×

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

Thank you!

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

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

Amazon's Ebook The Future of Reading?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the only-if-it-ever-gets-released dept.

354

theodp writes "With a seven-page cover story on The Future of Reading, Newsweek confirms all those rumors of Amazon's imminent introduction an affordable ebook. Kindle, which is named to evoke the crackling ignition of knowledge, has the dimensions of a paperback, weighs 10.3 oz., and uses E Ink technology on a 6-inch screen powered by a battery that gets up to 30 hours from a 2-hour charge. Kindle's real breakthrough is its EVDO-like wireless connectivity, which allows it to work anywhere, not just at Wi-Fi hotspots. More than 88,000 titles will be on sale at the Kindle store at launch, with NYT best sellers priced at $9.99."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

354 comments

first post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396569)

frosty piss? hurry up and entertain me with your insight

I wonder (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396571)

what kind of refresh rate a device such as this needs?

Re:I wonder (4, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396657)

Basically zero. They generally don't change reflectivity/brightness very fast, on purpose. A static electrical charge will keep them in a particular display state, at least the ones I've read about. Saves energy. A good thing for these designs.

However, at $400 a pop, I think this is another "Segway" of e-books. Sell the reader for $9.99 and make up the cost on the media, then you've got something. $400? Heck, I could drop $400 on one just because I wanted to, but I won't. Doesn't feel like I'm doing anything to do with books at $400. I like books, anyway. They're tough, you own them, you can do the usual things as compared to any physical possession, and they have a delightful physicality to them.

The experience of an e-book is no foreign thing, either; I've got numerous volumes in PDF on my laptop, full color illustrations, etc... just isn't the same.

I will own up to being a book freak [flickr.com], though. The next generation may completely lack my preference for the real thing. We'll see.

Re:I wonder (2, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396711)

I'm unconvinced about this thing, and ebooks in general personally. My idea of a pleasant afternoon is a browse in my local antiquarian bookshop, and I like the look of my bookshelves as is.

What really interests me is this book vending machine thing. Now that I could get behind.

Re:I wonder (3, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396997)


I think ebook readers are a great idea, especially when they can be extended so I could get my favourite newspaper on it (the Independent in the UK). I thought this [bookeen.com] one looked better than the Amazon one and I thought about getting it. It's still too pricey for what it is, though. When these things are cheaper, I'll consider it if I can still find one then that's under my control and not some DRM infested nightmare.

Re:I wonder (5, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397173)

My idea of a pleasant afternoon is a browse in my local antiquarian bookshop,

That's too bad. I guess they'll just have to market this device to the proper niche... the other 99% of the population.

Re:I wonder (3, Insightful)

Neeth (887729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396745)

I too am a book freak. I fondle them, smell them, read them, re-read them, stare at them and sometimes on lonely Friday nights I even talk to them. Nothing beats the feeling of a good book. I do, however, also own the Cybook Gen3 eInk reader. This is an amazing piece of hardware. I can read whole books and not notice that I read a digital text. For me the love for books and the love for reading are two separate things. An ebook and a paper book can live together quite happily.

Re:I wonder (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396767)

Ok, one question then: How old are you?

I'm 51; to say that I am habituated to books - physical ones - is to understate the case rather severely.

Re:I wonder (3, Interesting)

Neeth (887729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396825)

I am thirty five years old. The thing is, once you start reading you forget that you are reading from an electronic device. The important thing is that modern ebooks use the electronic paper technology, so it is not back lit. You have to use normal light to be able to read your ebook. But what a joy it is to be actually able to read in broad daylight!

Re:I wonder (2, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396863)

Seems like just a little effort and they could side light it with a few LEDs and a well chosen bezel. Separate battery for the light, maybe. White LEDs are getting fairly amazing in output and efficiency.

Re your age, I think you're naturally a little more flexible about this than I am. Ok, it's not just flexibility, I'm downright cranky. :-)

Re:I wonder (4, Insightful)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396915)


Ok, one question then: How old are you?



I'm 51; to say that I am habituated to books - physical ones - is to understate the case rather severely.

At 21, were you used to communicating with people via the internet? What e-mail provider did you use? How often did you order products online?

Age is no barrier to change unless you wish to claim it as an excuse. I, too, grew up with paper books. I now have an e-reader and only buy the paper books when I can't purchase them online. I like being able to take my reader with me on trips... do you know what it's like to be able to bring 80 books with you on a long business trip? I do, and I love it.

Certainly many people will never bother with them, but, quite frankly, it's just like reading paper. If you're already used to reading things on your LCD and clicking a link to go to the next page, this shouldn't be a big leap for you. The only difference is that these devices have batteries that will last for weeks of regular reading and they have displays that don't cause eye strain.

Re:I wonder (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397001)

At 21, were you used to communicating with people via the internet? What e-mail provider did you use? How often did you order products online?

At 21, I was fooling with surplus modems (acoustic couplers...) with a friend, we sent mail using Baudot teletypes over ham radio (RTTY mode), and we ordered from catalogs. I had published my first technical article in Kilobaud, built a custom FM front end design for Pioneer, and had built several computers, starting with an 8008 and working up to an SC/MP and a 6800, if recollection serves.

Age is no barrier to change unless you wish to claim it as an excuse.

I said I read PDFs on my laptop, full color and etc. I've even done a little bit of reading on my palm T|X, and I've been known to surf the web on my PSP, though I find that rather painful, frankly. What age is doing here is providing a huge collection of extremely pleasant book reading experiences that I am, frankly, loathe to walk away from.

Give me an e-reader that can do what a book can - full color, allows me to keep my purchases in as secure a manner as possible, won't break if I drop it or is trivially replaceable (not at $400, sorry), and I think I'd wobble over towards the e-reader zone, as it were. Right now, it seems to me that the technology basically represents a giant step backwards. And yes, I'm aware of the bookmarking and so forth that an e-reader offers; that's great, but it isn't enough.

do you know what it's like to be able to bring 80 books with you on a long business trip?

