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Open eBook Forum Courts Controversy Over Formats

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the bookworm-has-a-headache dept.

Media 184

Brad Rigby writes "TeleRead's David Rothman is calling for [1, 2] the replacement of the Open eBook Forum by "an honest trade association" and a related standards body to create an open standards ebook format at the consumer-level. This will benefit publishers, distributors and retailers, librarians, the open-source community, and most importantly book readers. Largely because of the proprietary format wars, ebooks have flopped commercially, with only an estimated ten million dollars in sales in 2003. In addition, OeBF is being held hostage by its Gold Sponsors, including Microsoft, Adobe, and Palm Digital, companies with proprietary, incompatible ebook format solutions. And to make matters worse, OeBF's president, Steve Potash, runs OverDrive, a company profiting from this "Tower of eBabel", which, according to David, is an obvious conflict of interest and the reason why OeBF is no longer living up to the promise of a standard consumer ebook format. Interesting detail: The OeBF is so focused on promoting its Gold Sponsors that it has yet to speak out against European VATs that will tax e-books but not p-books."

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GNAA Anal Controversy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788132)

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GNAA defeats Trollkore (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788146)

Goatse Receiver, ass contortionist, dead at 55

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - ass strectching exhibitionist Goatse Receiver was found dead in CmdrTaco's bed this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to making the intarweb a great place for millions of users. Truly an American icon.
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*
g_______________________________________________g
o_/_____\_____________\____________/____\_______o
a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>_\___|_____o
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>_|__/_____a
t_______/\_|___C_____)/______\_(_____>_|_/______t
s______/_/\|___C_____)__HOMOS__|_(___>_/__\_______ s
e_____|___(____C_____)\______/__//__/_/_____\___e
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*
balah dfsdfsd# try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's me# mportant Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic.Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) Problems regarding accounts or comment pos

Re:GNAA defeats Trollkore (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788247)

Truly an American icon.

I read somewhere that he's French.

It should read, "Truly a French icon."

plzfxkthx

We already have a standard for eBooks. (4, Interesting)

Psychic Burrito (611532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788149)

It's called ASCII.

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788179)

And optionally, a small subset of HTML.

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (4, Insightful)

jared_hanson (514797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788183)

Which works well until you want to do anything as rudimentary as a children's novel, in which pictures are a good idea.

What's that? ASCII art you say? Tell that to a med student studying up on anatomy. I'd like to see the intricacies of the human nervous system represented in ASCII.

Works for some people (0, Troll)

dus (139697) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788272)

I'd like to see the intricacies of the human nervous system represented in ASCII.

This works quite well for some people, including the most powerful man on earth, the president of the US: .

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (4, Funny)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788298)

I'd like to see the intricacies of the human nervous system represented in ASCII.

Oh, no you didn't say that. Slashdot trolls already have ASCII anatomical representations in WAAAY too much detail for my tastes!

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (1)

ironygranny (596328) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788709)

That's why we have unicode ;-)

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788188)

obviously you don't know a dime about what ebooks actually are

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (1)

Dreadlord (671979) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788192)

well, ASCII is good for small books, but when things get larger, Tex [tug.org] works better, especially for printing, getting TOC, bibliography ... etc

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788230)

You're mixing something up here. We aren't speaking about type setting systems.

We have a standard for the destruction of slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788197)

anti-slash [anti-slash.org]

"THE STANDARD HAS BEEN RAISED" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788218)

but, to tell you the truth, no standard is better than anti-slash standard.

you people suck.

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788204)

Great, you're back to the typewriter era. At least say "LaTeX" or "HTML", to get some logical markup.

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788276)

The DRM layer is a bitch, though.

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (2, Insightful)

Psychic Burrito (611532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788656)

The DRM layer is a bitch, though


Good point. I'm asking myself right now "Can a open standard include DRM without completely jeapardizing DRM"? I don't think so. Formats including DRM always have to be closed. If they are open, anybody can recreate the App that accesses the content but leave away any restrictions.

So, in short, the initiative to create "a open eBook standard", which presumes some DRM, is already dead in its tracks.

story converted to big-endian (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788307)

darBgiR w ybetirT" sRele'daeaD s divhtoR namc siillaf gn[ ro2 ,1ht ]er ecalpnemefo teht epO Be n koouroFyb mna" noh tsedartsa eicosoitaa "na dnler detaats radnb sd ydoc ottaerna eepo ts nadna sdroobeof ktamr ta ehtsnocremuvel- .lesihTliw eb lifenup tsilbsrehid ,irtsotuba srr dniatesrelil ,rarbsnaiht ,po es-necruooc enumm,ytidna som mi ttropltnaob yr koedae .srgraL yleaceb esut fop ehrporateif yramroaw t ,sroobeh sk evapolf depmmocicreyllaiw ,o ht ylne namitsdetanet lim noillod sral ni elasni s002 I .3da nitid ,noFBeO si niebeh gh dlatsob egti yoG sS dlsnop,srocni idulM gnorcitfosdA ,,ebodna laP iD matigc ,lapmoseintiw rp hirporatei ,ymocnitap elboobeof ktamrlos oitu .sn dnAm ot ekattam sresrowO ,e'FBerp sdise,tneetS P evsator ,h snurevOvirDa ,emoc ynaporp itiff gn morsihtoT" rewe foebaB ,"lcihwa ,hroccgnid ot ivaDi ,dna svbo suoinoc cilffo ttni serena tht der enosayhw BeO si F on gnoll renivipu g ot ehtmorp esia foats radnoc dmusne rekoobrof .tamtnI seregnitted :liaehT BeO si F os ucof desp noomorgnitsti loG pS dosnot sr tahh tiy sat teps o kae tuoiaga tsnoruEnaepTAV ht sw ta lli xatob-e sko tub tonob-p.sko"

Re:story converted to big-endian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788589)

-1, Gibberish

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (3, Funny)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788313)

EBCDIC Forever!

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788387)

UNICODE!

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788636)

SGML or XML

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (1)

Cyno (85911) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788534)

Yeah, but we need a New(tm) standard. Because ebook(tm)s are a New(tm) product that will soon be making a profit for Some(r) company.

Unfortunately Someother(r) company will probably sue them for violating their patents, making Some(r) company's New(tm) ebook(tm) standard less than profitable.

Oh well, maybe civilization just isn't ready for Some(r) company's ebook(tm)s.

Re:We already have a standard for eBooks. (1)

stry_cat (558859) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788738)

It's called ASCII.
Actually it's called HTML which allows not only for text but also images.

