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Novelists On the E-Book Experience

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the war-and-peace-batteries-dead-again dept.

Books 215

An anonymous reader writes "How is reading different on a Kindle, a Nook, or an iPhone? The NY Times asked two writers what they thought. Joseph Finder, the author of thrillers, misses the indices compiled by humans and finds it annoying the way that all of the fonts are the same. Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels, actually likes the simplicity because he can concentrate on the words themselves. And then there's the issue of monopoly, which must give the authors the willies."

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No problem (5, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313718)

I love the -idea- of Ebook readers, nothing is more awesome than being able -in theory- to carry around all my college text books and all my favorite novels on a thin little device that has a huge battery life. But in general all the systems that I've thought about buying I've turned down for being to locked down, or to expensive. DRM and Price is really a deal breaker, and the idea of rebuying books I already own so I can read them on my ebook reader is a little obnoxious. I love the Idea just hate the execution thus far, but I'm still hopeful for the tech to catch on.

Re:No problem (5, Insightful)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314014)

I agree; why the hell would I pay $300 for a device just so I have the right to pay $10 for each book I want to read?

A device with an unprotected screen that I don't expect to last a year?
A device that, should Amazon or Sony decide to get out of the market, will become a paperweight that I can't read my purchased content on anymore, and can't transfer my purchased content anywhere (see Yahoo Music Store, MSN Music, Walmart online music, etc ).
A device that can, at any time, decide that some of my content is no longer "acceptable", and delete it (see Amazon and "1984"/"Animal Farm")?

The concept is great; the current implementations just suck. /frank

Re:No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30314320)

It helps to actually have knowledge of what you speak. The Sony devices use the OPEN ePub format. While it's true that many of the commercial ePubs sold have Adobe's ADEPT DRM on them, that was cracked nearly a year ago, and it's trivial to remove the DRM from purchased files. This leaves you with bog-standard ePub books that work on literally dozens of hardware ebook readers and more than a few software readers. So if for whatever reason Sony decides to leave the ebook market, I'll continue to use my Sony reader (which I have a nice cover for to protect the screen) and continue to purchase ePub books from Books on Board, Shortcovers, WH Smith, Waterstones, or I'll continue to check ePub books out from my local library system. But hey, if you want to rant about "problems" that only someone who is uninformed of the subject would have, go right ahead.

Re:No problem (4, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314742)

When the only viable solution to a legitimate problem is to become a criminal, there is something wrong with both the law and the original problem.

Re:No problem (2, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314370)

A device with an unprotected screen that I don't expect to last a year?

Ever heard of a cover? Jeeze, it's not that hard man. I assume you don't buy laptops either because they'll break in less than a year, that screen is so unprotected!

A device that, should Amazon or Sony decide to get out of the market, will become a paperweight that I can't read my purchased content on anymore, and can't transfer my purchased content anywhere (see Yahoo Music Store, MSN Music, Walmart online music, etc ).

While you are absolutely correct about Amazon (which is why I don't recommend the Kindle), you are completely wrong about Sony and everybody else. Sony now only sells e-books in the ePub format, and has offered to update all of their old readers' firmware, which don't support the format, so that they will. EPub is ubiquitous, there are dozens of e-book stores that sell in that format, the two major online public-domain book sources (Google Books and Project Gutenberg) all use ePub, nearly any device but the Kindle can read it, and anybody can create books in this format. If Sony goes away (which, by the way, will never happen, it's fucking Sony for christ's sake), the ePub books remain, and can still be purchased on your device and moved to another device even if Sony were dust. You can easily move them from one device to another - the DRM simply attempts to ensure that you do not copy it to more than one device at a time (note that this also makes lending possible). This is a function of ePub, not Sony, and like I said it is becoming ubiquitous.

A device that can, at any time, decide that some of my content is no longer "acceptable", and delete it (see Amazon and "1984"/"Animal Farm")?

Again, that's pretty much Amazon and the Kindle that can do that - except for library books (which are possible thanks to ePub's DRM, btw), you download a copy to your hard drive (or directly to the reader, if the device supports it) and the book is yours. All the readers except the Kindle allow you to access the reader as a mass storage device and move the files off it.

In other words, your complaints are entirely against Amazon and the Kindle, and have nothing to do with e-book readers in general.

The concept is great; the current implementations just suck.

You know this from experience right? Oh wait, you don't, since everything you said was incorrect. I do speak from experience, and frankly I won't go back to hard copies (except for technical books until till I get my Que) even though I have a crappy, old e-book reader which has none of the nice features the newer devices have. I've had that reader for about two years now, by the way, and I bought it refurbished.

Even the old implimentations (which have had their problems) were overall far supperior to paper books - the fact that I cary about 150 books in my bag now is proof positive of that, as is the fact that I now have access to millions of public domain books on a device that reads as well as having the paper versions.

Re:No problem (1, Redundant)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314984)

Since when did the kindle not appear as a mass storage device?

I copy all my kindle books to disk to prevent Amazon from "repossessing" them and to crack them to allow speech to text.

I'd miss browsing on the free cell connection if Amazon tossed it, but I've got a browser on my phone, even if the battery life is shorter.

Re:No problem (0)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315094)

There's another format that is ubiquitous.

ASCII

I don't see any reason for e-books to be in any other format, so I refuse to buy an e-reader until it does what I want it to do--digitally store books--in the technically obvious way, instead of the marketing obvious way.

