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318 comments

Naw (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575423)

It's all books on tape from hear on in...

Is this really news? (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575561)

I'll tell you what is happening here. It's the same thing that is happening on other fronts - precisely the same thing.

The constitution was written with the idea of the government serving and protecting the people, watching out for their welfare, arranging things so that this was first and foremost concern in those areas the government operated.

This emphasis on copyright benefiting the business interests any any expense to the citizen's interests is the exact same change in emphasis we have seen for the takings of land, the decreases in freedom of speech, the ridiculous idea that software can and/or should be patentable, the intent to force you to wait through commercials, the powers allowed to the insurance companies to pre-qualify applicants, the insane readings of the commerce clause that allow the government to attack the citizen for any act at all, the outright hijacking of the news outlets by commercially oriented entities — the problem is that it is like the tale of boiling a lobster. It's all annoying, but none of it is annoying enough, by itself, to really get the citizens up in arms.

America is degenerating quickly. If you think your vote counts, you'd better start using it differently at every level. Because the "same-old, same-old" is what got us here.

Re:Is this really news? (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575607)

Some years ago, my dad tried to get a software patent on some missle control software. The US PTO guy that they had enlisted to help personally told my dad that "there will NEVER be software patents". I wonder what happened to that guy?

Re:Is this really news? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575861)

Some years ago, my dad tried to get a software patent on some missle control software. The US PTO guy that they had enlisted to help personally told my dad that "there will NEVER be software patents". I wonder what happened to that guy?
Where else? Gitmo.

Re:Is this really news? (-1, Troll)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575659)

Jeff Bezos.....Jeff Bezos...? Oh yeah...he's the guy who imports all those foreign replacement workers to take the place of American workers.....what's that place....Oh yeah....the Amazon Con....(Buy a book from The Amazon Con and help support stupid Punjabis.....)

Re:Is this really news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575775)

The only thing that "got us here" is the ridiculous notion that rebellion is something original.

Have your silly revolution. NOTHING will change in the long run, nor even in the short run.

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Re:Is this really news? (0, Troll)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575899)

The only thing that "got us here" is the ridiculous notion that rebellion is something original.

Have your silly revolution. NOTHING will change in the long run, nor even in the short run.

"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
Dick Cheney? Is that you?

Re:Is this really news? (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575949)

Have your silly revolution.

I didn't suggest a revolution. I said that the level of annoyance wasn't sufficient to get the citizens up in arms, and I suggested people use the vote. Not exactly a "revolutionary" strategy. Perhaps you need to polish those reading skills a little.

Have your silly revolution. NOTHING will change in the long run, nor even in the short run

Oh, I don't know. I think the British found their relationship with us slightly changed due to revolution. I think simply voting in the right people could do it; we may have to write in candidates for many positions, but other than that, the means is staring us in the face. The question isn't whether this can effect change; the question is will enough of the population become aware of the problem such that they'll use it? That's where my doubts kick in.

What the constitution actually says (1)

samweber (71605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575845)

It is ironic that the parent post claims that copyright is somehow destroying constitutional rights. (Presumably the US constitution.) In reality, it is the constitution itself that establishes copyright!

Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 states that Congress should "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries".

Now, you can try to argue that copyright is somehow immoral, but be aware that you are arguing AGAINST the constitution, not for it.

Re:What the constitution actually says (4, Informative)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576067)

There's no irony in it at all. You see that "limited time" clause? That's what is changing to the public's detriment. I would know - I own a literary agency.

What I said was "emphasis on copyright benefiting the business interests any any expense to the citizen's interests is the exact same change in emphasis" which is not the same thing as blaming copyright for problems. I don't think copyright, per se, is a bad thing at all. What I think is specifically a bad thing are the changes in copyright law that provide rights far beyond the period where most material will be germane to the culture that has evolved since the material was produced. If the material is no longer germane, it is, by definition, no longer promoting the "useful arts."

Re:Is this really news? (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575983)

America is degenerating quickly. If you think your vote counts, you'd better start using it differently at every level.

I certainly hope you mean by that that you should STOP voring for the Republicrats. Because face it, when that great American corporation Sony gives ten million to the Republican and ten million to the Democrat, no matter who loses, Sony wins.

Re:Is this really news? (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576433)

I meant what I said, which was fairly general.

For me, it means looking for a mix of libertarian and social service ideals. They're tough to find in one package. I think this is because the libertarians have a lot of trouble understanding certain things. Such as, that people need safety nets in extremis, good "roads" for goods, communications, data and themselves, sewage and other utility infrastructure, a uniform and detailed general education, medical care and a stable currency everyone uses, and that they inherently need all these things regardless of their economic condition on the one hand... While on the other, the republicrats can't seem to understand that the the right to tell someone else what to do outside of as it addresses directly interfering with one another or government's legitimate service to the people was never delegated to the government in any form, nor should it be.

