, some of you will enjoy that, the rest of us will enjoy reading a good old fashioned book.

Re:Obvious next step... (4, Informative)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175909)

Outstanding. The screen is great, the battery life is outstanding and the form factor is remarkably comfortable. Frankly, that's a huge difference between the Kindle and a netbook. The Kindle is designed for one thing and that's reading for long periods of time. Netbooks aren't. I'm curious how many people who insist "a netbook can do it and its cheaper and no DRM and and and" have ever actually held a Kindle to see just how important the form factor component really is. Frankly, I don't care that I can read the books on my iPhone (another device people are saying is a good alternative.) I've done that and other than being able to sync where I am in the book between my Kindle and iPhone, I don't enjoy the experience nor do I find reading on the phone as relaxing or comfortable. I don't care about DRM issues. There are plenty of free books out there and I tend to buy books rather than going to the library, so if I was going to buy them anyway, then buying them for a device that I own and like isn't really a big deal to me. (Whether that point of sale is at Amazon or Google.) I don't need a netbook. I bought a kindle because I needed something that I could read for hours at a time and not have to worry about recharging the thing every 3-5 hours.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176583)

Thanks for the quick Kindle review!

I'm curious how many people who insist "a netbook can do it and its cheaper and no DRM and and and" have ever actually held a Kindle to see just how important the form factor component really is.

I'm one of those people (although I don't insist on Netbooks over Kindles). I've played with a Netbook at Fry's and I have yet to hold a Kindle like I disclaimed earlier.

I didn't know that the Netbook argument was (as another poster mentioned [slashdot.org] ) beaten to death.

The one thing that scares me though is DRM and losing books you've already paid for like the reviewer I linked to.

Putting that issue aside, I'm all for a device that does one thing and does it very well.

Re:Obvious next step... (2, Interesting)

SteeldrivingJon (842919) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176245)

"Can't you get a "Netbook" for less than a Kindle and read whatever you want on it (and then some) DRM free?"

Maybe, if I didn't already have a personal MacBook Pro and a work MacBook Pro.

I suspect a Netbook isn't as good as a kindle for reading-while-walking, nor as good for reading-on-a-very-crowded-bus.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#28177175)

Dunno about my Kindle, but I have an eReader. I've been reading it on the train, daily, about an hour a day. I have not recharged the battery in two weeks. It is about a tenth the weight of my Asus eee 901 and about a quarter the thickness. I can also read the screen in direct sunlight.

People who say "can't you just use a netbook" have very clearly never used an eInk device to read a book.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 5 years ago | (#28177267)

People who say "can't you just use a netbook" have very clearly never used an eInk device to read a book.

Yes, it's also mentioned in my post :)

I get the idea of free cell connection to download books (and I have yet to hold a Kindle myself and give it a go), but Amazon's deal seems over priced in my opinion.

Re:Obvious next step... (4, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174317)

Google is not a hardware company. I'd look for an API and not much else.

Came here to say something like this.

Since it's already been said, let me clarify:

Google will not make a proprietary e-book reader. They want their wares on as many machines as possible. Whether it's firmware, applications, 'appliances', or whatever. Eyeballs == data == better targeting of ads == higher profits on ad sales.

Releasing an e-book reader themselves pitches them squarely against the very companies they want to be using their wares, to enable them to sling ads to everyone.

Google is an advertising behemoth. For all the neat-o things they produce and we use, they exist to make money by slinging ads at people. Every business move they make should be considered in light of the fact that they will choose the route that nets them the most eyeballs -- and in this case, this means making an API or firmware for other companies to use. They do not want to alienate ad targets who use other e-book readers.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174443)

Eyeballs == data == better targeting of ads == higher profits on ad sales.

Umm. Eyeballs == more viewers for the ads == profit. Applications that report back == better targeting.

Think spammers emailing everyone vs. spammers with spyware.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174665)

I didn't separate data-collection from ad-serving, as they are both the result of more eyeballs via application use.

Data collection is as dependent on eyeballs as ad-serving is.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

jeffgtr (929361) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175837)

I agree, no hardware from Google. And finally, we may have ebooks that work across multiple devices. 2 things have kept me away from the Kindle. Proprietary format which goes both ways I don't want my reader or my books tied to just one company. Secondly proper handling of pdf's. I have so much documentation in pdf format and I long for an affordable e paper device that does pdf. Truly the whole ebook thing can't happen fast enough for me. One thing for sure, I have more faith in Google getting it right than say microsoft. Books are way to important to have microsofts hand in it.