Re:No problem (3, Informative)

supermank17 (923993) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315226)

Just to chime in here, you have a few facts wrong about the Kindle (which I do own).
You can mount it as a USB mass storage device, and archive your books or add books that you acquired separately from the Amazon store. Only the encrypted books you purchased from Amazon will be unreadable on any other device you may have (although theoretically you can crack the encryption on the DRM'd books). I believe you can even reload books that Amazon may have "revoked" from your backup and still be able to read them.
You can also load any book onto the Kindle that is in the .mobi format (the kindle format is just a drm'd mobi file with a different file extension). Mobi is about as common as ePub, and most major ebook publishers offer books in this format. In fact, most of the books on my Kindle were purchased / downloaded from baen.com.
I'm not exactly thrilled with the power that Amazon has over books you buy through them, but the device is not as tied to the Amazon service as many people think, and you can use it to read other books (even if Amazon were to die).

Re:No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30315390)

> All the readers except the Kindle allow you to access the reader as a mass storage device and move the files off it.
kindle does this too. You can also back up your library onto your computer and put it back on the kindle at any time just dont witch on the wireless or it might get deleted again for the rare chance it happens....

kindle's drm is broken so you can move your crap around all you like. Please stop spreading lies.

Re:No problem (0)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314836)

A device with an unprotected screen that I don't expect to last a year?

I think you're really reaching to justify an emotional response. I've had mine for over a year. And I was homeless for three of those months, My kindle still doesn't have a scratch. You don't get much more wear and tear in life than that.

Re:No problem (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314060)

I wouldn't have much need for one. It would be great for school (if I'd had one when I was still going; computers used Hollerith cards back then), except you'ld have to pay full price for new textbooks instead of buying them used, and you couldn't resell them when the school year was done. It would be great for vacation, except I rarely travel and when I do, reading is the last thing on my mind. When I read, I'm IN the book; when I read Pratchett, I'm not in Illinois, I'm on Diskworld.

Most of the books I read come from the city library anyway. It's not much use there, either.

Re:No problem (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314618)

I love my e-book reader, but I would never recommend it for school books.

Imagine one of your books on a 6" (or smaller) screen - yeah, it sucks. So if you don't read for pleasure don't bother.

The only good ebook reader for technical books and documents is the iRex (I wouldn't touch a Kindle with a 10-foot pole, because of their obscene lock-in), and that would set you back about $800. The Plastic Logic Que should be out early 2010, and it may or may not be cheaper, they have not released pricing yet.

Most of the books I read come from the city library anyway. It's not much use there, either.

The ePub DRM allows libraries to lend books now, and libraries are starting to pick it up. So eventually this will be a big bonus for e-readers, not a down side. Plus, for the devices that have wireless-g, going to the library will mean hitting a button on your reader, no matter where you are (home, travel, whatever), and for everything else it will mean hitting the library website with your laptop. Pretty cool I think. Check out Metro Net Online Library [lib.mi.us] to see what all is available - that's just one online consortium library.

Plus, if you're into free, and especially into the classics, there are over a million public domain books available for free from both Google Books and Project Gutenberg - all designed specifically for use in an e-book reader (obviously they also offer them as text files for your computer, but frankly that sucks). I recently got all of Aesop's fables and several obscure classic Greek mythology books. Plus anything you find in PDF will work (except, as I mentioned, large format dense material like technical books/manuals - they work but suck to read).

I wouldn't use it for your school books yet, but I also wouldn't rule it out for pleasure/library reading either if I were you.

Re:No problem (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315540)

The ePub DRM allows libraries to lend books now, and libraries are starting to pick it up.

Once it becomes common enough that most books are available from the library in ebook form, I may get one.

there are over a million public domain books available for free from both Google Books and Project Gutenberg

I've not found any free on Google Book; in fact, they seem to discourage your reading books that are in the public domain. Project Gutenberg is a good source, though. There are also writers like Doctorow and Lessig that publish under the GPL and host their books in many formats on their websites. I wish someone would set up a list of these writers with links.

Re:No problem (1, Interesting)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314072)

Basically everything but the Kindle is opening up. Everyone is switching to at least supporting ePub, and a number of stores sell only ePub now instead of their formerly proprietary format (like Sony). Eventually even the Kindle will have to compete or die as competition grows via the ePub format.

Your requirement of a lack of DRM is, frankly, silly. This is the modern digital age - you will not be able to avoid DRM completely no matter what you do. Do you refuse to watch DVD's because they have copy protection? Because that's all DRM systems are. Plus, aside from the Kindle, they are not a requirement. You can create your own ePub or PDF documents and read them on most ebook readers (again, excluding Kindle), and people can sell non-DRM files if the market demands it. DRM also allows Libraries to lend e-books, soemthing they could not legally do without it. Several readers support this now, and libraries are starting to pick it up. Once again, that excludes the Kindle (can you tell I don't like Kindle's lock-in?).

The cheapest new e-book reader out is $200, which is quite reasonable given the technology. That single purchase alone, thanks to Google Books and Project Gutenberg, puts millions of public domain books in your lap that would have been painful to read previously.

Lastly, your complaint about re-buying books is unavoidable. One is on paper, the other is digital, and it's not easy to go from one to the other without good OCR technology. This would be expensive for home use, but if you already had a nice camera, were really really dedicated to getting your books on PC, and didn't mind chopping up your paper books, you could do this if you wanted to. Personally, I wouldn't. If you really read the book that often then just fork out the few extra bucks to buy it again. If you do incrimentally you will eventually have your entire library, and it won't hurt the pocket book as much as trying to do it all at once.