But that's just me. Certainly elections resulting in this type of candidate being elected would represent a huge change; and it approximates what I'd like to see. Others have to answer the question of what they'd like to see and vote accordingly. What I'm suggesting is that if we really look at our current situation, what is going on is not what we'd really like to see.

Re:Is this really news? (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576625)

American corporation Sony?? Isn't Sony a Japanese corporation??

Re:Is this really a reply to the first post? (0, Troll)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576035)

And is it really on topic?

Yes, it is. (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576165)

If you can't see that the post is on-topic, then you should go read the FA. You might find some vague reference to the effects of copyright interpretation and enforcement on reading, which, you may recall, is something a person, a citizen, does. You also, if you work *really* hard, might recall that copyright is enforced top down by the feds. Using the constitution as the base authority. Go ahead. Read. Or work for comprehension. Or both. We'll wait. [ whistles ]

Re:Yes, it is. (-1, Troll)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576389)

It's mainly about DRM, you're writing about copyright. And no, your reply wasn't a reply to the first post, but you chose to ignore that part (the subject line) of my comment. What I'm getting at is that your comment is a boilerplate "insightful" comment, and that karma whoring is gay.

Huh? (1)

Vthornheart (745224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575449)

Reading? What's that? Is that some kind of new data bus?

Re:Huh? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575737)

Reading? What's that? Is that some kind of new data bus?
No, it is actually Reading, UK. A fine city that has a wonderful Pub called The Hob Goblin. [google.com] Its ales are brilliant!

Re:Huh? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575767)

Reading? What's that?

It's a computer science concept for accessing a hard drive or other device. Has nothing to do with people per se.

Re:Huh? (1)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575927)

It's a city in the South of England. Geez, don't you know _anything_?

Duh! (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576103)

It's one of the railroads you can buy in Monopoly!

Dunno why it's still an option these days, why not the iPod Railway or the Cellphone Yapping Railway?

Re:Huh? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576229)

I think it's a rainbow of some sort.
Something to do with Star Trek...

(Reading Rainbow, LeVar Burton...)

Re:Huh? (1)

Ramble (940291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576665)

Reading is a city in Berkshire. Not exactly a paradise to live in, but at least it has a few Pizza Hut's.

Heh (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575457)

TFA isn't any more interesting either...

Re:Heh (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575585)

Come on, it ran the gamut from everyone - from insightful comparisons on the flaws of the service, to blatant fear mongering and FUD.

It was an enligtening (if short and non-exciting) read.

Re:Heh (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575695)

I suppose. I guess I'm just not into books (or reading in general).

On another note, who else here would invest in a fully illustrated picture-only version of slashdot with me?

Re:Heh (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575789)

huh?

This article really has little/nothing to do with reading, and more to do with platforms like Kindle.

Honestly, some of the points don't even work - the second to last would only work if the government forced everyone to use something like Kindle, and only that one product for reading. Reading by dead-tree will dissapear with things like Kindle much like moving by foot dissapeared with the horse (and later, car), and dead tree reading dissapeared with the computer.

Effectively, it wont.

Re:Heh (2, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576065)

Just as literacy did in the oral tradition, and the codex did in the scroll, so may the electronic device do in the book quite soon. So far the reviews [amazon.com] for the Kindle are all pretty positive, and any company can certainly see what to change in their device to take over the market, so we're on the cusp of something big. If enough of the public enjoys such a device, books could certainly be limited to a small market of connoiseurs, just as vinyl is today for some music fans. And once your market is so small, it's hard to keep it afloat even if some small profit is generated. Remember, making and selling books requires money, walking don't.

Re:Heh (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576213)

Oral tradition was too lossy, the scroll was a bit unwieldly.

There are plenty of people who would rather read paper than a screen because it is gentler on the eyes.

Re:Heh (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576311)

The Kindle is paper. It doesn't use an LCD.

Re:Heh (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576537)

Clay tablets don't use an LCD. Are they paper?

Re:Heh (3, Insightful)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576231)

So far the reviews for the Kindle are all pretty positive

Among people who were willing to spend $400 for a device that offers few objective benefits over a free public library membership, maybe.

The rest of us are quite happy reading the ink-and-paper volumes that have been the standard for millenia.

Whilst you are reading TFA (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575463)

Ponder on the future of reading.......

Re:Whilst you are reading TFA (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575557)

I don't see what all the fuss is, i guess the new system [reading.gov.uk] will emit less heat, but i don't see this having a negative impact on Reading.

