Author Topic: E-books in 2011  (Read 3574 times)

mgriffin

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E-books in 2011
« on: January 04, 2011, 02:21:46 PM »
Anybody feel any differently about electronic books and magazines now than when the Kindle first came out?

I don't own a Kindle but I have an iPad which is great for reading books, magazines and comics, and even has a Kindle app so I can buy anything a Kindle owner can purchase, just as easily.

There's so much great free stuff to read on the thing, I haven't gotten around to purchasing a lot of books with it yet. One thing I really like is the ability to get magazines electronically. I already have WAY too many magazines all around the house, and it makes me reluctant to subscribe to more, or even purchase single copies on the newsstand. But with electronic subscriptions, you can prevent clutter, get the magazine delivered immediately, and possibly even save a little money.  Especially with foreign magazines, where postage costs make the price ridiculous for a paper copy. I could see having subscriptions to a handful of electronic magazines in epub or pdf format, and just about completely stopping with the paper copies. Some magazines have really nice production values and those might still be nice to have on paper, but some are really pulpy and monochrome and would be just as nice in electronic format.

I keep thinking I'll find a bunch of the books that I've been trying to find in print forever, and finally grab them up in e-versions, but they're not pervasive enough yet. So, those out of print obscurities haven't made it to epub yet, but maybe eventually.

I've certainly purchased more paper books since I bought my iPad than ever before, so it's hardly convinced me that people will stop buying books when they get an iPad or Kindle or Nook, but I can see how things may start to shift a little.  Anybody else?
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APK

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 05:45:25 PM »
I have a Kindle 3. Its great. Excellent battery life, and very readable. I really do like reading on it. Super convenient. Very quick to download books. I have lots of classics and philosophy, which is my preference, and its great because so much of it is free or about $1.99.

Also great for loading up gear and software manuals in pdf and having them in one place. Never know when you are going to be stranded at an airport for 3 days!

Only complaint with the Kindle is the lack of organization of the contents. Could easily be visually better.

These things are amazing for traveling light.
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jkn

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 06:46:01 AM »
Here's my blog post on why I love my Barnes and Noble Nook from last summer - nutshell is I can't really hold physical books very long anymore - it hurts too much to read... getting the Nook opened books back up to me again!   http://relaxedmachinery.ning.com/profiles/blogs/kinetoscope-022-why-nook

I mention the "page turn speed" issue - but that's been resolved.   

I agree with APK - now that I'm getting a larger library built up on my Nook - it'd be nice to have other ways to organize.  Since Nook is Android based - maybe someone will develop it, we'll see.  I imagine it's about the same on the Kindle.

Both the Kindle and Nook are available mass market in many stores now (Best Buy carries all the major and many minor players in the eReader market).  Walmart, Target, etc.. carrying models.

I don't know if Kindle has this yet - but I truly love the ability to turn pages on *both* sides of the Nook.

It's all about the eInk for me...  I love our iPad - but if I'm going to sit and read a book for an hour - I want eInk!

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mgriffin

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 06:54:53 AM »
We were in a big Barnes & Noble store this weekend and the Nook display (and surrounding displays of covers and accesseries) were absolutely swarming with people.

For some reason I see this, and Amazon's announcement of very strong sales figures for the new Kindles, as being a good sign, yet at the same time I would really hate to see a drop-off in availability of paper books. Just the way some labels now release download only and have no physical CD (or vinyl) version available for those who prefer it, I'm afraid if e-books become too popular, it'll mean certain categories of less-popular books won't be feasible in print editions any more.
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jkn

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 06:55:51 AM »
oh - now that Kindle and Nook have both opened up their readers to just about every platform (ex. Heidi can read our entire Nook library on her iPad) - the issue over eBook formats isn't quite as big an issue.

There's Amazon's format - and there's everybody else's format "ePub".   Many authors hated Amazon at first due to the extremely low pricing... most of that's also been hashed out.   You'll notice eBooks cost at least as much as a paperback release - and a brand new hardback in eBook format can be expensive.    
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jkn

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2011, 06:57:23 AM »
oh definitely - it'll happen.   There will always be physical books, but the smaller publishing houses and niche books will shift to file only at some point as we saw in the music business.  Inevitible.   dvd/blu-ray - same thing happening.

We were in a big Barnes & Noble store this weekend and the Nook display (and surrounding displays of covers and accesseries) were absolutely swarming with people.

