Re: eBook

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1. I find the iPhone keyboard really, really annoying.

2. Is Kindle any different, really, than a souped up Sony e-reader? I've seen a lot of disheartened criticism of the Sony.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:18 PM
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There's some serious buzz about it in the bookselling world, actually. Jeff Bezos of Amazon was on Charlie Rose recently (yesterday?) and apparently claimed that he expected that they'd have *every book ever printed* -- which seems quite a claim -- encoded within 5 years.

Dude. (Bookselling world puts in its thinking cap for all of 10 minutes before seeing Barnes & Noble, Borders, used bookselling, the textbook industry, whole publishing houses, and so on just washed away.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:18 PM
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I hate the name. Every time I hear it, I think of kindling and throwing it on a fire.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:22 PM
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That is quite a claim. And you better start looking for work.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:22 PM
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It's the proprietary format that gives me pause. I don't actually mind whatever DRM they want to use for books you buy, but I don't want to have to pay to put my own files on it. It doesn't support PDF either. It's also kind of ugly.

I don't think the selection will be that big of a deal in the long run. They have to make separate agreements with every publisher, and formatting the books for the reader isn't automatic, so it'll take a while to get the full back catalogue up, but I'm guessing that they'll have quite a bit more available than just the latest John Grisham novel.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:23 PM
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And you better start looking for work.

We aren't talking about that right now, thanks.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:24 PM
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It doesn't support PDF

I think it does, in a roundabout way: you email the PDF to Amazon, they reformat it and make it available on your device.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:26 PM
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Is Kindle any different, really, than a souped up Sony e-reader? I've seen a lot of disheartened criticism of the Sony.

It's the same type of display, but the wireless is a big deal. It also has a keyboard for annotating. Plus, Amazon's involvement will boost the selection far beyond what was available for the Sony.

So, yeah, it's a souped-up Sony e-reader, but since the truly novel part of the Sony, the e-ink, actually works pretty well, a souped-up version is a good step.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:30 PM
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It's the proprietary format that gives me pause.

Right. I don't understand the ins and outs of this DRM stuff, but I gave up on purchasing ebooks about a year ago, after too many frustrating incidents, first with Microsoft Reader and then with Abode Digital Editions.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:31 PM
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I think it does, in a roundabout way: you email the PDF to Amazon, they reformat it and make it available on your device.

You've got to be kidding. Similarly, my DVD player plays VHS, I just have to reformat the tapes.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:32 PM
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Analogy, banned. Banned also out of pure personal animus.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:33 PM
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you email the PDF to Amazon, they reformat it and make it available on your device.

And charge you $.10 each for the service.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:33 PM
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What they need now is a home printer-binder which can transform a PDF into portable book. Most people don't want to read long things on a screen. It shouldn't cost more than a few hundred $.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:36 PM
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13: Why not just set the local forest on fire, Emerson?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:38 PM
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I don't think it supports PDF: "Kindle supports wireless delivery of unprotected Microsoft Word, HTML, TXT, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI files." The best part is where they charge you .10 to deliver each file to the device. Also good: .99/mo to read a blog on it.

They're doing this to offset the lifetime free wireless support, I guess, but I don't find it very compelling as currently designed. Their PR offensive is impressive though.


Posted by: icathing | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:41 PM
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What happens if you drop a Kindle into the bathtub?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:41 PM
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Some write-ups say it supports PDF translation, some leave out PDF. Dunno.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:43 PM
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Kindle increasingly sounds like the Gillette Mach 500.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:44 PM
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I really, really want an ebook to be able to handle PDFs easily so I don't have to print thousands of articles from Jstor.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:44 PM
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oooh, but it supports bitmaps. that'll be useful.

The problem with this stuff is, everybody knows what consumers actually want, but nobody on the supply side wants it to happen. Or they can't figure out how to make acceptable margin on it, which for differing values of `acceptable' amounts to the same thing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:45 PM
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I sometimes wonder if the successful ringtone market has screwed things for consumers.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:46 PM
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Amazon's own page on document conversion; it will translate PDFs, but they can't guarantee the results.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:46 PM
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Damn, Cala, can you imagine how fun it would be to have a device like this that can either store the pdf collection or download journal articles directly? So hot.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:47 PM
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If I'm dropping a few hundred bucks, damn well better have guaranteed results.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:47 PM
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The PDF transformation is "experimental," meaning it doesn't always work, meaning they don't want to advertise it. But it's there.