Last but not least, if the reason you want an e-book reader is for technical books and dense PDFs, then you are going to need to spend some coin. You will be severly disappointed when you try to read a tech manual on a novel-sized screen, it sucks. Right now you're looking at $500+ to get a decent sized screen, and right now most of the really big e-readers are very over-priced. The target for those is a smaller group of people who can spend more money - lower demand but higher willingness to spend = higher prices.

I'm waiting for the Plastic Logic Que (should be out early 2010) for this specific purpose, myself, and keeping my small e-book reader for reading books.

Re:No problem (1)

wardred (602136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314464)

No DRM is silly for music...except that the iTunes store does this. I can see that technical publishers, in particular, will probably want to keep this around, but no DRM on novels would be nice and help guarantee interoperability.

I really don't like the specter of having the Betamax of the e-book world, having the authentication servers go down, and have all my books disable themselves because the e-book reader couldn't communicate with the authentication server for X days/months/years, whatever.

If we have to have DRM - and that's debatable - then I want DRM that's interoperable between the Kindle, Sony, and other BIG publishers out there that doesn't require the reader to phone home on any sort of a regular basis and allows one to transfer books from one competitor's device to the other...as you'd be able to do with no DRM, and should be able to do even with DRM if designed properly, though I could see the process being a bit of a pain.

I want this for movies and music too. No DRM, or if we have to have DRM, make it possible to transfer media that I've purchased to other devices. It still galls me that if I do the right thing and purchase media from whoever, I'm getting a broken product, and that the "pirate's" offerings are more interoperable with more devices.

Re:No problem (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314786)

EPub and PDFs are clearly winning the ebook document war, even Sony ditched their proprietary format for it.

I also didn't say DRM was necessary for anything but library books (I don't think it is and I don't like it), but it's also not going to go away. No matter how stupid it is, publishers will always want it.

Basically Amazon is the only holdout for inter-operability. Everybody else is moving to ePub, which seems to be more sanely designed than most DRM out there (it is designed for lending, and removing an ebook from a device for the purposes of moving it to another device).

Re:No problem (1, Redundant)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314566)

To be clear, and this FUD has been going around since the thing came out, you can use non-DRM formats on the Kindle. TXT and MOBI/PRC files can be read no problem -- the device mounts as a flash drive, you copy them over and they appear readable on the home screen. You can also get DOC and HTML files converted for free. The lack of ePub could be a frustration if a good DRM-free ePub store appears, but given that the spec leaves room for any DRM scheme to I expect that it will be just as fractured as anything else.

The real problem isn't the devices, its the stores. There is no source that I know of for new, legal novels without DRM. I don't think we'll see this until publishers get scared of Amazon or someone else dominating the market and pulls an Amazon Music Store -- offering DRM free MOBI or ePub in order to get into the market with the largest installed base.

Actually, there is... (2, Informative)

Dragoness Eclectic (244826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315026)

http://www.webscription.net/ [webscription.net] for Baen Books and several other related imprints.

Re:No problem (2, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315148)

To be clear, and this FUD has been going around since the thing came out, you can use non-DRM formats on the Kindle. TXT and MOBI/PRC files can be read no problem -- the device mounts as a flash drive, you copy them over and they appear readable on the home screen.

Text has been available for everything, and mobi pocket is going the way of the dinosaur. I appologize for not including them, but it's a non-issue as everything else does it too, and text ebooks suck monkey balls. However, anything other than those (like .doc or .pdf, the most common document formats in the world) must be sent to Adobe and, at their grace, sent to your Kindle. Also, books purchased from Amazon for the Kindle are non-transferable, even to another Kindle, and you cannot buy books from another store for use on a kindle (unless they, for some reason, give it to you as a txt file). That's a huge deal-breaker for me.

The lack of ePub could be a frustration if a good DRM-free ePub store appears...

You mean like the Sony Store and Google Books who, combined, are far larger than Amazon's store? Yeah, ePub is already more available, and more transferrable than Kindle books.

...but given that the spec leaves room for any DRM scheme to I expect that it will be just as fractured as anything else.

So far, the exact opposite has happened, and I'll tell you why: who the hell wants to be the publisher of an ebook that nobody else can buy? What sense does that make? Also, you can now check out library books on any e-reader that suports ePub DRM, and like I said there are more ePub books available than there are Kindle books. If you include public domain books available in ePub (which number in the millions, thanks to Google Books and Project Gutenberg), Amazon's kindle is left in the dust.

There is no source that I know of for new, legal novels without DRM.

By the same token, there is no source that I know of for new, legal DVDs without copy protection, and no source of new, legal Blue Ray movies without DRM. What's your point? It's a stupid argument because it will never happen (except on a select, book by book basis), and if we have a ubiquitous technology for managing legal copies, like ePub is fast becoming, it will only be a problem for people who wish to copy the material illegaly.

Frankly, there are already half a dozen ePub stores, and there are more opening up all the time, like the Barnes & Nobel store, which was formerly all proprietary .pdb books, but now offers ePub books as well. I don't know if you know this, but B&N is one of the largest book sellers in the world.

Your information is out of date, just like mine was. Unfortunately, correcting me doesn't make the Kindle look any better, while correcting you just makes it look worse.

The one thing I'll praise the Kindle for is the Wireless-G access - this was a huge boon and a number of ebook readers - including the latest Sony - are emulating it. However, in the long run the Kindle was the wrong horse to bet on, as they are the ones that are going to have all the troubles you describe.

Lastly, it's not FUD if it's true, damnit!

Re:No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30315486)

and if epub really becomes a motivator for all things ebook and amazon is forced to make the change, then *gasp* new firmware for kindles to support it... its a computer iirc just add support for it not that hard

Others might disagree, obviously (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314600)

Basically everything but the Kindle is opening up. Everyone is switching to at least supporting ePub, and a number of stores sell only ePub now instead of their formerly proprietary format (like Sony). Eventually even the Kindle will have to compete or die as competition grows via the ePub format.