For some reason I see this, and Amazon's announcement of very strong sales figures for the new Kindles, as being a good sign, yet at the same time I would really hate to see a drop-off in availability of paper books. Just the way some labels now release download only and have no physical CD (or vinyl) version available for those who prefer it, I'm afraid if e-books become too popular, it'll mean certain categories of less-popular books won't be feasible in print editions any more.
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jkn

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2011, 07:01:33 AM »
Case in point...   Our local Best Buy store has moved dvd's and blu-rays from the prime central location as soon as you walk in the door...   to the far left side where only CD's used to be.   Now in that same space are all of Best Buy's CD's, vinyl, music books, dvd's, blu-ray's.    End caps and stackouts (piles of stuff in the middle of an aisle) - used to be predominantly dvd's or blu-rays (years ago they were cd's).    now they're other stuff.

When you walk in... the first thing you see...   the central location - is eReaders...  kindle, nook, sony, cheaper brands.  Then it's exercise gear...  Polar heart monitors, GPS systems, weights, yoga.     

Interesting shift isn't it?

It reminds me of going to the mall in the 80's and the gradual progression of MusicLand and J.R. Music World shifting slowly from vinyl to cd... ;-)   
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mgriffin

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2011, 10:24:56 AM »
oh definitely - it'll happen.   There will always be physical books, but the smaller publishing houses and niche books will shift to file only at some point as we saw in the music business.  Inevitible.   dvd/blu-ray - same thing happening.


This shift away from printed books by small publishers (assuming it does occur) will be a terrible loss for readers, only partially offset by the gain in convenience of being able to grab electronic versions of obscure titles.
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mgriffin

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2011, 10:40:46 AM »
Many authors hated Amazon at first due to the extremely low pricing... most of that's also been hashed out.   You'll notice eBooks cost at least as much as a paperback release - and a brand new hardback in eBook format can be expensive.    


One thing almost everyone (except maybe publishers) agrees on is that ebooks won't really take off until they're less expensive than the cheapest currently-available paper version of a book.

Often when a book is first released in hardback, let's say for $24.95 list price and $17.99 retail on Amazon and other discount outlets, the electronic version on Amazon's Kindle store or Apples iBook store is $14.95 or so, which is fine -- more expensive than a "catalog" ebook ought to be, but there's a small premium because this is a new release, in demand.

Too often I see the paperback come out for $7.99, though, and the ebook only drops to $9.99.  Who the hell is paying $9.99 for a collection of digital bits when a tangible copy of the book is available for $7.99 (and even less, at places that discount mass-market paperbacks)? Only that very small percentage of people for whom space is at such a premium that they actually prefer the intangible product to the tangible one. Yes, I understand (as a person whose books are sort of taking over the house) how people will smaller homes end up this way, but there will never be a time when a majority of people will pay more for intangible words than they would pay for the same words in a tangible, permanent carrier. There will also never be a time when the costs behind said products (costs of very close to zero for the intangible product, versus significant and substantial costs for the paper one) justify this disparity.

This is an example of the publishing industry putting the brakes on the ebook market until they figure out how to play it.  When they really WANT you to buy the electronic version of a book, the selling price will be more in line with their actual costs. That's how businesses price things when they actually want you to buy them. Right now, they're treating ebooks as a test case, the same as the record labels did before the iTunes avalanche forced just about all of them to stop dicking around.

It'll be interesting when a mass-market paperback release date means the ebook version drops from $14.99 to $4.99 or something along those lines.
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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2011, 11:06:28 AM »
Be sad if eBooks become like many of the music download you can buy where the cost of the download creeps up until its pretty much on par with the physical product. Good for the book publishers, of course, but unfair to the public.
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jkn

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2011, 02:25:51 PM »
The price for eBooks already crept up.  Amazon was selling cheaper and some of my favorite fantasy authors essentially boycotted (the ones big enough to do so) and many publishers cried foul.    Now agreements have been made.

I read a hilariously odd piece on the "fact ebooks cost more to produce"... part of that is true in an annoying way - because ebook sales are offsetting the infrastructure in place for physical books as sales start to slide on that side of the fence.   The industry is still converting to ebook rather then creating for ebook - once those transitions occur... hmmmm.

The video game industry is also heading towards downloadable files instead of physical media. 

Interesting world.

Everything is becoming ... vapor.

I bought two ebooks the other day for $8.99 - which is either on par or more expensive then their paperback counterparts.  Frustrating.


