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Death of Printed Books May Have Been Exaggerated

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the i-think-it's-mark-twain's-fault dept.

Books 465

New submitter razor88x writes "Although just 16% of Americans have purchased an e-book to date, the growth rate in sales of digital books is already dropping sharply. At the same time, sales of dedicated e-readers actually shrank in 2012, as people bought tablets instead. Meanwhile, printed books continue to be preferred over e-books by a wide majority of U.S. book readers. In his blog post Will Gutenberg Laugh Last?, writer Nicholas Carr draws on these statistics and others to argue that, contrary to predictions, printed books may continue to be the book's dominant form. 'We may be discovering,' he writes, 'that e-books are well suited to some types of books (like genre fiction) but not well suited to other types (like nonfiction and literary fiction) and are well suited to certain reading situations (plane trips) but less well suited to others (lying on the couch at home). The e-book may turn out to be more a complement to the printed book, as audiobooks have long been, rather than an outright substitute.'"

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Of course (5, Insightful)

ozduo (2043408) | about 2 years ago | (#42493509)

there are still candle makers in existence.

Re:Of course (0)

MackShepherd (2809331) | about 2 years ago | (#42493919)

there are still candle makers in existence.

Because sometimes electricity fails and eventually the batteries in the flashlight and smartphone and laptop and ereader run down. Then again, sometimes people want to pretend there is no electricity or cellphone or laptop or ereader. I want a candle with a USB outlet to charge my smartphone

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493991)

And I imagine most people still have candles in their homes along with electricity. The two aren't mutually exclusive and the same applies to books and e-books.

An e-book is not a book. (3, Interesting)

slackware 3.6 (2524328) | about 2 years ago | (#42493519)

I just can not become totally immersed in an e-book. It started when I was a little kid and I read every book I could get my hands on. E-books will never replace the feeling of nostalgia from my childhood. Unfortunatly I rarely read anymore unless it is a manual or some such.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493593)

Sounds like one of these people who only listen to vinyl.

I don't care whether I read from a book, an e-book or paper towels. I use what's the most convenient and it's defenitely the e-reader

Re:An e-book is not a book. (5, Insightful)

Lisias (447563) | about 2 years ago | (#42493743)

Sounds like one of these people who never had listened to a good vinyl. :-)

Ahhh, the pleasure to read a graphic novel without caring about screen size, color depth or resolution. Or perhaps, just to open a book you already had read on any random page in the bathroom to kill some time.

The convenience to simply spend 2 buck buying the newspaper to read it in some park, without caring about battery life, sun light or wifi to download the darn thing. The freedom to wander where I may want without caring about energy sockets or battery chargers.

Or the confort to be able to find some classic comic of my childhood on a used books store, buy it and be confident that no motherfscker of a copyright holder will be able to "delete" the thing from my hands.

My 2 cents? eBooks are fantastic tools to consume discardable content (as technical books, since it's almost sure that I'll have to buy another one about the same thing in the next few months) or, for the ethically versatile consumers, pirated ones.

But for pleasure reading (did you ever read Dante's Inferno on a eBook? it's appalling! The printed version is so richly illustrated...), the old and faithful dead tree medium is, still, the best choice for me.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (1, Troll)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42493801)

you can still not care about resolution or color depth ... books havent in generations, why should you?

why would I spend 2 bucks on a newspaper bias to an opinion? and e-ink works fine in sunlight

read it when I was a kid, done, not a romantic hoarder

if you want to see discardablecontent at its worst, go to a thrift store or used book store, and look at the sheer infestation of books no one wants to look at, they cant even give them away.

depends on which printed version you looked at, the one I last saw looked like a bad photocopy

Re:An e-book is not a book. (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 2 years ago | (#42493963)

I use what's the most convenient and it's defenitely the e-reader

Yeah, and an ebook reader is suited to reading lying on the couch - they're lighter and easier to use with one hand.

Since i got an ereader, i've read a lot of books i would never have read if i didn't have it. I live in a remote location and the nearest town has only one small bookshop. Being able to buy books online allows me to read books that i'd never bother ordering from the bookshop in town.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494033)

"Yeah, and an ebook reader is suited to reading lying on the couch - they're lighter and easier to use with one hand."

The poster is a girlie-man whose wrists can't withstand the stress of holding an iPad on the couch an he thinks that's an eReader.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#42493673)

As an avid reader, I am entirely fine with not having a house full of books and DVDs. It's fantastic to have so much space reclaimed that other homes have stuffed with shelf upon shelf of books, video games, movies, and albums. It kind of sucks on a tablet, because of the back-light, but that's what I use due to the fact that I don't want to carry a tablet *and* an e-reader (e-ink, that is -- which would be preferable, all other things being equal). But a physical book? Nope. I saw enough homes when I was growing up that were just consumed with walls full of books that just sat there forever. I'll take the option without clutter, thanks.

Also, you don't have the worries of fingerprints, bent spines, dogeared pages, and everything else that drives a book-lover like me nuts with a physical copy.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about 2 years ago | (#42493857)

Also, you don't have the worries of fingerprints, bent spines, dogeared pages, and everything else that drives a book-lover like me nuts with a physical copy.

But you do have the worry of DRM. It might be better but it's not perfect.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (4, Insightful)

MackShepherd (2809331) | about 2 years ago | (#42493965)

But you do have the worry of DRM. It might be better but it's not perfect.

This is my problem and it hit home recently when I upgraded my smartphone and discovered there's no Kindle ap for my new model phone and I couldn't read the rest of the book I'd bought on Amazon with any of the available aps. I enjoy the ability to stop reading on the Kindle, PC, Laptop, or smartphone and being able to pick up where I left off on the other devices. And what happens if the vendor where you bought your DRM'ed e-book goes under or is bought out? I think of buying e-books as being more like renting movies.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494085)

"This is my problem and it hit home recently when I upgraded my smartphone and discovered there's no Kindle ap for my new model phone ..."

Calibre fixes all your problems.
http://calibre-ebook.com/ [calibre-ebook.com]

Re:An e-book is not a book. (4, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#42493899)

I don't think that even Ray Bradbury could have imagined that people would have entirely given up their books, and put control of all formerly printed media in the hands of a few giant corporations, due to "clutter".