Re:Obvious next step... (2, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174881)

Let's hope this solves the standards problem as effectively as java, javascript, html, xhtml, and flash did for browser development.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175171)

All Google needs to do is provide the online marketplace and publish an API. Then developers can write apps to interface with it - netbooks with WiFi, PDAs or Phones, laptops, Android devices, even iPhone. Then tablet computers and whatever comes next.

While Amazon and Sony are busy paying to maintain their hardware support teams, Google can sell books without worrying about any of that. The marketplace will come up with the devices. I could envision a simple eInk device that only reads the open formats like ePub and non-DRM PDF. One of these priced at $149 plus a Google book store would cut Kindle off at the knees.

Only thought is how they can do this without DRM. If they use DRM then they're just another shill for the publishers. But I don't see how the publishers would allow Google to sell books without DRM while forcing it upon Amazon and Sony.

Re:Obvious next step... (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175929)

Actually I see it first as an Android App.
I have a Kindle but I honestly use my iPod Touch more. At night the screen is back lit for reading in bed when my wife is asleep. I always have it with me. And I just don't think the kindle is that much better for reading books.
Now when I can get an 8"x11" color ebook reader all bets are off. I would love to get Cycle World, Rider, Motorcyclist, and Motortrend on the Kindle.

android/touch screen? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174083)

I wonder if anyone else sees the possibility of using android's API's for touch screen to make devices to for ebooks? Not that I like the ebook market or care for it, but it certainly seems logical.

If I am wrong, please feel free to correct me.

Re:android/touch screen? (2, Insightful)

Ponder Stibions (962426) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174211)

Android based app that's free and open source even, with an essentially open standard so anyone can program nearly anything to connect up. Between an iphone/ipod touch app and an android app, there's just enough space for a dedicated ebook reader to flourish. Maybe a nice addition to a ebook reader is a way to share a book with friends, maybe via bluetooth, letting you transfer a set amount (like in Google books where you only see part of the book) and then a linking system to allow you purchase the rest. Might make it more compelling. If tracked as to who recommended it to who, it could have a new start to rating books, by number of recommendations made.

This is like... (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174089)

AmazonMP3 trying to compete with Itunes.

Few will hear about the new store, and even fewer will switch.

Re:This is like... (3, Interesting)

daeley (126313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174189)

Unless Google teams their ebooks with Apple on a new tablet.

Then, watch out Amazon.

Re:This is like... (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174365)

Unless Google teams their ebooks with Apple on a new tablet.

Then, watch out Amazon.


TBH, iPhone app + no DRM = curtains. Definitely.

Re:This is like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28174193)

Except they can make it part of android. Then any company can build a dedicated ebook reader and existing android devices can have access to the store.

Re:This is like... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174607)

I bet Amazon's mp3 store is a lot more popular with the (reasonably large) portion of the market without iPods than iTunes is.

Who cares about switching? Amazon went for new users. Google can do the same. How many people do you know who buy books digitally?

Re:This is like... (4, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174885)

Who cares about switching? Amazon went for new users.

Yep. I never used iTunes because it didn't run on my OS, and it had DRM (light DRM, but DRM nevertheless). The first time I ever bought music online was from Amazon, and now I'm buying all my music on Amazon. All Amazon had to do to get my business was to offer me the opportunity to pay my money in return for an mp3 file, which nobody else was willing to let me do.

The Kindle is exactly analogous. It has a proprietary format, with DRM. Google says they want to have a format that works on a variety of devices, which presumably means no DRM. If they execute the idea well, I'll probably buy my first electronic book from Google.

Re:This is like... (3, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175509)

Wouldn't the Kindle be more analogous to the iPod? Both can use a proprietary, DRMed format. But both also work with well-known, non-DRMed formats. Also, if Google's formats are really open, then won't people be able to read them on Kindles?

Re:This is like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28174983)

In 2008, 87% of people who bought music online used the iTunes Music store. 16% used Amazon. (The numbers don't add up because 3% or so used both).

Long story short: "reasonably large" is a lot smaller than you think and you lost the bet.

Re:This is like... (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176581)

AmazonMP3 trying to compete with Itunes. Few will hear about the new store, and even fewer will switch.

The RDF is strong in this one..

Cost (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174123)

Lets hope they can bring the price down to 'every man'. 400 for a kindle is pretty steep for a lot people, even during the best of times.

