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The eBook Backlash

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the get-a-new-reader dept.

Books 418

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that people who read ebooks on tablets like the iPad are beginning to realize that while a book in print is straightforward and immersive, a tablet is more like a 21st-century cacophony than a traditional solitary activity offering a menu of distractions that can fragment the reading experience, or stop it in its tracks. 'The tablet is like a temptress,' says James McQuivey. 'It's constantly saying, "You could be on YouTube now." Or it's sending constant alerts that pop up, saying you just got an e-mail. Reading itself is trying to compete.' There are also signs that publishers are cooling on tablets for e-reading. A recent survey by Forrester Research showed that 31 percent of publishers believed iPads and similar tablets were the ideal e-reading platform; one year ago, 46 percent thought so. Then there's Jonathan Franzen, regarded as one of America's greatest living novelists, who says consumers have been conned into thinking they need the latest technology and that e-books can never have the magic of the printed page. 'I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn't change.'"

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418 comments

That's why I like the basic Kindle (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249083)

Keep your tablets and Fire, thank you very much. I like the fact that a basic Kindle allows for NO distractions while you're reading. Even the ad-supported model will only show ads during menu screens, never while you're reading. The e-ink looks a lot crisper than anything on a conventional tablet too. And a single 3-hour charge can last for weeks. I imagine the basic Nook has a similar setup too.

The only advantage I can see with a tablet is for reading comic books or other books with lots of large, color-intensive graphics. Otherwise, you'd be a lot better off just spending the $80 for an actual dedicated e-reader. The text won't give you a headache, there are no distractions, and you won't be constantly recharging it.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (5, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249175)

I completely agree with you. One thing you left out that I think people who have really not compared the experience on both types of devices is that e-ink really is a vastly better way to read lots of text. I can read much faster and more comfortably on my Kindle than on the iPad. The quality fonts etc is very good on both but there is something to be said for reading on a display that is not backlit. Especially if you try to read out doors.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (5, Insightful)

centuren (106470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249455)

The Slashdot headline & summary is a little misleading. The article isn't about an ebook backlash, it's about people reading ebooks on tablets and the ease of distraction. It's no surprise people are getting distracted trying to read a book using ebook reader software running on a tablet that's meant for checking Facebook, email, watching videos and the like. Ebooks can be read on computers, tablets, and smart phones. I read ebooks using Aldiko on my Android phone for a couple years before I finally bought a Kindle Touch, and my Kindle is approximately as likely to distract me from my reading as a paperback. The phone has always been a successful platform on which to read ebooks, but I never expected the notifications, messages, etc that are a big part of the reason I own a smart phone to go away (and let my level of distraction be on my own head).

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (4, Interesting)

spd_rcr (537511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249789)

Completely agree.
I'm reading way more now on my Kindle Touch than I was before. While the cost of books is about the same regardless the format, physical vs e-book, I only like to keep really good hardcovers in our library. With the Kindle I can find a quiet seat almost anywhere and immerse myself because I can carry it anywhere and when one book is finished, I just select the next book and carry on.

Tablets are not e-book readers, they're little computer screens. I don't like reading anything for very long on the computer, even code I want to go over, I'll print out to review. If it's not interactive,

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (4, Informative)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249795)

Completely agree on the text. After reading a few books on my iPhone, reading on the Kindle is like reading a normal book page. I can go for hours without any eye strain. One thing that sold me on the Kindle was the "Free Sample" you can get with most books. Could be anything from 10 to 100 pages of a book, but especially in the dodgy-writing realm of Sci-Fi/Fantasy, it's key to be able to sample the writing before buying. Bookstores let you do that, and the Kindle does as well. There are also authors giving away free books which opens up a whole other world.

Chris

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249207)

I agree. For novels I always use the Kindle, and it's perfect at that. Although I use the iPad for computer science PDFs. IMHO syntax highlighting and diagrams require a color display and a higher res.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (4, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249225)

We'll probably eventually get decent colour out of e-ink, although I doubt the refresh rate will ever be fast enough for real-time motion. The whole "physically moving around ink capsules" probably would prevent that sort of thing. And you know what? That's fine. I don't need fast refresh rates on my e-reader, just fast enough to make page turns workable. The current speeds are good enough, although I wouldn't complain if they got bumped up anyhow.

I'm much happier reading on my Kindle 3 than a "real" book, particularly when comparing to a hardcover. My kindle is a fraction the weight and size of a hardcover. I can slip my kindle into a pocket or backpack, while a good sized hardcover is not nearly as portable. My kindle is also far easier to read in bed than a hardcover.