Re:An e-book is not a book. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493951)

It's fantastic to have so much space reclaimed that other homes have stuffed with shelf upon shelf of books, video games, movies, and albums.

shelf upon shelf of books piled on top of more books.. sounds like home sweet home to me.

i'll keep my books and videos and albums and compact discs, thank you very much.. for the rights and freedoms that come with the physical formats as well as i just very much prefer a real book to staring at a display. there's only one powered device i want to curl up with by the fire on a cold rainy night, and i can assure you, i certainly won't be doing any reading while it's turned on. ;p

and have fun (legally) lending a book (or movie, or game, or whatever drm-ed media you have foolishly bought into) to a friend, relative or neighbor. not gonna happen. the producers and publishers will make sure of that. same goes for reselling your old stuff you don't want anymore. and please, also enjoy repurchasing (i mean, re-licensing) your media files over and over when you want to shift formats to whatever the next great thing is.

until digital media is SOLD, not licensed... physical formats are the best formats.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (1)

Pete (big-pete) (253496) | about 2 years ago | (#42494001)

I am buying all my reading material as e-books where possible now - I have an iPad and a Kindle, but I only use the iPad for reading large page PDF files, the Kindle is used for novels etc.

My main irritation is when I see e-books priced more expensively than hardcover books. Sure, I understand that ebooks are taxed at full rate in the UK as opposed to a reduced rate for paper books, but on the flip side there's no printing, materials, quality control, shipping, etc which is needed with physical goods. If I try and buy an ebook and it's above the price of the printed copy, then it's off my list of things to buy for a few years until it becomes reasonably priced.

-- Pete.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | about 2 years ago | (#42494059)

E-Book prices are fixed by a cartel of publishers.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (5, Insightful)

VocationalZero (1306233) | about 2 years ago | (#42494109)

It's fantastic to have so much space reclaimed that other homes have stuffed with shelf upon shelf of books, video games, movies, and albums

I still find it strange that people would not like to have shelf upon shelf of books, games, movies and albums.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#42493675)

Unlike you, I still read a lot - and it's almost strictly ebooks nowadays. What does that prove? Admittedly nothing... but at least my anecdotal evidence is from a person who still reads.

Think about it though. You stated you hardly read anymore - so just how strong can that nostalgic pull you speak of be, anyway?

Re:An e-book is not a book. (4, Insightful)

Eskarel (565631) | about 2 years ago | (#42493677)

I can't get into an e-book on a back lit screen, but on e-ink, I can and have read till the wee hours of the morning just as I did when I was a child and as a bonus my library fits in my pocket.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#42493897)

For me it was just the other way around (well mostly). I read a lot of books as a child (1 or 2 a week) but somehow got disinterested. Then I got an e-reader and I'm now reading 1 or 2 books a month (not as much as before, but the books have become larger and available time shorter).
E-readers suck for manuals and reference books though; I tend to heavily bookmark those books and use the index, glossary and appendixes a lot, which is where e-readers don't have good solutions yet.

Re:An e-book is not a book. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493995)

"I just can not become totally immersed in an e-book. ... Unfortunatly I rarely read anymore unless it is a manual or some such."

Then, how do you know that you cannot become immersed?

Re:An e-book is not a book. (1)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | about 2 years ago | (#42494065)

E-books will never replace the feeling of nostalgia from my childhood.

And kids growing up today will have nostalgia for the iPads of their childhood.

Depends on the book (5, Informative)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about 2 years ago | (#42493523)

If it's something unwieldy or I know I'll be flipping back and forth between pages, or need to see multiple pages simultaneously, like Practical Electronics for Inventors, I'll buy the paper book. If it's a novel, or casual reading, I can go with e-book format. That said, I donated to a local library a lot of my old books: I hadn't read them in years, and most anything I need to know, now-a-days, I just Google for. For technical information, it's quicker to Google it than look it up in a book.

Books (3, Insightful)

toygeek (473120) | about 2 years ago | (#42493525)

They don't need batteries
You can buy them used without DRM
They smell interesting
Old books have their own story aside from what is printed in them
Each book feels different
Do not require infrastructure to maintain
I don't have to buy something to reads my book- I just buy the book, the "reader" is free.

While an e-book is technically the same thing, content wise, the *experience* of reading a book is something that cannot be duplicated. A large, LARGE portion of the population apparently agrees.

Re:Books (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493595)

A large portion of the population is technically and otherwise illiterate. Or of low enough level that they don't do much reading and don't set up their own electronics.

I do agree that for quick reference, a paper book is hard to beat, but it's hard to believe that an ebook won't be as efficient any time soon. With more power and a better display, I could definitely see them being easier to search.

As far as the "experience" goes, only hardcore bookworms are likely to consider that to be desirable. I've read paper books and they're not ergonomic at all. My Nook Glow OTOH can be read in the dark and I can prop it up, only touching the thing when I need to turn the page. I can also search for text in it, which is something I've never been able to do with a paper book.

What's more, I can bring an entire collection of books with me when I travel. Ebooks don't really require infrastructure, if you've gotten to the point where that's an issue, you've probably got other things to worry about. Yes, you do have a point about electricity, but you can do a ton of reading on a charge.

And I don't have to buy any books, I can just check them out electronically on my computer without even having to leave the home. Seriously, it looks like you're going way out of your way to bash ebooks without similarly bashing paper books for their flaws.

Re:Books (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493649)

What a pile of crap.

Re:Books (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493745)

What a pile of crap.

Not necessarily (0, Flamebait)

aztektum (170569) | about 2 years ago | (#42493607)

It mentions folks are buying tablets instead. Which you can read on, but also play Angry Birds... oo, or watch Netflix! Reading is boring.

Re:Not necessarily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493787)

Reading is so boring you read the article. Thankfully I didn't read your comment, it was boring

Re:Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493615)

Do not require infrastructure to maintain

My library shelves disagree with you.

Excuse me, I need to add another wing.

Re:Books (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493701)

They don't need batteries
Do not require infrastructure to maintain

No, instead of batteries, you require shelves, lots and lots of shelves in a clean, dry environment.

You can buy them used without DRM

You're generalising, not all vendors do this.

While an e-book is technically the same thing, content wise, the *experience* of reading a book is something that cannot be duplicated. A large, LARGE portion of the population apparently agrees.

That LARGE portion of the population is aging, the technophobes will still hate tablets and e-readers, but this is the future, it will take a lot more decades though, until the percentages switch.

They smell interesting

NOT a feature, having asthma, like an ever growing percentage of the population, I can tell you, dusty books, are not something I enjoy being around, let alone read.

Here's one thing that you neglected to mention about e-books: They cost almost nothing to publish. It means a lot of rubbish makes it through, but a lot more good authors will get published. With paper books, I guarantee, that over the past hundred years millions of manuscripts became forgotten, because of the printing costs.

The future is here and now. I have thousands of books on my tablet all in a 350 grams package, which I can back up anywhere and any time.

Honestly, you people make me think of those monks handwriting books, calling the ban of the printing press. WTF!

