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eBooks and readers

RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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6/8/2013 3:28:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I don't particularly like to read off a monitor screen so I've been resisting eBook technology. I have been traveling a lot, and the prospects of carrying around a physical library have pushed me into taking ebooks seriously. I got a Kindle HD Fire 8.9 (catchy name) and I'm impressed. The screen resolution is 221 pixels/inch, compared to the norm of 72 pixels/inch for computer monitors. It's highly portable.

Amazon sales of ebooks passed their sales of printed books a year or two ago. It's somewhat surprising how expensive some ebooks are. It seems the cost of editing and formatting are significant, and that doesn't go away with ebooks. amazon charges the seller for the downloading. One book I saw was $176 for the ebook, about $70 for a printed new book, and $3.99 for a used copy of the printed book. That's hard to explain.

The kindle has a beautiful color screen, but the book images do not measure up. Images are usually published as postage-stamp-sized reductions, and there is no way to enlarge them. It's pathetic to have such good technology and not use it.

It would be logical to replace printed textbooks with ebooks, both cheaper and easier to carry around. But maybe not so cheap as I'd think.
SarcasticIndeed
Posts: 2,215
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6/8/2013 3:40:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Why'd you get the Fire when you can get the normal edition which is mych less a pain to your eyes and doesn't emit light? It should feel much more like real paper.
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Eitan_Zohar
Posts: 2,697
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6/8/2013 5:06:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 3:28:37 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
I don't particularly like to read off a monitor screen so I've been resisting eBook technology. I have been traveling a lot, and the prospects of carrying around a physical library have pushed me into taking ebooks seriously. I got a Kindle HD Fire 8.9 (catchy name) and I'm impressed. The screen resolution is 221 pixels/inch, compared to the norm of 72 pixels/inch for computer monitors. It's highly portable.

Amazon sales of ebooks passed their sales of printed books a year or two ago. It's somewhat surprising how expensive some ebooks are. It seems the cost of editing and formatting are significant, and that doesn't go away with ebooks. amazon charges the seller for the downloading. One book I saw was $176 for the ebook, about $70 for a printed new book, and $3.99 for a used copy of the printed book. That's hard to explain.

The kindle has a beautiful color screen, but the book images do not measure up. Images are usually published as postage-stamp-sized reductions, and there is no way to enlarge them. It's pathetic to have such good technology and not use it.

It would be logical to replace printed textbooks with ebooks, both cheaper and easier to carry around. But maybe not so cheap as I'd think.

That much money for intellectual property. There are no printing or transportation costs. It's insane.

I cannot imagine why anyone would enjoy or read off of an ebook rather than a physical book. But that's just me.
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drhead
Posts: 1,475
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6/8/2013 5:24:02 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 5:06:27 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
At 6/8/2013 3:28:37 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
I don't particularly like to read off a monitor screen so I've been resisting eBook technology. I have been traveling a lot, and the prospects of carrying around a physical library have pushed me into taking ebooks seriously. I got a Kindle HD Fire 8.9 (catchy name) and I'm impressed. The screen resolution is 221 pixels/inch, compared to the norm of 72 pixels/inch for computer monitors. It's highly portable.

Amazon sales of ebooks passed their sales of printed books a year or two ago. It's somewhat surprising how expensive some ebooks are. It seems the cost of editing and formatting are significant, and that doesn't go away with ebooks. amazon charges the seller for the downloading. One book I saw was $176 for the ebook, about $70 for a printed new book, and $3.99 for a used copy of the printed book. That's hard to explain.

The kindle has a beautiful color screen, but the book images do not measure up. Images are usually published as postage-stamp-sized reductions, and there is no way to enlarge them. It's pathetic to have such good technology and not use it.

It would be logical to replace printed textbooks with ebooks, both cheaper and easier to carry around. But maybe not so cheap as I'd think.

That much money for intellectual property. There are no printing or transportation costs. It's insane.

I cannot imagine why anyone would enjoy or read off of an ebook rather than a physical book. But that's just me.

Actually, a study found that ebooks sold for $3-$6 gained more profit (not just more sales, more profit). Unfortunately, some publishers want to pocket the extra money they didn't have to spend on printing the book instead of reducing prices.
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RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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6/9/2013 10:24:15 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/8/2013 5:06:27 PM, Eitan_Zohar wrote:
That much money for intellectual property. There are no printing or transportation costs. It's insane.

I cannot imagine why anyone would enjoy or read off of an ebook rather than a physical book. But that's just me.