Sure. I have a recent vintage Macbook Pro laptop with several hundred gigs of storage. Got quite a few books on it, too. Not to mention all the other usual things. Music. Games. Productivity. Custom stuff. e-books aren't bringing portable electronic books to the table as a new thing, or as a unique capability. I like to read "Motion Mountain" for entertainment (a physics e-text.) I also read a lot of our clients books in electronic format (I own a literary agency.) I'm not in the least unfamiliar with the territory. I just think it's still a frontier, is all. And not one I care to be a path-breaker in. I'll watch you do it. :-)

The only difference is that these devices have batteries that will last for weeks of regular reading and they have displays that don't cause eye strain.

Well, that, and if you drop them, you lose everything you have, as well as a $400 reader. Drop a book and pick it up and you're back where you started. Even if you drop it off a sixth story balcony. Finding it may be a problem, though. :-)

Re:I wonder (2, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397103)

Give me an e-reader that ... is trivially replaceable (not at $400, sorry)

Real books aren't necessarily trivially replaceable either. I've bought plenty of $400 academic works for my research, as university presses sell things at high cost and then it only gets higher when the book falls out of print.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21397205)

But that's because you're into stupidly obscure shit.

Re:I wonder (1)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397113)

I said I read PDFs on my laptop, full color and etc. I've even done a little bit of reading on my palm T|X, and I've been known to surf the web on my PSP, though I find that rather painful, frankly. What age is doing here is providing a huge collection of extremely pleasant book reading experiences that I am, frankly, loathe to walk away from.
Sorry, I'm tired and must have missed that part. If you're looking for color, you're better off sticking with your laptop for a long time to come. It will be a while before readers can offer what you need, and I don't see color coming out for at least another 5 years.

I give you credit for your good eyes. I'm younger than you are and I still can't stand to read text on a monitor for more than about an hour. I have to get up, walk around, and stare at something in the distance. Supposedly it has something to do with flicker and refresh rates, and LCDs have improved this for me, but I can't bring myself to really read on a computer screen.

Give me an e-reader that can do what a book can - full color, allows me to keep my purchases in as secure a manner as possible, won't break if I drop it or is trivially replaceable (not at $400, sorry), and I think I'd wobble over towards the e-reader zone, as it were.
I agree on the $400 price tag. I paid about $300 for my Sony Reader, but I wouldn't have bought it if I cared about color or the ability to read a lot of PDFs that weren't as easy to format correctly. I primarily read novels these days, and the reader provides a better experience than a paperback for me.

I'm not in the least unfamiliar with the territory. I just think ereaders are still a frontier, is all. And not one I care to be a path-breaker in. I'll watch you do it. :-)
Thank you. I was quite obviously incorrect about your attitude and will proceed to reintroduce my foot to my mouth. I believe ereaders are a frontier primarily because a lot of people are still afraid of new technologies, especially those who profit from the old ones. I thought you were using the "too old to change" excuse.

Despite my feelings that Sony is an "evil DRM-crazy corporation", they have a pretty good policy on ebooks purchased through their story. Last I checked, I could authorize up to 7 devices on my account, and there was supposed to be a way to de-authorize a device if it was sold or broken. We'll see how it plays out when it's time for me to replace my reader, but I think things will improve for the consumer in the future.

Re:I wonder (4, Insightful)

zotz (3951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397167)

Hey fyngyrz,

your post prompted me to write this in my blog... ~;-)

eReaders and eBooks
http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/2007/11/ereaders-and-ebooks.html [blogspot.com]

For those who don't want to follow the link and check out all my other zuper ztuff...

  eReaders and eBooks

Here is an idea for all of the companies trying to get this right.

You need a great reader at a great price. This $400 reader I just heard about from Amazon is not the great price by a long shot. $50 sounds ball park off the top of my head. $100 might be pushing it at today's dollar value for my part of the world.

eBooks should be way less than regular books people.

Have every regular book come with an eBook in a sleeve in the back or have a code printed in it that allows for a free download of the book.

Why this last bit? Best of both worlds for people who like physical books. You get the physical book with all of its advantages, plus you get the eBook with all of the searching, bookmarking, cross referencing possibilities.

Stop thinking about how to milk the people. We are not your cows and goats. Give the people a product that will make things better for them and settle for an honest, decent profit while doing so.

drew

Check my NaNoWriMo Novel in progress:
http://dangernovel.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]
Danger - A Safe Bahamian Novel

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396793)

"I will own up to being a book freak [flickr.com]"

maaaan... you need a 12-step book program... Hello, my name is ZOT and I have a book problem...

Re:I wonder (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396813)

Am I missing the point of this? For 400 bucks, you can get a proper small computer that you could (with teh softwares) read eBooks on - and more. I'm thinking nokia tablets, the linux Archos machines (now defunct, sadly) kind of thing.

Re:I wonder (2, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396847)

Well, one thing you can't get - yet - is a laptop that'll go thirty hours on a charge that only takes two hours to get. Another is this is designed to read, and ergonomically speaking, it's easier to handle than a computer for reading purposes.

Other than that, yeah, $400, four grey levels, 256 MB of (expandable) storage, much easier to break than a book, and if you break it, you lose ALL your books, and the other shoe for DRM hasn't dropped (and sadly, I think it will)... laptops are MUCH more general, and they do fabulous color...

No, I don't think you're missing anything in particular. Bezos, I think, has missed a few things, but that's only my measly little opinion.

Re:I wonder (2, Interesting)

DMoylan (65079) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397133)

> you can't get - yet - is a laptop that'll go thirty hours on a charge that only takes two hours to get

no but any decent phone can go for days on standby and you can be reading books on them in that time. last year i was commuting 3.5 hours a day by bus and using qreader on a nokia n70 while also using it as an mp3 player. and then using it during the day to take picture and video at work. barely decreased the battery gauge by one bar. the screen is small but i found it acceptable.

on a few occasions i didn't have a chance to recharge over night and it ran for 2-3 days at that level of usage with out running out of power.

a friend bought a sony book reader and while it looked nice it now sits on a shelf unused.

* it's too big. yes it is the size of a book but a book that you carry with you is quite pliable and ends up squashed in a bag or pocket. that cannot happen with an electronic device yet. as long as you are using ascii text it reflows to fit the screen.
* drm nonsense. while i download books illegaly off the web i always go out of my way to get a legit copy. drm software is an unwanted level of complication that makes it harder to use. what when i upgrade from one device to another do i do with the electronic copy of a book. will it transfer? or will it be plays for sure nonsense all over again?
* requirements. if you're travelling you'll need to drag another power supply along. i'd prefer just to bring a phone and a single charger.

some will say that they only want a phone to be a phone. guess what? i carry a swiss army knife too. it's not the best tool for the job but 95% of the time it is good enough.