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mgriffin

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2011, 02:04:44 PM »
Saying e-books cost more to produce that paper books is a bit like saying it's more expensive to release a set of MP3s for download than to press the album on CD or vinyl.  Like... whaaat?  Maybe people making this argument are talking ONLY about pre-production work and ignoring that much more significant difference between the unit cost of making a tangible product versus an intangible one.
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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2011, 04:58:47 PM »
I remember a few decades back(yikes!) that a guy died in his home when the high stacks of books he had all over his house caved on him while he was asleep on the floor due to an earthquake. Books can become a serious addiction for some people and e-readers could save some lives!

As or paper books and mags I wish they would use hemp or bamboo instead of trees. You can make e-readers from plastic made from hemp too.
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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2011, 06:24:44 PM »
It's a fascinating world for those producing and consuming media these days. A couple years back when I started really hearing about Kindle I scorned it. But instead of lamenting, I am trying to look at the situation as it is, and what good can come from it for all parties concerned. I think there is room for everybody, as long as they open their imaginations a bit. Big publishers may not be able to do this effectively. It really is absurd to charge more for digital information than the physical copy.

I am getting into the world of book design, and am beginning to do work in this field. I personally feel that true typography still finds its apotheosis on physical paper inside the covers of a book one can touch and experience as an object. But I see the vast potential, usefulness, efficiency, and inevitability of the ebook, and will enjoy playing with, producing, and perhaps even consuming this format. I know I'd like to see a lot of technical manuals and some school books converted to this format. The lame racket, excessive prices, and low quality standards (cheap binding, and many are print on demand anyway) make the transition to ebook form for these types of books a good thing in my eyes. Same goes for mass produced cheap quality books.

But I still like to see a good quality, well made book with a sewn binding, something made to last. Seeing all the bibliophiles I'm meeting these days, there will always be a world of people who will support quality unique books.


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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2011, 11:22:51 PM »
I wish I lived in a world where pirates ripping works and spreading them in torrents could be as much of a problem for book publishers as it is for music publishers!

I got a JetBook Lite for myself just before Christmas and I've already read more "books" on it then hard copy books in the previous 11 months.  So far all free (and all legal).  It's relatively inexpensive and has a B&W TFT LCD screen -- not E-Ink -- but it's sharp and clear, I can read for hours without eyestrain in the same chair by the same lamp that I use to read hard copy books.

To me the ultimate reading experience will always involve a hard cover book and a mug of tea, and I'm not going to stop visiting my favorite used book store, but the ereader is fun and practical.  Sales numbers for ereaders this past holiday season look good -- and may be the difference between Barnes and Noble surviving and Borders ... maybe not.
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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2011, 12:59:10 AM »
I wonder whether the 'target' audience has any implication in the e-book pricings?

Mainstream music is generally aimed at a young and not yet in work audience.

Reading on the other hand I suspect is not.

rest of post taken out as I was finding it difficult to convey I wanted to say clearly - stuff around issues of 'class, 'education' and available income......

jkn

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2011, 06:50:45 AM »
-- and may be the difference between Barnes and Noble surviving and Borders ... maybe not.

Oddly - only a month or so ago there were many hints that Borders was in bids to buy out Barnes and Noble.  I haven't seen anything about it since though.

Kindle's still the king of the eReaders - but oh so love my Nook!   ;-)

Cool your led screen is easy on the eyes - that's great!

Color e-ink model was introduced at CES - it'll be available in China only - and apparently the first one coming out is a bit "dull" in color and vibrancy, however, in a year or two... should be very interesting.   

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2011, 02:10:46 PM »
Thought I'd mention, for anyone considering these, that eBooks are questionable for anything but novels that are read from beginning to end then discarded. You just can't "flip through" an ebook like you would a reference book or non-fiction work you often reference many times and in a much more non-linear fashion.
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mgriffin

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2011, 02:21:47 PM »
Yes, but a well-formatted ebook will have a table of contents with direct access links to each section/chapter. Also you can probably jump right to what you're looking for by searching for a key word or phrase.
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jkn

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Re: E-books in 2011
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2011, 02:55:09 PM »
thumb browsing...  reading magazines backwards... etc... probably not great on eReaders agreed.

Nook's Color eReader is geared towards magazines... iPad is getting there.  Apparently neither are "there" yet.

Indexes and searching does work - but it's a bit clumsy.   It'll evolve though.

I heard an NPR article on the radio on a textbooks on iPad - a university is testing it for one class.  It was amazing hearing how they used the iPad - the interactive textbooks etc...   (of course - a long way from mainstream yet.)
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