The intellectual property part of the cost is a tiny fraction of the price. Ordinarily, the author gets about 10% of selling price, and he had the work of writing the book. A big cost is professional editing done by the staff of the publishing company. Typesetting is nothing for a novel, but it can be very expensive for a technical book full of drawings, graphs, and equations. Typesetting still must be done for an ebook. The big publishing cost is marketing and promotion. Self-publishing saves the marketing cost, but its rare for a self-published book to take off by word-of-mouth.

Amazon pays authors about 30% of the selling price, but the author gets to figure out how to do the editing and formatting himself. Amazon is doing at least some of the marketing --the book will appear in a search-- and has the storage, access, and delivery cost. "Transportation and inventory" involves amazon keeping 450,000 servers online. Any purchased kindle ebook can be downloaded on any machine you use at any time.

The US copyrights have expired on all books published before 1923, and most of those are available for free. The formatting is done by volunteers, and sometimes it's poor. There is a business of cleaning up public domain books, adding linked tables of contents and such, and then charging $0.99 to about $6 for the improved product.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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6/9/2013 10:33:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think the contrast and screen resolution are the most important factors. The kindle is also an Android-based tablet, so it runs apps like a web browser, video, music, games, and so forth. It has stereo speakers. Not all the Android apps work because it doesn't have a GPS, compass, or the physical buttons. It will link a keyboard via bluetooth. The video is spectacular; it will do full HD.

I don't read in bright sun, but it would be reasonable to get a second paperwhite model kindle for that. The books can be loaded on to multiple machines for one purchase price, and the B&W kindles are pretty cheap.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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6/10/2013 3:04:02 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I'd wouldn't buy an ebook as a textbook regardless of cost if I require it for more than one class. The act of writing, marking, highlighting, or otherwise marking on a physical book cannot be replicated.
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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6/10/2013 3:10:30 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I find I read noticeably faster on an e-reader, as a general rule. Probably 10% or more faster. I don't get as much benefit from the e-paper ones, if only because most of the ones I tried were from a few years ago, and the turning rate was pretty slow.
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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6/10/2013 3:16:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/10/2013 3:04:02 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
I'd wouldn't buy an ebook as a textbook regardless of cost if I require it for more than one class. The act of writing, marking, highlighting, or otherwise marking on a physical book cannot be replicated.

Well, actually it can. What am I saying?

I still think that it is artificial. The feeling of writing is different from marking with a cursor. If people grew up with ebooks, that is a different matter.
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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6/10/2013 3:23:22 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/10/2013 3:16:33 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 6/10/2013 3:04:02 AM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
I'd wouldn't buy an ebook as a textbook regardless of cost if I require it for more than one class. The act of writing, marking, highlighting, or otherwise marking on a physical book cannot be replicated.

Well, actually it can. What am I saying?

I still think that it is artificial. The feeling of writing is different from marking with a cursor. If people grew up with ebooks, that is a different matter.

I think the physical act of highlighting is sufficiently duplicated in e-readers, but notetaking by hand does have differences from notetaking via type.

I think it can be sufficiently duplicated with a separate notebook, though.
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Smithereens
Posts: 5,512
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6/10/2013 3:30:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
personally I find it more convenient to do everything on a phone, but I see your point. kindle's ebook readers seem like an excellent idea. I compared reading the hunger games on an ereader vs reading the hard book and found that I much preferred the ereader, I could put it in my pocket while moving, I didn't have to make bookmarks out of everything I found lying around, and the quality wasn't so bad. Since it emitted very little light, it didn't hurt my eyes. But what I don't like about ereaders is the feel of them. I can't explain it, but a book feels so much more normal in my hands, and flipping pages by swiping a finger across a screen just seems... wrong. Once we are all dead though, the next generations won't have such issues imo.
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RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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6/10/2013 12:25:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I remember when personal computers started to be introduced into business in the 1980's. There was enormous resistance. How could management know what you were really doing on the computer? Computers were claimed to be a distraction from getting work done. And when the computer was not being used, it was a valuable asset sitting idle. One of the first compromises was to put all the computers in a big room with a sign up sheet for time.

What happened was that all the people opposed to computers eventually died. Actually, the young people who were comfortable with computers were promoted into middle management and then changed the rules. Computers really took off in the 1990's. It could have happened a decade or more earlier.

Anyway, what changed my attitude was the amazing improvement in the screen quality.
ConservativePolitico
Posts: 8,210
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6/10/2013 9:12:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I have a normal Kindle, I don't use it all the time but it has it's uses. I have entire series that I can search and move between fluidly on a single device. It's light and portable and can hold tons of books so it's great for travel.

I still prefer paper books but I do really enjoy my Kindle.
mathdebator
Posts: 72
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7/9/2013 11:11:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Although some of these e-paper readers have a long battery life, I just can't imagine not being able to read because you need to charge your book.