Re:Books (5, Insightful)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 2 years ago | (#42493953)

That LARGE portion of the population is aging

And as they age, their eyesight will deteriorate, leaving many of them with a choice between audio books, books with large print or ebooks where the font size can be adjusted. Wonder what they will pick?

Re:Books (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#42493727)

They also can be easily lent around to anyone and everyone.

They are cheap enough to be left on a bench or a seat if you finish and don't want to keep it.

Even more importantly, they still work even after being soaked in water.

They also are really easy to use.

If you're freedom oriented, you can print and distribute your own books without having to explain how to use it (part of the reason Baen books signed up with Amazon was so readers don't have to go through a bunch of steps to sideload books).

Re:Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493959)

The only valuable point you make here is that you can lent your book. Which is true and something I do miss with an e-reader. But it has been replaced with other things I can do with the e-reader that you can't do with a book.

They stop working when soaked, in most cases, at the very least they will not last much longer.

I also doubt your last reason is true. Since Baen clearly still has its own site where they publish books as well (http://www.baenebooks.com/), it seems any signing up with amazon was more about allowing his books to be gotten from multiple places and having more visibility than downloading from his own site having been too hard for people.

Re:Books (2, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#42493735)

They don't need batteries

I'm sorry this is one of the lamest arguments I have heard. Your typical e-book reader will last MONTHS in the hands of a heavy reader without recharge. The most common problem around our house is that by the time these things need charging we need to try and actually find the charger.

Re:Books (2, Insightful)

Knuckles (8964) | about 2 years ago | (#42493933)

Amazon claims the Kindle will run for 8 weeks w/o using wifi and a reading time of 30 minutes per day. That's not "months".

Re:Books (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493931)

I don't agree with some of these points, like interesting smell or old books having their own story. The smell of a book, I simply don't care about, the old books having their own story I find true with very, very old books, but that is pretty much only important for that one old book a person owns unless they are a collector of old books, in which case books become supperior for things that other people may not care about. Same with all books feel different. Most books sold will feel nearly identical.

The benefits of e-readers are, you can get old books, for free, easily (http://www.gutenberg.org/). Oh, without DRM.
You can easily get books from people who self publish them. Often without DRM as well.
Its one small, portable device to take all your books (or a huge subset) of them with you.
The books don't break, and even if the reader does, you only have to replace that one to have all your books back.
It is way easier to read from an e-reader (if you are just continously reading forward). I have read from both books and e-readers, the e-readers are way easier. No pages to turn, no big bulky books with pages being annoying, the pages are always flat and easily readable, the book weights nothing at all, and maybe most importantly, its easy to take the books with you.
Another benefit of an e-reader that can handle enough formats, is that you can use it for more than just books. It has really cut down on the number of paper and the weight of my backpack that I have to take to school.

Its very much up to the person, but I would not trade in my e-reader for the annoying experience that books were. I am very happy with it and maybe thats because I am an engineer and the "romantic value" of books really has no message to me, but I would call an e-reader a more efficient device than a book.

Re:Books (1)

darkfeline (1890882) | about 2 years ago | (#42494069)

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but

They don't need batteries

Neither does a hard drive, and a hard drive can store MUCH more data, it's not even comparable. Now, you need a computer to read it, but don't you need light to read a book?

You can buy them used without DRM

You can get ebooks without DRM, and you can replicate and distribute them infinitely. Can you do that with a physical book? Nope.

They smell interesting

...Oookay. Whatever floats your boat.

Old books have their own story aside from what is printed in them

True, but everything has a story. Even ebooks (well, DRM free ebooks anyway). Maybe it was passed around piratebay (hopefully legally). Maybe someone edited it a little before passing it on. Someone ripped it to text, translated it, signed it with PGP key, etc. etc. Another guy saw some typos and fixed them. And so on. There's no reason why electronic books have less "history" than paper ones.

Each book feels different

I suppose I'll let this one slide.

Do not require infrastructure to maintain

Oh yeah? Leave a book outside and see how long it'll last. Books require a LOT of special infrastructure to maintain: acid-free paper, acid-free ink, stringent temperature and humidity control, and most importantly, lots of SPACE. On the other hand, as long as a hard drive is kept online, you don't need too much maintenance, and unlike paper books, can easily be copied thousands of times to thousands of separate hard drives, and even with hundreds of redundant copies, still takes up less physical space.

I don't have to buy something to reads my book- I just buy the book, the "reader" is free.

Arguably not so. Everything has an initial cost. There's a lot of upfront cost to be able to read a book: you have to learn the language, learn to read written text, possibly invest in a light, dictionary, bookmark or magnifier, as well as have a place to keep the book, as well as a way to carry the book around if you travel. Now, you can argue that the upfront cost for ebooks is greater, but the marginal benefit-to-cost ratio is much higher.

While an e-book is technically the same thing, content wise, the *experience* of reading a book is something that cannot be duplicated.

Neither can reading a paper book duplicate the experience of reading an e-book.

A large, LARGE portion of the population apparently agrees.

There's a logical fallacy here. Just because you don't like/buy ebooks because of these reasons, doesn't mean everyone who doesn't buy ebooks agrees.

I read ebooks all the time (3, Insightful)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 2 years ago | (#42493553)

I read ebooks on my computer. When I'm sitting in front of my desktop computer, I use that. When I'm sitting in front of my netbook, I log into my desktop from there and read on that. That way the page that I left off at is always synchronized.

The computer holds the book for me so all I have to do is sit back and read -- hit the space bar once in a while to turn the page.

If I find a reference that I want to follow up on (what in the world is a medieval chatelaine?) I can immediately look it up and research that as much as I wish to.

What's not to like?

I can't remember the last time I read a book on paper. It's been at least a few years...

Love my kindle and my Nexus 7 (4, Insightful)

geek (5680) | about 2 years ago | (#42493557)

I prefer reading e-books. I haven't read a paper book in years. That said I've given serious thought to moving away from ebooks simply because of the prices and DRM. I can loan a book once to my wife via kindle or I can just buy the paper book and give it to her or anyone else when done.

What I've been doing lately is stripping the DRM via Calibre and giving the books I buy away to my mom, wife and mother in-law. I have no moral issue with this since I could do it with a paper book too. But if DRM changes and prices keep going up like they have, then I'm going to say fuck it and go back to paper books.

Re:Love my kindle and my Nexus 7 (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#42493709)

Yep. The only downfall I see (other than a back-lit screen kind of sucks for reading) is DRM and the inability to maintain ebooks if the world came to an end. One of those can eventually be dealt with; the other not so much. Either way, I'm a big fan of keeping things on the digital side, where I don't have to have my life and home cluttered with crap, like generations before us.

But, man, that DRM thing . . . is really a major killjoy. The only real stab against fully embracing digital.