Re:I wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396691)

Yeah. It's not just the chip, it has a PCI bus.

RISC is gonna change everything.

Re:I wonder (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396757)

E-ink is static, there is no refresh until one is required.

Think of it as human readable nand memory :P

Problem with Ebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396573)

is that you won't get the feel from turning pages, the thickness of the book the weight.

Epaper and ebooks were all tried and not successful at dethroning the paperback.

Re:Problem with Ebooks (4, Insightful)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396747)

is that you won't get the feel from turning pages, the thickness of the book the weight.
I think the problem with electronic reading is a problem of orientation. It's hard to get a feel for what you've read, how much you've read, how much is left, and how to locate what you read when it's an electronic document. It's also harder to scan ahead for pictures, which are landmarks, due to loading time. With a paper book or magazine, you have a 3-dimensional sense of where things are.

Re:Problem with Ebooks (1)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397045)

Actually it's much easier than physical books. You can set bookmarks, it automatically opens documents on pages where you finish and so on. Don't forget that everything is done in the software - as long as people want new features, they will be added pretty quick - like for example thumbnails to scan quickly for images.

But once again - not everything is for everybody - ebook readers will be a great supplement for books, hopefully they will even help some people start reading once again. Considering so many people who commute nowadays and their fluency of internet that's highly probable.

Just wait for some sexy ebook reader from Apple ;)

Re:Problem with Ebooks (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397119)

Bookmarks are generally presented as a list on a menu or a sidebar. It's a good way to record "checkpoints" but finding and using them is still not 3-dimensional experience.

If a new fancy GUI is created that changes all of this by finding visual ways of presenting the book, bookmarks and previously read pages--in high resolution on a wide screen (say a PSP)--then I'd completely change my mind. However, as long as books read like web browsers or PDF readers, I won't be able to switch.

Re:Problem with Ebooks (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397057)

Maybe the device should have a movable weight in it that would move in one direction as you make progress in your book, shifting the devices COG/balance. This way you'd get a feel for "where you are" even if it wouldn't be exactly the same feeling as with a real book.

Re:Problem with Ebooks (1)

caramelcarrot (778148) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397087)

I see this as being pretty good for reading PDFs and it would be great if combined with a touchscreen for note-taking over the top. My department publishes PDF lecture notes for all my courses, so I could just download them before attending the lecture and note over the top.

No picture? (5, Insightful)

uuxququex (1175981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396585)

They write seven pages on the ebook reader, that's good. But apparently they thought that showing the device would be unnecessary?

Or are they afraid a picture would distract the reader from the many shiny ads on the page?

Re:No picture? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396613)

Yeah... Those guys must be fucking retarded!

Re:No picture? (5, Informative)

tero (39203) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396705)

They're probably afraid the hideous fugliness of the thing will make potential ad-clickers run
Some (alledged) pics here:
http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/11/amazon-kindle-meet-amazons-e-book-reader/ [engadget.com]

Re:No picture? (3, Insightful)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396763)

They're probably afraid the hideous fugliness of the thing will make potential ad-clickers run
Some (alledged) pics here:
http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/11/amazon-kindle-meet-amazons-e-book-reader/ [engadget.com]
They need to hire Apple iPod team immediately. Why include keyboard? Why whitish colour close to beige? Why not a very very simple thing which shows the content only with back forward at edges? Why audio? Who wants a book making sound while there is iPod for it with all established book store?

It is sad the industry never learns from failure of hi-tech multimedia devices to some "no wireless, lame" iPod.

Hope they are fake shots.

Re:No picture? (2, Interesting)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397199)

They need to hire Apple iPod team immediately. Why include keyboard?
e-ink is a fairly new technology. it's quite possible that they haven't been able to get it to work along with touch-sensitivity, so they may have had no choice

Re:No picture? (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396949)

One hopes for Amazon's sake they spent the last year taking night courses in how to make the device look less like 1985 got really drunk and vomited all over the drafting table.

Re:No picture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396707)

Indeed - no picutre...it's a book!! If you've looked at a paperback novel, there are no pictures in it. Goes with the image they're trying to create. Image - LOL - ironic!

XO ebook (2, Insightful)

nachtkap (951646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396593)

I'm not even going to consider really reading an ebook until the XO becomes wildly available. From the information that is available on the XO it would be the right mix between utility and readability.

What will work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396601)

Subscription. I can't wait to have unlimited books for 20 dollars a month

Yes!! (2, Interesting)

Michael_gr (1066324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396621)

This is what I've been waiting for. I almost considered buying Sony's Ebook reader a while ago, but, to tell the truth, I hate Sony. The Kindle sounds like something I'd really like to have. It's not cheap but once it's in my hands, I have the entire Project Gutenberg to go through.

Learn (5, Insightful)

eddy (18759) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396625)

The only way I'd ever buy one of these is if it nicely renders unDRM'ed PDFs and features good bookmarking (not just files, but page and line too). If the idea is a device that will only work with some DRMed format, then it'll have the same future as an ATRAC-only music player, which is to say... None.

No, I didn't RTFA, I'm just naturally pessimistic about these devices because everyone seems to be out to sell a service and 'give away a device'.

Re:Learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396875)

No, I didn't RTFA, I'm just naturally pessimistic about these devices because everyone seems to be out to sell a service and 'give away a device'.

Your suspicions are correct. YACD (Yet Another Crap Device).

As you say, no fscking DRM, and proper bookmarking, plus a decent search.

Re:Learn (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396973)

if you have a spare grand check out the irex illiad. take Sony's ebook, or kindle add in wi-fi, touch screen and linux. You can request from the developer a method to unlock the system so you can install applications on it. People have already setup a simple web browser, and mp3 player.

both of those kill the battery life while you use them, but you can also turn them off. If the damn thing didn't cost a small fortune then I would have gotten one.

Re:Learn (3, Insightful)

webagogue (806350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397143)

DRM the hell out of 'em... just make them cheap. Books, unlike music, are often read only once (if at all). I wouldn't mind a 99 cent book that expired after six months. If I wanted to read it again, I'd just buy it again.