Episode 3 Spoilers in link! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788161)

The plot for episode Three, tentatively titled "Revenge of the Sith", is now known. The movie starts with Count Dooku taking Chancellor Palpatine "captive" and Obi Wan and Anakin "rescuing" him, and Anakin killing Dooku in a duel. After the supposed rescue (remember, Dooku was really working for Palpatine), Anakin becomes Palpatine's personal bodyguard.

Meanwhile, Obi Wan goes off against the droid army commander, who appears to be an alien in white body armor named General Grevious who has four arms and four blasters. At a crucial point the clones turn against the Jedi and start killing them. Most are killed but Wookies help Yoda escape his clone trooper assassins, and Yoda wisely runs away and hides on Dagobah.

When Samuel L. Jacksonobi figures out what is going on, he confronts Palpatine, but Anakin kills him. Padme brings Obi Wan to confront Anakin. Anakin, angry at this, smacks Padme around using the force. Then Obi Wan and Anakin fight in a volcano, and Anakin falls in. Palpatine fishes him out, but he is badly burned and has asthma, so he gives him black body armor and calls him Darth Vader.

Padme, injured from being smacked around by Anakin, disgorges her fetuses before she expires. Obi Wan gives Leia to a kind Alderaanian Puerto Rican family led by Jimmy Smits, and, incredibly, gives Luke to the family of Anakin's mother on Tattooine, not even bothering to change Luke's last name from Skywalker to something else.

A young Chewbacca makes a cameo, as does the still young Boba Fett.

The movie ends with Darth, the Emperor, and a young Moff Tarkin on the bridge of a Star Destroyer watching the ongoing construction of the Death Star project.

Gentelmen, I present to you Your Queen [allscifi.com] (Keep hitting reload until you hit the naked pic.)

so what? (4, Insightful)

mutewinter (688449) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788162)

Does anyone actually think that the lack of a single format is scaring consumers away from ebooks, and solely because of this they've been a flop? I'd wager to guess that ebook sales are going to be pretty dismal for quite a ways into the future.

Re:so what? (4, Interesting)

Vaevictis666 (680137) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788339)

I don't know about that. If I had a decent device that was capable of viewing "standard" ebook formats, could hold a fair amount of text (say 6-7 novels the size of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time books), was easy to read (and maybe backlit) I wouldn't mind picking one up for my bus rides to/from work. It would mean no need to muss marking my page, and a smaller package to stick in my pocket. Plus without paper production costs, I could see ebooks selling for $2 or so, compared to $10 or so for paperback these days.

the ubiquitous price-drop-to-come (5, Funny)

webwench_72 (541358) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788568)

Exactly! eBook prices would be much lower than the cost of an equivalent paperback, much like CD prices were significantly lower than cassettes and vinyl albums due to reduced production costs.

Oh, wait...

Re:so what? (2, Interesting)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788520)

Does anyone actually think that the lack of a single format is scaring consumers away from ebooks, and solely because of this they've been a flop? I'd wager to guess that ebook sales are going to be pretty dismal for quite a ways into the future.
Yes, but not for the right reasons. If eBook readers were shoved down our throats with advertisments like the iPod w/iTunes is, they would sell millions!
I have no problems reading a book on my PalmOS, but then the format problem comes in and causes problems. There have been more then a few eBooks I would of purchased if they were available in a format I could use. I would love to see a format standard with eBooks and only have one download option (instead of 6 options where I have to pay for each option)...if this were the case I would easily be able to get my wife buying eBooks for $2-$7 instead of paperbacks at $7-$9 and hardcover from $15...not to mention you can fit about 700 eBooks on a CD and paper books take a lot of physical space

eBooks didn't catch on yet (5, Insightful)

Karamchand (607798) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788163)

..because of incompatible format but because most people just don't want to read a book on the computer screen.
They want to take the book with them (and not everyone has a laptop), they want to read it on the toilet, they think it's uncomfortable reading long texts from screen, and with many screen and workplace setups it is unhealthy too.

Re:eBooks didn't catch on yet (5, Insightful)

jared_hanson (514797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788270)

I agree with your point here. However, there is defiately a place for eBooks. In college, I longed for an electronic copy of my texts so I could search them on the computer. It was always a pain flipping through pages and skimming for info that I had read a week prior. Then, having to do it all over after realizing I had gone to far and must have missed what I was looking for.

It would have also been useful for printing out the problem at the top of the sheet of paper I was going to work the problem on. Its not fun having to flip back and forth between the problem at the end of the chaper and where it is detailed in the chapter's text.

Ebooks probably aren't suited for novels, but they could do wonders for school text books.

Re:eBooks didn't catch on yet (2, Interesting)

johnalex (147270) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788692)

I thought the same thing, until I took a class in seminary with the textbook on CD (in .pdf format).

Since I don't have a notebook, I tried going to class a few times without the textbook. I found very quickly that those students without my aversion to paper could easily win arguments related to the text because they had printed the relevant chapters and brought them with them to class.

I started printing the chapters out of sheer survival. Fortunately, I was able to print out the book at 2 pages/sheet (thank you Mac OS X!). The moral? Until I can afford a notebook, I prefer (augh!) paper books.

Re:eBooks didn't catch on yet (1)

IncarnadineConor (457458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788275)

Yeah thats great, when there is a book, but when I have to read documents where my only options are to pay some insane amount to print it or read it on electronicly, an e-book reader sure sounds nice. And if there was one out there that wasn't utter crap I'd own one.

there's also the slight little detail... (3, Insightful)

rbird76 (688731) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788289)

of having to lend my entire e-book library to someone if I want to lend them a book to read, as opposed to the traditional method of lending a single book from my library to someone and then never getting it back. Lending an e-book and 1) potentially losing a $200 reader and 2) not being able to read any other e-books in the interim (unless I have another reader) is a major disincentive to buying and using e-books.

Oh, and they don't have very many features that regular books don't have, other than restrictive DRM.

Thanks but no thanks.

Re:there's also the slight little detail... (1)

Sunda666 (146299) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788410)

or you could just beam the file over IRdA to your pal's reader... Oh wait, thats stealing!!!

cheers.

Re:eBooks didn't catch on yet (1)

cloudless.net (629916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788486)

"They want to take the book with them (and not everyone has a laptop), they want to read it on the toilet, they think it's uncomfortable reading long texts from screen" I can keep many eBooks in my PDA and take the PDA with me anywhere. I can adjust the color/contrast/font on screen screen to make the text comfortable to read. I don't see a problem there.

