Re: Ebooks - what do you think?
- From: "Larisa" <purple_bovine@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 19 Dec 2005 21:09:09 -0800
Tony Burton wrote:
> I am trying to collect some information from a variety of sources about the
> use, popularity and viability of ebooks as a publishing format. Now, I have
> my own preconceived ideas, but there has been some discussion on another
> list that I belong to, so I created a survey to ask *those who read* what
> they think.The survey has only seventeen questions. Could you take a few
> minutes to complete it? It will be helpful information for me, and when
> everything is compiled, I'll be happy to share the results with all of you
As a (formerly) enthusiastic ebook reader, here are my views:
1. Reading on a TFT screen *really* hurt my eyes. (hence the
"formerly"). Enough to actually cause pain. Enough to actually cause
pain when reading "paper" books and computer screens, hence scaring me
away from ebooks until I can find a better reader (there's one in the
works, using e-paper, which will be coming out in May - I think I'll be
making myself a nice birthday present...) Abstaining from Palm-reading
made my eyes better, and I am scared enough to keep abstaining. I
can't live without a book a day - and audiobooks aren't the same.
2. When my eyes recovered enough to read "paper" text, I wanted to
print out an ebook I'd paid $5 for on powells.com - an encrypted
PalmReader document. I paid for it fair and square, it was mine to do
with as I like - right? Wrong. I am not allowed to print it out. I
am not allowed to "un-encrypt" it so that it can be made into a
plain-text document that I can print out. All of these are perfectly
normal things to do - this is my book, I paid for it, the author got
the money. The only reason I cannot do them is because of the greed of
the publishing companies and their insistence on treating all consumers
as potential thieves.
3. A further problem with those expensive encrypted PalmReader
documents I own (I've got several - anyone want 'em? Oops - can't give
them to you - they're encrypted) is that they are very vulnerable to
evolving technology. They are only readable with PalmReader. If Palm
decides it wants another OS, I'm out of luck - I've paid $$$ for some
very expensive encrypted bits and bytes I cannot read. If I had a
plain .txt file, I could import it into a different reader device or
software - an encrypted file specific to one particular application
will be unreadable very soon.
4. The prices on those paid-for ebooks are way too high. A paperback
that costs $7 needs to be manufactured; it needs to be printed, bound,
stored, distributed, delivered. I can see where the $7 is going. When
I pay $5 for an ebook, where is that money going? No one has to print
it or bind it, no one has to store it (other than on a hard drive), no
one has to physically deliver it anywhere. Why are ebooks so
5. I rather like Amazon's e-book experiment - they are selling new
short stories by well-known authors for $0.49 a pop. The story is
emailed to the customer in plaintext format immediately after payment.
This is one way ebook distribution can work. The author is paid, the
customer is not burdened with encryption (it's all plain text), there
is no assumption of thievery, and the price is right. I can easily
envision an author doing that on their own, incidentally (hint hint...)
- just set up a website, use Paypal to collect the cash, and get some
kind of script to email the story to the buyer upon payment.
Oh, and here's the device I'm getting myself for my birthday (assuming
it's actually available then...):
- Ebooks - what do you think?
- From: Tony Burton
- Ebooks - what do you think?
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