Supporting a common DRM standard is good, but far from "opening up".

Your requirement of a lack of DRM is, frankly, silly. This is the modern digital age - you will not be able to avoid DRM completely no matter what you do. Do you refuse to watch DVD's because they have copy protection? Because that's all DRM systems are. Plus, aside from the Kindle, they are not a requirement. You can create your own ePub or PDF documents and read them on most ebook readers (again, excluding Kindle), and people can sell non-DRM files if the market demands it. DRM also allows Libraries to lend e-books, soemthing they could not legally do without it. Several readers support this now, and libraries are starting to pick it up. Once again, that excludes the Kindle (can you tell I don't like Kindle's lock-in?).

I'm not sure what you're trying to say. Some people here on Slashdot claim that they don't buy Blu-ray disks at least partially because their DRM hasn't been broken so wide open that it's still inconvenient to do all kinds of things like back them up or work around unskippable content. Since you compare ebook DRM to CSS, are you saying that DRM for text is ridiculously weak anyway (which is true) so no one, including the GP, should worry about it?

Lastly, your complaint about re-buying books is unavoidable. One is on paper, the other is digital, and it's not easy to go from one to the other without good OCR technology. This would be expensive for home use, but if you already had a nice camera, were really really dedicated to getting your books on PC, and didn't mind chopping up your paper books, you could do this if you wanted to. Personally, I wouldn't. If you really read the book that often then just fork out the few extra bucks to buy it again. If you do incrimentally you will eventually have your entire library, and it won't hurt the pocket book as much as trying to do it all at once.

He might also be able to find quite a few of these books already available (illegally) online, and might feel that it is morally OK to just obtain a DRM-free copy from there. I think that a lot of people would agree with him, also.

Re:No problem (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314226)

But in general all the systems that I've thought about buying I've turned down for being to locked down, or to expensive.

The bookstores linked to each device may be DRM-laden, but most will read ebooks loaded from other sources that are DRM-free, and there are plenty of DRM-free ebooks in formats usable on reader devices available from publishers over the web rather than the through the bookstores linked to the readers.

Re:No problem (1)

Alinabi (464689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314276)

Then get the Astak EZ Reader. It reads any format under the sun (including .djvu, which means you can put scanned documents on it), it is not tied in to any particular store, and it sells for $265. The battery lasts for 5,000 page turns, it takes a 4Gb SD card, and you can plug it into a USB port on your computer and treat it as a USB hard drive. I had it for 3 months and so far I have no complaints.

Re:No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30314856)

5,000 page turns? Is that an average of the time it takes for a person to read a page, or is the power consumption minimal until it draws the next screen? I can read about 60 - 80 pages a minute...

Re:No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30315050)

What books are you reading where it takes only 1 second to read a page? coloring books?

Re:No problem (1)

Dragoness Eclectic (244826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315120)

If it's an E-Ink display, it only consumes power when it redraws the screen, so you really do measure the battery life in page-turns, not days.

p.s. Slashdot's timeout between posts is f***ing lame.

Re:No problem (1)

the_last_rites (837649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315250)

Astak EZReader 5" Pocket Pro Battery Life : 8000 pages or around there DRM Formats : Yea they're there, but there's no lockdown like in the case of Amazon, Sony or any of the other biggies. They're just additions to many formats like RTF,DOC,TXT,HTML,PDF(reflow),EPUB. The support for LIT and CHM is spotty at best and you'd best avoid them on the PocketPro. Then again, other than Pocketbook, chm support sucks across most readers in the market now. Price : $199

stupid (2, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313798)

Fonts the same? The Kindle can do multiple fonts. It can do bold and italic. It can even do illustrations. Why are we asking this guy's opinion if he obviously has never even used the device?

Re:stupid (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314080)

The /. summary is very poorly worded. He means all the fonts are too similar to each other. If you RTFA, you'll see that he uses his Kindle regularly.

Re:stupid (3, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314170)

If you take time to read the stories on slashdot, by the time you post you will be so far down the page nobody will ever read, reply to, or moderate your comment. Reacting to the summary is all we can reasonably expect!

Re:stupid (1)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314730)

You've been modded funny but I think this is really true; Slashdot's comment moderation system is one of the best on the Net, but the major down side is that comments posted after a while get buried. A lot of good comments just get buried in the mess. I wish there was some way to counter act that but nothing seems readily apparent to me.

Re:stupid (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314776)

I'm guessing he'd like to see more Comic Sans

Re:stupid (1)

MrEkted (764569) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314630)

He meant this:
“John Updike, who was so enamored of Janson and insisted that all his books be set in that font, would have been appalled to see all of his books set in Caelicia, the same font used in, say, Nora Roberts.”

He meant font, not weight, slope, and width (which is what you're talking about).

I foresee... (4, Funny)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313802)

a revival of "Choose Your Own Adventure" books.

Re:I foresee... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30313866)

I believe they are called MMOs these days.

Re:I foresee... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314152)

Josh Baskin's [imdb.com] dreams have finally manifested into a physical product!

Re:I foresee... (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314434)

Welcome to the 1970s. It's called a text adventure.

Re:I foresee... (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314506)

I believe they're still around in the form of "visual novels" in Japan, and quite popular.

Fonts (1)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313806)

finds it annoying the way that all of the fonts are the same.

One thing that made "The Road" striking was indeed the unique font, which shared a touch of the same depressing tone as the terse text. Times New Roman et al would have degraded the reading experience.