The advantages are less when comparing to paperbacks, but there are still size advantages there, not to mention durability; a lot of my older paperbacks are pretty worn out from re-reading, while an eBook (particularly a DRM-free one from Baen) will never wear out.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249687)

I love my Kindle 4 for all those reasons, and because there's a Calibre plugin that lets me strip the DRM from ebooks I buy. That's all I ever wanted - a reasonable price, good selection, convenient delivery, and the freedom to do what I wish with my files.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249703)

The advantages are less when comparing to paperbacks, but there are still size advantages

One big size advantage is the size of the text. For many of us, the fixed size of test in printed books is not a problem. But for people who's eyesight has diminished, it can be the difference between being able to read for any significant amount of time and not. My mom is a lifelong, voracious reader. But about 8 years ago, her reading dropped significantly because she had eyesight problems. When the original Kindle came out, I got her one and showed her how to make the text larger. It has (forgive the pun) rekindled her interest in reading. She's now got 3 Kindles, is back to the 1+ book/week pace and loving it again.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

casper75 (44745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249227)

Your reasonging was true for me as well. I got the Nook Simple Touch for Christmas. It was exactly what I wanted- I can download a new book (instant gratification) but I'm not distracted by the ability to go on reddit/slashdot/facebook/whatever. I just read the book I wanted to read. The display is really nice and as you said, the battery lasts for a LONG time. It was a good choice.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249229)

If I had a vote to give, I would vote you up for this. Saying that full-fledged tablets are not ideal for reading is one thing, using that to bash the ebook idea entirely is another. Kindle (and similar, I assume) eReaders provide a very book-like experience for me. I still buy hardbacks for my favorite authors because I like to have their books on my shelves, but the Kindle has been great for reading and discovering new series.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249281)

I agree, I got my 11 year old daughter a Nook for Christmas (the Nook is not ad-supported). We talked about multi-tasking and I told her a got her the Nook specifically because it's a SINGLE-tasking device, and she got it.

I hope the next generation develops some sort of immunity to distraction because, whoops, here I am on slashdot again.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (4, Informative)

stephencrane (771345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249523)

Mod up. This is primarily why I got the Nook Simple Touch. (That, plus it can be rooted, reads epub, and there are already lots of easy ways to buy from Amazon.) Dedicated single-purpose devices, so long as they are inexpensive enough, tend to have the advantage over multi-purpose devices. I have an iPad, and they're two totally different animals. I only read pdfs on the ipad.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

franciscohs (1003004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249299)

Completely agree. When people ask me about the kindle, and if it has internet, or other features I tell them it doesn't (although it does in a very primitive way) and that I wouldn't like it to have them. Keep it as simple as it is, I don't want new features, just fix the image viewer and other bugs.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (0, Troll)

Theophany (2519296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249361)

Can't say I've ever had a problem reading books on my iPad. But then, I don't have the attention span of a Ritalin-addled toddler.

If the book is any good, distractions shouldn't be an issue. People getting distracted from reading your book? Perhaps that's more a reflection on the quality of your writing, rather than any other convenient excuse...

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249369)

For $7 you can buy the paperback that you never have to plug in deal with DRM or annoying ads unless you're reading magazines. Those subscription cards that get int he way of flipping pages, and fall out at your feet are almost as bad as Flash ads with sound.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

NotNormallyNormal (1311339) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249413)

I agree. I use a kobo now and I doubt I will rarely buy a paper book again. Tablets are too big and bulky - my wife even dumped her iPad for reading and bought a kobo too. Colour would be nice if you read magazines or something, but for printed word, the straight eReader is great - Compact, light weight and I will never lose my bookmark!

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249415)

I agree with you 100%. I have a 3rd-gen kindle dedicated e-reader with e-ink while my Galaxy Nexus functions as both my tablet and smartphone. Seeing as I do so many things on the Galaxy Nexus (phone, email, notes, to-do list, web surfing, games, etc) it would be WAY too much of a distraction for reading. Besides it (Kindle e-ink) is much easier on the eyes and allows my Kindle to last for a month on a single battery charge, whereas my Galaxy Nexus has to be recharged every day.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249423)

I agree with parent, but have no mod points to give. Really the title on /. should read more like, "The backlash against reading eBooks on tablets" which TFA got right ("Finding Your Book Interrupted ... By the Tablet You Read It On") but the mark got missed on /. because it gets more attention this way.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249457)

The only times I get annoyed with my nook are when there are illustrations like maps and photos and there's no way to zoom in to get a decent view - right now I'm reading 1493 by Charles Mann, and most of the maps are essentially unreadable. Mostly though, it's great - easy to read, long battery life, no distractions.
Magazines on tablets, on the other hand, are also great - the color and the interactivity are a plus there, and with shorter articles the interruptions aren't bad. You can also turn off most notifications if you don't want to be pestered.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249667)

Even on the iPad, illustrations and maps are pretty substandard. That's my biggest beef with Amazon's offerings. They seem to use some horribly compressed jpg that doesn't scale to the full reader screen, much less above that. It's a real problem with anything other than pure text.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249463)

It's not a problem with tablets or ebooks, it's a PEBCAK problem. If your email client isn't open, your email won't distract you. If your IM client is closed, your IM won't distract you.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (4, Informative)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249561)

I'm writing this from my tablet as we speak, but personally I don't get why 'distractions' are such an issue. I'm quite content to simply read an ebook and I have enough discipline to avoid distractions if I want. Usually however simple distractions like an IM from a friend are equally distracting on my tablet and for a real book. I may opt to answer a message or not on either, but those simple distractions are not really bothersome to me either way.

