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Why Beatrix Potter Would Love a Digital Reader

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the bunny-centerfold dept.

Books 98

destinyland writes "In 1906, children's book author Beatrix Potter tried creating her own new, non-book format for delivering her famous fairy tales. 'Intended for babies and tots, the story was originally published on a strip of paper that was folded into a wallet, closed with a flap, and tied with a ribbon.' This article includes a link to actual images from one of Potter's strange wallet-sized stories — 'The Story of A Fierce, Bad Rabbit' — plus an image showing you exactly what Beatrix Potter thought 'a fierce, bad rabbit' would look like!"

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98 comments

huh? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479288)

err okay. Who cares?

Re:huh? (4, Insightful)

Okonomiyaki (662220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479338)

Nobody. But if anyone did, they'd immediately find the premise of the article ridiculous. Good luck teaching a baby to use a Kindle. Also, I doubt babies would be interested in monochrome rabbits.

I used to have an ereader, not a kindle but similar, and I liked it a lot until it broke. But I really don't see why anyone would choose a kindle or similar device over an iPad. Am I missing something?

Re:huh? (3, Informative)

Lunatrik (1136121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479394)

E-ink for me, but I think I might be in a minority. LED reading for >3 hours gives me a heck of a headache....

Re:huh? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479774)

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Re:huh? (5, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479912)

There's actually a setting on the iPad to increase the power of the Reality Distortion Field (TM). Once it's up high enough you won't even notice the eye strain.

Re:huh? (1)

Okonomiyaki (662220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482882)

I'm not entirely convinced that a backlit screen causes as much eye strain as people think. It may sound strange, but I think part of the blame is on badly rendered fonts. I rarely, if ever, get eye strain reading text on a Mac or iPod but chunky Windows fonts will do it to me. Or maybe it's just psychological...

Re:huh? (1)

theIsovist (1348209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482974)

I rarely, if ever, get eye strain reading text on a Mac or iPod but chunky Windows fonts will do it to me

you have the Reality Distortion Field (TM) increased to the proper levels then. This feature, admittedly, is broken on all Windows machines, but hey, some see this as a feature.

Re:huh? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32485196)

That's certainly part of it. Actually, it's not the bad rendering so much as the bad kerning. I have one eBook which is particularly engrossing in terms of content but the typography is horrendous. I start to feel tired after reading it for more than about half an hour (on an eInk device), while I don't have the same problem with anything else read from the same gadget.

The backlight is definitely part of it though. It's much easier to read a PDF from the eInk device than from my Nokia 770, in spite of the fact that the latter has a higher resolutions screen (225dpi vs 166dpi).

Re:huh? (5, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479440)

I don't know about the kindle, but an iPhone doesn't seem to be too hard. I was at a theme park the other day and the guy in front of my was carrying a baby that couldn't talk yet. It was holding his iPhone and I watched the baby repeated slide-unlock his iPhone, then wait for it to reset, and hit the button and unlock it again. Granted, it didn't manage to get the slide-unlock every time. It took about 4 tries. But there was no doubt that the kid had a good handle on what it was doing.

Re:huh? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479458)

Yeah, my nephew was a master of the iPhone by about 1.5. What did confuse him though was the screenshot of the iPhone screen in my photo collection. The image just kept zooming in and out as he tried to click the icons.

Re:huh? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484354)

My three year old loves the damn thing, and he's savvy enough to get out of whatever game I want him to be in, and start up other stuff...Had to turn the sound on so I'd know when "Angry Birds" became "Assassins Creed"

Say what you will about Apple, the fricking UI is intuitive to toddlers. I mean, jesus christ!

Re:huh? (4, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479564)

But I really don't see why anyone would choose a kindle or similar device over an iPad. Am I missing something?

E-ink. Really, its a lot nicer on the eyes than an LCD, yeah, some people can stare at text on an LCD with no problem, but for me, I tend to get headaches staring at an LCD for too long. I can handle short articles, videos, etc. just fine but when I read a large wall of text that takes more than 15 minutes to read, I tend to get a headache.

Plus, iPads are completely overpriced, you can get a cheap E-reader for $130 and a great one for $250, a cheap laptop for $350 and a great one for $500. With an iPad you have none of the benefits of E-ink nor the benefits of a real laptop.

Re:huh? (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479588)

Exactly. Why would I buy a Sony Reader rather than an Ipad? $350 of beer.