When might we see eBook readers which allow inclusion of text-specific fonts?

Re:Fonts (2, Insightful)

stagg (1606187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313900)

What it NEEDS is screen fonts that are analogous to the original print font.

Re:Fonts (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314056)

When might we see eBook readers which allow inclusion of text-specific fonts?

We already see them: for instance, readers that support PDFs exist--including the Nook and the Kindle DX. The non-PDF eBook formats that are popular for use on readers, while they may support specifying fonts, generally don't (much like HTML) require it, and default to whatever default font is set on the device.

As the same document in these formats can be viewed on different types of readers (e-paper vs. small LCD vs. larger LCD computer monitor) and readability of different fonts varies on different device types, and to an extent by reader, that's actually a very sensible way to make widely-usable content.

Re:Fonts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30314096)

We already have them. Epub (which is the industry standard ebook format) allows you to include your own fonts and style the whole book or parts of it using those fonts via CSS.

Re:Fonts (1)

ChicoLance (318143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314108)

To me it wasn't so much the printed font, but the lack of all quotation marks which gave the physical text a stark feeling. I have both a printed copy of "The Road" and a Kindle copy, and that starkness came through in both.

My other two cents: The Kindle sucks for any reference type work. I don't like reading newspapers or reference non-fiction because jumping around is awful. This has potential of being solved soon, but now now. The K2 came with a free cookbook that's just painful to use.

However, if you have a straight-though type text which includes most fiction where formatting isn't an issue, then it's a wonderful device. Non-fiction that's mostly text and no graphs that you read through like a plain book is also not bad.

I like having several texts available to read from, and it's in my bag. I think many people have also gotten into reading classic fiction that's out of copyright and freely available. There are lots of good books out there, and I like having them all easily available to read.

    --Lance (Kindle 1 user for 2 years)

Re:Fonts (1)

Mprx (82435) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314478)

Consistent fonts are a good thing. People argue over hinting and serifs and kerning and the like, but the single most important factor in font legibility is familiarity. Always use the same font and you'll read faster and more accurately. This is a big reason why I prefer to read on screen.

Wait for interoperability (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313876)

There are now four or five e-book readers, each with their own incompatible "ecosystem". Until that settles down, don't get one. Most of them are going to fail, and you'll lose your content. Just like the people who signed up for WalMart Music or Microsoft PlaysForSure.

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

WillAdams (45638) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314100)

Actually a fair number of ebook readers are standardized on .epub files --- Sony in particular was early to support this, and one can use .epub files from any store which supports Adobe Digital Editions DRM (if one wants DRM). Other readers include the Netronix, Hanlin, Bookeen and Jetbook.

One can even use ADE to read .epub files on a Tablet PC or laptop.

William

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314136)

I believe the nook is also able to read epub files. I also thought I read the nook was running android. Am I wrong to assume this means the device will be pretty "open"? I buy a lot of books from Amazon, the onlything that could sell me on a Kindle was if they *gave* me an electronic copy of every book I had previously purchased. If the nook is as open as I think it is, well I'll probably be buying books from B&N (and who ever else sells epub books).

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314720)

Am I wrong to assume this means the device will be pretty "open"?

Mostly, yes. Running on Android doesn't mean much unless they produce a SDK to allow people to write applications that can use both screens and the touch sensor, and possibly (but almost certainly not, though one can hope they'd allow use of wifi) the internet.

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314936)

Why couldn't I use the standard Android SDK?

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314112)

Any of them will work with non-DRM books. For example, O'Reilly tech books can be purchased in non-DRM digital form. You would only have to worry about losing access to DRM books if you get them from a company that may go bankrupt or stop making ebook readers.

Personally, I never re-read books, and I consider the probability of Amazon going bankrupt to be very small, anyway. So I have no worries with buying digital books from them, and I love my ebook reader.

Re:Wait for interoperability (2, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314538)

I consider the probability of Amazon going bankrupt to be very small

Of course, go back a few years and you'd hear people saying the same thing about General Motors. Up until the Eighties, GM was considered a huge industrial powerhouse that couldn't possibly fail. Not so much any more. But if you never re-read your books, you definitely have a point--it really doesn't matter if Amazon or whoever goes under.

The thing that worries me is this: if all publishing goes electronic, with DRM, what happens to public libraries? There are a lot of new books that I'd like to read but don't care to buy; I go to my local library for those. I don't know how they could continue to exist beyond repositories of old books in a world of electronic publishing.

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314710)

Libraries will become meeting places and cybercafes, rather than book storage. With a tweak in the law, we could force book publishers to provide digital copies to libraries. But as it stands, DRM will eventually kill libraries in the same way cell phones killed phone booths.

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

cmiller173 (641510) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315018)

I can already check out ePub electronic books from my library.

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315274)

For copyright-expired stuff, sure. But for books less than seventy years old, you can't get your hands on them without the publisher's consent. And they are, for the most part, not consenting on DRM-free books.

Libraries (1)

Dragoness Eclectic (244826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315266)

Some metropolitan libraries are already moving into the 21st century and lending e-books (e.g. New York Public Library). They use DRM to enforce only checking out N copies at once.

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315096)

You would only have to worry about losing access to DRM books if you get them from a company that may go bankrupt or stop making ebook readers.

What? [wikipedia.org]

DRM obsolescence of content sold by perfectly viable companies is a known problem. It has nothing to do with companies going out of business or ceasing to sell a particular device. It's all about the DRM technology and the chance for the company to get a sweeter licensing deal from someone else, and by-the-way force their customers to repurchase any content they still care about in the new DRM-crippled form.