On the other hand a tablet makes a very nice computing device for other things I may want or need to do and not just for reading books. The fact that I don't need to own multiple computing devices that can only handle a single function is very important to me.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249595)

Keep your tablets and Fire, thank you very much. I like the fact that a basic Kindle allows for NO distractions while you're reading. Even the ad-supported model will only show ads during menu screens, never while you're reading. The e-ink looks a lot crisper than anything on a conventional tablet too. And a single 3-hour charge can last for weeks. I imagine the basic Nook has a similar setup too.

The only advantage I can see with a tablet is for reading comic books or other books with lots of large, color-intensive graphics. Otherwise, you'd be a lot better off just spending the $80 for an actual dedicated e-reader. The text won't give you a headache, there are no distractions, and you won't be constantly recharging it.

I have a Gen 2 Kindle, and am seriously considering a FIre. Why? The Gen 2 Kindle (not sure about the later e-ink models -- would love to know for sure) simply don't handle PDFs very well, at all. And all the textbooks I use in class? Most easily available in eBook form as PDFs.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249603)

iPads and their ilk are nicer for scientific journals and texts as well. Otherwise, yea, give me some eInk. Maybe someday when the color eInk is there it will be better, but you really need color for plots.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249621)

That's the same reasoning for me. Plus I don't want to stare at another LCD screen when reading the book. The e-ink is simply more comfortable to read from.

For me, a tablet is good for complicated things - magazines and pdfs and such. That's about it. Definitely not books.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (3)

steelfood (895457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249623)

There's still one thing you can't do on a printed book: retcon.

Imagine if Lucas took all of your Star Wars VHS's (including the ones you recorded off the TV) and made Han shoot first in all of them.

Give me a printed page any day.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249629)

As a counterpoint, I've switched solely to my tablet for reading. (Have physical books sitting around to read, but never get to them.) Specifically, I'm reading on an Asus Transformer TF101, using Google Books for purchased stuff, and a mixture of Overdrive, Kindle, and Aldiko apps for library books depending upon the type. And no, you couldn't persuade me to switch to a Kindle. I have more than enough devices to carry around already; my tablet is used for far more than just book reading, so I won't be ditching it. If I have to have a dedicated device, there's no advantage to me over just carrying a book. (I don't switch back and forth randomly between books; I read them sequentially.) As for readability, I find my tablet's screen with antialiased text to be significantly easier on my eyes than the likes of Kindle. And to be honest, there are distractions in real life too; if you can't avoid the distractions on the tablet, you can't avoid them in real life either. (Not to mention you can squash most of those distractions simply by turning on Airplane mode.)

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

shadowmas (697397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249633)

The best reader for me is my computer, Desktop or Laptop. I find both much easier to read than any other device or even dead book format. Maybe it's just me, but I don't get distracted when I'm reading unless I want to be distracted (i.e. boring book). I can easily read a book on a PC for a couple of hours, and in some cases I have downloaded a copy off the internet, after having bought the physical book because it's just more convenient to read on a PC.

The problem for me is reading ebooks are the lousy eBook reader software. What I do is decrypt the books and extract the HTML, then read them through the browser. I have a couple of bookmarklets which does some nice formatting to the text. Gives a very nice format with my preferred fonts in my preferred size hence no eyestrain.

If you think about it almost everyone is already doing most of the reading on the PC when browsing the net, and yet they find it difficult to read a book on it. I think this is more of a psychological barrier than a physical barrier. In my mind whenever I read a physical book I try to press Ctrl+F to find stuff and groans when I realize 'yeah it's a deadtree format'.

Only special case for having a printed book is useful is for something like a datasheet where you need to keep referring to a page while having other stuff open in both your monitors. But then this is only due to limited monitor count/space.

But maybe that's just me.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

jaca44 (2557600) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249733)

The great advantage of the eBook to me is when I travel. As a voracious reader on, say a 2 month trip, book weight/volume used to make up a lot of my flight allowance, so the (basic) Kindle in particular is great, with my HP Touchpad a clear 2nd; keep that for magazines and vids. My complaint is that non fiction is not well represented in eBook format and that, given the saving to the publishers and distributors, the price is still high.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249761)

I use both my HP Touchpad and kindle. For reading a book, nothing beats a simple Kindle, even enjoying audio books is nice.

Re:That's why I like the basic Kindle (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249803)

Don't forget animated and/or interactive "books" like this ones [apple.com] to the list of better-in-tablet books.

Being meant for a media so easy to distract you will call for a do-not-disturb background app/mode, in fact, wonder if some of the book reading apps don't have a setting to disable all distractions... trying to watch a movie and getting a notification will do similar harm as reading books.