Re:huh? (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484388)

E-ink. Really, its a lot nicer on the eyes than an LCD, yeah, some people can stare at text on an LCD with no problem, but for me, I tend to get headaches staring at an LCD for too long.

This is completely ridiculous. Exactly how do your eyes know the difference between reflected photons and backlit photons? Do the reflected photons go into your eyes in an "easier" way? If you're having trouble with an LCD, then TURN DOWN THE BRIGHTNESS to the level of a book. You are allowed to, you know.

I was having this debate with a friend of mine who claimed, "LCDs have a glare, and regular pages don't!" I then proceeded to hold my hand up to my iPad, which of course lit up my hand. I then grabbed a regular book with a light on it, put my hand up to the book, and lo and behold, it lit up my hand identically to the iPad, of course proving (as if I should have to) that light does in fact come from the book.

I *might* listen to a contrast argument, though that also fails when you do some actual thinking about it.

Of course, E-Ink does have a big advantage when reading outdoors, but that has nothing to do with whether there's some mystical headache factor.

Re:huh? (1)

jesset77 (759149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530884)

This is completely ridiculous. Exactly how do your eyes know the difference between reflected photons and backlit photons?

It's a matter of how badly your eyes have to hurt themselves in order to gather the photons required to view the text. That's how they can "tell the difference".

The major optical difference between an LCD screen and a standard book is that the pages of a book are single, bleached, refractive surfaces with dark pigment over the letters and illustrations. No matter how much you want to believe than an LCD is identical, it is not. An LCD is instead much closer to shining a flashlight through the back of a transparency directly into your eyeballs.

Yes, you can turn down your backlight, but until you turn the backlight off you are outputting a greater number of photons into the room than were there to begin with. By comparison, you can read a book by the ambient light already in a normally lit room. Therefore, it is not possible to turn down an LCD screen's brightness to match what you need to read a book without completely switching the backlight off.

Then once the backlight is off, the reflective (not refractive) surfaces on both sides of the liquid crystal significantly impair anyone's ability to view any text. Light has to pass through the front transparent pane (some reflecting off, often into your eye drowning out the intended image with reflective noise from the room) then through the LCD pane (much of which reflects again) then the light that made it through the LCD pane reflects off the backlight, and through the LCD pane again (so every darkened LCD pixel has a distracting offset-shadow) and through the front pane again, The first two passes of reflection generate a noiseful glare that books do not have, reflecting light into your face that does not represent the intended image, and two more passes of partial reflection occur as light exists the LCD panel which simply creates interfering ambient light inside of the device, making the image still harder to see.

By comparison, any sliver of light striking an un-inked page of a book is refracted in every direction so that eyeballs from any angle can see with zero distortion that that portion of the page is "white". A sliver of light striking an area inked black is absorbed by a strikingly high percentage, and any eyeball looking in that direction perceives a very highly contrasted black from the lack of any kind of photons, refracted or reflected, emanating from that location in space.

So while an Ipad may light up your hand and a book with an attached booklight may also light up your hand, you make no mention of how much your hand has to get lit up for text to be legible in either case. Try this test to get an idea. Make your Ipad display a fully backlit black screen, and then attach your booklight to the cover of a book with a matte black cover, such as a bible. Then see which one lights up your hand better. Oops, LCD black is weak sauce compared to pigment black, isn't it now? So that's why, even in pitch black rooms, you have to flood your eyes with a magnitude brighter light from an LCD to make out the same text as you require to read a book.

Now using less light also means using less battery-draining power. E-ink requires zero power (besides providing it ambient light) to maintain an image. Even if you turn your backlight off, your LCD is drawing power just to maintain a mixture of hard to see black and white pixels. That's why E-ink readers can provide days or weeks of active reading between charges, as a bonus beyond saving your eyes from megadoses of EM radiation.

Re:huh? (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 4 years ago | (#32567916)

Sorry for the delay in answering your post. There's a lot I could extract, but I'll focus on this as representative...

...and through the LCD pane again (so every darkened LCD pixel has a distracting offset-shadow) and through the front pane again, The first two passes of reflection generate a noiseful glare that books do not have, reflecting light into your face that does not represent the intended image, and two more passes of partial reflection occur as light exists the LCD panel which simply creates interfering ambient light inside of the device, making the image still harder to see.