It's hard not to love the idea of having more content on a device that you can carry in your hand than you could store in your home, even if you turned every wall into a stack of filled shelves. Unfortunately, publishing is like every other content industry. They have to be kicked dragging and screaming into the modern world and undermine their own interests every step of the way, by doing things to drive customers *away* and foster ill-will with them.

Re:Love my kindle and my Nexus 7 (3, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#42493947)

There are plenty of other downsides. When you have 1 device to view N books, you can only do so serially. With paper books, each book has its own built in "screen" and you can open several of them on a table. With paper books, you can look up references easily without typing, whereas ebook readers are really designed to be easy for linear traversal only - just like an audio "book" - but quite unwieldy for random access. With paper books, there are several sizes to suit the content, whereas ebook readers force you to zoom around and tap the screen or some buttons unnecessarily when the size isn't right. Finally, with paper books you get two pages open at the same time, saving you a lot of fiddling with pages that you have to do with ebooks. There's nothing worse to break your concentration than having to press a "next" button after every second paragraph.

Re:Love my kindle and my Nexus 7 (2)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 2 years ago | (#42493997)

Yeah, the DRM thing is quite annoying. Fortunately, more and more publishers are starting to offer their books DRM free, e.g. Baen Books and Tor/Macmillan, so I make it a point to only buy unencumbered ebooks. Many vendors do not make it easy to see which books are DRM free and which are DRM chained, though.

Re:Love my kindle and my Nexus 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493939)

I haven't read a paper book in years.

So what do you do when you encounter a book that isn't available in digital format?

Do you just forego the knowledge contained in that book?

I don't even know anyone with a tablet or e-device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493569)

It comes as no surprise that this market is a flop. It's like lots of markets. There probably is a demand. There just isn't that much demand in the long hault. People buy these devices as toys. They are like organizers of the past (while many of us did use them they weren't critical and many others bought them who didn't need them at all). The same can be said for netbooks, tablets, and the i******.

Re:I don't even know anyone with a tablet or e-dev (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42493683)

I see that people buy them and they continue to work next year so they dont have a reason to buy another, which was not an uncommon thing pre 2000

Re:I don't even know anyone with a tablet or e-dev (1)

haystor (102186) | about 2 years ago | (#42493705)

I disagree. It is more than a fad in the sense that an e-ink reader actually improves reading in a number of ways. It is lighter than a single book. Can hold thousands of books. There is no curve to the page and can be easier to read than paper. It will sit flat on its own.

When "lying on the couch at home" it is superior to a regular book in every way. There are pros and cons for buying it since there are limited options to buy (but instant delivery) and there is no resell value of an ebook.

Not a fad, just a luxury.

Re:I don't even know anyone with a tablet or e-dev (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493901)

And with the Kindle Paperwhite or the Nook GlowLight you can read in bed and not have to worry about a light source.

I wonder... (3, Interesting)

Ikonoclasm (1139897) | about 2 years ago | (#42493579)

Is there any data on e-reader habits based on age? As with most technological sea changes, there's resistance in the older generations that gradually evaporates. With e-readers, I'd very much expect a bit of a downswing in sales right after the initial surge. The less tech-friendly are convinced that easy-to-use e-readers are worth having by those young folk who know what they're talking about, but then decide that maybe they're not so keen on it after all. Meanwhile, the younger generations are adopting it at a steady pace that's only visible when you look at sales in specific demographics. I don't know if my hypothesis holds water or not, but from personal experience, this is not a new phenomenon.

Re:I wonder... (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42493667)

I will give you a sample from my personal life

I and my wife are are in our mid 30's and use e-readers
My mother, her step mother, and father all use e-readers
her grandmother, who stuggles to use a modern cable box does not

so in this poll people over 80 do not use e-readers

Re:I wonder... (1)

Zumbs (1241138) | about 2 years ago | (#42494019)

My grandfather (age 87) is considering to buy an iPad to read ebooks. He eyesight is not as good as it has been, and the ability to adjust font size of the book he is reading is a killer app for him. Neither my parents (60something) or my brother (40) owns a dedicated e-reader or tablet. They do have a computer.

Re:I wonder... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42494049)

so my poll has a margin of +-2

Re:I wonder... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42494057)

PS every ereader will let you adjust the font size

Just temporary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493581)

I don't see how ebook readers, tablets or other technology won't replace traditional books. Traditional books are way more resource hungry, less usefull and less covnenient. People are always slow to adapt new technologies and the fact that big publishers are refusing to release a lot of books for ebooks because the profit margin might be smaller doesn't help either.

tl;dr This is merely a setback

PDF killed the ebook (1)

MPAB (1074440) | about 2 years ago | (#42493585)

The ebook lacks the short battery life and sun glare of computer screens, it also is weightless. It was meant to let us carry all of our texts along, but...
While casual fiction readers tend to be tech unsavy, those of us that are want to carry around complex texts to study from. Sadly there's no right way to get a simple web page into most ebooks without formatting issues. And PDF is the final insult, where words are split without any rules, paragraphs get slaughtered and images disappear into the void.
Tablets are much better at displaying anything that's not just plain text, but they're cumbersome, more fragile and seldom last for more than a few hours on a charge.

Ebooks should've come in more than paperback size (I know there are bigger ones, but they cost as much as a midrange tablet) and with enough horsepower to overcome the slow screen when zooming and panning, not to add even more wait time to it.

Re:PDF killed the ebook (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42493693)

funny, my wifes nook tablet last a day and a half, and thanks to live wallpaper, and the fact that she constantly plays on it, it never seems to goto sleep

Re:PDF killed the ebook (1)

MPAB (1074440) | about 2 years ago | (#42494111)

Definition of SELDOM

: in few instances : rarely, infrequently

Re:PDF killed the ebook (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42494115)

a constant 36 hours does not fit my definition of !!!!SELDOM!!!!!

I don't know (3, Insightful)

Evtim (1022085) | about 2 years ago | (#42493603)

Seems to me that the usefulness of an e-reader/book was spoiled by the industry - both hardware and content. Locking, removing content remotely, DRM books, price of e-books (!!?)....add to that that most readers suck at displaying technical info (most, not all).

As as consumer I just know how I fell about all those recent "revolutions" - the smart phone, the tablet and the e-reader. They suck, big time, even though the idea is brilliant. I never expected that the phone and the tablet would not be just small computer, fully compatible with your PC. Never expected the price of an e-book to be the same as a paper one. Never expected .the Spanish inquisition..... Our socioeconomic model sucks, people! Even when we have fantastic technologies we make crappy, annoying products that do not expand our horizon but rather lock us in a box and hinder us. No second hand selling, no lending of e-books, cameras from the TV watching if you are not "breaking" the license....just read any random page of news on /. and you will come with at least one example of industry idiocy labeled "for your convenience and enhanced consumer experience" ....