Newsflash! (5, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249105)

Self discipline is dead.

Re:Newsflash! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249153)

tl;dr

Re:Newsflash! (4, Funny)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249285)

So what we need is a game that pops up a bunch of buttons, links, ads, and challenges the user not to click on any of them.

Re:Newsflash! (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249377)

I think it's more to do with environment than virtue. If you took a guy off a 19-th century farm where there was NOTHING but chores to do and gave him an iPad, he would probably forget to eat for the next 4 days. Look at how they went overboard with alcohol and religion back then.

Re:Newsflash! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249427)

definitely... "oh no, i can't read on my tablet because it's alerting me that i have mail!"

i have a feeling these are the same kind of people that take up an entire booth at insert trendy restaurant name here with a cup of water and their mac.

Re:Newsflash! (2)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249477)

I wouldn't say that. How much would anyone be distracted if they were constantly interrupted by a phone ringing, a doorbell ringing, or someone tapping them on the shoulder?

Re:Newsflash! (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249613)

Self discipline is dead.

I'd disagree in that the hidden assumption of the cruddy article is reading is a virtue and puritan style self denial of the much more fun alternatives is the only reason anyone reads anything. F that bad idea. I'm a big boy and no one tells me what to do in my spare time and if I wanna look at boring youtube videos I do so, and if I wanna read, I read, because I want to. I just finished Stross's laundry series and most recently Halting State. No I'm not being paid to astroturf and yes those were entertaining kind of light hard science fiction and I didn't read them out of some desire for hair shirt denigration but because I greatly enjoyed them.

If I'm reading and I want to stop reading, I'm a big boy, I can just stop, I don't need some far fetched explanation of how its all the devices fault that the email app zapped out of cyberspace like a bad ST:TNG episode and pulled me away while wearing a Sherlock Holmes costume. Its very much like people who blame the gun after one gang member shoots another, instead of blaming the person who intentionally pulled the trigger. Lame.

Once you operate and excise the lameness from the article, there's sadly not much left to it. Whoops.

Re:Newsflash! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249785)

Then there's Jonathan Franzen, regarded as one of America's greatest living novelists

Who?

Expensive (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249111)

Maybe people are figuring out that ebooks are way too fucking expensive.

Re:Expensive (4, Informative)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249271)

Depends on the publisher. Macmillan? Yeah. I paid $16 for the latest eBook in a series by a popular scifi author. Baen? No. They never charge more than $6 for a brand new book, and settle down to $4 or $0 in the long run.

Re:Expensive (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249591)

That sounds reasonable. At least their site has most of it priced at 6 or less. The Items priced higher then that look to be collections or have bonus material like sound tracks [baenebooks.com]. How a book has a sound track is beyond me.

Re:Expensive (3, Informative)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249793)

Baen seems to be bringing me over to the ebook side. I glanced at their site once before for a book. It was $4, came in 6 or 7 different DRM free formats, and the sample of the book was the first 4 chapters. I can deal with that sort of ebook store.

Tablet... Is Not An Ebook Reader... (4, Insightful)

dragisha (788) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249117)

That's it.

Don't use iPad for reading.

Re:Tablet... Is Not An Ebook Reader... (2)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249331)

Actually I wonder if people who buy a tablet and cannot focus on the reading of a book were the people who bought and read paper books before tablets ever existed. By purchasing a tablet and all its technological luxury some people forget that it doesn't do everything, like avoiding the concentration and all the brain work that has to get involved when someone wants to read a book. There is still no direct transfer from a computer network to a human neural network.

Re:Tablet... Is Not An Ebook Reader... (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249755)

There is still no direct transfer from a computer network to a human neural network.

Sure there is, it's an optical network that's almost instantaneous. It's called "reading".

Re:Tablet... Is Not An Ebook Reader... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249619)

But... but... but... iPad! Apple! Shiny... iPad... Apple shiny! iPad shiny! Shiny iPad Apple do everything! iPad shiny Apple shiny! Trendy! No PC. PC scary not shiny. PC dying! iPad shiny shiny shiny Apple shiny shiny MY IPAD NOT TOUCH SHINY IPAD MINE APPLE SHINY MY SHINY SHINY SHINY!

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It's a serious tablet design flaw! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249163)

If _only_ tablets and eReaders came with more self control, I'd read more!

Re:It's a serious tablet design flaw! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249763)

If _only_ tablets and eReaders came with more self control, I'd read more!

There's an app for that!

I've been conned (2)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249169)

...into thinking that it is much easier to a nice selection of books with me in a tablet than it is to carry them any other way.

Airplane Mode? AKA machine imposed self discipline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249177)

I've got a Kobo Vox, good little e-reader. Has the whole wifi, email notification stuff... When it's time to read, I just turn on airplane mode. No more distractions and saves on the battery to boot!

I like both forms, but printed is still best (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249185)

Printed is still the form I enjoy the most. First off I never fear losing a physical book, the value is low enough I don't care. Get e-readers down in that value and I might think the same.