If you buy DRM-crippled content there is a near certainty that you will lose it over a timescale of a few years. As someone who still has a few books he bought thirty years ago or more, that is not even remotely acceptable to me.

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315298)

A near certainty? Over a few years? When did all the iTunes songs stop working? I must have missed that in the news.

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

njen (859685) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314140)

My thoughts exactly. But then what happens after it all settles down is the possible problem of a monopoly, and the potential abuse it may cause. Honestly I don't know what's worse: the incompatibility of the various systems but with a healthy competition to drive innovation, or the ease of use of a monopolistic system but with the threat of potential abuse technically, creatively and monetarily.

Re:Wait for interoperability (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314146)

There are now four or five e-book readers, each with their own incompatible "ecosystem". ntil that settles down, don't get one. Most of them are going to fail, and you'll lose your content.

Well, if you mean the linked bookstores, sure, that's a risk. Of course, all of them will read at least oneof the common formats (e.g., Mobi, ePub), and many ebook publishers sell multi-format e-Books on the web which you can download and use with any compatible device (even the ones that aren't dedicated readers.)

Re:Wait for interoperability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30314622)

The Kindle doesn't support any DRM format other than its own. Almost all of the other readers support the epub format with Adobe's DRM, which is also supported by many online ebook stores and public libraries. The Kindle is the odd man out, though unfortunately it's also the popular, well-marketed one.

Re:Wait for interoperability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30315128)

There USED to be approx five different major ecosystems (Sony, Mobipocket, Kindle, PDF, ePUB) plus a smattering of smaller ones.

Adobe killed their proprietary ebook stuff a while ago and are now the leading manufacturer of the server side of the ePUB ecosystem.

Amazon bought Mobipocket a few years ago and the Kindle DRM is basically Mobipocket. Amazon licenses the Mobi DRM scheme to device manufacturers but refuses to license it for inclusion in any device that will also support ePUB.

Sony is killing their proprietary LRF format and moving to ePub. Sony even went so far as to do a software upgrade to their original PRS 500 reader, a device that hasn't been sold in several years; and they even picked up the tab of next day shipping in both directions.

So you've basically got 2 formats and DRM schemes - Mobi/Kindle and ePUB.

Lee Childs? I don't think so (2, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313896)

Lee Child, author of the Jack Reacher novels, actually likes the simplicity because he can concentrate on the words themselves.

Someone at work suggested I might like his books. I found one at a used book stand and started reading. The words to describe his writing style are stilted and simplistic. I felt like I was running into a wall at the end of every sentence. (get the hint?)

I think I got through the first paragraph before skipping around the next few pages then finally giving up. There might be an interesting story somewhere in those pages, but I couldn't stay around long enough to find it.

Re:Lee Childs? I don't think so (2, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314002)

I think I got through the first paragraph before skipping around the next few pages then finally giving up.

You read one whole paragraph before pronouncing it unreadable? I admire your dedication.

Re:Lee Childs? I don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30314250)

You are obviously not an editor or an agent.

Re:Lee Childs? I don't think so (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314310)

Or one might contemn his inefficiency.

Re:Lee Childs? I don't think so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30315084)

tl;dr

Re:Lee Childs? I don't think so (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314134)

A bad writer can ruin the best story. A good writer can keep your interest in a story about mowing the grass.

Re:Lee Childs? I don't think so (1)

LatencyKills (1213908) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314452)

The man's a bestseller so clearly he appeals to someone; that someone is just not you. I've read four or five Reacher novels. They read like action movies - low brain power, lots of explosions - and for that I find his style enjoyable. Like Robert Parker, you can literally read the entire novel in about 3 hours. Easy to take, easy to forget. If suddenly I was the supreme arbiter on what constitutes an entertaining book, Stephanie Meyer would be mopping floors as McDonalds.

Comfort and Freedom are their Best Aspects (5, Interesting)

ideonexus (1257332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313912)

The greatest benefit of these e-readers is the fact that I can download tons of free books like Lawrence Lessig’s, Richard Stallman’s, the entire collection of Project Gutenberg, and the works of Creative Commons authors everywhere, and read them in the comfort of reflected light in bed rather than emitted light through a hot laptop or tiny cell phone. So long as Amazon doesn't try to erase the library of texts I got from independent sources, I'll continue to be very happy with my Kindle.

Re:Comfort and Freedom are their Best Aspects (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314268)

What I don't understand is why anyone would want a DRM'd straightjacket. I read PDFs on my Droid, which at 480x852 is sufficiently high res to read a full page in one screen. I can do anything I want with my files, and I can get new material online without let or hindrance. The reader fits in my pocket and I carry it anyhow, even if I don't plan to read. It was cheaper than a Kindle, and it also makes phone calls, let's me ssh to a server, plays music, downloads music, does IM, SMS, HD video recording, 5 MPixel photos, voice recording, syncs with Google docs, calendar, contacts and gmail, &c ad infinutum.

Re:Comfort and Freedom are their Best Aspects (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314568)

Much of his point is that it isn't a straitjacket.

Your Droid is a terrible example for you to bring up, you are almost certainly locked out of the radio side of the hardware.

Re:Comfort and Freedom are their Best Aspects (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314806)

There is a radio side to the hardware? Don't know when I'd ever have time to use it since I can stream Pandora or other internet radio instead... I guess it might be neat to unlock it for emergencies.

Re:Comfort and Freedom are their Best Aspects (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314918)

Cellular telephones and other wireless data transmission systems generally rely on a radio.