So, give me back my paper book that I can buy without telling what I had for breakfast and how did my mother's milk taste like. It cost the same as e-book, I can browse through it faster, it is more robust (do you think your files will survive 50-100 years and if they did that there will be compatible device to read them on?), I can give to anyone I like, does not have tracking device that calls home and says what and when I read....thank you!

I hope he's right ... (3, Insightful)

Scholasticus (567646) | about 2 years ago | (#42493609)

If I buy a copy of a paper book then I own that copy. On an e-reader or a tablet I buy a license that lets me have a copy on a device. Unless I back up my copy, the seller can take it away from me without even asking. Also, there's something about a nice solid bound book that you don't get from an electronic copy. Personally I prefer electronic formats for more ephemeral things (news, computer books that are out of date before they're published, etc.) and bound paper copies for longer lasting things, e.g. Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. I suppose we'll see how things turn out.

Re:I hope he's right ... (1)

sl149q (1537343) | about 2 years ago | (#42493799)

Haven't bought a Real(TM) book in over three years now!

I simply ran out of room for more physical books (just under 10,000 paperback novels...)

Reading on an eReader is just as good and the epub files take up far less room.

Technical documents (PDF's) are reasonably OK as well on a full sized table (aka iPad).

Re:I hope he's right ... (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42494097)

this notion of every book is a treasured artifact amuses me

Information density (1)

Stephen Williams (23750) | about 2 years ago | (#42493627)

I live in a small flat with insufficient space to store lots of books. My Kindle solves that problem.

Reading ebooks is a completely different experience to reading paper books. I miss the tactile nature of paper books, the physical bookmarkability, and the ease of flicking through them. But the practical problem of storage space that ebooks solve is, for me, a more important consideration.


Re:Information density (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493791)

Many people used to have insufficient room to store large numbers of books -- in case you haven't noticed, new houses are a lot bigger, on average, than they were years ago. The solution was a library card. Unless one read extraordinarily fast and had a need to house thousands of books at a time, borrowing them from one's local library was the solution. Sadly, many libraries -- especially school libraries -- are discarding their paper books. So much for the serendipitous, accidental discovery of books one may never have heard of, let alone thought to read.

Re:Information density (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42494107)

then libraries like my local one started closing at 2pm and not open on the weekends, effectivley making them into a money pit no one cause use

Nostalgia (1)

phriot (2736421) | about 2 years ago | (#42493639)

The reason why e-books haven't surged to become the primary book format is likely that many readers today have grown up with physical books. This fact results in feelings of nostalgia when we pick up a printed book. I, for one, would never consider reading old favorites on my Sony Reader, nor would I try to read new works that I anticipate becoming favorites on that device, because feeling paper between my fingers and smelling pages of paper has meaning to me. Within a generation or so, kids may not build the same relationship with physical books, and at that time the majority of books may be consumed in e-book format.

Re:Nostalgia (2)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 2 years ago | (#42493811)

Formatting in physical books tends to be far better as page size is fixed, many are much cheaper (used, remaindered, etc.), you can resell them to recover part of the purchase price, and whole categories of books are far better in printed form than digital —footnote-heavy books, anything where large pages are useful, and anything where having two full pages visible at once is helpful, to name a few.

E-book readers have a long way to go before they'll woo everyone in the newer generations away from paper books, I think. I wish they'd get there, but I don't see them going past their current status as devices for reading Tom Clancy novels while sunbathing, since that's where the bulk of the market is.

They're a suitable (superior, even) replacement the mass-market fiction paperback, but not much else.

Why not literary fiction? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about 2 years ago | (#42493641)

that e-books are well suited to some types of books (like genre fiction) but not well suited to other types (like nonfiction and literary fiction)

Why not literary fiction? I've been travelling the world for the last several years now and haven't read as much classic literature as I would have liked to, because there's only so many books one can put into a backpack. But my significant other got a Kindle as a birthday gift, and after discovering a prominent pirated book site with epub/mobi/lit downloads, we've now got more literary fiction than we've ever dreamed of. We can even read hardcore 20th century modernism like William Gaddis on the Kindle and for the most part, the experience is immersive.

Sure, the presentation is not 100% ideal. I'm a longtime TeX user and I miss the fine points of typography on a Kindle. But things like hyphenation will probably come along pretty soon.

E-paper readers are not suitable for many things. I'm a researcher in linguistics and I have to read my scientific references from paper or my netbook screen (PDF-Kindle conversion is a joke as I'm sure many people here know). I've also found reading poetry to be unsatisfactory on the Kindle, even when the publication is available in a mobi/epub/lit format. But for literary fiction it's quite nice.

Re:Why not literary fiction? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493755)

hello, my username is CRCulver, my slashdot ID is 715279

I freely admit I download pirated material, while I have my linked account easily searchable

I am a dumbshit

sorry, I am also a TeX snob cause computer fonts based in the 80's is so much better than now, so therefor I am a grade A, 100% fucktard.

Re:Why not literary fiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493803)

I'd have thought that ebooks were more suited to nonfiction, not less.

They're definitely not suited for literary fiction though. And I don't mean classic literature. Classic Literature is genre fiction that's good enough to be still popular. Literary Fiction was fiction that was never popular, and the authors would consider themselves to have failed if it was, it's the hipster Genre of fiction, so it definitely can't be read on something as vulgar and common as a Kindle. (Though you might get away with an iPad, but only if you make sure you mention that it's just not the same as the real thing frequently).

pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493643)

I think you will find that its mostly due to their price often times being greater than the printed edition... Its actually quite scary they think its a good idea.

No price advantage for ebook ... (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about 2 years ago | (#42493657)

Perhaps its some sort of act of defiance but if an ebook is not offered for a lower price than the paper version I tend go with paper.

Currently my digital books tend to be technical references that I want to carry around with me in case I need to look up something at work or old classics that are available at no charge.

Stuff I read for fun still tends to be on paper. Perhaps that will change if pricing changes, or maybe I'll just move on to another excuse ... I want to read in the bathtub might work until the Kindle Paperwhite becomes water resistant.

Re:No price advantage for ebook ... (1)

Eskarel (565631) | about 2 years ago | (#42493909)

Depends where you live. Here in Oz, the price of an average paperback is about $AU20, you'll only pay that for an ebook from amazon if it's a new release(which in hardcover would be well over $AU30 here). Can I find cheaper books if I get them shipped or find them used, sure, but the price is better than local and I will have the new book in about a minute, no matter where I am which isn't half bad.