Re:Whilst you are reading TFA (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575735)

...no more than reading Slashdot at -1 unthreaded anyway :)

Nice! (2, Funny)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575473)

This looks more like a Daily Show script than anything else. Maybe they can just scrap their current writers and rely on blogger analysis.

Re:Nice! (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576107)

This looks more like a Daily Show script than anything else. Maybe they can just scrap their current writers and rely on blogger analysis.

Seeing as how the writers are on strike, I wouldn't go and give them any ideas...

tl;dr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575501)

tl;dr

Ok, but... (3, Interesting)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575547)

I understand his points, but I think they are less relevant to a subscription service, which is what I want. I want to pay $X/month and be able to get as many books as I can read. I don't need to own, just to rent. Basically, a paid library where the benefit is that I can get the books right on the device because I'm lazy. $10/book to own is too much for me, since I won't read most books more than once.

Re:Ok, but... (2, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575649)

They already did this, remember? What was it now? Subscription music? It's all well and good, except that the licenses will expire at random, and then what are you left with? A half-read book that you need to buy to read the rest of. No, people rather own the books than depend on a shaky subscription service. That being said, I'm in love with Yahoo Music Unlimited, and would purchase one of those neato Amazon contraptions if they offered a subscription service... So I'm not against the idea. I just don't feel as many people embrace the concept of consuming as much information as possible as we do. Like I said, Yahoo Music Unlimited and Rhapsody (and napster) share a very small market - and even that is shrinking. I doubt it'll be around for long...

Re:Ok, but... (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576085)

They are doing this, you mean, with books, but without the EVDO-based electronic reader; personally, I think Kindle support would be a great feature. See Safari [oreilly.com] .

Re:Ok, but... (1)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576283)

I agree, but think that's largely a testament to the music industry's inability to market subscription. I'm a fan of Rhapsody, myself. Also, I think books are a bit different because you tend to listen to music over and over again, but how many times do you re-read most of your books? I've got a few that I re-read almost every year, but for the most part, once is enough so the time out is not an issue. BTW, if you are ending up with timed out subscription music, try syncing after the month boundary or your subscription anniversary, and hopefully that will solve your problem. So long as your subscription continues, your music should never time out.

Re:Ok, but... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576529)

However, I don't think that most people would want to read a book twice. Maybe if it was a really good book, but still, maybe not more than 2 or 3 times. With music, you may listen to the same song/album multiple times a month, if not multiple times a week. Unless it's a reference book, I probably wouldn't read most books more than once.

WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575681)

I don't need to own, just to rent.

You've never heard of a "public library?" Damn, just when I'm starting to like the 21st century* some bozo reminds me that the mamon worshipers are trying to take away every good thing I've taken for granted all my life.

-mcgrew

*click the sig for explanation

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575837)

Perhaps you could bother to understand his point before repeatedly calling him stupid. And learn to spell "mammon" before using it so pompously.

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576503)

His points were completely beside my point, which is that it's stupid to rent something that you can get for free.

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575941)

True story: On Saturday, my wife and I walked past this building with large windows. She looked in and said, "Oh cool. A used book store. Let's go in." I felt bad pointing out that it was actually the local library.

Thank goodness we have a comfortable couch ;)

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576155)

Usually you can tell a library from a bookstore by the presence or absence of homeless-dude smell.

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21576159)

Your wife sounds like a dim bulb =( That's okay. If I ever get married, I definitely don't want her to be smarter than I am. Since I am not that bright, I need a dim bulb as well.

Thank goodness we have a comfortable couch ;)

For lovemaking? My couch is nice, too.

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575987)

Actually, while Amazon, Borders, B&N, etc could continue selling books for your devices, perhaps a library could leverage "renting" books. You'd pay $10/month for the ability to download books for X amount of weeks. The issue, of course, is removing the book and/or renewing the "lease". Anything a public library could manage about expiring an electronic document would likely be cracked inside of 10 minutes.

Too bad, really: public libraries don't get enough attendance given their resources (though people are taking advantage of movies these days). An online book rental service would be good income.

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21576245)

Maybe if libraries carried more books made in the last 10 years, fewer obscure subjects ("A Brief History of Polish Journalism"), and stayed open when people got out of work I'd be more likely to use them.

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (2, Informative)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576607)

O'Reilly used to do something like that. Safari, I think it was called. No idea if it's still going.

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (3, Insightful)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576169)

In fact, I'm a fan of the library, went every week as a kid, but I never get to go now. My wife has to get me books, and that's not a good way to browse. I work long days and don't have time to go to the library, and I am willing to pay to get my books on demand because I have more money than time. A Kindle subscription would be perfect for someone like me (working professional with a family), and I don't care if the books time out because I'll buy the ones I like.
 

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576581)

Can you and your family go to the library together? It seems like a win win to me. You get to borrow books, encourage your kids to read and spend time with them.