This is all hand-waving nonsense. Photons don't know remember their own history. "Two passes of reflections", "noiseful glare", etc, etc means nothing. Photons enter your eyes, and that's the end of the story when it comes to normal light. Frequency (color) and brightness. If an ipad puts out an identical amount of light as the book, then it's an identical amount of light. Period.

If you want to argue the contrast is better, I'll listen. If you want to argue the letter resolution is better on a book, I'll listen. But to argue that the nature of light is different from one to the other is Just Plain Wrong.

Or to put it another way, if I take a camera and take a picture of a book and a picture of an ipad at identical brightness levels, and then I cropped the bezel / border of each image so it was just a page image, you would not be able to tell which was the real book and which was the ipad (assuming the resolution of the photo didn't allow you to pick up pixels versus letters).

Like I said, I'll listen to a point about the *quality* of the text. But the idea that the *light* from an LCD is headache inducing at the same brightness levels as a book is completely absurd.

Re:huh? (1)

jesset77 (759149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32575164)

This is all hand-waving nonsense. Photons don't know remember their own history.

But I said nothing about photons knowing or remembering their history. I am talking about large groups of photons passing through 4 reflective surfaces. Some pass through at each stage and some reflect. Each group of photons which reflect when they are not supposed to generates visual noise. Your eyes see glare and reflection at stages when they should be seeing the image represented by the pixels.

Try looking into a pond [asfm.edu.mx] . Do you see the fish, plants and rocks under the water? Do you see reflections of the sky and treeline above the water? Do you see foam or jetsam on the surface of the water?

Photons don't need to "have memories" besides their speed and direction in order to superimpose images. When you look into a pond, you see superimposed images from multiple sources. Some light reflects off the surface of the water, some light refracts off the surface of the water and objects there, while other light passes through and refracts off of surfaces under the water. Light from all of these sources reach your eye, each carrying distinct information by way of a cacophony of disagreeing shapes and hues. This is why aquariums always have darkened viewing rooms below water level for looking at marine life: staring down through the sunlit surface of the water makes it impossible to see anything.

Or to put it another way, if I take a camera and take a picture of a book and a picture of an ipad at identical brightness levels, and then I cropped the bezel / border of each image so it was just a page image, you would not be able to tell which was the real book and which was the ipad (assuming the resolution of the photo didn't allow you to pick up pixels versus letters).

Under absolutely no circumstances do I believe what you have just said. Please demonstrate.

As a demonstration that requires much less work, I can get a book and my laptop, turn down my laptop's backlight as far as it will go (I don't think it will turn all the way off) and tilt it back to catch the light from an overhead light source, take a photo of that alongside a book at the same angle, and see which one you can read in the photo. Hell I'll even use a book with a 12pt font and set the laptop to 72pt (or whatever renders 1 inch or larger letters). My apologies in advance if 100% of the light striking the shiny laptop screen reflects in the exact direction of the camera washing out the image, while the light striking the book is warmly refracted in every direction, none of the light striking the black lettering refracted at all, making that image easy to read at a distance.

Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32494768)

I can handle short articles, videos, etc. just fine but when I read a large wall of text that takes more than 15 minutes to read, I tend to get a headache.

Pump up the font size.

If you already did that and still get headaches, my apologies. But I've recently conducted an automated survey on a generalist website with large traffic and the conclusion is that only about 1% of web surfers use zoom or minimal font size. The rest attempt to stare at the default, pixelated, minuscule, non-AA fonts.

In their defences, lots of sites break horribly if you do that. Hello, web designers. 1996 called, they want their printed stuff back. HTML and CSS are supposedly able to adapt to font size and resolution. How about giving it a try. 15 years of eye strain is enough damn it.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479602)

Maybe some of us aren't made of cash. That would be a good reason to not buy the iPad.

Re:huh? (5, Funny)

greenguy (162630) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479740)

Also, I doubt babies would be interested in monochrome rabbits.

Actually, for their first several months, babies prefer black and white to color. As a proud new papa, I can assure you it's true.

With that in mind, I thought for a long time that it was dumb that more baby stuff didn't come in black and white, instead of all these pastels. Then I figured out: spit-up washes out of pastels easier than black and white.

In much the same vein, I strongly suspect spit-up washes out of a pamphlet-book more easily than a digital reader.

Re:huh? (4, Informative)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479754)

Kindle is for reading books. iPad is for multimedia entertainment.