I dont read ficton (3, Informative)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42493659)

My wife does and quote "loves her nook" which was a simple touch, turned tablet

I got her simple touch, rooted it, and use it constantly for office documents, technical PDF's like mechanical drawings and other things such as email, news and weather

as someone who does not read for escapet, I love being able to drop a doc on a tablet and walk it around, she loves it cause its an entire bookstore AND local library, one click away that also lets her take a moment to check facebook, or play a round of scrabble, while listening to her music while between classes

sure the devices have taken a drop, most people are happy with ones they bought... most people now days are not stupid and buy the product they like instead of this weeks fad / toy, and as time marches on the difference between printed and ebook preference will shift

research (3, Interesting)

swell (195815) | about 2 years ago | (#42493669)

I hope I never have to do research in a paper book again.
No random access, useless index, no xref, no links, no instant glossary...

The books I studied in school weighed far more than a tablet, cost nearly the same, and offered far less. A tablet could contain 1000 such books and provide pulp fiction too if I wanted that. Not to mention that the tablet provides the internet, Wikipedia, other media and access to all my friends and associates.

The only real books I keep are those that have not been digitized or are very rare. OK, some have value and I'm not going to burn them. It's the same philosophy that helps me to decide which LP records, audio tapes, and video tapes to keep. Once they are properly digitized, the old media is out of here.

I'm a writer. Unlike those of the past who refused to learn to type or use a computer, my feeling is that the technology is irrelevant- it's the story, stupid. If you read it from an illuminated parchment or a pixellated screen or the wall of China, what difference does it make?

I do keep a paper book in the bathroom, just in case the other paper runs out.
Take that you paper snobs!

Re:research (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about 2 years ago | (#42494027)

I agree that doing research in paper is much harder. Full text searchable volumes are great for finding exactly what you want quickly. However, when I read for pleasure, I prefer paper. The paper is so much easier on my eyes. Also, I spend the day reading stuff on a computer so when I get home reading on paper is a nice way to change up.

Tangible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493671)

I still buy printed books all the time. I like that each book looks unique. I like the artwork. I like flicking through books on a shelf while I choose one. I like the feel of the paper while I read and turn the pages. I like bookmarks. I like old books with coffee stains on them, strange smells and dog-ears. I like the variation of printed text from one book to another. I like illustrations on one page and text on the other. I like the weight of a book in my hand while I hold it.

I like vinyl records too, for much the same reason. I can play music easily enough on my computer, or from a CD, but when I play a record I take the sleeve up in my hand and enjoy the artwork and perhaps a fully fledged gatefold. I like taking the record in my hand and wiping the dust off. I like putting it on my turntable and the physical actions required to get it playing, firing up the amp, dropping the needle, adjusting the gain. I like that my attention is required to take the needle off at the end of the record, it keeps me engaged. I'm fully involved in the listening experience.

Computers take all the fun out of everything!

Re:Tangible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493729)

I like that all this kindle sits in my house, infesting every square inches like cockroaches

Re:Tangible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493973)

This is one thing that I find depends entirely on ones lifestyle. I definitely have always loved books, but I have always been in a position where I tend to be moving to a new place every year or three and have since I was very young. My folks would always be moving, and I guess I picked up the same sense of being loose footed.

by 2000ish it definitely became a godsend that the majority of my entertainment was in the form of an HD enclosure that fits in hand, rather than box after box of paper (which if you have moved before you will know is one of the biggest pains in the ass), or even box after box of cd's/dvd's for other forms of media. Add in something like Calibre to manage them, either on a laptop or a tablet or an ereader, and I cant imagine doing otherwise.

I still have a very small collection of favourites as actual books but it has slimmed down to 2 rows on a shelf. Of course, I could easily see that exploding in size if it ever seemed that I was rooted somewhere, but as long as the concept of moving again is a reasonable probability this is definitely the method I'll be sticking with.

TFA speaks the truth... DUH! (1)

meetpi (2776369) | about 2 years ago | (#42493721)

The thing I find amazing is how people (and by people, I mean media/tech pundits) consistently buy into the hype cycle (and by buy into, I mean, write stories that feed it) and then are totally amazed/smug when their most extreme predictions don't eventuate. Stay tuned for the next part of the hype cycle when the self-same pundits who told us that e-books would soon replace ALL printed media begin proclaiming that ebooks are a stillborn technology that nobody really wanted anyway.

Technological innovations are so often presented as either/or propositions: either technology B will completely replace technology A, or technology A will see off the challenge of technology B and live on (and in most cases tech B is going to replace tech A so you'd be better be ready for it, buddy, or else BAD STUFF)

In reality, most times technology A and technology B fall into a relationship with each other that satisfies most people, forming a new hybrid which offers people the best of both worlds. The only time a new technology completely overshadows an existing technology is:

a) when the new technology offers exactly the same thing as the old tech, but also offers up some significant benefit over the old;
b) when the new technology is backed by a power with the ability to distort the market; and,
c) the combination of a and b.

So e-books will co-exist with printed books because there are strengths and weaknesses in each format that the other does not completely account for, and there is not a significant/powerful enough vested interest trying to make one displace the other.

But wait! I coud be wrong. After all, soon MOOCs [or insert other darling tech] will completely replace universities [or insert other established institution/tech/practice].

What a silly article. (5, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#42493763)

Point by point.

1) This example is absurd. A cromulent contrast would be "pure text" vs. "mixed text and images". Novels work fine with flowing layouts that adjust to the size and pixel density of the display. Doesn't matter if they're fiction, non-fiction, or historical fiction. However, if you have material with a lot of pictures and diagrams (textbook, magazine, etc.) then printed books have a distinct advantage. Most e-readers are not good at handling images and re-flowing the content can separate images from their associated text. However, that is starting to change. The iPad and a few Android tablets are sporting 2048x1536 displays which have enough pixels to adequately reproduce something pretty close to the quality of a printed page. And now there's the Nexus 10 at 2560x1600 that does an even better job.

Also, pretty significant advances have been made in the design of electronic "printed" media. I used to work for a large magazine when they were first starting to produce content for phones and tablets, the result was pretty crude. I took a look at what they're producing today on Google Magazine using my Nexus 10 and it's amazing. Razor sharp text, sliding columns, Pullup/pullout sidebars, print quality images, etc. So even the "mixed text and images" presentations are improving significantly on portable devices. It's just a matter of time before color e-ink is available in densities of 300ppi or higher, bringing a similar experience outdoors.

2) While I may be an early adopter, I'm not much of an early consumer on the content side. I didn't use my first e-reader much until I had a way to remove DRM from the content. Amazon's Kindle hardware and content sales were booming long before I started making content purchases. That was regular folks who were dazzled by the tech and didn't care about the high prices and content controls. Ebooks outsold paper books at Amazon over 1.5 years ago.