Re:Comfort and Freedom are their Best Aspects (1)

rwv (1636355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315190)

the works of Creative Commons authors everywhere

Citation needed, and I'm not just trying to be a dick... I am geniunely curious about how you search for CC licensed manuscripts.

I am a CC author [2076book.com] and to my knowledge there are no methods to reliably search for CC licensed manuscripts that raise the bar above the "self-published" garbage that's out there.

I'll be putting out a "Version 2.1" of the linked novel sometime next year and the reason for all the revisions is because good writing requires many hours of editing. Editing is what separates "traditional publication" from many (not all) self-publishers and "CC authors" (who aren't already widely known).

Index? (4, Funny)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30313920)

An index? In a thriller? How does that normally work?

killer, identity of - page 274
tension, sexual, relief of - page 102
gun, finding of - page 79

Re:Index? (3, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314028)

Actually, the summary makes him sound like an ass, while his statements in TFA are pretty reasonable:

Joseph Finder, the author of high-tech thrillers like “Vanished” and “High Crimes,” praises the ability to pack an entire bookshelf into his carry-on luggage. “I read a lot of nonfiction, particularly for research,” he said, “and since I read a lot when I travel, I like the convenience of being able to lug a huge pile of books in one slim device.”

But e-readers don’t always make research easy. Mr. Finder said that many books he has read on the Kindle lacked a real index compiled by a human, adding that the ability to search for keywords was hardly an adequate replacement.

Re:Index? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314520)

What about a computer generated index?

the - page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325

a - page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222, 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287, 288, 289, 290, 291, 292, 293, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298, 299, 300, 301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313, 314, 315, 316, 317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325

because - page 9, 14, 36, 39, 45, 46, 50, 58, 64, 69, 73, 80, 101, 106, 113, 119, 127, 138, 144, 153, 161, 177, 183, 185, 199, 202, 215, 220, 222, 224, 228, 235, 240, 243, 251, 259, 260, 269, 278, 288, 300, 312, 316, 322, 323, 325

Monopoly (5, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314006)

" And then there's the issue of monopoly, which must give the authors the willies."

WHAT monopoly? They already sign to a single publisher for a book as it is. That publisher has always gotten to make all the publishing decisions. It's business as usual!

And if the answer is 'DRM', then they are doubly fools.

Re:Monopoly (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314556)

If one publisher is publishing a paper book, anyone can buy it for $15 (or whatever). If one publisher is publishing an e-book in a proprietary format for their reader only, the 90% of people that don't already have the reader will have to pay $300 to buy it.

Re:Monopoly (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314820)

So again, DRM is the answer, according to you.

DON'T USE DRM. Then you won't be locked to a specific reader.

Yes, the answer really is that simple.

Re:Monopoly (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315300)

Where did I say DRM is the answer? I'm just stating that if publishers use DRM that kind of market segmentation is what will happen. What exactly do you mean by "Don't use DRM"? Are you making a recommendation to the publishers, the authors (who are, as you said, powerless) or the consumer? I'm not arguing against you, just trying to understand what you're saying.

Interface (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314024)

Having never used one of these Nooks or Kindles, I know that this is a feature I would like:

To be able to press my finger to a page which will then put the book on its binder, pages facing me. Then I could slide my finger back and forth to a random spot and let go...and the book would open to that page. This is how I re-read books I really liked the first time through...they sit on my bedstand and when I want to read a bit, I just pick it up and open it to some random spot.

If I have to type in a page number or some such nonsense from the 1900s, I'll wait until my feature is included. :-)

Re:Interface (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314294)

I suggest adding that feature to an open source PDF reader, and using a google phone instead.

Haven't seen an increase (1)

greymond (539980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314036)

While the Kindle and Sony eReader have been coming down in price and being heard of more, I haven't seen an increase in PDF sales from the RPG/Fantasy front. Speaking with many of the indie publishers at sites like rpgnow.com and paizo.com has pretty much confirmed this. Maybe once they become mainstream... (mainstream = I walk around San Jose State university and see every other person on the park benches reading an eReader of sorts instead of on their laptop or phones)

Re:Haven't seen an increase (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30314440)

I haven't seen an increase in PDF sales from the RPG/Fantasy front.

Part of the problem is that so far, eReaders require hoop-jumping to get PDFs onto them. On the fantasy front, that and people sticking to the default store is pretty much the only setback you're going to face.

The RPG front is a much harder issue. Standard PDFs are designed to appear the same "everywhere" (with "everywhere" being defined as "able to represent the same paper size as the PDF was originally created with"). Reflowable PDFs are better on readers, as long as any given element fits on the screen. The problem appears when you have page-sized tables that the reader will have to pan around (if the reader even has that ability), diagrams, and artwork heavy pages that look excellent in color but are completely unreadable in a 4-shade-of-gray e-Ink screen. (Yeah, that background image of a treasure chest behind the chart to roll for treasure? Not going to work in B&W. Ever.)

Re:Haven't seen an increase (1)

oracleofbargth (16602) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315192)

While the Kindle and Sony eReader have been coming down in price and being heard of more, I haven't seen an increase in PDF sales from the RPG/Fantasy front. ...

Speaking of gaming books, one issue here is probably the cost of the devices themselves. I may have over a thousand dollars worth of gaming books on my shelf, but they were all bought for $15 to $35.

While I had significant disposable income in college, now I only occasionally (1 or 2 times per year) have the spare money to shell out $20 to $30 for a new gaming book, and it is truly rare to find myself with a spare $250 to $500 to spend on a single purpose piece of electronics. Most other gamers I know have similar financial situations.