I like the idea, but the execution? (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396633)

I like the idea of ebooks on physical "epaper". I like the idea of not having to pay ten to fifty dollars for a fucking paperback book, because I'll now be able to buy it in digital form, without the expense of manufacturing and distributing. I like the idea of having the data available to myself for use in different formats and as part of my collection forever, instead of having to buy another copy if I lose my book or spill a soda on it.

However, what is more likely to happen is that you'll pay just as much as you would for the real thing, be severely limited by crippling DRM, have to pay all over again to re-download the data should you ever need to and also be bound by all sorts of limitations that only benefit the publishing industry. For instance, now you won't be able to sell your book back to a store for them to sell on-the-cheap as used to another reader. The publishing industry HATES the used-book trade and they'd even love to see it criminalized. Not to mention how this could affect libraries.

So yes, the idea is great. Just like the idea of an immense online collection of videos that I can cheaply download and watch any time I want to with some sort of subscription service. Sounds great, but every implementation sucks and is more limiting than anything else.

Re:I like the idea, but the execution? (1)

Morloth (1190647) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396799)

Sure, established writers and printer / distributing companies will figure a way to thwart the system as to hold on to their current business model. But from the perspective of independent writers this is a whole different matter. They are now able to distribute copies of their books without the need of a distributer or printer company. If this is a good thing I'm not sure, the current model works as a filter to keep all the 'crap' out. Looking at labels you're now able to tell something about the quality of a book or you can at least expect a certain standard.

We will see how things will work out, but if blogs may serve as a comparison; Being a form of independent journalism: I guess 95% is crap but people are still able to find respectable blogs and filter out the bad stuff. However, blogs aren't a substitute for news papers (yet?) but should be rather viewed as complementary. However, the question whether this new medium endangers the position of independent writers remains to be seen.

Re:I like the idea, but the execution? (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397225)

If this is a good thing I'm not sure, the current model works as a filter to keep all the 'crap' out.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

Re:I like the idea, but the execution? (4, Insightful)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397099)

However, so far, with past implementations the e-book cost as much as the real live paper version. So they convert all that cost of manufacturing into profit, not into a lower price for the consumer.

Not sure if it will change with these, but when I experimented with eBooks on my Palm Pilot about 5 or more years ago with peanut press that was what you found.

Can it run... (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396639)

Oh yeah, but can it run... never mind.

I'd at least like a _picture_ of the thing. Or are the letters running across the guy's face indicative of what the device is _really_ meant for: bringing porno within reach of the toilet/bathtub/bed where the computer won't reach?

Re:Can it run... (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397197)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of...

*grin*

Any smart phone + CoreAVC == porn anywhere already, why do I need a... oh, MORE porn. I get it now, or at least I will get it :P

Too expensive (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396665)

Paper books have to be printed, they have to be printed before you buy them and this costs lots of money. The publisher has to take a gamble on how many books can be sold, he will then put in an order for that amount at a printer, who wants his money NOW thank you very much. He will then have to stock those books before sending them to the various retailers. Those retailers will have to stock the books as well, until the customer hopefully end up buying them, eventually. In the meantime a lot of the books will get damaged and be less desirable to buy.

It is a huge complex operation that EATS money. It is why books are still so damned expensive.

Go digital and you loose an awfull lots of costs. First, with digital distribution you can always create EXACTLY the right number of copies. You will never have to take unsold copies back or have to turn a customer down. Never again will the last copy be in some bookstore in a remote place devoid of human life, like New Jersey.

The cost of "printing" is insanely low and in this case for a large part already paid for by the consumer. The consumer PAYS for the download through his internet connection and PAY for the "paper" through the ebook reader. Would you pay the same for beef at the butchers if you had to bring your own cow? The cost of distribution also plummets, what do you rather send, a paper book or a megabyte (and text books are well under that) of data? Could you even express the cost of transmitting that amount of data in whole cents anymore?

Then there is the fact that the costs remain the same no matter where the ebook is send, that there are no losses or damages in transportation and that there is no wait time for delivery.

The costs of stocking disappear as well, you only need to stock one "copy" of the book and then can sell it through the magic of the computer a million times over. The ebook doesn't get old, can't be stolen from inventory, doesn't get eaten by rats. It just sits there, pristine, ready to be sold anytime there is a buyer. For a company like amazon that stores a great many books going to ebooks would mean a fortune saved in warehouse space.

The cost savings of going to ebooks are gigantic.

Yet we still got a price of $9.99 for an ebook when all that is really left is to pay the author, a bit of hardware and software and electricity?

Anyone want to make a bet that an ebook means a profit margin for amazone that would make Apple blush? I am no economists, but I think you can express amazon's angle as "Cazhiiing", or eyeballs spinning and being replaced by dollar signs.

Do you also want to make bets that authors won't all of a sudden find that they get a huge increase on their income?

I can see Amazon's reasons for keeping theprice high, amazing profits is one, not wanting to canabalize paper sales (anyone could setup an ebook store, no need for huge investments Amazon had to make to setup its paper book distribution system) but I also fear it will kill the idea.

Why is it so hard for these types of companies to understand that the less you sell something for, the more you sell. Rather then trying to squeeze a limited audience for all you can, squeeze them less and find yourselve with a bigger audience.

It is depressing that business just doesn't seem to get that with the costs of selling digital content being so low, you could expand your market to truly epic proportions.

Imagine for instance if comics (or manga or strips) were no longer sold JUST on their original continent, but were distrubuted worldwide at a fraction of the costs. I find it very hard to believe that this would not massively increase the sales and profits of the publishers. Yet they keep insisting on distrubting their works in the most expensive way possible that limits the exposure to potential customers.

Truly amazing. $9.99 for a megabyte of data, that requires me to pay for delivery AND the tech to read it. Yeah, why not.

If business had been charge of the internet, email would cost 0.50 euro cents to send. Because hey, that is what regular mail costs so why should we pass the savings by going digital on to the customer?

Re:Too expensive (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396831)

When you talk about the publishers going digital, you have to carry it out to the logical conclusion. Printing costs go down to zero, so do distribution costs. Pure profits, right?

And then the authors will get ideas -- all the sucessful ones say to themselves "Hey, all I need is to hire a good editor and then I can do this myself!" Of course, they would want marketing and such services -- but instead of having an editor which controls you to a degree -- eventually an ebay/amazon/itunes of ebooks gets developed by someone who wants only a small percent and who the general public congregates upon to get this type of item.