Re:WTF? That's incredibly stupid! (1)

stg (43177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576531)

Does your public library have unlimited books on all topics you want? Because my local ones were awful (at least, last time I checked), and they aren't even near... I'd much rather pay a monthly amount.

I already buy e-books at the regular Fictionwise.com prices. I didn't really mind the DRM much, till last week when I realized that while all non-DRM e-books I have will run fine on my new cell phone (N95), eReader doesn't seem to have bothered releasing their software for S60 3rd edition, and the older editions software won't install... (their DRM is not device dependent, so the e-books should work fine - if there was a version that worked on it!)

I have bought over 300 e-books at Fictionwise alone - looks like I'll just be buying DRM-free e-books from now on.

Re:Ok, but... (1)

dextromulous (627459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575803)

Sadly, with DRM'd ebooks, I don't know if you can own the book. If you could, maybe you wouldn't need to rent the book in the traditional sense. If you "owned" the ebook, you could buy it used, or sell it to someone else when you are done reading it. Unfortunately, I'm not so sure that is possible right now, or even feasible in the near future.

Re:Ok, but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21576593)

Yeah, without DRM you could sell your eBooks and because you're an honest person delete any copies you have. Right. With DRM you could conceivably sell the eBook through a service that sells eBooks. Just change the license to a different user. Your version no longer is usable, and they can download one. However, digital stuff does not degrade at all by being used, so there is no reason to buy something new as long as you can find it. The publishers wouldn't really like the fact that a book could be sold round and round and never really lose any resell value. Real objects resell very differently than digital ones would.

Real objects degrade with time. Digital ones do not. This means a used digital item can resell at about the same price indefinitely. In theory you could buy and sell used books exclusively and really only ever have the price of one book locked up in the industry.

Real objects need to be shipped if the item you find is far away. Digital ones do not. Instantaneous transfer of ownership (except download time, which for books is practically nothing) means there is no reason to not use the entire global market to find your used copy. This makes it much more likely you will find what you are looking for in the used market, and not defer any savings of buying it used to shipping costs. There is less of a reason to buy new. In fact the way you buy a used book could be almost identical to a new one, and since the product is identical, why buy new?

A publisher's job is to sell as many books as they can. A second hand market like that would seriously cut in to their book sales. They wouldn't want to put their books in digital form if they had to agree to that.

Also, the fact is DRM is the only way to establish a market for digital anything that content providers would want to get in to. The music industry really can't help it because it is so easy to rip CDs and download songs. The content providers don't really need to play ball to get music online. If they don't, other people will (and do).

Books are a different matter. Not many people will photocopy books and put them online. People need publishers to make the eBooks for them. You won't get eBooks at all if there is no DRM. DRM is a good thing in some cases. Nobody would want to put copies of their book in a digital format that anybody could copy and hand out to their friends so they can read it on their Kindles. DRM is probably the only way to get most publishers to provider eBook forms of their books.

Re:Ok, but... (1)

Tejin (818001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576301)

My preferences stand almost directly opposed to yours. I wish to own my books, so that I may read them at my leisure, without subscription. Of course I also prefer hardcover to paperback and physical books over ebooks.

Re:Ok, but... (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576313)

I understand his points, but I think they are less relevant to a subscription service, which is what I want. I want to pay $X/month and be able to get as many books as I can read.

Lets make it really cheap...say $1/month to get all the books you could want. Everyone signs up because after all it is so cheap!

Why would anyone buy a physical book? Oh sure there are some people that would prefer holding a book, but lets just wait them out. The next generation would grow up with a subscription model because it is cheap.

Eventually the physical book people would be such a small % that they'd stop making the physical books.

Libraries could downsize since there would be less space needed for physical books.

And then they start raising the rates.

And then the poor wouldn't have access to books.

Re:Ok, but... (4, Insightful)

4iedBandit (133211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576405)

$10/book to own is too much for me, since I won't read most books more than once.

It's way to much for something that has no physical presence, that you can't share, give away, or resell. It's a money grab. The publishing industry needs to learn from the music industry. You cannot charge an insane amount of money just for the content. At least with a printed book there is a recognizable investment in printing plant, paper, ink, and distribution. With an ebook there's just distribution. Amazon has a significant infrastructure for distribution already in place so adding ebook distribution is really only maximizing use of their existing assets.

Publisher formats the manuscript then sends it to Amazon for distribution. That's a one time expense for them.

Amazon's distribution costs...well how much does is cost to send 100k of data over a network? Storage costs? A 200GB hard drive will hold approximately 400K books given each book is 500k in size (which is insanely generous for essentially a text file with no compression.)

Let's see, refunds for unsold books? None. Expenses for additional print runs? None. Sales lost because a book is out of print? None.