Further, I find it inconvenient that many publishers insist on charging the same amount for a PDF as they charge for a hardcover of the same title. $40 is more than I am willing to pay for a PDF when I can get a nice hardback for the same price. It would make much more sense to me to discount the electronic copy by an amount similar to the printing costs.

A question for someone in the know (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314118)

If you have any of these devices...

Can you do a fast page mark and go back and forth between them quickly? I like the idea of the reader but since many of my books I'd like to have on it would be reference books it would be important for me to be able to switch between 3-4 different pages at a time with no real thought involved. It's easy enough with dead trees since I can just use my finger as a fast book mark while I thumb to another page but if it's an involved process on an e-book reader it defeats the purpose of why I would want one.

Re:A question for someone in the know (2, Informative)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314802)

You can set bookmarks. However, navigating the bookmark screen is slower than flipping to the page you have a post-it hanging off of. So if you go digital with your reference books, you will gain the ability for text search, but it will come at the cost of slower access to existing bookmarks.

Consider the source (3, Interesting)

Alerius (851519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314120)

Why ask an author about reading? A successful author may be a good source of information about writing, but that doesn't necessarily make him a good reader. [Obligatory car analogy] A mechanic may be able to drive, but I'd probably get better answers about driving from...well...a driver!

Now an author's complaint about limited control of fonts may have merit if he is saying that as part of the presentation of his art, he would prefer to set the font type and size. Judging from the novels I've read, font selection rarely enters into the equation.

I travel for work so the ability to carry half a dozen novels and a bunch of reference books in my pocket is rather handy. To me the limitations of electronic reading technology are things like battery life, availability and selection, and DRM (which I've had no personal experience with yet because I don't have a Kindle). What's kept me from jumping on the Kindle bandwagon now that they're apparently available in Canada are some of the horror stories I've read of people losing books they've legitimately paid for. I don't want to pay full retail cost of a book to license it and be at the mercy of a nameless faceless entity that can revoke my license at any time.

On the plus side (1)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314258)

I can now leave my entire library behind on the subway. Think of it as an economic stimulus package.

Re:Consider the source (1, Informative)

Dragoness Eclectic (244826) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315466)

Indeed!

Ask editors, agents and other professional readers as well: you'll find they love e-Readers because a stack of manuscripts is heavy! It's way easier to carry around and read a stack of electronic manuscripts on your Kindle or Sony E-Reader than it is to manhandle all that paper around.

Ask a group of extremely avid consumer readers: romance readers. This is a group whose typical readers go through multiple books a week, bought and paid for, not freebies from Project Gutenberg. They were the first group to get on the e-book bandwagon in a big way, and there are a number of e-only small publishing houses in the romance genre. In fact, I find it vaguely depressing that the commenters on a forum for geeks, etc (Slashdot) is less informed and less interested in e-books and e-readers than that of a popular romance blog Smart Bitches, Trashy books [smartbitch...ybooks.com] .

I also recommend the Teleread blog [teleread.org] , for keeping up on things e-book.

Lower the price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30314128)

I have had a Sony Reader since they came out and I love it. The only problem is the price on the books. They are way too high. They should be able to offer the books at a much lower cost but instead rape you for the hardcover cost or more even after a book has been out in softcover.

The free books are all I read but there are enough of them to keep me satisfied for now. If they drop the price on recent books to below $10 I would start reading them on the reader instead of dead-tree.

Some of the criticisms are just wrong (1)

JerryLove (1158461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314166)

I have a Sony E-Book reader.

You *can* imbed fonts.

You are not stuck with Sony's proprietary formats (it reads several, including PDF, and freeware programs like calibre' allow conversions).

Re:Some of the criticisms are just wrong (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314610)

From what I heard, Sony's (embed memory of rootkits here) ebook reader is actually more open than many of the other ones, including the Kindle.

"Issue of monopoly"? Bullpucky. (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314292)

Nook supports unencumbered formats, if you want to avoid the issue of monopoly, simply release your book unencumbered.

Incidentally, isn't every published book subject to the 'monopoly' of its publisher?

You misunderstand... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30314628)

You are considering monopoly from a *reader's* perspective, while they speak of monopoly from the *author's* perspective. The issue is whether an author will be able to "shop around" for the best publisher among legion or instead be relegated to one of a very few ebook providers.

As the author is concerned, your choices of bookstores are minimally relevant compared to their choices of publishers.

Mod eBooks +10 (1)

TheJodster (212554) | more than 4 years ago | (#30314882)

I love eBooks! I read them on my iPhone constantly. Project Gutenberg is an excellent source of an endless number of books that I should have already read. Right now I'm reading Bullfinch's books on mythology. I have no nostalgic attachment to paper books for whatever reason. I find that I am very likely to eventually finish a large tome (eTome?) if it is in my pocket at all times. A book can lay on my nightstand for a year and I may never finish it, but the eBook will always eventually be completed.

I'n not a fan of any of the readers yet, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30314954)

I realize that they represent where the future is going. None of the readers out on the market right now are quite what I would call the real version 1.0 of the e-book reader...but fighting against it and worrying about indices and fonts or monopolies seems like a less than useful thing. One can't fight this trend - the best we can do is try to direct it to a better result.

Another passing fad (1)

Token_Internet_Girl (1131287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30315188)

I can't reasonably see devices like the Kindle being nothing more than a technological fad unless the costs come down for purchasing a unit and subsequent books. Many users of said devices say they are flimsy and break easily, and several months ago there was the controversial story of the 1984 book deletions by Amazon: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html/ [nytimes.com] . Why not just carry around PDF's of books you legally own on a Netbook?
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