If iTunes were to become the major (>50%) sale's force in the music world over CDs, you will see more and more artists doing the same.

So while it would drive their costs down, publishers have almost no interest into shifting to such an paradigm as the distribution channel is their source of power. They don't do retail, they don't control the shops directly, but they can pretty much decide if your books hit the physical shelves or not. Lose that and they become irrevelent -- much of the publishing industry could become a free associations of editors, authors, and artists who work with each other on a one by one basis as need arises.

Re:Too expensive (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396851)

The cost of "printing" is insanely low and in this case for a large part already paid for by the consumer. The consumer PAYS for the download through his internet connection and PAY for the "paper" through the ebook reader. Would you pay the same for beef at the butchers if you had to bring your own cow? The cost of distribution also plummets, what do you rather send, a paper book or a megabyte (and text books are well under that) of data? Could you even express the cost of transmitting that amount of data in whole cents anymore?

Then there is the fact that the costs remain the same no matter where the ebook is send, that there are no losses or damages in transportation and that there is no wait time for delivery.

The costs of stocking disappear as well, you only need to stock one "copy" of the book and then can sell it through the magic of the computer a million times over. The ebook doesn't get old, can't be stolen from inventory, doesn't get eaten by rats. It just sits there, pristine, ready to be sold anytime there is a buyer. For a company like amazon that stores a great many books going to ebooks would mean a fortune saved in warehouse space.

The cost savings of going to ebooks are gigantic.

Yet we still got a price of $9.99 for an ebook when all that is really left is to pay the author, a bit of hardware and software and electricity?


The cost of production has very little to do with the selling price; it only determines if you can make a profit. People pay for their perceived value; which for a book is the entertainment or information received. That's why some authors sell millions of copies at $30 and others can't give their work away; even though both have the same production costs (assuming the same size print run). Publishers are in the business of maximizing profit. I have no doubt publishers will find ways to do that with ebooks; trading of price for volume. Ebooks may even make that easier as you can dynamically change the price based on demand; who says there needs to be a fixed price on a book? When an unknown author gets hot you can up the price as well as drop it as sales taper off.

As a side note, many people will no doubt chime in that this lets anyone become an author without having to get a publisher to print and distribute a book; that's correct but that's been true for quite some time know. There's still the small matter of an editor - that person that turns a manuscript into a readable document. So it's not just "all that is really left is to pay the author, a bit of hardware and software and electricity."

Printing on Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396873)

Most of these cost savings could have been achieved years ago by printing on demand. A simple book printer in the store (Borders/B&N/Chapters/etc.) that takes an electronic version of the book and prints out a paperback or hardback.

They could have even charged 100-90% of the normal costs and gotten rid of most of their inventory.
Plus they could have exploited the demand for out of print books.
No need to worry about piracy, as your digital content would have been under your control and only an analog (paper) copy given to the customer.

The problem is (as far as I can tell) the publishing industry is going to Hell in a hand basket. There are no editors anymore. (Take a look at Card or Brin's recent work. No one is ridding herd on these guys.)

Why would they adapt to the possibilities technology offers?
Once again we have to wait for someone outside the traditional system to do something innovative. And even what AMZN is doing isn't too innovative. Really AMZN should have setup a publish on demand system.

...which is why it will fail (4, Insightful)

DingerX (847589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396897)

DRM, like crime, never pays.

An EVDO connection instead of WiFi: Well, okay, 802.11x sucks for a variety of reasons, but there is one good thing about it: many people have home networks that use it. EVDO? That's a fancy way of saying "we control the device's access to the internet, and you will pay for it."

According to the article, "classics" will be available for $2/pop, and you can subscribe to blogs for $1/month. You know, classics, like the ones that are out of copyright, and blogs, like the ones you can get for free.

How many times do companies come out with a "cool product", and then think it will succeed purely as a vector for other purchases? It might work for video games (where the base product's performance and design is unique) and inkjets (where the supplies drive the retail price), but here you're competing with services that are free. You want to point to the iPod and ITMS? What percentage of tracks on all iPods out there were purchased at ITMS?

Okay, one more thing, this time from Microsoft's Hill:

There's 550 years of technological development in the book, and it's all designed to work with the four to five inches from the front of the eye to the part of the brain that does the processing [of the symbols on the page],

There's more than that. Codices have been around since late antiquity (I dunno, 4th century maybe?). Before that, we had papyrus rolls. Books are also more versatile than that, with some being designed to be read from across the room.

Finally, how fast does kindle let you flip through the pages?

Like many other people here, I've been waiting for an affordable and usable eInk reader, but this ain't it either.

Will it include all the "books" I already own... (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396991)

If this included a copy of all the books I already own then it would be a good deal. ...but I suspect he's hoping I'll pay all over again for an 'e' version of them.

Re:Too expensive (2, Insightful)

mmurphy000 (556983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397183)

Paper books have to be printed, they have to be printed before you buy them and this costs lots of money. The publisher has to take a gamble on how many books can be sold, he will then put in an order for that amount at a printer, who wants his money NOW thank you very much. He will then have to stock those books before sending them to the various retailers. Those retailers will have to stock the books as well, until the customer hopefully end up buying them, eventually. In the meantime a lot of the books will get damaged and be less desirable to buy.

Print-on-demand (POD) eliminates most of what you describe here. With POD, books mostly are printed when needed for purchase. Many of the books you buy on Amazon are POD, including those from Lulu.com. Even if Amazon.com elects to inventory some of a title, they'll only hang onto a small handful of copies, not the hundreds or thousands normally associated with a traditional print run. POD printing isn't ridiculously more expensive than traditional printing, and you make it up on not having money tied up in inventory.

Yet we still got a price of $9.99 for an ebook when all that is really left is to pay the author, a bit of hardware and software and electricity?

If the author self-publishes, you still need to factor in the discounts given to the retailer to cover their cost of selling the book. If the author uses a traditional publisher, they too get their cut. Even if the author self-publishes, don't forget a small slice for the payment processor (PayPal, credit card authorizing service, etc.). Plus the cost of hiring an editor, book cover designer, and indexer, if the author isn't taking on those roles herself. Olus Web site design, marketing expenses (books don't always sell themselves), etc.