Re:Cost (4, Insightful)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174319)

At 400$ a kindle, laptops start to look a little more attractive, especially with emerging tech like color eink and olpc's use of eink in screens to lengthen their battery life. I would love to buy a kindle, but its not cost-effective for me, and better products seem right around the corner.

Re:Cost (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174713)

The fact that they don't work outside the US and Canada is probably a bigger problem.

But yes, if they were $200 and worked here (Australia) I'd probably buy one.

Even though that's like my yearly book budget.

Re:Cost (4, Informative)

sabernet (751826) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174847)

Ummm...no.

Kindle doesn't work outside the US, period. We Canadians don't get it either(though I suspect that has something to do with our world-renowned awful telcos and monopolistic nationally propped up book broker Indigo more then anything else.)

Re:Cost (2, Funny)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28177379)

Really, I saw someone on the bus in Australia reading a kindle... well I assumed she was reading it, now you mention it she could have just been starring at a blank screen.

Re:Cost (1)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175803)

The Sony PRS-505 is $250. There are also a myriad of other eInk readers, with their advantages and faults. Though I don't know if sony puts any country limitations on their store. But I use mine mostly for newspapers and converted PDFs. I got tired of tossing out bags of old newspapers every week.

Re:Cost (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176789)

Oh yeah.. that was dumb of me. AU$200 is about US$162.22 .. and the Sony PRS-505 is about AU$500 in Australia :)

Re:Cost (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175745)

400 for a kindle is pretty steep for a lot people, even during the best of times.

And during the blurst of times the quality of the writing is so low it's not worth buying the books.

I swear it's like they get a bunch of monkeys to write these things...

The real questions is: (2, Interesting)

BlackCreek (1004083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174155)

Will they be selling books with or withOUT DRM?

I own a Hanlin V3, and to a great extent stopped using it, as I can't get the books I want for it.

Re:The real questions is: (2, Interesting)

blhack (921171) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175041)

While I am typically very much anti-piracy, I do draw the line at books.

There is a large collection of books sitting on my shelf that I have never opened. This is because I bought them only to put them on my ebook reader de jour (palm -> nokia 770 -> kindle2).

I'm sure that this violates some laws, but I feel like those laws are unjustified. If i were to take the time to scan the books that I purchased, then put them on my reader, that would be fair use, no? How is it different if I outsource the job to somebody that does it for free?

I'm arguing with my own arguments here, I know.

My point is: buy dead-tree versions of the books you want, then download the PDF from your favorite file network.

Re:The real questions is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28175259)

PDF? Ewwww. Try .mobi or ePub so the text can reflow and fit your device screen. PDF is only really useful when the form and layout is as important or more important than the content of the text.

Re:The real questions is: (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175567)

Wired had an interesting article [wired.com] about the typesetting (or lack of) in ebooks today. That's one area where there's a lot of room for improvement, and would definitely provide incentives for getting the ebook through official channels, even to the point of dealing with a closed format with some light DRM.

In my experience with downloading PDFs of books I own to read in an ebook reader on my laptop, typesetting had been practically non-existent and I'm lucky to get proper paragraph and chapter breaks.

Re:The real questions is: (3, Informative)

TheMCP (121589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175325)

Can I have it? It apparently supports PDF, TXT, RTF, EPUB, LIT, PPT, WOLF, DOC, CHM, FB2, HTML, DJVU, MP3, TIFF, JPG, GIF, BMP, PNG, RAR, ZIP, and MOBI. I can get pretty much any book I want in one of those formats or something that can be converted into one of them by Calibre or Stanza Desktop.

Re:The real questions is: (1)

Whillowhim (1408725) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176475)

This is the major question, and I can't seem to find any info about it. If the books are sold without DRM Google is in a position to force other online publishers to follow suit, but at the same time fewer publishers will want to list books with Google (due to percieved losses from piracy). It seems like more publishers are wising up to the fact that DRM is only hurting them, but there is still a long way to go before all books are available in non-DRMed formats. I suspect that Google will end up using the middle ground again and allow publishers to choose whether the books are DRMed or not, which means that all the major publishers will continue to try to make DRM work.

The basic issue is that all major eBook readers can handle a large number of non-DRMed files, but only 1 DRM format. If you can't find the book in that specific DRM format, you're out of luck. Typically, these are specific to the company that puts out the reader (i.e. Amazon's kindle format, Sony's reader format, etc.). The Sony store is expensive and has a limited selection. Amazon has a much better selection, but not perfect and is often expensive as well. Fictionwise has a mediocre selection (seems to be better than Sony in my area of interest), but their DRM doesn't work with the two most common kinds of ebook readers (the Sony and Amazon ones).