Reading a novel for hours on a backlit screen makes my eyes feel like they are bleeding. Even a half hour before bedtime will keep my head buzzing enough to where it is more difficult to get to sleep, and decrease the quality of the sleep.

E-Paper devices are perfect for reading because they are not backlit and reflect natural light almost like paper, so it is readable anywhere paper is readable (Try reading an iPad on a sunny day at the beach...)

Re:huh? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479918)

Reading a novel for hours on a backlit screen makes my eyes feel like they are bleeding. Even a half hour before bedtime will keep my head buzzing enough to where it is more difficult to get to sleep, and decrease the quality of the sleep.

You sure are a pussy. Is that sand in your vagina?

Epic Fail... (4, Interesting)

thesupraman (179040) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479966)

These people obviously dont have young children.

Young children dont *read* books, that is about the 5th to 6th use of them.
#1 is they eat books (chew on them whenever possible)
#2 is they use books as hammers (apparently hitting things with large flat objects is fun!)
#3 is they throw them the moment they are more than 5 inches above the ground

Can someone lend me a kindle (/ipad/whatever) and a stopwatch? I have an experiment in mind...

I suspect Ms.Potters idea was more about making books MORE disposable, not less (the foldups could be printed more cheaply, as no binding).

Re:Epic Fail... (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480504)

Young children also shouldn't be generalized I guess. My two year old uses books for reading.

Getting back to the article, he also finds the iPad highly enjoyable, but not as a book reader. Fish pond is the favorite there.

Re:Epic Fail... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480752)

probably autistic

Re:Epic Fail... (2, Insightful)

thesupraman (179040) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481476)

Sigh, does your two year old use books ONLY for reading?

as I pointing out, reading does come on the list, its just not always at the top, and children
certainly dont treat delicate electronic devices with respect that their cost and complexity
would warrant.

Or do you disagree with that?

It is quite obvious that Ms.Potters approach to making a book was exactly the opposite of an e-book....

Re:Epic Fail... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481852)

I think you're spot on - making books incredibly cheap so that people could give them to children without having to worry if they got destroyed definitely seems to be the goal, here, possibly with the secondary goal that it's easier for little fingers to manipulate than pages. TFA's assumption that, because Potter was experimenting with a different format, she would automatically embrace digital readers seems a bit of a stretch to say the least. Maybe she'd be one of the people who think digital readers are an abomination and should never replace paper, I could just as easily infer that from the fact that her experiment wasn't with printing on alternative materials (and my inference would be just as unfounded as TFA's).

Re:Epic Fail... (2, Informative)

Abraxas26 (68609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482848)

Respect for books(and electronics) is something that must be taught. Since young children are fantastic at mimicry the best way to teach them is by example. Read with them, flip the pages, encourage them to treat the book gently. If they want to throw something give them a ball. If they want to hit something give them a pot and a wooden spoon. If the child insists on treating the book badly then take it away and don't give it back until they finish crying. If you teach respect for books then your electronics are (mostly) safe as well.

Can someone lend me a kindle (/ipad/whatever) and a stopwatch? I have an experiment in mind...

It is the job of a parent to inhibit destructive behavior in their children. If an iPad or Kindle is introduced to them properly then there is little risk. Children have no concept of money but they do recognize value. If the device is seen as valuable to the child then it is not as likely to be destroyed.

See if you can corroborate this experiment:
If you give a young child a bucket of quarters and put them near a fountain I guarantee every single quarter will be thrown or dumped into the fountain. Give them something they like(candy, favorite toy) and it is extremely unlikely(not zero) they will throw this object away no matter how little its monetary value.

Re:Epic Fail... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484608)

If they want to hit something give them a pot and a wooden spoon.

Heh heh heh... Well, I'd recommend a drum: preferably a rubber-head one that doesn't get very loud.

Re:huh? (1)

joe_kull (238178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480062)

Battery life.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480722)

This is another of the "headlines without stories" we're seeing so much of these days.

What would make Jesus laugh? Abe Lincoln would be a PC, Jefferson David a Mac.

There was some nonsense about how Frank Zappa would us Linux were he alive today.

We must be running out of real news.

Re:huh? (1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481720)

No, this is headline news... "woman might like ipad if they existed"

Re:huh? (1)

richmatchmaking.com (1827680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481810)

Interesting...