Then again probably not. For some reason I feel more relaxed with a paper book. For me there is still that put down, pickup, which just works better that way.

I do enjoy reading on the Kindle much more than the Fire! or iPad. Mostly because I can take it outside and still read it.

I would love to see publishers include a scratch off code or receipt activated code with books to get the ebook version. Kind of similar to how you can get the portable version of a movie.

Re:I like both forms, but printed is still best (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249347)

Nook and the like costs 100 USD. Most places that's the price of 5 books.... seriously, how cheap do you need it to be before you get over your fear of losing it?

Re:I like both forms, but printed is still best (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249693)

Sadly $100 is less than the cost of one paper textbook. Crazy but true.

Re:I like both forms, but printed is still best (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249559)

First off I never fear losing a physical book, the value is low enough I don't care

I will add to this that I do not fear casually tossing a printed book into my bag or onto my desk, dropping a pile of other books on top of it, etc. I am pretty worried about dropping my bag when it has a computer of any sort in it -- too many ways that dropping a computer could render it unusable.

Re:I like both forms, but printed is still best (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249673)

I would love to see publishers include a scratch off code or receipt activated code with books to get the ebook version. Kind of similar to how you can get the portable version of a movie.

A link to the torrent on the pirate bay would probably be more effective and cheaper, and its probably there already anyway.

iPad causes iCancer (2)

locopuyo (1433631) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249193)

eBooks are meant for eReaders with eInk not iPads with nasty iCancer light emitting screens.

Re:iPad causes iCancer (1)

doggo (34827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249637)

So... you're saying light gives you cancer? Do you also fear light bulbs? Fluorescent tubes? Halogen? LEDs?

I'm pretty sure our light sources, short of the actual sun, are not giving us cancer.

You can't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249201)

Ctrl + F in a paperbook.

Re:You can't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249317)

Most books don't need to be searched, they're read sequentially.

Re:You can't... (1)

doggo (34827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249697)

"Most books"? Are you sure? Do you know what the ratio is for fiction to non-fiction, or non-fiction history/biography/etc. to instruction/handbook/reference?

I don't know those ratios, but you sound like you do. What are they?

Kindle Fire great (when it works) (1)

KaraMouse (18318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249205)

We use the Kindle Fire primarily for children's books for my child. There are lots of free ones out there, so she's never bored. The problem is that stupid bug where the books are blank after download (sometimes they don't go blank until a few days after install). I've spent hours with support on email and chat trying to figure it out, and it always ends up back with "factory reset" and redownload everything.

WHEN it works, it's great - especially the interactive books. I love it for the tech books - I can search and highlight. I like it for magazines - less waste. I like it for my text books at school.

For 'fun reading', I'm still stuck on plain old dead-tree versions of books.

There's a good use for the tablets for reading. There's a good use for the books, too. Don't be so hasty to disregard the tablets (well, once they work regularly, that is).

Pricing structure needs adaptation, too. There is no reason for the Kindle version to cost the same as the dead tree version.

Use the right tool! (4, Insightful)

Per Wigren (5315) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249209)

Moving and/or interactive stuff: Use a tablet.
Reading books: Use a REAL e-book reader with an e-ink screen.

E-books are still the future, people new to them just have to learn to read them on a proper reader, like the Sony PRS-T1, Kindle, Nook etc.

A tablet is a very poor e-reader (2)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249233)

I have a tablet and a Kindle (e-ink) and they are very different devices when it comes to reading. I can read for hours on my Kindle, but on my Xoom, the backlight and glare gives me headaches after about 20 minutes or so.

change... (0, Redundant)

Bongo (13261) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249273)

In other news, kids are used to frequent task shifting and tuning into multiple things at the same time.

ebook != tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249297)

You might as well be reading on a TV.

Bullshit (-1, Troll)

Gotung (571984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249301)

This is a load of crap. If a book is good I'll read it for hours on end on my iPad without getting distracted. And before I bought my iPad finding good books and acquiring them was a chore so I hardly read more then 1-2 books a year. Now books are as convenient as plopping down in front of the tube, so I read 30+ year. When I finish one it's easy find another excellent book I haven't already read and be reading it in minutes.

Publishers/authors that have been slow to release their content through kindle/ibooks aren't getting any of my money, but those who aren't trying to fight the future are getting plenty of it.

I love my tablet for reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249307)

It's great to be able to read anywhere on a whim (since the tablet gets tossed into my backpack most days). It's nice that it keeps my place across multiple devices, that I can search, etc. I love it for textbooks/reference books since I can search for what i need and highlight sections easily. I'm not even a student :-) I can see what they mean about distractions but that's a matter of self control...which some people seem to lack.

I disagree...read a lot on tablet (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249309)

I have a young kid and regularly read while he falls asleep in my lap in the evening. Using a tablet means I don't need a light shining on my kid and impeding sleep.