The author says 59% have no interest in ebooks. So that means as many as 41% do have an interest in a new form of literature consumption that's only been around for a few years. That's one hell of an adoption rate. Amazon's done for print distribution what Apple did for music distribution.

3) Oh, my gosh! People who are being paid to market a new thing might be exaggerating. That's unpossible!

4) LP to cassette to CD to MP3. VHS to Laserdisc to DVD to Blu-Ray. Same thing. So people re-purchase their favorite titles in a big chunk when they get the device then slow down to their regular rate of buying 5-10 books per year. That seems like the expected pattern for existing content being re-released on new media.

5) This statement makes no sense at all. The fact that I can read my content on my phone and tablet has increased my adoption of ebooks. When I had to carry a dedicated reader, ebooks were far less convenient. There was little advantage over a regular book because it was still a single-purpose object that had to be carried around. Now I can read anywhere on my phone because I always have my phone with me. And it syncs with my tablet so I can pick up where I left off on either device. So if I know I'm going to have some downtime, I can bring the tablet. If I have unexpected downtime, I've got my phone. And, since I've stripped the DRM from all of my purchased content, it doesn't matter which device I used to buy the titles. I can see how there would be adoption problems for people who get stymied by DRM. That is the kind of thing that will turn people off.

6) I actually agree that ebook pricing is bullshit. I can understand premium prices for new releases but, once a title gets to "paperback" phase, the price should be significantly cheaper than paperbacks because so much of the production and distribution cost has been eliminated. As I said, I worked for a large magazine. I know what it costs to print and ship all those dead trees. Not to mention the coordination required to make sure everything happens at just the right moment.

Price driven... (4, Insightful)

Raxxon (6291) | about 2 years ago | (#42493767)

You want eBook adoption to work? QUIT BEING PROFITEERING BASTARDS.

They already have the book in an electronic format before printing begins. It's what they send to the damn printer that actually puts ink on paper. Why then is the "cost" of an eBook more than the paperback counterpart? I could see justification for a higher price when the book is Hardback only (usually the first 9 to 18 months the book is available) but once the paperback hits shelves, why is the ebook still so much more expensive?

I've actually seen some eBooks at a higher price point than the hardback.... dafuq?

Re:Price driven... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493837)

They charge what they think people are willing to pay. I guess people are paying those prices. I personally buy mostly used booked. The price on new books isn't affordable to me. They could capture me as a sale by lowering the price, but that might not be the most profitable. I also wonder if the profit sharing model is worse for ebooks to the publisher since the publisher isn't making money charging for the press use.

Re:Price driven... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493861)

We need a Netflix for e-books. Flat rate monthly fee for unlimited reading. Massive catalog of books.

In fact, just have Netflix buy Pandora and expand to e-books. They can use my movie, music, and book preferences to refine their content suggestions.

Re:Price driven... (1)

tsotha (720379) | about 2 years ago | (#42493907)

Yep. That's my problem with 'em. I love my kindle, but when I can get a dead tree book for half the price of the ebook with free shipping.... how does that make sense? The death of printed books would be a hell of a lot less exaggerated if they didn't overprice ebooks.

Re:Price driven... (1)

balsy2001 (941953) | about 2 years ago | (#42494051)

I don't understand why they don't start doing what I have seen on DVDs now and again. Where they give you the digital copy free for buying the disk. They should give me the e-book when I buy the paper one.

Re:Price driven... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494099)

in answer to your question:

Portability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493771)

Books are only portable up to 10-20 items. After that their cumulative weight is too much to carry. I could consult any of my 100 scanned private library on any of my devices without so much as carrying an extra gram.

No contest - it's books for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42493773)

Why? For the various things they can be used for - none of which include actually reading them - well, ok, reading them too!

They can be used for such wonderful things as:

- Umbrellas
- Door/window stops
- Seats
- Tables
- Hiding things
- Hammers
- Paper towels
- Gift wrapping paper

Plus, there's nothing better than walking into a room full of musty old books and paging through some ancient tome. Or curled up next to a fire under the stars watching the shadows bounce playfully off the pages that you're reading. Some things digital will never replace. :-)

The tech needs to advance just a bit more (3, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#42493785)

I have had three e-readers, the first way decent but it had cheap plastic keys like on a really cheap small calculator, it did have a high rez display (iRiver device) and had a wide format support. But it was slow. So it was well suited to reading a page BUT flipping a page took a long time, PDF's were especially a nightmare, it was best for manga with high text content since it displayed those very well and then the relative slow page turning with lots to read isn't that distracting.

I have bought a very big e-reader for manga reading, it is beautiful but the device is so big (9 inches) it is not all that suitable for on the go reading. For books it is to large.

recently I bought a Odyssee HD from Bookeen. It has a build in light and is small. It is a very nice device for reading books BUT its manga support is dismal (no archive support) and its directory structure is arcana. Calibre helps but it needs to convert zip archives to epud files. It DOES have nice PDF support with a reflow option.

ALL the devices have margins in margins, it is traditional to print a page and leave a wide border BUT on a computer screen IT IS NOT because I PAYED for those bloody pixels so fucking USE THEM, I want a SMALL margin. Only the last device has tiny bit of support for it but you STILL have well over a centimeter of wasted space on either side. The device already has a wide physical border, I don't need one on the screen.

What does this rant mean?

E-Readers just ain't mature yet, they are in the state of MP3 players before the iPod when the likes of Sony found it perfectly acceptable to only support their own format which nobody else used while iRiver had support for formats you could even find on google, but used a directory format that only a unix wizard could grasp.

That a player like bookeen still doesn't support archives shows an attitude that "we do what we want and standards, fuck em, we are the standard" (the device also can't fit epub images to the screen (no zoom)). I knew this in advance, it is my book reader, not suitable for manga.

Page turns are getting really fast, almost capable of playing animation. In device lighting has made a HUGE difference (it also removes a bit of glare in bright light) but they still as said, MP3's before the iPod. Or mobile phones before standarized OS'es.

iOS en later Android STANDARIZED software behavior on a wide array of devices, especially with android you didn't need to check that it would support your media files, it would, because it was android and even Sony now supports a long list of formats.

What e-readers need is a base OS on which perhaps companies can build their own actual reader software UI but in which the basics are simply present and standard supported. Perhaps EVEN allow third party apps to be installed so the community can come up with a manga reader that is actually suited to the subtleties of manga and not comics.

Right now, (small) e-readers of the latest lighted generation offer:

  • Light weight (if you take them out of their cover)
  • Cheap content (piracy, lets be honest here, I have a LOT of bought paper books, only 1 payed for ebook, I do have more then one file on my e-readers)
  • Entire library on the go (see above)
  • In confined areas, like public transport, they are easier to hold then a larger book, mine easily slips into my pocket, a thick paperback, not so easily.