What you will likely see is more authors self-publishing, and those who intend to write regularly charging an annual subscription fee rather than a per-title price. The authors get some semblance of recurring revenue, readers get a continuous stream of material (updates to existing books plus new books) at a lot lower price point per ebook than $10. Here, you can use POD not only for a revenue stream, but as a promotional vehicle to sell one's ebook subscriptions, plus cater to the audience that prefers printed books.

Re:Too expensive (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397223)

Basically, if allowed Amazon or Apple to sell an e-book of cheaper than the paperback is sold at, all the bricks and mortar bookstores who are selling the paperback will complain.

Its the same reason why buying games on Steam doesn't cost less than buying them from GameStop or Wal-Mart, if it did, GameStop and Wal-Mart would be a lot less willing to carry the game.

How does it beat just using a PSP or Gameboy DS? (2, Insightful)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396695)

To read E-Books.... Search google for ebook+psp or ebook+ds and you'll see lots of into on them.

If I was into ebooks, I'd probably prefer reading them on a PSP because it's screen is wide. For reading, a wide screen is more important than a tall or square screen... IMO.

Re:How does it beat just using a PSP or Gameboy DS (1)

matthew.coulson (642617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396789)

Also look at Palmfiction on a HiRes+ Palm device. Far superior 320x480 touchscreen loveliness, and fantastic battery life.

Re:How does it beat just using a PSP or Gameboy DS (2, Interesting)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396819)

Also look at Palmfiction on a HiRes+ Palm device. Far superior 320x480 touchscreen loveliness, and fantastic battery life.
I just don't get why I should buy a special (single) purpose e-book reader at $400 when I've already got a powerful handheld (PSP and DS) that's capable of doing it. Most households have cellphones and/or handheld game systems. Those are the systems you target if you're a smart businessman.

Re:How does it beat just using a PSP or Gameboy DS (1)

Virtual_Raider (52165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396907)

That's cause you didn't RTFA. It is not single purpose, it has wireless connection and also audio so conceivably it's a competitor for other devices, such as music players. From TFA:

The Kindle's real breakthrough springs from a feature that its predecessors never offered: wireless connectivity, via a system called Whispernet. (It's based on the EVDO broadband service offered by cell-phone carriers, allowing it to work anywhere, not just Wi-Fi hotspots.) As a result, says Bezos, "This isn't a device, it's a service."
I just skimmed the article so I may have missed whether you have to subscribe to some particular data plan to use this feature, but it does say that you can subscribe to newspapers, magazines and blogs and get them >beamed to you as they become available. You don't even have to go get them. Now that is something that will convince people that want to use things rather than toy with them as techies do.

Re:How does it beat just using a PSP or Gameboy DS (2, Interesting)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396989)

That's cause you didn't RTFA. It is not single purpose, it has wireless connection and also audio so conceivably it's a competitor for other devices, such as music players. From TFA:
Maybe you didn't read the other articles then. How about this quote? salon.com

Details are skimpy. The device, reports say, will have Wi-Fi, Sprint's EV-DO wireless service to make book purchases on the go,


Or how about this quote? cnn.com [news.com]

The Kindle is equipped with a Wi-Fi connection that taps into an Amazon e-book store, which users can access to purchase new electronic books--and Amazon has reportedly signed onto a deal with Sprint for EVDO access. Additionally, the device comes with a headphone jack for audiobooks, as well as an e-mail address.

But the source said the Kindle apparently won't bear many other BlackBerry-like features such as a calendar or address book. The Kindle may also lack a backlight. Instead, it comes with a small reading light attached to an adjustable arm.


Wireless that connects to their "service". Yea. Nice multi-functionality. I assume you're assuming you'll be able to freely surf any site you want. How do you know? The product isn't out yet. You're making it up or guessing if you think you know.

Ok. There'll be audio output. Wowzee... just what everyone was waiting for: playing audio CD's and MP3's on a clunky $400 e-book reader. OOoo. Hot seller.

Oh yea, and I'm sure I'll be dumping my small $75 cell phone for this reader to catch all my email. Yes!

Can it run a PDA version of office? How about games? How about a web browser? How about synching my desktop files? Slapping WiFi and an audio output on this device hardly makes it multi-function. Face it. It's a book reader, single purpose. That's how it's supposedly functions, what the available specs indicate, and what all the marketing hype advertises. That's it. It's nothing special.

Nope! The Future is Ebooks Read on Cell Phones (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396699)

EBooks delivered to and read on Cell Phones is the future.

Screen resolution on cell phones has greatly improved allowing much more text to be displayed...

Of course, reading such a small screen poses challanges ... but a simple magnifier lens solves that problem ... could be in the form of a snap-on for regular glasses or as a separate bluetooth unit that's worn over one eye; guy from MIT used something like that for over 5 years to surf the internet most anywhere he went ... to digress a bit, I wouldn't be surprised if in say 5 years, accounts of people walking into other people, walls, cars, etc become commonplace.

There's also a psychology factor to consider - people are already accustom to paying for extra stuff (ring tones, wall papers, etc) via their cell phone; billing system is already in place.

Plus young people, especially teens and younger, are very comfortable with reading text off a computer screen - they aren't as emotionally attached to physical books as older people are; many schools / colleges are increasingly transitioning over to on-line instruction ... in 10 or so years, most students likely won't even have physical textbooks anymore - it will be all on computer; cell phones will be one of the many methods by which people will be able to study while on the go.

Ron

Re:Nope! The Future is Ebooks Read on Cell Phones (1)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396723)

It'd have to be a PDA style cell phone, or possibly PDA style table PC. I don't think tiny cell phones will ever be suitable for extended reading, no matter the resolution. No one wants to carry around magnifiers either.

Re:Nope! The Future is Ebooks Read on Cell Phones (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396827)

I agree that carrying around a lens could be a hassle for many people, but is a simple, viable solution that will work today.

Looking way into the future, it may be possible for cell phone manufactures to come up with a screen that appears much larger when viewed from a normal reading distance - that is to say the enlarged image would appear to float about a foot or so above the actual screen.