$10 for the e-version when even the paperback isn't that expensive? Get real. Everyone loves to hate on Apple, but thanks to them I don't have to spend $20 to buy one track anymore. $1 gets me just the song I want, legally.

Kindle will do more to kill print media than help it. $5 for new releases I would consider. $2 once it's in paperback I would do. But only if you scrap the DRM, and don't charge me for web sites or loading my own content. If they did that then the only thing that would still keep me from buying it is the absolutely horrible industrial design. Hello platinum colored speak and spell...no thanks.

Act V: The act of remembering (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575559)

How about that, both links are to fiction!

(for those of you who didn't RTFA, which is everybodyt but me and that other guy, the links are to Orwell's 1984 and Newsweek's "the future of" something or other.

Isn't this sort of like (1, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575627)

an article on the future of listening to audio tapes?

When a thing becomes outmoded, don't we always let it fall to the side? I mean I don't see many people beating their steering wheel with a buggy whip. electronic reading materials and electronic readers are beginning to be more popular. The MPAA and major networks want you to watch a movie version of the book rather than read it. It's going to be a hard sell to get people to keep turning pages on a paper book. Does anyone reading this post have a set of encyclopedias? Encyclopedias were essential for raising smart kids - replaced. The Physician's Desk Reference used to be an important book about drugs - replaced. An unabridged dictionary was or should have been truly important - replaced.

Perhaps we would be better off to read articles on the ergonomics of new electronic books etc. I know that Ford is not going to re-introduce the Fairlane 500, nor will GE try to bring back hand operated washing machines. Some things are simply no longer appropriate for the great unwashed masses.

Re:Isn't this sort of like (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575809)

In short, no. I know it's very unslashdottish but you actually have to RTFA on this one. Or at least the damned summary!

Mod parent offtopic.

Re:Isn't this sort of like (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575889)

an article on the future of listening to audio tapes?

When a thing becomes outmoded, don't we always let it fall to the side? [snip] electronic reading materials and electronic readers are beginning to be more popular.

You know, I see this sentiment on Slashdot quite a bit. Apparently a lot of people around here think the printed word is archaic and is in the middle of being phased out as obsolete.

I can assure you, that books in their physical, paper form are nowhere near being obsolete, outmoded, or about to be left to fall by the side. This isn't about abandoning an old file format of a word processor. To many people the actual physical book is still the preferred method of reading. Hell, send me a long enough document, and I'll print the damned thing and keep it on my desk.

I buy a tremendous amount of books, I don't want an electronic reader of any form, and I'm fairly sure that a larger proportion of the populace does their reading against the old-school dead-tree formats than any form of electronic format.

While your assertion that "electronic reading materials and electronic readers are beginning to be more popular", might be somewhat true, they're only more popular than they used to be. They're simply not more popular than paper.

I would say that people who argue that paper books will go away in the short term have their heads so far up the ass of technology as to not really have a clear view of the world any more. I would say it would be years, if not decades, before we actually see electronic formats really supplant paper. And, you can have my physical books when I'm dead and gone -- I don't personally foresee giving them up any time soon. Books have a warmth and tactile feedback that a cold, digital screen will never offer to me.

There will be people who want electronic books, and they're welcome to them. But, I and countless others want real actual honest to goodness books. Don't look to see them fall by the wayside for a long time.

Cheers

Re:Isn't this sort of like (1)

CyberLord Seven (525173) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576317)

I agree with you completely, but you left something out.

I don't need an electrical outlet or batteries to read the dead-tree edition of a book. I can just open the blinds or, heaven forbid, go out into the bright sunlight.

Remember the old question: what ten books would you take to a deserted island? You better make sure they are dead-tree editions. :)

Re:Isn't this sort of like (1)

mh1997 (1065630) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576053)

Perhaps we would be better off to read articles on the ergonomics of new electronic books etc.
You can tell by your post that you did not read TFA, your name will be removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done on slashdot will be wiped out, your one-time existence is denied and then forgotten. You are abolished, annhilated: vaporized

Re:Isn't this sort of like (1)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576221)

from your user number I can tell, you must be new here :)

Re:Isn't this sort of like (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576189)

Judging by the shops on Folsom St, buggy whips are doing a brisk business. They're just not used on horses.

Re:Isn't this sort of like (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576435)

not to be a jerk but ford never really STOPPED making the fairlane 500. You can go to Australia [ford.com.au] and plunk down your $50k(aus) and drive away your brand new 5.4 liter 430hp V8 Fairlane.

joking aside

Re:Isn't this sort of like (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576515)

Does anyone reading this post have a set of encyclopedias?
I have two sets, a Britannica 9th Edition (1875ish) and an 11th edition (1910ish).

Oh, and get off my lawn!!!