It also means that I can use the device that I already have. As for headaches and eye strain, I've never had a problem. That said, I do look forward to the spread of high-resolution screens with the advent of the ipad3.

Personally, my biggest problem with ebooks on the tablet is that there isn't a great selection available from the public library. Our library has a really great selection of paper books, but for ebooks they're quite limited--mostly due to the publishers.

Re:I disagree...read a lot on tablet (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249781)

Personally, my biggest problem with ebooks on the tablet is that there isn't a great selection available from the public library. Our library has a really great selection of paper books, but for ebooks they're quite limited--mostly due to the publishers.

You're going to the wrong public library. My paper books public library is downtown by the river about a 15 minute drive away, but my ebooks public library is old fashioned u****t (1) alt.binaries.whatever it is and to a lesser extent the torrent sites. Poor handling of djvu files on tablets annoys me. Also some of the PDFs I have are excellent scans on a desktop but 80 gigs is a big large for a tablet to eat.

1) The first rule of u****t is we don't talk about u****t....

Arrogance (4, Insightful)

mseeger (40923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249313)

How i love terms like

serious readers

It is the reader, that has become faulty. Our good product is not appreciated and understood by him. He doesn't use it according to specs.

Wake up guys! This is still the customer we are talking about ;-).

I Still Like Books (1)

richg74 (650636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249341)

I have not yet seen an electronic display that is as comfortable to read, in varying light conditions, as printing on paper, although the Kindle is considerably better than most. Books don't require chargers or power adapters, and they are quite durable. I have books that I got 40-50 years ago, including my high school yearbooks, that are in fine shape; I rather doubt your tablet will make its first decade. And, as exemplified by those yearbooks, people can interact with a book easily. I wouldn't write in most books, but do make small marginal notes in my reference books fairly often.

Re:I Still Like Books (1)

mindcandy (1252124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249447)

Kindle DX. Seriously .. borrow one from somebody and try it.
Assuming non-DRM'd .mobi files that are properly backed up, they will be 100% identical forever.

Security of print (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249381)

here is this text that doesn't change.

The printed page offers some authentication: yellowing of the page attests to age (or carbon dating for more precision), missing pages are readily apparent due to the running sequence counter, and alterations to the typography are difficult to forge. In essence, the printed page employs a redundancy of quadrillions times over -- quadrillions of molecules are involved to present one character of text to the reader. It is this redundancy that affords the secure authentication of the printed page.

EBooks have many drawbacks, but considering the authentication drawback in isolation, eBooks would have to come with a digital signature like an MDA, and a master catalog of MDA's would have to be maintained and well-distributed (to prevent someone from surreptitiously changing an MDA in just one authoritative place).

Ebooks ftw (1)

Confusedent (1913038) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249383)

Seems absurd, the only reason I bought and the primary reason I ever use my tablet is for reading ebooks. I can download packs of thousands and store them all on there, and carry thousands around with my everywhere I go. Never noticed any distractions or anything either. My bookshelf is pretty much obsolete now; I can already tell it's only a matter of time until I get rid of/donate almost all the physical copies, and I genuinely resent the few times I can't get a digital copy of something.

Distracting for the easily distracted, maybe. (1)

kotj.mf (645325) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249419)

I dunno. I've been using the hell out of my Nook Tablet since my wife got it for me for Christmas, and it's provided a nice middle ground for me. The web browser is good enough to check Facebook or read a few newspaper articles, but not good enough to provide a fully interactive experience beyond typing a couple of one sentence emails or hitting a "like" button. On the other hand, I've probably dropped two hundred bucks on ebooks in the last three months. Instant gratification has its merits. Instead of hoofing it to the book store (which most likely won't have what I'm looking for) or ordering something from Amazon (in which case I'll have to wait a couple of days), I can get buy something new right then and there. I spend more of my free time reading instead of idly browsing the web. Oddly enough, I'm still buying hard copies of stuff - like reference books, cook books, and substantive non-fiction and literature. The Nook is my platform of choice for the brain candy SF that I'd be embarrassed to display on the shelves in my living room.

Grrr get off my lawn (1, Interesting)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249451)

Seriously, this guy sounds like hundreds of other e-book complainers. Meanwhile, every person I have given a Kindle to try out who said they would never give up paper books are converts within a week. eBooks are great because you can have tons of books always with you, they are light, and if you finish one you boook you instantly can get another one.

I was just thinking about this yesterday (1)

ali.khalil (2497312) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249471)

I've recently decided to rack up some certifications and have been scouting material I need to read and practice. I've tried several times dealing with e-Books and CBT content. But, it's the paper based material when I worked on it felt like the most productive sessions. I don't get distracted by emails, pop-up alerts, or temptation of visiting /. and the like. The paper written notes and doodles also go a long way in helping with absorbing the knowledge. I'm just a paper based guy while being an IT nerd. Paper is still a long way from going out of fasion.