Ron

Re:Nope! The Future is Ebooks Read on Cell Phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396815)

Silly rabbit! That would give the cell phone companies a lock into Amazon's market. We know what'll happen if you let the evil cell phone companies in -- they'll want all the profit! Of course, AT&T will probably find a way to detect ebooks on the internet backbone and charge you more for it. They still provide much of the backbone for the Net in the U.S. (That doesn't mean they pay for it -- just sell the infrastructure.) Got to get rid of that Net neutrality stuff! Congress gets paid off to help. Did you read that the newest college financial aid bill basically pulls aid for schools that "don't do enough" to prevent file sharing? Anyone who thinks the government works for the people is a fool.

And what's up with that butt-ugly piece of hardware? I'm sure it'll cost as much as the Sony, which wasn't all that pretty, either. Bezos needs to stick to business and hire at least one designer. I'm sure it'll handle DRM'd material, but doubt even Amazon would be so naive to think that it would handle only DRM'd material. And we all know how long DRM schemes work, once they get widely disseminated for mass consumer content....

Bluetooth connectivity is definitely a good idea. A built in full keyboard would then be unnecessary (if, indeed, its necessary to begin with). Maybe some way to use your cellphone as an input device for setting bookmarks, and such? Can you even get a cellphone any more without bluetooth?

Fixed it for you (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396709)

...Amazon's imminent introduction an affordable ebook. Quench, which is named to evoke the squelching suppression of knowledge by DRM, has the dimensions of a paperback...

eBook reader, Sony & Amazon (1)

w3c.org (1039484) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396729)

Ok, I've not RTFA, but i've quickly perused through the article, and first, one thing that's bothering me : no price yet. Sony's Reader has been for sale for some time now, and was recently out of stock, so I think it sold quite well. It hadn't been sold anywhere in Europe for now, that's a bad thing. Now I don't really see what's the point, on Amazon's eBook reader, of having a full keyboard and EVDO connectivity. Is that a thing that attract kids now ? putting some devices together, saying it's an advance in technology ? I prefer using the usb connection on Sony's eBook reader.
Another thing that's bothering me is the size of Amazon's eReader. The full keyboard adds to the size of the thing, and again I don't see the point of that keyboard. Maybe a bluetooth connection, so that we could buy eBooks with our cellphone, and then transfer it wirelessly. That would be a great thing i'd like to see in a future version of Sony's Reader.

Re:eBook reader, Sony & Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21396749)

Price is $399 With some kind of magic wifi/cell? chip set? It sounds like a software radio? No detailed specs yet.

More info... (2, Insightful)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396731)

From 2 months ago (Engadget):
http://www.engadget.com/2006/09/11/amazon-kindle-meet-amazons-e-book-reader/ [engadget.com]

$399 is too much for something that's bigger than a PDA or smartphone and does less, doesn't take standard AA batteries, displays in two-bit greyscale, can't be left in a car on a sunny day, has a headhone jack and cellular CDMA capability but can't make a phone call, can't scribble in the margins or highlight.

Cross an iPhone and a OLPC laptop together, and you'd get a better ebook.

Re:More info... (4, Informative)

dyefade (735994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397025)

"Posted Sep 11th 2006"

From a year and 2 months ago. Knowing that, can we really rely on that picture?

I don't get this (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396737)

I mean a six inch screen at $399? What's so revolutionary? I can get a sony ereader with eink right now for $299:

http://www.amazon.com/E-reader-Portable-Silver-E-book-Approx/dp/B000WPXQ2M [amazon.com]

and it looks a million times better with less buttons. While I personally want to buy it, I won't until the screen is the size of textbooks or a standard 8x11 page sheet. I hate squinting -- I might as well read off a PDA if they keep insisting on making screens so small. What is so frustrating is that we could have our libraries - every newspaper we read, every book we ever bought, every textbook in such devices already with current technology.

But how long will it be in coming? Will textbook manufacturers stall until the wikibooks project provides real competition on any level?

Will the future releases of J.K. Rowling come in pdf or will they wait until, like music, they can't ignore the market due to downloads they don't get any compensation for?

Two Conditions.. (1)

aero2600-5 (797736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396773)

I would consider purchasing one of these if it met two important criteria:
  1. You can read it in the sunlight. 99% of most LCD screens can't be read for shit in the sunlight.
  2. For $9.99, I better not have to have to pay for that fucker again, ever.
And even then, I would still wait a year, so that they don't pull an 'iPhone' on me.

Aero

Re:Two Conditions.. (1)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396951)

I would consider purchasing one of these if it met two important criteria:

  1. You can read it in the sunlight. 99% of most LCD screens can't be read for shit in the sunlight.
  2. For $9.99, I better not have to have to pay for that fucker again, ever.

And even then, I would still wait a year, so that they don't pull an 'iPhone' on me.
I can't promise the latter, but my sony reader works just fine in the sunlight. It's not an LCD, though, it's e-ink. This means I need a book light to read it in the dark.

Re:Two Conditions.. (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397013)

I'd also want to know what happens if I lose the device, or when it breaks. Will I have a method of saving my ebooks somewhere else, or do I have to buy everything again.

evoke the crackling ignition of knowledge (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396777)

More likely the cracking sound of cheap Chinese plastic when you sit on and destroy it. That never happens with paperbacks, and if you do damage/lose a paperback, you just buy another one for a few coins.

an iPod for books? (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396869)

and like the iPod, it will stand or fall on two fundementals:

  • the user interface
  • the available content (and its price)

However, unlike an mp3 player, this cannot be just a passive device: plug yourself into it and vegetate. It will need user interaction for every page, so apart from looking pretty, this UI will have to actually be usable.

Now if Amazon want to really make this take off, they'll make it able to read the book to you. Apart from never overestimating the intelligence of the user, this would also make it much more accessible to the young and the visaually impared. It would also make the device usable outdoors in daylight - a failing that every other screen based device has, and shows no signs of being fixed.

$399 affordable? don't be silly! (2, Insightful)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396879)

The entry price for a book is usually $10 or less. A $399 gadget (in the order of magnitude of a laptop or e.g. ASUS Eee PC) just to do the same is too expensive and unattractive. True, you can carry around many books with you that way, but you can do that with a laptop as well.

I'll call this revolutionary when the reader costs $50 or less (or is free) and when the books cost $2. Not when you get ripped off on the reader as well as on the book price (zero cost for the manufacturer, same or higher price than a paper book).