Since they're not going to put out their own version of an ebook reader, I'm hoping that Google will go without DRM so that I can use their store with my Sony Reader. If not, I'll end up pirating books again and end up with free but often badly formatted books after spending 4-5x as much time looking for the book as I would with a proper store. I've already tapped out Baen's back catalog of interesting books (spent close to $1k getting the ones that looked interesting) and I read books faster than they can publish them. I'm willing to buy books online, I just can't find someone to take my money and give me something that works. Yes, this frustrates the hell out of me. I refuse to buy books then pirate them because it sends the signal that DRM is acceptable. If you're going to make me spend time looking for crappily formatted books due to fear I'm going to steal something, I'm not going to pay you for it. I don't like the fact that this means authors don't get paid, but I'm more than happy with the fact that publishers don't get paid because of this.

Not too happy with my Kindle (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28174173)

I was right at the part of my e-novel where it said: "And the killer's name was....(Low Battery) Unfortunately, I was sitting on the commode, and could not reach the AC adapter. :(

Re:Not too happy with my Kindle (1)

daeley (126313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174449)

I was right at the part of my e-novel where it said: "And the killer's name was....(Low Battery) Unfortunately, I was sitting on the commode, and could not reach the AC adapter. :(

So that's what the kids are calling it nowadays? ;)

Re:Not too happy with my Kindle (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174925)

I thought one of the main benefits of E-Ink is that it needs no power to maintain the display state...

Re:Not too happy with my Kindle (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175015)

No, you misread the ending. I read the same book.

[SPOILER ALERT]

The killer's name really was Low Battery.

Low had tried to frame his brother the rapper, 9V. But the power required to electrocute the victim was too high -- and 9V demonstrated he had full charge by having the detective place both his contacts on his tongue. While 9V lost a lot of street cred for getting tongued by a male detective, it did show that he was fully-charged and quite innocent.

So then Low Battery tried to frame his sister, Anita Agatha Battery, but AA Battery simply didn't have the brute power necessary for the job.

Out of blood relatives (and it had to be one of the siblings, as established by DC-NA testing), by process of elimination, it was Low Battery who depleted his power by committing the electrocution, with terminal results.

So sorry. That last pun was just over the top.

Re:Not too happy with my Kindle (1)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175787)

So sorry. That last pun was just over the coppertop.

Coulda been worse :-P

Re:Not too happy with my Kindle (1)

AmigaHeretic (991368) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175091)

eBook readers take so little power. Why don't they have a solar cell in them like calculators.

I mean, 20 years ago they used to give away crappy calculators everywhere with those little solar cells in them. Now a generation later, little solar cells should be in all devices like eBook readers.

Re:Not too happy with my Kindle (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175591)

eBook readers take so little power. Why don't they have a solar cell in them like calculators.

I mean, 20 years ago they used to give away crappy calculators everywhere with those little solar cells in them. Now a generation later, little solar cells should be in all devices like eBook readers.

It'd be pretty cool to have them under the screen, so they're hidden, but cover a large area.

Really? (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174247)

Amazon's Kindle an enormously popular eBook reader.

I'm not sure the description "enormously popular" is deserved. Just because it is out selling other eBook readers doesn't make it "enormously popular"; how many of these have actually sold?

It doesn't seem that the eBook market has really expanded to the point of anything yet being worthy of the "enormously popular" status, AFAIK.

Re:Really? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174425)

It's semantics, really, but the popularity of a product can be gauged across the entire population (pretty much useless), it can be gauged across the potential market (useful), or it can be gauged against the existing market (most useful [for marketing]).

If the Kindle's share of new e-book purchases is over 85%, I'd call it enormously popular.

What I'd like to see is an extensive used Kindle market. It bothers me to no end that every time one is purchased, it does an extra point of damage for each one that has been discarded*.

*Ok, each one that is in the graveyard, since I don't want to get hammered by bigger MTG nerds than myself. As a side note, I wonder if MTG is still a relevant nerd topic. I don't see many references to it anymore, though I do see it is still being sold.

Re:Really? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28174805)

If the Kindle's share of new e-book purchases is over 85%, I'd call it enormously popular.