I did not see the pop-ups problem on any device. (2)

MatanZ (4571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249493)

For over 10 years, I am reading electronic books on platforms including Palm, Windows Mobile, Maemo, Kindle, Android.
Except for "Battery out", I never saw any popup over the book I read. It is only a matter of configuration, and any computer user configures their device as they like it.

E-books are not made by readers. (5, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249497)

The only problem with e-books and e-readers is that they're clearly not made by readers.

Books, the good ones at least and most of the bad ones too, pay attention to typography. Paragraph-optimized justification, hyphenation, hanging punctuation, ligatures, etc. All these little things that you take for granted with a dead-tree book, but without them it's a significantly poorer experience.

You find books with left-aligned text, an ugly and jagged right edge carving out a large chunk of empty space on the right. Or worse, you get one that is justified. This is bottom-of-the-barrel justification, without hyphenation and very commonly leaving huge spaces between words [int64.org].

I've owned a Nook since launch day. I've read a large number of books on it, and I love it. But there is still a lot of room for improvement. I shouldn't need to import my ebooks into Adobe InDesign to make a PDF with proper typography.

Re:E-books are not made by readers. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249597)

Oblig XKCD. [xkcd.com]

Once you get a feel for typesetting and some understanding of how print is laid out, these things become even more important than before.

Re:E-books are not made by readers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249769)

The problem with optimizing for ebooks is that with something like a Kindle, you can increase and decrease the text size, which changes the layout on the page. Even among Kindles, the screen size differs (the DX is much larger than the Keyboard and the Fire is also different). And you can change the orientation to be horizontal rather than vertical if you're weird and you want to read like that.

As someone with a background in design I know and love the importance of good book layouts versus terrible ones, but it's just not very easy to do the same with an electronic media that has so many different options/settings.

Editorialized Rubbish From Dead Tree Flakes (1)

Suggestive Language (669379) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249537)

The NY Times reports that people who read ebooks on tablets like the iPad are beginning to realize that while a book in print is straightforward and immersive, a tablet is more like a 21st-century cacophony than a traditional solitary activity

This article presents no sales figures, no trend graphs, and no statistics from actual book buyers. The only citation in the article that supports this assertion are the opinions of unspecified random publishers, an opinion survey - of publishers, and one random reader much perfers her tablet over paper books.

The entire article is yet another example of poorly supported screed from out-of-touch haters in the tree killing industry pining for the past where publishers, rather than e-book authors, controlled publishing.

um ok (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249549)

I have these distractions when I read anyway. The TV is on downstairs, the cats visit and want attention, the wife needs something, the phone rings, etc. This is all with a paper book! Tablets didn't invent this problem. They do, however, have airplane mode.

Physical vs Virtual (1)

Krazy Kanuck (1612777) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249573)

The odds of my physical books being stolen from my house or lost in a fire are fairly remote, and I don't have to ask permission to use them. Having an e-book removed from my e-device is rather higher, and what happens to said e-books 20 years from now when some e-retailer turns the lights off? While there are temptations to move to this format, until the draconian restrictions have been removed (I am aware of a few alternatives, but choice is limited) I'll keep my money on the brick and motor shops instead.

You can't smell an eBook! (2)

repetty (260322) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249625)

I enjoy the immersible experience of recreational reading but you can't smell a f*cking eBook!

I love to plant my face right in the middle of a book and breath deeply and long. I like to fan out the pages of a book and then allow it to compress slowly, burping out its scented air. I know that I've enjoyed a particularly good reading session when I sport ink smudges on each side of my nose.

For work and reference tasks, however, eBooks have a couple strong advantages.

"No true scotsman" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249647)

What a bunch of elitist nonsense. "Serious readers" indeed.

There are a lot of different reasons people read, and there are some things that tablets are great at, some an eReader is great at, and times when a dead tree book is preferred.

I'll still throw a dead tree novel in my backpack for casual reading, but it's not like it brings with it any sort of magic. It just isn't wise to pull out expensive electronics on the bus.

But this "serious readers" stuff is crap. I read Moby Dick on my Treo 650 a few years ago. It's not like the story magically became smaller or less interesting. I'm sure these are the same "serious readers" who will only read leather-bound first edition hardcovers. A paperback? Beh. No SERIOUS READER would consider reading those.

I like that I can have my entire library of reference materials on my droid tablet. It would just not be realistic to drag 100 fat programming manuals with me everywhere I go. I can search all that text by keyword. I can actually code on my android, so I can try out all those nifty HTML5/javascript/CSS tricks right there in the coffee shop. No "serious geek" would ever own an iPad. I know this for a fact because I have a different preference based on my particular needs, and I assume the entire world thinks exactly like I do, or else there must be something wrong with them.

Wow... turn off wifi then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249651)

Seriously if you're if you find it so hard to focus that you can't handle a popup once in a while put it in airplane mode. But I'm guessing you've got bigger problems than that.