Re:huh? (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484280)

It's even more amusing if you know why she wanted the weird format in the first place: it was so the "book" could be printed in fewer runs through the press, so she could have color on more pages, and still be affordable.

So yea, she'd have hated the Kindle. I personally hate the Kindle because it's a single function device, and because the ebook format is still so overpriced.

Re:huh? (1)

nobodie (1555367) | more than 4 years ago | (#32494378)

well i own 3 e-readers with e-ink and actually seldom read books any other way. I find that reading on an LED/LCD/ backlit screen of any kind is really uncomfortable for the kind of reading that I do. (relaxed pleasure reading where i like to carry the "book" with me various places through my day). I really am surprised by the iPad success, but i live in China and we lack two things here (no, not the iPad) the constant barrage of unpaid media hype about Apple products together with the Apple zealots who constantly harp about how cool their shit is. What we have are cautious consumers that would rather buy an iphoney for the look if the look is desired than pay stupid money for stuff that we can get from other sources for a lot less money. Lastly, back in the day i used an iMac, it was a great piece of hardware. It really kept value for much longer than a generic PC because of the tight integration between hardware and software. It seems like Apple has been drinking the kool-aid now though. They are all about becoming disposable tech, expensive disposable tech. I just don't see it in my life or my future.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32586408)

I prefer the kindle for reading novels. The eink is easier on the eye (particularly after working on a computer all day). It's just more book-like. Since I don't read picture books I don't care about the fact that it's only b&w. Obviously, if I was was using a reader for text books, magazines and so on, eink wouldn't work for those - but I don't tend to snuggle down with a text book for a 6-hour read, so the eye strain was not a problem. Also (and, yes, it should be irrelevant) the kindle (and eink readers in general) have a much higher snob value amongst the literary set - much as iPads do in some circles.

Re:huh? (1)

rjames13 (1178191) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479634)

Benjamin bunny.

WTF? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479312)

Shouldn't this be in idle?

What? (5, Insightful)

BonquiquiShiquavius (1598579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479324)

Maybe I'm missing something, but what is the link between publishing a book in a pamphlet style and a love for digital readers?

Re:What? (5, Insightful)

JeffSh (71237) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479336)

What he said, tenuous link at best. slow news day, stupid conclusions, etc etc.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481218)

Know what else? Bach would have totally loved the iPod!

Here's the secret... (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481560)

The wild-assed truth is that I has unholy animal sex with Beatrix Potter on her kitchen table. Mother-fucking FACT, baby.

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479350)

Exactly. It appears that Ms. Potter wanted a different experience for the readers, one that included a very tactile experience. That's the exact opposite of a digital reader.

Re:What? (3, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479964)

Beatrix Potter was clearly interested in the telling of stories and was including the medium as part of the story, not something independent and transposable. As best as I can tell, it relates to eBooks only in that Beatrix would have used eBooks for stories that called specifically for an eBook format. In other words, she would neither be afraid of the format NOR use it merely because it existed. If it would be important, it would be used. If it wouldn't be important, it wouldn't be used. Since I cannot see any way in which it could be important to any of her work, I can't see any circumstance in which she would prefer it.

(Considering the medium to be intrinsic is very alien to much of modern thinking, which portrays the medium as merely the mechanism by which information is delivered, not information in is own right, or metadata for the interpreting of information.)

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480396)

So eBook readers are "made for" interactive fiction...

Re:What? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32491148)

Only if someone has ported the Z Interpreter, so you can run Infocom games.

Re:What? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32482032)

Actually, no. There's a lot of contemporary literary theory (especially in New Historicist circles) that considers the degree to which the medium can contribute to the overall effect of a book. Even 20 years ago, I took a class in which we discussed at length how the material characteristics of "A Christmas Carol" interacted with the text (the first edition was deliberately designed as a Christmas gift, with cloth covers with gilt lettering and green endpapers and illustrations - http://www.gutenberg.org/files/46/46-h/46-h.htm - while there is a passage in the "Ghost of Christmas Present" section in which the Ghost says it's *good* for stores to remain open on Christmas, so people can buy more gifts!)

Re:What? (1)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480496)

It's not even new, and Potter probably knew that as well. The Aztecs and the Maya both made books exactly this way. If you have foldable paper -- which the Mesoamerican cultures had, in contradistinction to the papyrus and parchment using classical western civilizations -- it's either that or unwieldy scrolls. The postclassical codex style of book is actually very complex and labor-intensive to make, at least prior to industrialization and the availability of modern polymer adhesives.