I read eBooks on the toilet (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788676)

On my SE P900 (and before that P800, and before that on my Osaris [PSION clone]) I read eBooks on the toilet.

I use gutenmark [freshmeat.net] to convert guten-texts to half-decent html from which I build eBooks using mobi-pocket publisher.

MobiPocket-Reader [mobipocket.com] is the BEST ebook reader in the world (with a free version) supporting more platforms than you can imagine (TRY!)

Mobi have an extensive online library, but also supply a personal publisher tool that can work text, html, and open-ebook format sources (not too strict) to produce ebooks.

I've produced my own ebook of up to 30MB with this tool although it took a long while to build.

Sam

ebooks sound cool (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788166)

How do I print them and bind them?

Colts are a fraud, Broncos are the real deal (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788167)

Last night, the Denver Broncos explosed the Indianoplis solts for the fraud they are. Dungy and Manning are both pscychologically incapable of winning the big game. Jake Plummer, any Broncos RB, and the Broncos receiving corps, on the other hand, are more than capable of stepping up to the plate.

Imagine how bad it would have been if Portis played. That's what will happen two weeks from now when Denver once again travels to Indy.

the rest of teh AFC better hope they don't run into the Denver buzzsaw in the playoffs - they might last one more round and get an extra playoff check that way.

Oh? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788388)

The same Denver that almost lost to Cleveland @ Mile High?

(The same Cleveland that lost to the Ravens 35-0?)

Re:Oh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788474)

Invesco field at Mile High, sir.

And yes, the same Denver that you mentioned (you left out the Chicago loss, though - maybe you decided not to count it because Plummer wasn't playing).

The Ravens (assuming they don't choke next week against the Steelers) will lose to Tennessee in the first round.

what 'sport' is that? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788680)

Is it all-american dumbassing, that your president is such a star in?
Or is it something else that keeps the american people craving for more blut? It keeps them pretty dumb anyway. just a couple of years before europe has a big refugees problems with illegal american immigrants. Kill them all I say.

Format wars or something more fundamental? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788175)

Have ebooks really flopped "largely due to format wars," or is it actually more to do with ease of use? I've yet to come across a mass-market reader that matches the flexibility of paper (sorry!) and that won't kill me if I try to read in the bath...

Re:Format wars or something more fundamental? (1)

joebok (457904) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788487)

Since I've got into some of the newer PDAs with high-res screens (I've got an iPAQ and a couple Clies), I've found reading them to be just as easy as a physical book - and in difficult lighting conditions, even easier. The convenience of having several novels for travel without having to pack (I'm a quick reader) is fantastic. Mostly I use the Microsoft Reader; I can annotate, high-light, add comments, etc. quite easily. The electronic format is also handy for searches. So, for me, newer technology has solved the "ease of use" issues I had in the past.

But the format wars are making it difficult. Mostly I get my eBooks from www.fictionwise.com [fictionwise.com] . They have their books in as many formats as the individual publishers will allow, which helps - but a lot of the newer stuff is in the secure, proprietary formats; so I can either get a Palm format or a PocketPC format but not both. This is a pain, but not deal-breaker for me. More painful is wondering if I'll be able to read them again 10 years from now.

But anyway, even with those concerns, I've become addicted to the "ease of use" of current eBooks and readers and I can't go back! A more standard format would encourage me to spend more on eBooks.

Re:Format wars or something more fundamental? (1)

badriram (699489) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788489)

eBooks did not flop due to format wars, but due to portability. You cannot use them anywhere but your computer.
I bought an eBook for a class i took, i realized i spent more time printing things out to read than reading it on the screen.
Dont understand why we need a brand new format for eBooks, when PDF is soo wide spread, and can easily be adapted for eBooks.

PDF while good, isn't good enough... (1)

fullmetal55 (698310) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788542)

Yes its widespread, but have you tried reading PDFs on a PDA? PDF is good for maintaining the formatting and layout, but for ease of reading, I'd prefer a straight ascii format, or one that resizes the pages to be readable yet not so you have to move around left to right or have the text unreadably small.

Wonder why it flopped? (4, Insightful)

dus (139697) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788178)

Largely because of the proprietary format wars, ebooks have flopped commercially, with only an estimated ten million dollars in sales in 2003.

Or maybe, just maybe, people prefer real books? Maybe the market just isn't there right now.

Re:Wonder why it flopped? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788258)

It's the smell of books. That's why eBooks never catch on, they don't have the smell.

Re:Wonder why it flopped? (0)

adamshelley (441935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788556)

Maybe its because everyone runs windows and cd's aren't reliable enough. Ask a windows user how often they reformat: Once every 3 months, once every 6 months? How often do their poorly manufactured drives last: One year? Two years? Okay, so my computer isn't reliable enough to store these damn things. I should burn them to a CD. How long to CD's last: 2 years, 4 years, will I even have the hardware in the future to read these things?

Books are better. They last and we will be able to read them in the future. You aren't just stuffing some fat over paid under worked probably somewhere hot vacationing right now's pocket.

hmmf.

bah... (3, Informative)

Zurk (37028) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788181)

i released a (crappy) doc reader (there have been better ones since) for the AportisDOC standard for e-books under the GPL a loong time ago.
http://zurk.sourceforge.net/zdoc.zip
The DOc format is open, can be extended to be secure and is already out there ...theres no real need for yet another crappy e-book standard. we already have one.

Re:bah... (1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788244)

There's no need for another crappy e-book standard because we already have one? Well, how about a non-crappy e-book standard?

Re:bah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788338)

you cant have that. by definition anything which includes DRM is crappy and no ebook standard will not include DRM.

Re:bah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788518)

Hey ZDOC is not crappy, I used it for the first ebooks I read on my palm. And if I am talking about your ZDOC it was only 14kb big. Good Job.

Re:bah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788615)

oh well..i get lots of "its crappy!" emails so i normally assume it's crappy. :)
but yeah, it was fairly groundbreaking when released nearly half a decade ago with a really small size due to it being written in monolithic palm C.
now of course, they're better readers out there... good to see ZDOC has some users left, tho.
i no longer have a palm and the last release was over four years ago.... good software never dies..it just stays on sourceforge. :)

eBooks just aren't the same (3, Redundant)

Watchman_ds (238262) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788195)

For a technophile like me, reading an ebook is fine (I once read the complete stories of Sherlock Holmes stories on my PDA). But for most people, a page turning, bookmarking, throw-it-in-your-bag-and-go book is much more pleasurable to read.