And EverQuest was "enormously popular" before World of WarCraft came along. Even if they're currently dominating the ebook reader market, there are still a huge number of potential customers out there who don't own any. IMO, it's way too fucking expensive. Both the reader and the DRM'd books. I mean, if I could save a bundle on something like The New Cambridge Medieval History ($1600 for the full hardback set), I'd buy one in a heartbeat.

As a side note, I wonder if MTG is still a relevant nerd topic. I don't see many references to it anymore, though I do see it is still being sold.

CCGs, especially M:TG, have really become a money-making scam. I'd love to play the online version, because I remember it being tons of fun, but that has the same business model. Waste of money.

Re:Really? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175033)

CCGs, especially M:TG, have really become a money-making scam. I'd love to play the online version, because I remember it being tons of fun, but that has the same business model. Waste of money.

Hmm... just like the micropayment model everyone (read: business analysts) say is the future of the web. I wonder if web producers will be able to restrain their greed enough to maintain their markets.

Re:Really? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175485)

It's semantics, really, but the popularity of a product can be gauged across the entire population (pretty much useless), it can be gauged across the potential market (useful), or it can be gauged against the existing market (most useful [for marketing]).

I understand your point, but I disagree with the application of such sweeping terms as "enormously popular" for something that is currently essentially a niche product. This same kind of logic could be used to say that the Segway Human Transporter is an "enormously popular" two-wheeled electric-powered transportation device, or that the Tesla Roadster is an "enormously popular" high-performance electric car.

For that matter, you could go in the other direction and say that the Toyota Camry is an "abysmal failure" in terms of transportation because there are more people on planet earth that do not own one than there are that do (same could be said for the iPod as a means of entertainment).

So sure you can scale the terms as much as you want, but that doesn't mean they retain meaning indefinitely. And the eBook market wasn't developed in the hopes of selling only to the very short list of people who have purchased eBook readers so far; they want to expand in the same way that digital music has expanded. Which means they have yet to develop a device that is anywhere near qualifying as "enormously popular".

Re:Really? (1)

Brother Seamus (937658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175573)

Believe me, Kindle is enormously popular with paid shills and astroturfers.

Re:Really? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175631)

Amazon's Kindle an enormously popular eBook reader.

I'm not sure the description "enormously popular" is deserved. Just because it is out selling other eBook readers doesn't make it "enormously popular"; how many of these have actually sold?

It doesn't seem that the eBook market has really expanded to the point of anything yet being worthy of the "enormously popular" status, AFAIK.

I may not call it "enormously popular", but I'd definitely say it's an "enormously popular eBook reader". Semantics, as someone else pointed out, but I think the latter statement indicates the market in which the popularity assessment is being made, and is a fair way to look at things that is relevant to the conversation topic.

Re:Really? (4, Interesting)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28177103)

I'm not sure the description "enormously popular" is deserved. Just because it is out selling other eBook readers doesn't make it "enormously popular"; how many of these have actually sold?

Amazon hasn't released any numbers on how many were sold. However, I frequently use the Mom Scale to informally gauge the popularity of a given technology. How it works is like this: if my 65-year-old mom has heard of a piece of technology, then it's popular. If she has purchased or downloaded a piece of technology, then it's enormously popular.

I found out yesterday that my mom just bought a Kindle, hence the Kindle is enormously popular.

Sony's eReader... (1)

Lockblade (1367083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174261)

I wonder how this will affect their deal with Sony and their ebook store. It's not like they can just take their toys and go home, as there's probably a contract or two, but I'm sure no one would mind replacing the awful Sony store interface.

Re:Sony's eReader... (1)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174855)

Please, yes. Sony's device interface is great and super easy to use. Their store interface, on the other hand, was designed by sadists.

Who buys these Ebooks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28174399)

Seriously! My g/f has a Kindle, and she has about thousand of books for it. She maybe "bought" a handful of those.

Games take up few Gigs and people pirate those. Movies take up hundreds of MBs and people pirate those. You think they won't pirate a TXT file that's few MBs in size?

Forget about proprietary eBook formats (3, Insightful)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174553)

I want an eBook device that can read the eBooks I already bought and own.

They are in PDF and some on CHM format.

If I am going to spend $300 or more for an eBook device I might as well buy a Netbook that can use PDF and CHM formats for the same price.

Re:Forget about proprietary eBook formats (4, Informative)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175883)

Not sure why your post was modded Insightful as you've obviously haven't looked into this at all. Most eBook readers support unencrypted PDF. There are also conversion utilities to convert PDF for various ebook formats so that your device doesn't have to do the formatting on the fly.