For the douchenozzle novelist who think 'serious' readers need paper books, eff-off. Tablets, e-readers and smart phones give me the freedom to read whenever and wherever I like. Guys like this need to get over themselves and realize that everything moves forward. Sounds like the music industry 15 years ago. eBooks are allowing more people to publish and giving readers more opportunity. This is all good unless you're a snobby bitch who likes to look down their nose at everyone.

Distractions... yeah, I would agree (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249677)

I would agree with this assessment. I too have found it really difficult to concentrate on reading a book on a computer. It takes a lot more effort than a print one. While some of this is likely due to light-emitting (rather than light reflecting) displays being tiring to read, it also likely has to do with the menu of available distractions.

I don't find the lack of permanence particularly disturbing. I've long considered the data on my hard-drive to have greater permanence than the data I have scattered around on DVDs or CDs or even books. But I do admit that I like showing of the many bookshelves of books I've read. :-) And the fact that so many ebooks come with DRM that could potentially deprive me of the work at any time due to the whims of the publisher or bookseller does give me a sense of disturbing ephemerality.

I've heard this argument before... (2)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249683)

...only it went like this:

"I really hate these new 1200-baud modems. 300 baud is just the right speed for me to follow along, read, and think about what I'm reading. At 1200, I'm always having to control-S to pause the stream, and when there are a few short lines, I can lose my place in the text."

Eventually, e-ink displays will be just as dynamic as today's tablets, maybe more so. Heck, eventually, paper will be that dynamic.

If there's a mismatch between the content being displayed and our cognitive needs, fix the content. "Translating it down through a lower-Zone protocol" shouldn't be necessary.

'The tablet is like a temptress' (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249689)

When I meet a temptress, she rarely says, "You could be on YouTube now."

Aging business models (1)

berryjw (1071694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249719)

This is no different from the music and movie industries, an industry desperately clinging to a business model which has become obsolete. It's all about entertainment and control - consumers who wish to be entertained, and those who wish to control how this happens and turn a profit. The consumers have taken to the electronic/digital world and found great entertainment, they will not change back, and anyone who thinks otherwise best go feed their horses and quit worrying about petrol prices. Unfortunately, the industries in question made so much money in the past they have enough to bleed a while longer before dying, and annoying everyone else in the process. John Q. Consumer doesn't need to buy a bit of plastic to enjoy his music, is quite content watching streaming content on a small screen rather than a huge one in a theatre, and generally enjoys carrying his library with him in a small device, rather than the massive pounds of paper formerly required. The first person to come up with the business model utilizing these to turn a profit wins. Oh wait, how much content did Apple sell last week?

many ways to read (1)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249751)

I make the same experience that it is harder to finish a book on a ebook reader, also due to distraction by other books. There are different reasons to read although. A library of books at my fingertip to look up something and not have to carry around a library. Not only for books. I used to photocopy every article remotely interesting to me. Its nice to have all these sources on one place now. Also for articles, distraction can kick in. While I used to carry around some few articles with me for months absorbing them to the latest detail, this is harder now. The electronic file goes into the electronic library, often not to be touched again.

I don't feel like I own e-books (1)

jjp9999 (2180664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249753)

I have a basic Kindle and was really into it for a while, but really, buying an e-book for the same price as a print book still feels odd to me. I like the Kindle for reading public domain books and Web documents, but when it comes to books I really want to get into I always buy the print edition. Having a book in print, you can see the full book, and not just isolated pages. You can also take them with you when you don't want to be distracted by anything, and just want to get into a story.

How long will the books stay around? (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249759)

What bothers me about e-readers is the impermanence of the content. If the service goes away, will the content go away? That's happened many times with on-line music. Remember Wal-Mart Music? PlaysForSure? MTV Urge? Zune? If the service goes down, can you move your content to a new device? This is really tough with devices that talk to nothing but the service. Can you back up your e-reader? Maybe, sort of, sometimes. [barnesandnoble.com]

Even if the content is on the reader, will the service push an update that makes the reader dependent on the service? That's happened with games. There have been updates that made e-books go away. [nytimes.com]

And don't even think about leaving your books to your kids.

Horse hockey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249767)

I love reading books on my iPad. I always have my iPad with me, so it's like having every book I could possibly want with me all the time.

I don't have my iPad set for incoming alerts for things like emails, etc. So there's no popups happening while I'm reading. And while I'm on a plane (I spend at least 100 hours a year on airplanes) there's no "temptation to youtube". Hell there's no temptation to youtube anyway.

I will never buy a device that just reads books. I predict in five years minimum, 10 years maximum the dedicated eBook reader will only be seen in museums.

Why let distractions distract you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39249779)

One has to turn off distractions when reading. Isn't this obvious?

Huh? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39249787)

Who are these ADHD people they did this scientific survey with? I find reading on a tablet IDENTICAL to reading the book, except I cant lose my place and can search easily.

Honestly, I find reading on my iPad or my KindleDX far more enjoyable than a tiny paperback, so much so that I read a lot more now.

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