Perhaps the lack of success on ebooks is because reading one just isn't the same.

There's a reason the book format has been popular since Julius Caesar. He didn't have a European power adapter to recharge his ebook!

Re:eBooks just aren't the same (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788277)

> perhaps the lack of success on ebooks is because reading one just isn't the same.

partly that, and partly the fact that if you lose a book, you just buy a new one. if you take your pda or laptop out and lose it, or have it damaged or stolen...

perhaps if it were possible to get something which just displays ebooks on a passable text only screen, and for 50 or so UKP (100 dollars)..something like that...then perhaps it'd have a chance.

No one reads books anymore (5, Interesting)

Amsterdam Vallon (639622) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788201)

I read a Stephen King interview where he said that people just aren't into books anymore. And it's basically true.

DVDs and CDs and TVs and LCDs have replaced the printed word. Many househoulds don't even have ONE BOOK on display. Kids are going to start growing up without ever having read a book at home or had their parents read to them.

It's truly a sad state of affairs here in America.

Re:No one reads books anymore (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788241)

True!

(Looks over at the large stack of books awaiting shippment from sales on ebay.)

Re:No one reads books anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788335)

Kids are going to start growing up without ever having read a book at home or had their parents read to them. It's truly a sad state of affairs here in America.

Why is it a sad state of affairs? A new electronic format allows for large information densities, powerful searching, and easy copy-pasting. If you force the USA to stick to printed books, they may well become a third-world country in a few decades, as other countries make all the discoveries because any kid in these countries can cross-reference huge amounts of information.

Re:No one reads books anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788399)

I take that back...I'm an idiot.

Re:No one reads books anymore (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788462)

Many househoulds don't even have ONE BOOK on display.

How many is "many". Is this figure higher or lower than in the past? Hell, I can make up bullshit statistics like that myself.

Pretty shoddy reasoning for someone who claims they are with an institute of higher learning. Maybe this preceived decline in affairs is due to lousy colleges.

Re:No one reads books anymore (2, Insightful)

IWorkForMorons (679120) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788595)

I wouldn't go that far. I can only speak for myself, but reading is one of those things that needs to be learned before you can enjoy it.

Ok, now that you've gotten the "is this guy a complete fscking idiot" thoughts out of your head, I'll explain. Aside from just not having time to read, I have been diagnosed with a learning disability. I have a problem with reading, especially if what I'm reading is in a different dilect then what I'm use to (i.e. Shakespeare). And it usually takes me a long time to read things even if it is something I understand. For the longest time, I disliked recreational reading because it was too boring and took too long.

What I've learned is that I just needed to find a better way to read. It helps that I'm interested in the material, but if I break the reading into short periods (say, no more then 30 minutes), I found that it's easier to stay focused and easier to retain. With that I've begun to read books that I've only heard references to, and thought before that they would take too long to read. That was the exact reason I read Nineteen Eighty-Four. It took me three months to read it but now I understand more, not only the references but the underlying message in the book. And I've become interested in other books now to. And this fits into my schedule perfectly since I usually read on the bus to and from work.

I think kids today do have more to distract them, but it's no reason for them to not read. I think someone just has to teach them ways to do it, so that it fits into their lives better. Reading can be fun, if you know how to do it properly.

Re:No one reads books anymore (2, Informative)

Jim_Maryland (718224) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788601)

I disagree with...

I read a Stephen King interview where he said that people just aren't into books anymore.

Get a kid a book on a topic that they are interested in and they'll read it. My son is into various card games (Yu Ghi Oh - hope I'm spelling correctly, Pokemon, etc...), Calvin & Hobbs, and anything to do with turtles (he has 3 of these for pets). Most of his friends read books and his school actually encourages reading through "book exchanges" around the holidays.

I guess I can see where the amount of time spent reading books may have decreased due to competing interest of game consoles/PC's, sports, and TV/movies.

This is ridiculous (1)

thepuma (721283) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788637)

Judging by the success of companies like Barnes & Noble and Amazon, I'd have to say that he is wrong. Plus my own personal experience...my wife and I spend more on books than almost any other media!

Re:No one reads books anymore (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788735)

Give the craze of Harry Potter in the past few years I find this very hard to believe. I don't think books have ever been as popular as they are now. Of course you could be trolling...

Gutenburg project (1)

keplon (690637) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788209)

Whatever the outcome of this forum is, the decision should greatly affect the future of the Gutenburg etext project. Spending hours looking at a white notepad file isn't the most exciting thing in the world...there's got to be something better.

Re:Gutenburg project (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788381)

It won't affect Gutenburg at all. They do not want to release in eBook format, or anything other than ASCII. Its not that they have not released in ebook format because of the lack of a standardized format, they have stayed with ascii for a very simple reason.... you can turn ascii into anything else, but once its in another format, then you may loose something transferring into another format. So even if they come up with a "Perfect" eBook format, its not going to affect Gutenburg at all

Re:Gutenburg project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788405)

type etxt.txt | more

same rules apply to... (5, Interesting)

akaina (472254) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788216)

text as digital music. Here's what uncle Steve had to say:

Because of their technological innocence, I would say. When we first went to talk to these record companies -- about eighteen months ago -- we said, "None of this technology that you're talking about's gonna work. We have Ph.D.s here who know the stuff cold, and we don't believe it's possible to protect digital content."

Why I didn't buy an ebook reader. (5, Interesting)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788219)

Do you know why I didn't buy a handheld ebook reader? I will tell you. NONE of them would display PDF's. Not a one, at least I was unable to find one that would.

Re:Why I didn't buy an ebook reader. (1)

senor_burt (515819) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788323)

I have a PDA loaded with Acrobat Reader for PPC [adobe.com] .

Works for me.

Re:Why I didn't buy an ebook reader. (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788373)

I sometimes read PDFs on my Handspring Visor. It's a pain. I think PDFs in a handheld will be unpleasant at best until we've got handhelds with better than 150dpi resolution.

Re:Why I didn't buy an ebook reader. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788402)

PDF's are really all about layout and most PDF documents are for printing to 8.5"x11". Most e-book readers aren't going to be in a form factor that can conveniently display 8.5"x11" pages. You would constantly have to be scrolling around. An e-book should have markup that can be adjusted to reflow text and graphics to whatever the display allows. Not only does PDF not allow that, it's pretty well designed to not allow that since its main selling point is that what you see on the screen is exactly what will be printed out (given resolution limitations).