I see that there's a CHM to HTML conversion app (Mac only it seems, and another commercial one), and with the HTML in hand, you can create an ePub book using a program called Calibre.

It's pretty messy as far as formats and conversion utilities right now, and you have to sort a lot of it out, but there are ways to read your stuff which shouldn't be too difficult for a techie.

Re:Forget about proprietary eBook formats (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28176193)

The eBook device you describe is BeBook [mybebook.com] . It costs 300 EUR and reads PDF, DjVu, JPG, PNG, GIF, TXT, DOC, EPUB, Mobi PRC, HTML, CHM, LIT, FB2, and many other formats. It is Linux-based and the firmware is open-source, but there is also OpenInkpot [openinkpot.org] which is openly hackable so you can even write your own reader for whatever format you want. Plus, the device works all over the world, and it accepts an SDHC card up to 32GB, but it also has 512MB of flash memory built-in. its battery lasts for about one month (yes, it's a 4 weeks battery!) and fully charges via USB within half an hour. Much better, the company that makes the firmware allows you to communicate with the software programmers and request features, fixes, etc yourself for the next version.

As it will be forever a beta... (4, Funny)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174649)

...it will only sell unfinished books

Re:Unfinished Books! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174791)

Bottom of Slashdot page:

Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them. -- Dumas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Knight_of_Sainte-Hermine [wikipedia.org]
The Last Cavalier (originally published in France in 2005 under the title Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine) is an unfinished historical novel by Alexandre Dumas. It is believed to be Dumas' last major work, and the story was lost until 2005, when it was announced that an almost-complete copy had been found in the form of a newspaper serial. While a number of his previously forgotten works have been unearthed, this is the largest at 900 pages.

eBook Reader? Why bother? (0, Troll)

nickruiz (1185947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174695)

Buying an eBook reader always seemed impractical to me when you have so many decent smartphones and PDA devices out on the market. Granted, an eBook reader has a larger screen and may be more comfortable to hold, but for the price tag, you could just purchase a better mobile phone and have more features ready at your fingertips. Not to mention the advantage of portability.

Re:eBook Reader? Why bother? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174899)

Always the same back and forth on this topic every time eBooks are mentioned.

Someone says smartphones/PDAs are better, then someone else (like me) responds that the benefit of an eInk display is:

1) There is no backlight, which helps alleviate eyestrain during long reading sessions.
2) There is no screen refresh, so you can read for a very long time without killing your battery.

Having read extensively on a homebrew-enabled PSP with a LCD screen and now on a Sony PRS-700, I know that the LCD screen does hurt my eyes and the eInk screen does not.

Re:eBook Reader? Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28174991)

I read ebooks when I take the bus to work, on my Creative Zen MP3 player, even though the backlight is a huge cause of eye strain. My solution? Sunglasses! ;) You might laugh, but it kills that awful blue-white glare.

Fatality! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28174765)

Format war?

PDF wins. It's free, implemented on all platforms, and does everything you need. It even does Javascript, which nobody needs.

Well, that was a fun war. Let's fight video formats now.

Re:Fatality! (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175653)

Format war?

PDF wins. It's free, implemented on all platforms, and does everything you need. It even does Javascript, which nobody needs.

Well, that was a fun war. Let's fight video formats now.

We won't see a real format war until typesetting becomes a prevalent aspect of ebook publishing.

ePub is already there. (2, Interesting)

boombaard (1001577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175991)

No, we will see a format war once Amazon has to start considering implementing ePub on the Kindle (because they can no longer ignore other stores, that only carry their books in ePub or DRMed mobi (which doesn't work on the Kindle, because its mobi DRM implementation is different from the standard mobi implementation, even though they own Mobipocket. Can you spell "lock-in"?), or because they want to be able to sell books to people who don't own a Kindle.
Anyway, ePub can technically already do typesetting, as far as that goes in reflowable formats, through CSS. Mobipocket's typesetting possibilities suck. The format is outdated, and although it can be upgraded, it should just go the way of the dodo.
That said, for any book requiring footnotes (endnotes work in ePub), you will need PDF, as I know of no other format that will display them. Reflowable footnotes would be really neat, and are technically possible in ePub, but there is no working implementation yet.