But they have downsides

  • Arcana usage, that a confusing program as Calibre is praised for making it so much easier to manage your device says enough. If your car became easier to drive by operating it standing it on your head, you would want a word with its designer.
  • Uncertain format support
  • Loosing the pixel race with tablets.
  • UI operating is slow.
  • SLOOOOOW searching, flipping of multiple pages, indexing.
  • Inconsistent operation, ctrl-c for copy on the PC is such a nice standard but handling bookmarks etc on a e-reader changes between devices and versions. In a physical book, ear-marking a page is easy, consistent and reliable.
  • Uncomfortable to hold, it remains a hard plastic device, touch screens are nice for the UI but means you can't hold your fingers on it like a regular book.
  • Page turning mechanics are uncomfortable, ordinary book you relax your hold with your thumb and the next page flips, with an e-reader you need to press a button that is usually just out of reach because if you were holding it, you would press it. Read in bed and invariably you will flip some pages as you turn over.
  • No color, for pure reading novels, that ain't to bad but for manuals it can be a nuisance.
  • Uncertain support for printing gadgets. Take Terry Pratchetts habbit of including footnotes at the bottom of the PAGE, ebooks have those footnotes either completely absent or at the end of the chapter... and Terry Pratchett doesn't always do chapters. By the time you reach the end, you kinda forgot what the footnote was referring too. But other jokes that printers can pull of like sidewise text, made up fonts etc etc just are iffy with ebook formats and ebook readers handling of those formats.

E-readers are good for bulk readers of simple novels. Anything beyond, like reading books with lots of footnotes, and they start to fall apart, although not having to carry out the single print Lord of the Rings is a bonus by itself. The market really needs to mature, work together more so they can concentrate on features and have the basics covered. Basically, we need android for e-readers.

You might note I don't compare e-readers to tablets. The reason is simple, tablets are starting to win the race except on the lighting issue but with higher pixel support, apps made by people who got fed up with the existing crappy software, color, they are starting to win. Except in one area. Weight.

Really what e-readers need is better support for formats (and not just the DRM ones), high resolutions and to JUST work (my odysee HD sometimes forgets page flips, so you press once, nothing happens, you press again, two page flips. That is such a silly bug, it just shouldn't exist anymore on a modern device that already had several generations (3rd for the Odysee, 6th or so for the company). It isn't a crippling issue, just one that in a tablet reader app would already have been fixed or I would have installed another app.

Apps, just put android on those devices and leave the format and features to the community. It gave us Calibre when many an e-reader doesn't even come with software to manage it.

Re:The tech needs to advance just a bit more (2)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 2 years ago | (#42493883)

Arcana usage, that a confusing program as Calibre is praised for making it so much easier to manage your device says enough. If your car became easier to drive by operating it standing it on your head, you would want a word with its designer.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds Calibre simultaneously necessary and completely awful.

I class it with things like XBMC and every single digital music library tool I've every used: software that does some stuff I really want to do, but that I dread using because it's so goddamn obtuse.

Re:The tech needs to advance just a bit more (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42494083)

so you use cheap readers to look at cartoons, and complain about them, cause you know, you read cartoons...

I love my e-reader - and buy paper books, because (0)

mha (1305) | about 2 years ago | (#42493793)

- DRM (enough said - are you kidding me????)

- When reading an ebook I don't get this satisfaction of "visible progress" that I have from having more and more pages on the left than on the right. This is not important to me at all when reading novels, simply because I'm usually done within a day or two, but the last couple of years I've read tons and tons of sometimes dry (but interesting) non-fiction, where somehow deep inside of me this seems to make a big difference.

- Regardless of further tech. progress, unless the human genome changes significantly and you can plug a USB stick into your head directly, it will ALWAYS be true that when technology fails your books will still be with you, and you can still read. Books live for hundreds of years, technology maybe a dozen. Combine this argument with DRM...

- I am human. I DO get a feeling of satisfaction when other people who visit me can see what I've been reading. Wherever I go I always have a casual look at the titles of the books (and then feel soooo erudite in comparison :) ). Doing the same on a computer, e.g. looking at someones book list on facebook, is tedious and feels like work, it does not feel "natural".

So now I get novels for the e-reader (but DRM free), and all the books I care about I buy in print.

Re:I love my e-reader - and buy paper books, becau (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42494075)

whenever I go to someones place, the last thing I do is finger fuck everything on the shelves, and I sure as shit dont care about what dribble fictional garbage they picked up at wallmart

please, do us all a favor and get over yourself, no one gives a shit

A very grave collapse that can't be stopped. (3, Insightful)

beachdog (690633) | about 2 years ago | (#42493807)

I went to Stanford University bookstore to see if I could purchase a few graduate level textbooks in human motor development, neurology and (a separate interest) particle physics (easy stuff like alpha particles).

Wikipedia beat Stanford University Bookstore on each of these topics. I walked in with $200 plus a credit card and spent only $.75 on parking.

Eventually, my daughter who is in college got me an old edition of the motor development book I needed.

The paper book is shrinking due to the economics of printing: The weight and cost of paper, the taxes on unsold book inventory, the system change where fine printing is typeset in USA and printed in China. In contrast, electronic books are 2% for the webserver, 49% to the publisher and 49% to the author.The markup or profit on an electronic book is basically set by the marketing skill and chutzpah of the publisher. You can weigh a book and look up the wholesale price of paper and see that relatively little is left for the publisher and author.

Ok, so... (1)

Memroid (898199) | about 2 years ago | (#42493809)

Can I have my bookstores back now?

Wishful thinking (1)

eminencja (1368047) | about 2 years ago | (#42493823)

I skimmed the article and it looks like a wishful thinking of the publishers who see the writing on the wall.

The Association of American Publishers recently reported that annual growth in adult e-book sales dropped to 34 percent during the first half of 2012

So e-books are still growing and growing fast (34%!). The fact that an e-book costs as much as a paper one, has a DRM, and a delivery fee(!) is a disgrace but just imagine what will happen once those get fixed.

The printed word will always exist, certainly.... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#42493929)

But I'm quite positive that there's going to come a time when using paper as opposed to digital is going to get prohibitively expensive, and when that happens, the printed form will finally become the uncommon exception.

Archive (1)

GerryHattrick (1037764) | about 2 years ago | (#42494071)

Quarter of a ton of books in my study, most over 50 years old, reference not fiction, long 'out of print'. e-media won't help. But sometimes I find vital things all mixed up from Google Books or PG scans, and can then buy originals from specialist dealers or Abe Books. Good news for a certain kind of bookseller.
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