Well, this explains it (1)

karmaflux (148909) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788220)

So that's why I can't find The Anarchist's Cookbook on the net anymore.

Re:Well, this explains it (3, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788340)

So that's why I can't find The Anarchist's Cookbook on the net anymore
The real reason is that the modern anarchist isn't that tasty anyway.

I wish you (-1)

SpongeScrodSpareCock (717608) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788231)

I wish you goatse [goatse.cx] christmass
I wish you goatse [goatse.cx] christmass
I wish you goatse [goatse.cx] christmass
And a tubgirl [tubgirl.com] n00 j33r!

if they had included DRM in CDs.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788250)

in 80s, we would have still been playing records and cassettes (and may be mp3-ogg versions of them). see what happened to DAT, DCC, MD etc.

My feeling is that analog is better than DRM corrupted digital. Ofourse, the best is open-digital like CD-audio.

ridiculous format (2, Insightful)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788257)



Largely because of the proprietary format wars, ebooks have flopped commercially
eBooks have flopped because it's not a desireable format for reading large volumes of text. I installed a copy of the Hobbit on my Handspring and spent about 4 minutes reading the first few pages. The lack of contrast on the handheld was painful on my eyes and it was pretty annoying to have to keep pushing the scroll button. A used paperback is an exponentially better medium for reading than an eBook.

Re:ridiculous format (2, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788266)

Elected Official Thinking MODE:

Then we should outlaw the selling of used books!

One word... (4, Informative)

hacker (14635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788268)

Plucker [plkr.org] . It does ebooks and formatting better than anything else out there, and also does HTML content, RSS feeds, local text files, and lots of other formats.

The extensive Data Format [plkr.org] is public, well-documented, and used in dozens of other projects. Lots of companies, commercial and non-profit, have adopted the Plucker format for their content delivery. Out of the other "free" options out there, Plucker reigns supreme (it is also the ONLY one out there that is publically documented, and "Free" to use).

Re:One word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788371)

plucker is an extension of AportisDOC which was free, open and available well before plucker came along.
there are more DOC books than plucker books out there...and commercial as well as GPL readers.

Re:One word... (1)

hacker (14635) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788450)

Plucker is not, and has never been, an extension of anything other than text, then text + images, then text + images + hrefs, and so on. It matured independantly of any other eBook format or "standard".

Also, AportisDOC is not open, documented, or freely usable, without substantial commercial licensing.

Please drop the false accusations.

Additionally, you can see that LinuxDOC uses Plucker format [ibiblio.org] . Oddly, I don't see [tldp.org] their HOWTO docs in AportisDOC format. Project Gutenberg is considering the move to Plucker as well, last I heard.

How about checking out the thousands [memoware.com] of [xecu.net] Plucker [bandersnatch.org] ebooks [palmgear.com] out there, before spinning your tripe.

Re:One word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788706)

umm.. u r a dumbass.
AportisDOC has been an open standard since 1996. it requires no licensing or anything else. the AportisDOC READER is not free but there are plenty of GPL readers & writers out there since 1998 which do exactly that. including linux based ones.
The AportisDOC standard is a subset of plucker and was out before plucker. its obvious where plucker came from. the plucker authors created plucker based on the aportisDOC standard...which was and still is the standard with the most commercial and non commercial ebooks out there.
plucker is better but it was not arrived at independantly. the gold standard is still the aportis DOC format.

Re:One word... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788733)

look at the index record in the plucker specification you dumb fuck. it clearly shows AportisDOC compatibility.
quote :
This data format supports two forms of compression, DOC and ZLIB. That part of a data record that occurs after the header is compressed as a single chunk. All compressed records in a single document must use the same compression format. Compressed records may be mixed with uncompressed records. In a compressed record, the length of the compressed data must be less than its uncompressed length.

DOC compression is the the format invented for early Palm usage.

Why e-books failed (1)

Coaster-Sj (614973) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788304)

Most things I prefer to do on the computer if possible. Common things like pay bills, shop, write letters ect.

One thing I don't really have a need to do is to read a book on the computer.

I can buy more books than I could ever read and never spend more than $5 a piece on them. If I need a book I can't find locally; Amazon will have it. If Amazon doesn't have it it's sure as heck not in e-book format anywhere.

I stare at a computer screen long enough as it is. I really don't plan on taking my laptop to the toilet with me.

The other question is what do you do with an e-book once you've read it? I can't give it away legally unless it was free to start with. I can't sell it that's for sure. I'd love to see my local librarian'sface (very small town) when I walk in and hand her a CD and tell her that I'm donating a copy of something to the library.

Some things just aren't meant to be done on a computer. Reading long books is definatly one of them.

Quick Solution (1)

puppetluva (46903) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788328)

Ebooks should be a stripped-down version of the OpenOffice.org format. By "stripped-down" I mean, exactly the same, just down allow all of the non-essential text enhancements and embedding. Wanna add encryption and DRM? Add it to the OpenOffice.org format so that in can be used everywhere.

This reminds me of WAP vs. HTML debocle. . . just because a device is embedded doesn't mean that you need completely new formats.

. . . Next problem. . .

Re:Quick Solution (1)

MichaelWS (713267) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788379)

I for one love ebooks, but the everage person will always prefer a book because its doesn't require batteries, software, hardware, patches, etc. Most ebooks are also only a few dollars cheaper than the actual book. Now ten years down the road this may change, but don't count on seeing the general public walking around reading ebooks anytime soon.

Ebooks DID NOT fail. (5, Insightful)

digrieze (519725) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788407)

It's just that no one wanted what they offered. Look at the things that are the top sellers, they're mostly academic and reference books. Those things are PERFECT for electronic adaptation because they BEG for the search capability that the format provides. The thechinical specifics are pretty irrelevent.

But for pleasure reading nothing beats paper! You can get it in your choice of editions (Ever tried to read large type on a palm or pocketpc? You'll get half a sentence per screen.) The batteries never run out, the sun never washes out your screen (color) or "flash blinds" you (monochrome). The boot up is instentaneous, pick it up, turn to bookmark. You can even have it "on" during takeoff, you don't have to get freakin' permission from an anal-retentive control-freak stewardess to use it!

That being said nothing beats the 256mb reference library in my pocket when I need it.