E-Book trading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575639)

What's interesting here is simply that there is no reason why Amazon couldn't let users "resell" their books.

For the DRM'd book, they're simply tied to Amazons server. Amazon could easily let someone (through Amazon, natch) sell back their books to anyone wanting to buy it. Amazon then moves the key from Party A to Party B. Enable some external linking system to empower this, and you could easily "lend" a book to another party. "Dear Bob, click on this link and you'll get 'War and Peace'". Again, Amazon uses the link data to move the book from Party A's bookshelf to Party B. When Party B wants to return the book to Party A, the same transaction takes place.

There's no TECHNICAL reason why Amazon could not do this.

Re:E-Book trading (4, Insightful)

OS24Ever (245667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575691)

I'm sure it was part of the agreement to get the books in electronic format in the first place was that you couldn't sell, or re-transfer the license. It's just the publishers wet dream to close up the used book stores/libraries around the world so if you want to read it, you gotta pay full price each time you want it.

Support CC authors and related publishers. (3, Informative)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575663)

Support authors who publish their content using Creative Commons [creativecommons.org] style licenses. What little writing I do is published using CC licenses, Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] is moving to CC, and I never would have even heard of Cory Doctorow [craphound.com] years ago (still one of my favorites) if not for CC.

I'm considering licensing the majority of the content on my educational resources site under a CC license. Seriously, support these kinds of effort at (1) making high-quality published works accessible to a broader audience, and (2) supporting authors who are willing to try new business models to earn a living.

Re:Support CC authors and related publishers. (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575945)

Support authors who publish their content using Creative Commons style licenses

License? I have to get a licence to read now? WTF??? Of course, I guess it's like a driver's license; my grandpa didn't need one, but when everyone got on the road it became dangerous. Now that the internet is here, reading is dangerous. To governments and the corporations that control them, at least.

Some more ideas. (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576333)

Just pick written (whether hardcopy of digital in nature) materials provided under the right license, in the same way that you'd pick software based on the license. Support licensing models designed to ensure your freedom to act as you would prefer with respect to the material, and discourage others from supporting opposing licensing models. Of course, if someone really wants to release their work under a restrictive license, there's nothing to stop them. There's also nothing to stop another community of people from absorbing the knowledge contained within the material, rewording it in a new and original form, and releasing that new material with the same message to the public at large.

This doesn't help you for works which are valued purely for their artistic merit, but I don't buy CDs anymore because I don't want to support a corrupt recording industry. I have found new artists whose works aren't so heavily "regulated," so to speak.

Re:Support CC authors and related publishers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21576447)

I think people should need a license to poop. The men's room at work can get pretty scary.

Re:Support CC authors and related publishers. (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576463)

Wait, are you being sarcastic? If so, I don't understand the point of your post: you come across more like a troll, as your comments don't have any substance to explain why you're making the ridiculous claim that people need a drivers-style license to read.

What future of reading? (2, Funny)

Mesa MIke (1193721) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575821)

At least here on Slashdot, everybody just comments, nobody reads.

This future of reading. (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575901)

At least here on Slashdot, everybody just comments, nobody reads.

Not only did I read, but I repeated and replied as well.

Re:What future of reading? (1)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576533)

Ya know, I was thinking the other day, and I realized something: nobody on Slashdot reads! They just write comments and think they're super smart. If the average Slashdotter took some time to understand the context in which they he/she was posting, they wouldn't come across as such asses all the time.

Fair compensation in a digital world (3, Insightful)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575857)

The issue with all electronic media is the ease of duplication. That's what all the DRM stuff is trying to address, and making such a mess of everything in the process.

This is nothing new: there was never any physical impediment to sitting down with a paper book and a Xerox machine, or even writing it out by hand. But it was laborious and time-consuming, sufficiently so that few people bothered. It was easier and cheaper to just buy a copy of the book.

So how you you do it? If I'm going to sit down and write a book I expect to be compensated for my efforts. How can you ensure the author's rights to fair compensation in a world where files are so easy to duplicate? It's clear that there is a business model issue here, so how would you fix it?

...laura

Re:Fair compensation in a digital world (2, Informative)

GryMor (88799) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576185)

Perhaps we could start with trusting and respecting people? Thankfully, Baen [baen.com] has seen fit to try this revolutionary practice of trust. A few other publishers are dipping their toes in the water, as you can see on WebScription [webscription.net] , and with luck, this practice will spread to the rest of the industry.

Re:Fair compensation in a digital world (2, Funny)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576191)

This is nothing new: there was never any physical impediment to sitting down with a paper book and a Xerox machine, or even writing it out by hand. But it was laborious and time-consuming, sufficiently so that few people bothered. It was easier and cheaper to just buy a copy of the book.
woo hoo! I'm one of the few! I'm special! My life has meaning!