She also wanted to make (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481452)

Reading accessible to the masses. Hence, economical formats. ebooks are the most economical kinds of books ever produced by civilization.

Re:She also wanted to make (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481888)

Economical? I can almost always find a real world version of a book cheaper (sometimes considerably cheaper, especially if you bring used bookstores into the equation) than the ebook version, even though the ebook has virtually zero production and distribution costs in comparison. To me, ebooks are the opposite of an economically accessible format, and that's before you even discount the pricey reader and the fact that you lose the intrinsic value that a physical book maintains (i.e. there will always be some resale or trade-in value, which reduces the initial outlay still further), or the possibility that you might have your entire back catalogue wiped due to DRM constraints that give control of your purchased items to someone else.

I know the answer (1)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479396)

Maybe I'm missing something, but what is the link between publishing a book in a pamphlet style and a love for digital readers?

It's what you get when you combine a revolution with a little magic.

TA-DA!

Re:What? (1)

ascari (1400977) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479398)

published on a strip of paper that was folded into a wallet, closed with a flap, and tied with a ribbon

Wow! That sounds just like my kindle! Old Betty P. was lightyears ahead of her time!

Re:What? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479608)

She tried to sue used book stores out of existence and lobbied against public libraries.

Re:What? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481250)

She caused the oil leak in the gulf!

Not necessarily digital readers, but... (3, Interesting)

weston (16146) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479876)

Maybe I'm missing something, but what is the link between publishing a book in a pamphlet style and a love for digital readers?

It's a leap, but it's not as big as you think. It's not so much that Beatrix Potter was pining away for the day when you could have a book that changed what its only page looked like rather than having to flip pages. It's that she conceived of another way of presenting the story other than the conventional book form, and that shows she was more likely to embrace other non-conventional forms.

To belabor the point a bit, it might be worth noting that the form she chose is at least marginally more portable and multifunctional to boot.

Re:Not necessarily digital readers, but... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481464)

t's a leap, but it's not as big as you think. It's not so much that Beatrix Potter was pining away for the day when you could have a book that changed what its only page looked like rather than having to flip pages. It's that she conceived of another way of presenting the story other than the conventional book form, and that shows she was more likely to embrace other non-conventional forms.

It's a bigger leap than you are making it out to be.

Potter simply understood that children experience books more from a tactile standpoint, as opposed to adults who approach them primarily from a visual standpoint. All of her 'alternate' book formats were designed to appeal to young children's tactile needs, as opposed to simply being a medium which conveys information.

So it's highly unlikely she would have bothered with any kind of e-reader at all, unless someone released one which could be chewed, bitten, hammered with, hammered upon, thrown, stacked, immersed in liquid, scratched, sniffed, folded, ripped, colored on, etc.

Or to put it another way, Potter experimented heavily with alternative mediums since it is the medium itself which is important to children. E-readers are almost entirely opposite of this idea- the intent of an E-reader is to present a VERY 'generic' physical medium, the focus is on the content. And that's just not how kids learn and experience life.

Re:Not necessarily digital readers, but... (1)

expatriot (903070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481650)

Mainly Potter was interested in money. Although her illustrations were cute, she was a money grubbing monster.

Re:What? (0)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479952)

Maybe I'm missing something, but what is the link between publishing a book in a pamphlet style and a love for digital readers?

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a... hey, where were you going? I was going to help you make sense of things here.

Re:What? (2, Funny)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480372)

You missed that it was a Timothy post. He tends to fall for PR flak nonsense.

Re:What? (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482304)

Maybe I'm missing something, but what is the link between publishing a book in a pamphlet style and a love for digital readers?

The amazing ability of a fanboy to twist any subject to be about their object of devotion. The only reason it wasn't "Why Beatrix Potter would love an iPad" was because it was written by a Kindle fanboy.

My comment does not start in the title. (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479360)

This article should have been titled:

Bunny say no hav carret! LOL

Maybe then the story would have been marked as binspam.

Re:My comment does not start in the title. (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484056)

It should have been titled "Glorified Wikipedia Link". Seriously, there's nothing else in the blog entry but a link to the Kindle versions of Beatrix Potter stories, which makes this a slashvertisement.