The problem with the ebook crowd isn't the product, it's that they (act like they) don't know what their customers want. Microsoft was roundly derided for surveying LINUX users about what they liked. Other groups should take a cue from them. Maybe if the ebook publishers PRODUCED WHAT THEIR CUSTOMERS WANTED TO BUY they could sell something (notice that Microsoft mostly publishes SEARCHABLE REFERENCES)!

What a concept, ask the customer what he would buy-then sell it to him!

Do it the WWW way (2, Interesting)

Josh Coalson (538042) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788442)

I was thinking about this the other day. Maybe what it would take to crack this whole thing open is to create a usefu l reader based on open standards, with no attention to copy prevention, like so:

  • a group of like minds forms a non-profit with open books (in the accounting sense)
  • design a useful piece of reader hardware, in near paperback size, that folds closed with a hard shell, and a flash slot and/or wired/wireless connectivity
  • write some reader software based around some open format like html or something else; software and firmware would be open-source and hackable
  • line up content from free sources (project gutenberg, etc)
  • sell it near cost to early adopters, maybe with some program for dropping the cost as people pre-order or somethin g

The hardware wouldn't try to be a convergence device; it doesn't have to cram down to the form factor of a phone, it doesn't have to be a big ol' web pad. (It could be an organizer with a little extra software.) It could do copy prevention if implemented by Adobe and accepted by users.

It would give an incentive for many people to publish to it (the people who are writing to be read, and not just to make money). Everyone dumping their scree on the web would have a more readable outlet.

I think it's possible that demand for such a thing would be enough initially to cross the first production hurdle, then grow the same way the WWW did.

Here, here (2, Insightful)

webwench_72 (541358) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788633)

Call me slow, but I really don't understand why HTML/CSS shouldn't be the format. All this talk of PDF and/or some newfangled committee-generated format puzzles me. User-customizable stylesheets should ameliorate most questions of format and readability. Don't like black text on a blinding white screen? Change your stylesheet. Like big print? Like things to wrap? Like things paginated rather than scrollinated? Want a text reader to read your novels to you on the train while you look out the window at the scenery? None of these things are particularly tricky.

Ebooks (0)

Staos (700036) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788471)

It's time to read up eh? I still kind of have issues with ebooks.. I mean, reading is pretty much a tactile thing for me.. I.e. I like the smell of books, I like turning pages.. In other words, it is nice to get away from the computer sometimes and just read..

How to write like a wanker! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788488)

How to Write Like A Wanker

No matter what Flash-blinded web monkeys would have us believe, the Internet is a text-based medium: especially its major discussion forums (IRC and Usenet) where people from all over the world can interact and share information. A popular misconception about text messages on the Internet is that, to be an effective communicator and earn the respect and admiration of your peers, you must be able to write lucid prose; that your messages, articles, posts and pages must be easy to understand and pleasant to read.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Popular sites filled with cutting-edge Internet cognoscenti (such as Slashdot and ShackNews) give the lie to this harmful and destructive myth: they are brimming with horrific grammar, atrocious spelling, gratuitous abbreviation and childish, arrogant attitude. To be "in" on the net, you must write like a wanker.

1. Structure
Just as every house needs a foundation, every brilliantly immature net text is built on a strong structure of ignorance, sloth, and mindless misguided belligerence. You cannot afford to ignore this section.

Don't capitalize.
Hey, if it made e.e. cummings look like a visionary, surely it'll do the same for you, right?
Wrong. It makes you look like a lazy fuckwit. (Unless you demonstrate that you can use the shift key: for instance, by using characters that demand it, like double quotes. Then it makes you look like a pretentious fuckwit.) Even if you somehow manage to pull off the no-caps style with grace and flair, the best impression you will make is that of a fuckwit admirer of e.e. cummings. That puts you one up on ninety-eight percent of the Internet, but you're still a fuckwit.

Don't punctuate.
Sorry, that should be "Dont punctuate". Skipping out on important punctuation---apostrophes especially---is an effective way of letting the reader know that you can't be arsed to write properly. This gives you an opportunity to annoy your reader with poorly emphasized, amorphous run-on sentences. If you want to write like a wanker, you must take every chance to annoy your reader.

Apostrophes are fairly easy to deal with---just skip them entirely---but hyphens are problematic. You might use spaces instead ("African-American" becomes "African American"), but this runs the risk of correctness (many people would accept "African American" as proper usage). Unfortunately, you run the same risk by simply omitting the hyphen ("e-mail" becomes "email"). Unless you're trying to come across as a pretentious wanker (see "Don't capitalize", above), you're probably better off avoiding hyphenated words, and going with whatever looks least intelligent ("africanamerican", "e mail") when it's unavoidable.

Mispunctuate.
Fucking up your punctuation is a conservative but effective way of exposing yourself as a retard in front of the Internet.

1. Pluralize with Apostrophes.
"Pluralize with Apostrophe's" This one small tactic is guaranteed to annoyanyone with even a passing knowledge of proper grammar. With a single keystroke, you demonstrate that you're completely incapable of handling the simplest rule of the English language, and reduce your more capable comrades to fits of mute frustration at your wilful idiocy.

2. Overuse Mutated Ellipses.
Never use a comma, a dash, a (semi) colon, or a period. If you absolutely must punctuate---to end what would otherwise pass for a sentence, for instance---toss in either two, or four (or more) dots as an "ellipsis".This will come across as lazy, gutless, and flippant all at once: pure wanker.

3. Overuse Exclamation and Question Marks.
Nothing shows your reader how serious you are better than five or six exclamation marks at the end of a sentence. Nothing will make your TA answer your question more quickly than a string of question marks. Bonus points for mixing the two in a question you really want answered. Extra bonus points for stuffing three or four exclamation marks into the middle of a sentence. If anything that should have been an exclamation mark actually comes out as the numeral '1', you can be sure that your reader thinks you are a wanker.

4. Star Out Offensive Language.
Because calling her a 'cunt' would be rude, but calling her a 'c*nt' is perfectly acceptable.

Write Like You're on IRC.
A real wanker considers his time infinitely more valuable than his reader's. (You are a real wanker, aren't you?) Accordingly, don't hesitate to conserve key strokes. Address your reader as 'u'; 'you' is time-consuming and obsolete. Never 'see' something if you can 'c' it instead. Refer to groups as 'ppl' rather than 'people'. Don't put a task off until 'later', do it 'l8r'. Tell your critics to 'stfu' instead of asking them to 'shut the fuck up'. If your reader has the time to actually read the drivel you post, they surely have the time to decode your dribbling shorthand.