Re:$399 affordable? don't be silly! (2, Insightful)

debest (471937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397215)

I half agree with you. The price of books should be from $2 to $10 (variable, depending on the volume of sales), with the more popular and older works definitely at the lower end of that scale. I'd also be willing to put up with non-insane DRM at that price.

But I would pay $400 for a well-engineered, well-built reader. A device that would be about the same dimensions as a smallish laptop, only really thin. A full-sized screen (about 12"). Designed to take a lot of punishment. Able to display ordinary PDFs properly. Software to vary the text size and to rotate the book from landscape to portrait instantly. A good user interface.

In short, a piece of hardware that is built to be usable (and profitable for its manufacturer) without being beholden to publishers for continued book sales going forward. If the hardware is tied to a book sales service, it will suck. If the hardware is unattached to the publishing industry, it may suck, but not necessarily so.

Convergance is the breakthrough (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396899)

I agree that wireless is the killer part of this device - you now have a way to get readable documents to someone instantly via pdfs. No longer do you need to connect a laptop and d/l a file or struggle to read a pdf on a PDA; all you need to do is email it to a Kindle. The question is how well does it do gray scale (no mention of color) so taht you can get reasonable reproductions of documents.

In addition, it'll be interesting to see what is in this for Sprint. While I am interested in the device I don't want to pay for yet another wireless device on a monthly basis; my guess is Sprint will get a cut of the sales. That means the Kindle can't become an exchange documents a lot and browse the internet but buy one or two books a year device without Sprint getting upset over the lack of profits. Maybe they will serve up their own adds on the browser? That would be an interesting proposition since you would be able to narrowly target ads to desired market segments since Amazon / Sprint knows who owns the device.

I wonder if KindleMail will be two way - i.e. can I send a markup of a pdf to someone? Or can I, for a small fee, send a marked page or pages to someone from a copyrighted work?

so why will I need a publisher any more? (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396929)

(BTW, this is fiction!)

I'm a household name (at least in the literate households) and I've just written my next best-seller. Where exactly does a publisher feature, if the book only appears as an eBook? They won't need to publish (i.e. print) anything and I can obtain the services of a publicist myself.

What that means is all the royalties go to me - and then to the tax-man, without having a mega-corporation in the middle, skimming most of my pay.

Even for the unknown authors, it will be easier, if somewhat more crowded, to get published. Unlike a musician, you won't need instruments and a (home?) studio - just a copy of vi and an internet connection.

Re:so why will I need a publisher any more? (2, Insightful)

Jeff Duntemann (20005) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397187)

Publishing != printing. Publishers, when doing their jobs well, see a hair past what the author submits to what the book could be with a little polish. (They pay people such as copy editors and developmental editors to add that polish.) I get stuff thrown at me when I say so, but publishers also act as quality gatekeepers, if for no better reason than they have some money on the line. Now, with ebook publishing, that initial investment in paper and ink is reduced to almost nothing, and it's mostly the publisher's reputation that drives quality.

Given their overwhelming dominance of online book sales, Amazon has the power to completely change the business. We don't know what publishers will have to do--or, more important on my side, pay--to get books into their online store. We don't know who will impose the DRM: Amazon or the publishers. (I will not impose DRM on the titles I publish.) We don't know with any clarity how useful the device will be for reading local files, or how many formats it will support. (For $400, it should damned well be all of them.)

I'm guessing that they priced it high and will reduce the price significantly once they realize nobody's biting. Nobody seems to learn anything in this business.

But hoo-boy, what this thing could do to the publishing world at $99 a unit!

Is it waterproof? (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396959)

If it's not waterproof, when I drop it in the bath I'll be $400 down instead of $10 down. And will I have to turn my book off during take-off and landing? Oh look, I'd need to change my mobile phone service provider! How much does EVDO cost, anyway? I can't find anybody offering UK-based contracts? Can I mark text with different coloured hi-lighters and draw diagrams in the margin?

Looks to me as if it might find a place alongside the book, but I don't see it being a replacement any time soon.

Ebook Copyrights (4, Interesting)

Danathar (267989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396979)

The ONE reason I don't buy ebooks anymore is due to copyrights.

With a book it's quite LEGAL for me to loan what I've purchased to somebody else. With most ebooks I can't. They usually are locked up with DRM as well. The publishers want to treat ebooks like traditional software (in regards to copyright). You can't just check out an ebook at the library free of charge (usually) and you can bet the publishers would like it to stay that way as they generally hate libraries.

The liberal copyright restrictions on books when it comes to loaning them to somebody else is very important.

Too expensive (2, Insightful)

crunzh (1082841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21396999)

399 when you can get a paperback for lets say 10 USD, then thats 40 books for the price of this. Thats quite a lot, I really like to read books but rarely get time to read more than 1 a week, so this thing cost the same as allmost my yearly book habit, without actually giving me any books to read. There are no way I am going to cash out that amount of money.

I predict (0, Flamebait)

m2943 (1140797) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397037)

I'm sure Amazon will revolutionize online reading... with a bunch of patents: a patent to use buttons to flip the pages on an E-book, a patent on formatting textual content for display in a window, a patent on using black and white pixels for displaying text, a patent on storing books in files, a patent on using data compression for reducing the amount of storage required for storing an e-book.

I'd still read paper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21397047)

I'd still read paper. I'm a big fan of open source software. I know I can get documentation for the book at the point of the software. tldp.org and many other free avenues. Yet I have 7 books on my desk right now.

I like a good book.

$9.99 for a book? (5, Insightful)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397053)

Why are companies so greedy? When I buy a book, I go to a store and buy it in paperback, which is cheaper than $9.99. So this company wants to sell me a book without the paper (which saves them a lot of money on production and distribution costs), and yet they still want to charge me even more? An e-book is worth less than a paperback to me, it costs them a hell of a lot less to make and distribute copies, and I'm certain it will be bound up in DRM so tightly that you can't use it with different devices, which means you will have to buy it again when that device goes out of style. Does that sound like a good deal to anyone here?

Hasn't this idea already failed? (1, Redundant)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397075)

Wasn't this idea tried years ago? And wasn't it a complete failure? The entire thing is too expensive, and too big a pain.

Redundant device (1)

Sepiraph (1162995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21397095)

Tell me again why I would want this device when my laptop already fills that role (plus more, and it is mobile enough for me)?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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

Submission Text Formatting Tips

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

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

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

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

Loading...