Uh... (2, Funny)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479404)

What're you doing with that carrot [wordpress.com] , Peter. No, wait, no, seriously, man, ...

Re:Uh... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479528)

This is a true story. Posting anon for obvious reasons.

One of my friends asked a chick if she would have sex with him. She agreed, but only if he let her shove a carrot in his butt. He agreed, and got some shortly after.

I believe that same night he and another friend of mine ran a train on her.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32483026)

Mr. McGregor might actually be amused.

Zappa (4, Funny)

dn15 (735502) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479412)

In related news experts say Frank Zappa would have used Linux.

Re:Zappa (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479490)

but i thought zappa was a heterosexual?

Re:Zappa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479804)

So... Mac?

Re:Zappa (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479818)

GP said Linux not Mac.

Re:Zappa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480306)

You know that Heterosexual means to be attracted to members of the opposite sex right?

Re:Zappa (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 4 years ago | (#32483776)

Heterosexual as opposed to asexual.

Uhmmm... is this news for nerds? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479578)

If so, how?

Amazon pays a pretty penny for buzz (4, Interesting)

heptapod (243146) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479666)

Oh Amazon! I may be a luddite but at least my books will still function after the collapse of civilization.

I know with my books I can bump them, drop them, get them wet (protip: freeze wet books so they dry out and don't puff up) and even SHARE them with other people. Sadly they're not fireproof.

With a kindle I have a single electronic gadget full of books that Amazon and publishers can recall at any time for any reason [slashdot.org] .

Beatrix Potter's book 'alternative', and calling it an alternative is quite a stretch but anything's possible if you pay off the right blogs, has all of the flexibility of the dead tree format and none of the drawbacks of some proprietary e-format laden with DRM.

She was being creative and nowhere near trying to introduce a new format which would supercede a content delivery system which has been proven over the course of centuries not a mere handful of years.

Re:Amazon pays a pretty penny for buzz (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479786)

"I know with my books I can bump them, drop them, get them wet ... Sadly they're not fireproof."

It's actually entirely theoretically possible for an ebook to be rugged enough to survive all of these circumstances as well, although the market for the necessary robustness is unlikely to be high enough anytime in the near future to drive the extra costs involved down to a point where it is economically practical to sell commercially at a price point that would be tolerated by most people. Of course, that's just right now... maybe in 10 years, the costs might have come down enough that we might be there, as such features start getting incorporated, one by one, into consumer devices.

Re:Amazon pays a pretty penny for buzz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481922)

GP makes some valid points, though. It may be a little paranoid in this massively information driven age, but to me giving all of this information into the control of single gatekeepers who can wipe it with the flick of a switch sounds a bit like moving all of the important writings of the times into a big library where a single fire can wipe them out. Definitely not somewhere I think we should head as a society if we want to leave any kind of useful legacy to future generations.

Re:Amazon pays a pretty penny for buzz (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480090)

Got a book wet once. Used a hair dryer on it and then ironed it on the lowest setting. Now I can't remember which book it was, I can't tell.

Re:Amazon pays a pretty penny for buzz (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484656)

It's the one that's all rippled and burnt...

Re:Amazon pays a pretty penny for buzz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481280)

Paper books VS digital: this [xkcd.com] XKCD strip.

Sorry you are a luddite. (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481484)

The new digital world is pervasive and more permanent than you could ever imagine. In a world of 6 plus billion people, the only way for everyone to have access to books, literature, everything written down by the humans for the past 10,000 years is through digital form. This is the future. A single paperback book costs on average, $20 today. A near future netbook/ereader will cost around $100 and will have access to millions of works via a cheap connection to the internet. You can't compete with that with your lump of soggy paper. And sorry to say, the first thing the mobs do when civilization ends is burn the libraries to the ground, along with all the book hoarders. For any printed book, there may be thousands, or even tens of thousands of copies, but for a digital book, there can be an infinite number of perfect copies. Beatrix Potter was a populist who wanted to make her books accessible to all segments of society. She would surely see the advent of digitalization as a GOOD THING. You may now go back to admiring and dusting your book collection. :)

Re:Sorry you are a luddite. (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481950)

You do understand that this story was actually about Kindle, right? You understand that, come the revolution or the end times or whatever you're talking about, there'd be no need to go round up all the book hoarders or burn the libraries if we were all using Kindles, because one trip to Amazon's HQ and a flick of a virtual switch later every single copy of every book ever purchased could instantly be deleted via the wonder of DRM? I'm sorry, but in this scenario my money's on the book hoarders to preserve some information for future generations. And as for the comment about the cheap books, considering they have zero production or distribution costs, I'd say ebooks are currently anything but cheap, even discounting the price of the Kindle. The fact that they're also selling works that are in the public domain and could be provided free of charge (or for a very small fee to recoup the transcription costs) for the benefit of humanity, I won't comment on.