Re:Fatality! (1)

SteeldrivingJon (842919) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176283)

Some of the books I've bought on my Kindle have clearly had their typography specified. Alberto Manguel's "The Library At Night" was set in a sans-serif font, maybe Optima. And Peter L. Bernstein's "Against The Gods: The Remarkable Story Of Risk" somehow managed to have a typeface that looked like it had been printed on a press with worn plates - occasional letters were malformed as if they had too little or too much ink. An 'A' on one screen might be a little wrong, but not every 'A' on every page, as would be the case if the problem were with the font.

It actually matched the paperback pretty well - perhaps they were both produced from a scan of a hardcover. Wasn't the best reading experience, however.

I don't know what kind of format they used to get that level of detail.

PDF is a print format (4, Informative)

Homburg (213427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176337)

PDF is a terrible format for ebooks. It's designed to instruct a printer how to draw on paper of a specifc, fixed size. An ebook format needs to deal with different screen sizes (possibly wildly different - I read ebooks on my 1280x800 laptop screen and my 177x220 phone screen) and different text sizes (my long-sighted father is going to want larger text in his ebooks than I do). PDF doesn't allow for the kind of reflow that a good ebook reader is going to employ.

As long as.... (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28174807)

As long as its a proper program, which can be download on its own, without having to be forced to install services and other bloated crap on your system.

Why do we need stores? (2, Interesting)

N7DR (536428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175053)

I'm probably missing something obvious, but I have yet to understand why we need to insert a middleman store into the chain between producer and consumer.

It seems to me cheaper and more efficient for the publisher of a book (or the author himself) to provide downloads directly.

For physical products, it makes sense to provide some kind of middleman to take care of the hassles involved with delivering the product; but for electronic products, it's not at all obvious to me why such a middleman is necessary.

As an author, I'm still struggling with the question of whether to make electronic versions of my books available; but if were to do so, (and especially having carefully read the contract that Amazon makes you sign to make your work available for the Kindle) I wouldn't be inclined to insert another profit-making entity between me and my readers.

Re:Why do we need stores? (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175157)

Attention. If I can look at and search for thousands of books in one place, I am more likely to notice your book if it is there.

One way to look at it is like this: how much are you currently making on the books that you are not selling that Amazon is not taking a share of?

Re:Why do we need stores? (2, Insightful)

whiledo (1515553) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176745)

Attention. If I can look at and search for thousands of books in one place, I am more likely to notice your book if it is there.

The more you think about it, the less that actually makes sense. The more books that are there, the less likely you are to notice my specific book.

Having tried to find decent apps in Apple's App Store (especially free games), I know that eventually volume becomes more of a negative than a positive. I wind up searching the net for people's "top X list of free iphone games", etc. So in reality, what I'm looking for is a content portal with reviews and discussion groups done by area of interest that can then directly link to a publisher or author's store.

Re:Why do we need stores? (2, Informative)

et764 (837202) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175239)

I'm probably missing something obvious, but I have yet to understand why we need to insert a middleman store into the chain between producer and consumer. It seems to me cheaper and more efficient for the publisher of a book (or the author himself) to provide downloads directly.

One benefit I can see is that it gives you a single place to go get books from. I don't have to remember the web sites for 100 authors, or 50 publishers. Instead, I can just remember a single site which aggregates all the books together. Sure, I'll end up paying a higher monetary cost due to the middleman, but presumably the time cost savings is enough to me that it is worthwhile.

It's sort like having an iPhone App Store instead of hundreds of independent software publishers to download from. Another benefit is that the App Store provides common payment processing infrastructure, which keeps the cost of implementing this from being duplicated for every software publisher.

Re:Why do we need stores? (2, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175461)

You need the publisher less than you need a retailer.

A publisher (mainly) provides publicity, editing, manufacturing, and, the only thing they are really good at, getting your dead tree into brick&mortars. You can contract editors, you can do publicity on the internet, and small run print options have almost reached parity with bigger presses. Most bookstores will even order PoD books now and some even take PoD returns on the theory that if you were interested enough to order it at a store, someone else might be interested enough to make a casual purchase.

Having your publisher be your store would limit you to people who mainly read books from your publisher, as opposed to readers of your genre. Doing it directly yourself would be even worse, unless you were already a name. I'd rather not fill in my CC info on a few hundred authors' websites, or even a dozen publishers'.

And you probably don't want to have to deal with CC payment processors, especially with the chargeback fees that retailers generally eat for you. I haven't read the Kindle contract closely, but I don't remember it being as binding as most publishers' contracts. Their PoD services seemed a little demanding on minimum quantities.