Re:Fair compensation in a digital world (5, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576281)

How can you ensure the author's rights to fair compensation in a world where files are so easy to duplicate? It's clear that there is a business model issue here, so how would you fix it?
Write on contract only. The contract can be with a single person with a ton of dollars or a ton of people each with a single dollar, or somewhere in between. Once the work is finished, collect your money and then publish it to the public domain. Viola! Ease of duplication is no longer the creator's enemy -- it is now their friend as each person who copies the finished work is no longer stealing from the creator, they are promoting the creator.

1st Objection - How does an author get started? Who is going to pay a penny for an unknown author to write something?
1st Answer - New authors just have to suck it up, the way the majority already do today and give away some of their work in order to develop a reputation.

2nd Objection - How is an author going to make a bazillion gazillion dollars if their book is super-duper popular? The price is fixed before release, what if they under-price it?
2nd Answer - If the book is super-duper popular, by definition that means there will be lots and lots of people who liked it enough to pony up for the NEXT book. So the author can increase their asking price for their next work based on the popularity of their previous work.

3rd Objection - How can millions of people all pay a dollar each to an author's escrow account?
3rd Answer - They can't, at least not without a lot of overhead. Today. But that's just a business opportunity waiting for the right person to come along and start the next paypal.

4th Objection - What if nobody is willing to pay the author's asking price?
4th Answer - That's business. Either lower the price, or cancel the offer. At least this way very little time and money gets spent on creating a product that no one wants to buy. It ain't a perfect system but at least the feedback comes from the actual consumers rather than some intermediate businessman whose only purpose is to sell eyeballs for advertising dollars.

Re:Fair compensation in a digital world (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576445)

The problem with DRM isn't that it keeps people from copying books, software, music, videos, etc. illegally.

The problem with DRM is that it keeps you from doing legitimate things with your legitimately-purchased content.

As it says in TFA, when I go out and buy a book, I can read it on any time schedule I want. I can then loan it a friend to read. Or I can give it to my next door neighbor. I can scan the pages in and produce some greppable text from it. (After all, you can't grep dead trees.) I can auction it off on eBay.

The problem with DRM'd e-books is that I can't do any of the above.

So how do we eliminate DRM and have authors still get compensated?

There are several solutions out there already. You can put the book on a website for download and have people pay what they think is fair, as Radiohead as done with their latest album [digg.com] . We'll see how this works. It probably won't.

Then there's the 'try before you buy model'. In the case of books, You can issue your work under a Creative Commons license and hope that people will pay for a dead tree version if they like it. This is something that Corey Doctorow, Eric Raymond(*) and others have done.

There's the 'let people have it for free and make money off of something else" model. For music, there's the 'we only make money from concerts model' practiced by groups like The Grateful Dead for years, officially or unofficially. For software, examples include Red Hat and Canonical and Zope, which sell support and pretty packaging and consulting services. Doesn't work well for books, it seems. For books, I suppose you could offer the book for free, but sell merchandising such as T-Shirts or coffee mugs or the like, but somehow that seems less then perfect.

I dunno. I don't think it's "DRM or content creators don't get paid". I think there are other ways, but nobody wants to change their business model because the 'selling a box of content' model seems to have worked so well for so long.

(*) esr uses the GNU Free Documentation License, actually.

Re:Fair compensation in a digital world (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576485)

Successful methods I have seen do the following:

They have a downscaled version that is complete without all the frills that is totally free.

They have premier product that costs money, looks nice, but includes everything that the free version has.

Heck I can even use current libraries as an example. Frequently I've read a book at the library and then turned it around at Christmas time buying the same book for all my friends. The free no frills product above serves the same function...a filter to find the gem products. I will glad pay for quality.

Where's the video? (2, Funny)

Garridan (597129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575913)

I scrolled to the bottom, and didn't see a video on the page. Does anybody have a link to the video?

I'll consider e-books... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21575933)

... when they pass the "can you drop it" test. Books, especially paperbacks are pretty indestructible. Most electronics I've seen have to be taken care of nicely, etc. Also, the battery life of the book's way better, even including the batteries needed to read in the dark.

In other news... (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575973)

Wal-Mart Joins Amazon to Push Labels to Ditch DRM Once and For All: http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/drm-deathwatch/amazon-and-wal+mart-push-labels-to-ditch-drm-once-and-for-all-329105.php [gizmodo.com]

You can't write this shit.

Re:In other news... (1)

Faylone (880739) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576413)

Well, if anybody can scare the RIAA, it would be Wal-Mart

My hope... (1)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576641)

...exactly.

oh noes (1)

Edie O'Teditor (805662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21575989)

Mash-up. For shame. That's the future of reading, right there.