Don't forget the cute misspellings. You're a wanker, but you wank to 'pr0n', not 'pornography'. Aspire to be 'kewl', but don't try to be 'cool' except on hot summer days. Don't neglect leetspeak, either: use the '0r' form of verbs as often as possible ('hax0r', 'ownz0r', 'wanx0r'). Replace 'o' with '0','e' with'3', 't' with '7', and so on. And while we're at it, be sure to write in an exaggerated ghetto/ebonic style if you're obviously not black. Nothing says "wanker!" louder than James Francis Spalding III sending out 'greetz and propz to all [his] hos and homies in da hood'.

Use an Inappropriate Format.
Never send a plain-text email or make a plain-text Usenet post; send HTML instead, preferably with browser-specific extensions. If your system cracks down on such things (obviously trying to stifle your breakout creativity), use a gratuitously incompatible character set, like Shift-JIS Japanese. Or just embed SmartQuotes (which the real world interprets as VT320 control codes) in your text.

If you're writing for the web, you'll want to post Word documents instead of HTML, and be sure that they're from the most recent version of Word---you wouldn't want anyone to think that you're behind the times (or read your work), would you? Avoid standard document formats like PDF, PostScript and even RTF like the plague: you don't want the un-l33t masses to be able to read your work, do you?

Ignore Proper Spelling and Usage.
The English language is full of homonyms, for example 'they're', 'there', and 'their': confuse them at every opportunity. "i hate my parents there car sux0rz." (Note also the run-on sentence, leet-speak -0r verb form, uncapitalized 'i' and stunted, unwanted ellipsis.) While you're at it, don't forget to make glaring, obvious spelling errors: 'reasonabel', 'buisness', and 'mesage', for instance. (Bonus wanker points if you play the ESL card to explain your inability to operate a simple dictionary, though this applies more to gratuitous misspellings than---a wanker would use 'then'---misuse of homonyms.)

2. Style
As one of my friends is fond of pointing out, a gratuitously bad command of the English language doesn't necessarily indicate a fundamentally dumb text. (If nothing else, a kitten walking across a keyboard may randomly type a Zenkoan.) To present yourself as a proper wanker, you'll have to do better than sloppy spelling and atrocious grammar; you also have to demonstrate that you genuinely have no fucking clue what you're talking about.

Make Personal Attacks
If someone's arguing with you, the best way of refuting them is to call them a'fag' or a 'Nazi'. ('Pedophile' is rapidly gaining popularity in this regard, too.) Make up wild and false accusations against them: "Mike just got out of prison for raping puppies, so he obviously isn't qualified to have an opinion about Unreal Tournament." Ignore their argument and attack their credibility: "Oh yeah? Why should I listen to someone who sells heroin to kindergarteners?"

Claim False Credentials
If you're discussing copyright law, claim to be a copyright laywer. If you're arguing about tobacco's effects on one's health, claim to be a doctor. (No matter what, claim to be a s00per 31337 h4x0r d00d: that always goes over well.) Refuse to provide any substantiating evidence, and for bonus points, grossly misuse jargon.

Make Shit Up
Are your arguments getting shot down because you can't back them up? No problem: just pull some statistics out of your ass and go nuts. "Well, the crime rate goes down by 33 to 37 percent in states with gun control, so clearly pro-gun control people support mugging little old ladies." If anyone ever asks you where you get your figures, make vague references to articles, journals, or even television programs. "I read an article in the paper a few months ago that showed the earth was only six thousand years old because carbon-dating is bogus." When challenged, make vague references to shadowy conspiracies hiding the truth.

Another good way to make yourself look like a total wanker is to twist other people's positions beyond credibility. If you're arguing with a member of the NRA, for instance, assume that they support private ownership of main battle tanks and rebut appropriately.

Cite Urban Legends
Chevy Impalas with rocket-assisted take-off packs crashing into cliffs. Tourists waking up without their kidneys in bathtubs full of ice. Swiss aerodynamicists rigorously proving that bumblebees cannot fly. Take these so-called "legends" as gospel. Remember, anything and everything you can find on Snopes is a fact ... unless it has a green dot next to it.

Emphasize and Misinterpret Religion
Trying to convert your audience to whatever religion (or sect) they're not is a fool proof way of looking like a complete wanker. Be careful; if you've had a religious upbringing, you may accidentally take a familiar, moderate position: this is counterproductive. Insist loudly that the Bible is the literal word of God to a community of skeptics; claim that "deviants" are "going to Hell" on alt. sex ; whatever you do, remember that the best way to convert the heathens is to loudly denigrate their beliefs. Don't actually bother learning about any of the religions you impersonate; feel free to just make shit up.

Be sure to cite the Book of 'Revelations'. That one always scores big wanker points with any Biblical scholars who happen to be watching.

Don't forget that Wicca is synonymous with Satanism. For that matter, all religions with no concept of "the devil" are Satan-worshipping cults.

Ramble
You don't need something as limiting and backwards-thinking as a point to grace all of the IPv4 address space with your wanking writing, hell no! Start your masterwork with a skimpy rebuttal of what the last guy said, then make a fifteen paragraph digression into a dubious explanation of how quantum chromodynamics proves the existence of Atlantis.

If anyone complains that you're off-topic, call them a Nazi.

Post Non Sequiturs
This is important: Never stay true to any local topic. If you're posting to a newsgroup for Unix mail programs, talk about the World Series, or cute little puppies, or try to convert them all to Christianity (if they talk about daemons, they must be Satanists, right?) If you're replying to a message-board post on Quake III, ramble on for ten paragraphs about lint from your navel.

Make Stupid Threats
When someone takes issue with your writing, never fail to make dark h4x0rly threats about '0wn1ng' their computer. Tell them you'll "hack into their box", plant terrorist plans and child pornography, and tip off the FBI. (This works especially well if they live in Europe.) Tell them that you and "your friends" (yeah, right) will come by and "bust a cap in [their] ass". (This works really well if you're on different continents.)

Try to avoid making truly grandiose threats, like breaking into the SAC missile control computer (because, of course, it's gotta be connected to the Internet) and turning their home town into a glowing glass parking lot. People will think that you're being sarcastic, and might even consider you witty.

Incorrect about the European Union and the VAT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788492)

It is false that the VAT is different for electronic books and paper books. It is exactly the same for any kind of good (except that some goods have a lower VAT and other, luxury goods have a higher VAT). Do you think that we Europeans are so moron? Do you think that any modern state could pass such a tax for online goods and not for physical goods?