PS, put your books online, if you are at all popular, otherwise someone else will first. Probably a "fan".

Re:Why do we need stores? (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175707)

I'm probably missing something obvious, but I have yet to understand why we need to insert a middleman store into the chain between producer and consumer.

I think the obvious is having a centralised source for the search and discovery of content. It's my impression that many independent artists benefit from music stores such as iTunes which have a large user base and can lead interested consumers to the music.

I think the biggest benefit of both physical and online book stores that sell physical books is that they provide consumers with a place to browse books and find things they would not have otherwise.

That isn't to say one shouldn't have both options, but the store has it's benefits.

Re:Why do we need stores? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176049)

For a lot of the same reasons that people go to real world stores.
Why would I even look for your book. A google search on Science Fiction Books would be less than useful. Even a search for C++ books would probably not do very well.
But I can go to Amazon and search for those and maybe find your book. If that book gets good reviews I might buy it. Or it may be on sale and I would figure why not give it a shot.

For authors it will probably mean more sales. It also means they don't have to collect the money and deal with those issues. Then you have sales tax reporting... Have you ever sold anything? Oh let me tell you it is a pain.
And then you have to worry about securing your website and dealing with that. Keeping it up dated and all that fun.

baen has no drm (5, Informative)

rico33 (822701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175069)

I have been buying ebooks directly from the publisher Baen: www.baen.com For 4 years now. There prices are reasonable $7.99 for a typical release of book that is available in hard cover or 5.99 for a book that is available in paper back. They release the books in multiple formats including HTML. So the books that I bought 4 years ago and read with my palm I can now download again to my iphone and continue to read it. The prices are reasonable so I do not even think about looking for alternative sources for the book *cough bittorrent cough* I have been extremely happy with there products. I just wish other publishers would follow suit so I can continue buying ebooks of other authors that I enjoy. Curiously I just sent an email to Amazon.ca early today at how (since I am in Canada) I cannot get the kindle app or kindle books and how I have not bought any books from them for 4 years because I only buy ebooks. Well everyone says that the customer should decide and I have decided to only buy books as ebooks and I prefer without drm; baen meets those requirements so they get my business and thus far they are my sole source of fantasy/science fiction books that I have bought in the last 4 years.

Beneficial to consumers? (1)

sy5t3m (1349857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175555)

With the DOJ and possibly the EU looking into googles book settlement for antitrust reasons, consumers will not be better off if the settlement is allowed to stand. They never are when dealing with a monopoly.

If google enters the market as a fair competitor to amazon, then sure, it should lead to lower prices and more choice, but I don't think google is even remotely interested in fair competition.

i can see it now (3, Insightful)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#28175719)

along the right side of each page in the ebook.... yep "ads by google" :D

Speaking of Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28175801)

Kindle has no future, here is why:

By the time Kindle become popular, the cost of tablet PCs will be much lower than what it is today.

Why buy a ebook reader when you can get a full featured tablet pc, same size, low price.

Re:Speaking of Kindle (1)

ubersoldat2k7 (1557119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176095)

Yep, eInk technology is pretty much doomed if they keep prices so high. Check out the OLPC, it has two modes for it's LCD screen. The person behind this technology founded Pixel Qi and in no time (fall 2009?) we will see plenty of netbooks and tablets using their technology... so yes, I'll keep waiting for this technology to either be used on it's full potential or eInk technology dropping it prices down.

Netbook + FBreader (1)

greg.collver (1500645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176485)

For my money, the 10" netbooks plus FBreader makes a great book reader. (Add Sage and you have a great offline dictionary too)

CC1600 media chip PMPs (1)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 5 years ago | (#28176619)

I'll keep my non-drm text file books and my Chuwi 7" PMP media player. There's a good Ebook app out for it and with a 7" screen plus the ability to play a ton of music formats and video formats up to 720p with TV out for $120 I'm happy.

I thought we knew this already (1)

Paulminary (1441155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28177151)

wasn't this announced like two years ago, when they had legal issues about it.

More DRM Free Publishers (1)

Nakor BlueRider (1504491) | more than 5 years ago | (#28177335)

The best change I can imagine for eBooks would be more DRM-free publishers. The only reason I even buy eBooks is that I discovered Fictionwise legitimately sold many of their eBooks DRM-free. But many publishers still don't allow it, and that is what I'd like to see change.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...