Nerd = luddite. (4, Interesting)

shumacher (199043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576009)

Many would identify me as a bit of a nerd. I have a moderately low UID, I work in IT, and I have too many features on my cell phone.

Part of the nerd world tends to be life on the "bleeding edge" of technology. While a nerd may not always own the latest and greatest, he or she will tend to at least follow the news and allow that to influence their purchases. They probably got involved in the internet, BBSing, mobile internet, and any number of other technologies before their non-nerd friends.

But today, we have DRM. I've bought DRM, and I've skipped purchases because of DRM. DRM really annoys me, because it interferes with my interest in the latest techology. While the Kindle might not have been a "must-buy" item for me at its current price, if it were to be subsidized below $100, it would have entered my consumer radar, had it not been afflicted with the restrictions Amazon has placed. While I currently subscribe to a music service, (Rhapsody, if it matters) I tend to buy music that I wish to keep on old-fashioned CD. I'll rent DVDs, but I'll seldom buy them because I don't want to violate the DMCA to get them on my PMP.

Blu-Ray? HD-DVD? I have no idea; who's farting on my pizza less?

When I go out to eat, I don't have someone screwing up my food on purpose, and when I'm getting a haircut, they don't reserve the right to shave areas I'm not supposed to be able to see - why is it then that all of these great technologies have to come with a little "oh by the way..." restriction?

Re:Nerd = luddite. (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576599)

I'll rent DVDs, but I'll seldom buy them because I don't want to violate the DMCA to get them on my PMP.

Why would anyone be worried about violating the DMCA with something so minor? Hell, there are so many laws these days that you can violate dozens just by going about your daily business, being caught and proven in a court of law is an entirely other matter.

In all seriousness... (2, Insightful)

Vthornheart (745224) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576041)

I think the article is overreacting. Being able to change an E-Book is very different from being able to erase all evidence of an event taking place from all media (as was the case in the book "1984").
He seems to draw the conclusion that this capability will lead to such a situation. I think it's got a long way to go before getting there. If the government begins censoring everything *other than* remotely editable E-Books, I'll begin to worry. Until then, there's plenty of media other than that where you can find out what's really happening.

Retro-futurism (0)

BritneySP2 (870776) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576181)

To me, an e-book reader device looks almost like a retro-futuristic object -- like an automobile that resembles a horse-drawn carriage or a airplane looking like a giant feathery bird. Nonetheless, I have been somewhat of a fan of the idea of e-reading - that is until recently, when, after having held a Sony reader in my hands for a minute, I have suddenly realized that I do not want to just read; rather, I want to be able to work with the book in a more interactive way. Also, it is likely that I will want to use a (full-featured) computer at the same time. But since I do not want to have to carry two gadgets around, I have to stick to a computer, using it as the reader (which is nothing new). Thus, I find the idea of a standalone e-book reader device somehow fundamentally flawed.

As far as licensing is concerned, what has always puzzled me is why the ease of the media exchange between, say, people makes sharing of the content legitimate? When you buy a book or, say, a video game, 90% of what you pay is the license. Once *you* have played the game, or have read the book, you have used up *your* license, and so selling the game or the book, or even giving it away, would seem to be illegal.

content and the future of society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21576211)

Much of progress is based on innovation. Much (some would say all) of
innovation comes from places it's not supposed to: weekend projects,
off the books work, amateurs. People have an idea and the interest
to follow it where it leads.

By definition the resources for this kind of work is not allocated
to it. Somehow resources are allocated for some other purpose
and leftovers become available. Look at how a lot of USENET depended
on modems and phone lines used for business during the day and uucp
dialup at night. There wasn't much complaint for individual, small scale use because the cost vanished in the noise.

HERE'S THE POINT: purchasing content means that it is still available after its primary purpose has been met. Uses that might not have justified expense on their own are now possible. As far as books go,
it means information is available to many people who do not have an
obvious need to know. If every book only goes to people who "need"
them society will lose out on the accidental creativity of everyone who reads.

(This subject of interstitial resources and innovation has many more aspects)

Every page eventually gets turned (1)

Tacubaruba (553520) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576507)

The flip side to all the Big Brother concerns with ebooks is the potential for little known authors of merit to reach an audience. Without the choke hold of a narrow and tighly controlled distribution channel, many more more voices can be heard. There is also no reason why any book ever needs to be out of print again. The Kindle and other ereaders do support user-owned content. And Amazon has a program for letting authors publish to the Kindle through Amazon. eReading is the future and it could be a very rewarding future.

Reading free books on these things? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#21576585)

Anyone use one of these Amazon Kindle things yet? Can you read any text/PDF file on it, or do they have to be in a proprietary format or digitally signed by amazon.com?
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