Re:Sorry you are a luddite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32483288)

Your comment made me think about a horrific scenario. Yes, it's 1984 related. Changing history is hard with books. They have a habit of being sold to individuals that hold on to them despite the fact that there are new and updated printings. In a 1984-like world, it's likely that those who would change history could change all digital books/media.

Re:Amazon pays a pretty penny for buzz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481758)

What do you do with the wet book after you've frozen it?

Re:Amazon pays a pretty penny for buzz (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 4 years ago | (#32505502)

Wet books will freeze, the ice will sublimate and after a (long) while you can remove the book none the worse for wear.

Re:Amazon pays a pretty penny for buzz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32566394)

Thank you!

...Potter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479738)

Sadly, the first thing in my mind was, "I thought Beatrix was a Malfoy."

Curse you, Rowling! You've infected my mind!

Re:...Potter? (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479766)

Sadly, the first thing in my mind was, "I thought Beatrix was a Malfoy."

Er, that's Bellatrix, and she's not a Malfoy, she's Bellatrix Lestrange. She's one of the Black siblings but marries a Lestrange. Her sister Narcissa is the one who marries Lucius Malfoy. (And yes, I know this remark has zero redeeming value)

Re:...Potter? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32481298)

. /\
./^^\
/^^^^\
  ||
  ||

SPOILER ALERT

You think they're allowed to read in hell? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32479742)

If so, she'd probably get nothing but Tom Clancy on her digital reader.

What, no colour? (4, Interesting)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479744)

TFA talks about how Beatrix Potter would love the *Kindle*, not just any old reader. I think the author missed the fact that her watercolour illustrations include colour, something the Kindle can't do yet.

Re:What, no colour? (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 4 years ago | (#32479832)

her watercolour illustrations include colour, something the Kindle can't do yet.

The Kindle also lacks water, and would surely be damaged by it.

So it probably isn't even half of what Potter had in mind.

OMG PLEASE FUCKING STOP IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480320)

Those fucking "let's pop a godamn information window on keywords" snapshot bullshit advertising things.

STOP IT. Just stop.

Seems like just an ad for the Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32480590)

None of the "blog" entries are written like a blogger. They are written like an advertisement. I could be wrong.... I frequently am... but I don't think that Potter would have chosen the kindle. She was going for something totally different in my opinion.

Re:Seems like just an ad for the Kindle (1)

_merlin (160982) | more than 4 years ago | (#32480720)

And what's with those stupid "preview" images coming up when you mouse over a link? Why do they think anyone would want callouts obscuring the text they're trying to read? It's one of the most moronic wastes of time ever, and huge distraction.

Re:Seems like just an ad for the Kindle (1)

crimperman (225941) | more than 4 years ago | (#32482394)

Not to mention the static widths used. Here I am running a monitor at 1680 pixels wide and this thing restricts the whole page to 800! I just get half a screen of red. By all means cater for those who have smaller viewports but use *relative* widths not absolute ones.

Re:Seems like just an ad for the Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32493828)

You might want to try the NoSquint extension for Firefox, it allows you to adjust full-page zoom and text zoom independently and remembers the settings on a per-site basis, this allows you to do a full page zoom till the page width takes up you whole browser, then if the font size is too large after that, you can zoom that down to a more reasonable size.

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32481358)

WTF is this? The site is titled, "Me and My Kindle, An excited chronicle."

"News for nerds, stuff that matters". I'm sure what Beatrix Potter would think of the Kindle matters sooo much. GTFO of Slashdot. Are the mods asleep?

Prior example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32483038)

This fold out or accordion style of binding had been in use for centuries in Japan, primarily for Buddhist sutras. http://homepages.nildram.co.uk/~dawe5/bookbinding_pages/BB_accordion2.html

What page (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32484410)

On which page does the Holey Hand Gernade first make it's appearance?

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