The only difference is who pays the tax. For physical goods, the VAT is payed at customs. This is not posible for e-books or software payed when downloaded. Thus for these cases, the VAT has to be paid by the seller.

A rectification of the article would be wellcome.

Just to end this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7788693)

"Do you think that we Europeans are so moron"

Well:
Socialized Medicine
The EU
Hitler

So, I guess the answer to your question is "yes".

RCA eBook Reader (4, Informative)

eGabriel (5707) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788550)

I got an RCA eBook for my girlfriend. There is nothing wrong with it. The screen is nice to read, the battery lasts long enough, and it is comfortable to hold and turn pages.

It's just a pain in the ass to use with Linux, and the selection of books when you plug in via the modem is pretty bad, and you get this "bookshelf" hosted by some company you aren't sure will be around, and if they fold you lose your books, have no way to back them up to your Linux system, and are pretty much SOL. There are a few projects for creating new eBooks, but it isn't trivial to get them copied to the unit.

This really sucks; I'd love to replace certain types of paper books I have with one of these readers. I don't have any particular attachment to paper books for most purposes. And I'd love to be able to grab gutenberg's books and put them on her reader easily.

Wow, that sounds great. (1)

webwench_72 (541358) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788593)

So did she thank you or slap you when you explained all the caveats of this gift?

The failure of E-books (3, Insightful)

bl968 (190792) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788580)

We all have seen the many publisher provided services for purchasing E-books.

These services try to limit your options and choices or even to remove them from you totally. With many of these services you must agree that you do not even own that which you wish to purchase in order to buy it. Instead they license you right to use their private property.

We see the prices on the virtual which rival that of the physical. We instinctively know that the production cost of a E-book is so much less than the cost of a compact disc or a printed book both of which require paper, ink, artwork, packaging and so much more that is totally lacking from the ethereal versions.

Their sales decline. "Stop the thieves" they cry out into the night! Make more and harsher laws to protect that which is already protected they demand of our governments. Protect our property and damn the public's rights is their idea of an ideal. I am a honest person is my vehement reply. So why attempt punish me for the crimes of others.

They attempt to smother new technology on the premise that it may possibly be used for illegal activity.

While it is not my intention to justify the theft of their material I must point out it's their own fault really. I blame their lack of foresight and their lack of anything resembling common sense. They do not exploit the markets available for them or if they do it's a halfhearted attempt. In the real world people are not buying what you sale one common step generally taken is to consider lowering your prices until your sales pick up. This also applies on the Internet.

In a concise conclusion I state that I personally prefer to compensate the authors and composers of the material that I so enjoy in my daily life. Currently I do so off-line. So Publishing and recording industries I say make it worth my while and convenient to do so and I will be one of the first in line online.

Disappointed with a recent Ebook (1)

vudufixit (581911) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788627)

Bought AE Van Vogt's Voyage of the Space Beagle as an Adobe E-book ("The Basis for Alien" the virtual front cover rather immodestly screams due to some fancy lawyering by Van Vogt's attorneys), and was stunned to find out that I couldn't copy or paste any text out of it, nor print out any pages for perusal at my leisure - in effect, stuck with reading it only at my PC. Sent two emails to the e-publisher complaining about this, and left them a voicemail - no response yet.

It's Working For Magazines (1)

FlipmodePlaya (719010) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788726)

A company called Zinio releases allot of major magazines in digital format. The format isn't as good as a PDF, but it follows the same idea (from what I can tell). Since it's laready used to distribute literature (of sorts) over the internet, it seems like it would work well for eBooks.

Maybe it's just me... (4, Insightful)

katsushiro (513378) | more than 10 years ago | (#7788730)

But I've been using and reading e-books for years now, and I love them, to the point where I barely buy paperbacks anymore. I read them all the time on my old Ahndspring, and a while ago when I upgraded to a Zaurus, I kept right on reading them. I've been an avid reader since early childhood, and am often reading several books at once. Carrying several paperbakcs in my bags all the time tended to create some serious wear and tear on the books after a short while.. the bookmarks would fall out of step if I bounced my bag a bit to much (which happened a lot during my college years), and I generally found paperbacks to be somewhat inconvenient.

Enter the e-book. Now I carry a whole reference library (Dictionary, thesaurus, etc.), plus 5-7 random SF, Fantasy, and other novels and books, all in one pocket, in my Zaurus' CF card. When the urge to read strikes, I just hit a button to turn it on (instant bootup PDA), and within seconds I can choose any one of the books I'm reading, and they pick up exactly where I left off (qtreader is great), I can have multiple bookmarks, and I can search those books that need searching. Reading is comfortable and easy with the Zaurus' high-contrast screen (and I use glasses with a fairly high (-7) level of miopia, but I still find it easy to read and adjust the font size while still fitting ina couple of paragraphs of text on a screen), and if I don't want to keep hitting the 'down' button to flip pages, I can set it to a comfortable level ofauto-scroll and just lay back and let the text wash over my eyes.

In short, I love e-books, and I'm exactly the sort of person ebook publishers should be trying to target. However, the vast majority of e-books I have, I will admit, are pirated. I do have paper copies of a lot of the books in my e-book collection, but e-books are so much more convenient for me than regular books, that I'd rather have an electronic version than a paper one. And for the most part, most books I want to read are simply not released in e-book formats. I *want* to have e-book versions of the books I own. However, due to the small availability and constant format/DRM wars, there are very few places online where I can buy an e-book in a format that I can read on my Zaurus. Meanwhile, the folks in newsgroups and several places online are busy scanning and typing in hundreds of thousands of books and putting them online for free.

To e-book publishers: while you wrangle and try to find a way to lock down the user and make 'sure' that no one pirates your e-books or gives them away or lends them or does anything out of your control, there's a whole bunch of folks out there happily scanning the paper editions of your books and putting them online for free in simple, unlocked formats. While you continue to deny those of us who *Want* e-books the freedom to choose what platform we want to read on and what we want to do with our books, these people will continue to provide your product for free without your permission. Make books available in electronic formats, formats that are compatible across all platforms, with a minimum of hassle and DRM, and give them away free with the paper edition of the books, or sell them at a substantially reduced price from the paper edition (face it, they cost a lot less to produce in e-book format, and I can't help but laugh whenever I see an e-book version of a book selling for as much, or sometimes more, than the paper version), and let me choose what I do with my books, and you will have an eager customer for life.
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