You can also convert PDFs to plain text at home and put it on there for free. And blogs, of course.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:47 PM
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On the iPhone: toldja!

On Parsimon's gloom: similarly, VCRs killed the movie theater, the internet killed newspapers, movies killed theater, video killed the radio star, which is to say: only sort of.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:47 PM
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23: metaphysico-theologico-physico-logico-tastic!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:50 PM
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And soon, pornography will kill relationships! Utopia!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:50 PM
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Cala & FL: Why is this better than a tiny laptop? I know that size-wise it is, but I would still need need to print out all those annoying JSTOR articles in order to write all over them. Or am I just an old lady who needs new habits?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:50 PM
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download journal articles directly? So hot.

It's like you can't hear yourself anymore.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:51 PM
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Some write-ups say it supports PDF translation, some leave out PDF. Dunno.

Some say that Kindle is the very face of the eBook today.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:51 PM
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16: Exactly. Or if I knock it off the table?


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:52 PM
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This thing is so astonishingly ugly that I sort of assume it must work like a dream. Othersie someone would have spent a little more time on aesthetic design.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:53 PM
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Amason had a video of what happens if you drop it,* but no information about its interaction with water.

*Which I did not watch.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:54 PM
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29: I don't take notes on the paper, so the big advantage would be not having the physical pieces of paper cluttering up my apartment. Or having to print the same article six times a year. And the screen is allegedly nothing like a laptop, so it would be easier on the eyes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:55 PM
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29: I probably print out about 10% of the articles I read, these days. I'd buy some sort of ebook tomorrow if it a) allowed local upload b) did vector formats easily, so I can either upload pdf, or worst case convert to postscript or something c) internal format is vector too.

Direct download would be an added bonus, absolutely. Not needed though.

deal killers for me, even if the tech is good:

- no direct upload (telco model of everything goes through them)

- internal raster format. I need to be able to zoom into complicated equations and see them clearly.

- no simple handling of .pdf documents


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:55 PM
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Why is this better than a tiny laptop...I would still need need to print out all those annoying JSTOR articles in order to write all over them.

Instead of using an LCD screen, it uses e-ink, which doesn't flicker and is (apparently) easier on your eyes. Also, you can annotate files on the Kindle, though how it really works in practice is yet to be seen.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:56 PM
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33 bears little relationship to the technology market as it exists. Aesthetic design is somewhat correllated to good tech (cf apple) but mostly orthogonal


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:57 PM
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flicker

The spelling of this word looks weird to me. Thank you, internet.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:58 PM
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30: According to Amazon's website, these things are crash tested and do pretty well with short falls.

On the .pdf issue, note that it does mobi files. This is a free format, and you can convert .pdf files to the mobi fomat quickly and easily.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:59 PM
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35: See, this is my problem. I write all over them and mark them with color-coded stickies, etc. Of course, this doesn't stop me from printing out the same thing six times. Grr. I need some kind of tablet so that I can mark it all up on screen.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:59 PM
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37: LCD & plasma don't really have a problem with flicker, particularly if we're talking about documents, but htey do have issues with both dynamic range and resolution.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 1:59 PM
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It will fail, as every other ebook reader has done.

If the ebook revolution will happen it will happen through things like the (ugh) Iphone or other multifunctional devices that people buy for other purposes.

But even then it will depend on publishers selling ebooks people will want, with no DRM and for a price that's in line with what you're getting. Currently the few big publishers selling ebooks think they can charge hardcover prices, which is just ridiculous.

The only publisher that really understands how to sell ebooks is baen books, but you have to really, really like milsf.



Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:00 PM
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This is the best reaction to the announcement I've seen.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:01 PM
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42: Yeah, I think it's actually more the backlit screen that hurts my eyes, come to think of it. In any event, it solves both problems.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:02 PM
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43: yes, see 20. It's not like it's a mystery to anyone what will work, the mystery is how to wring maximum $$$ out of it. That, and tech problems.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:04 PM
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Was the hideous form factor specifically chosen by Frog or whomever to appeal to people with fond memories of circa 1978 office technology, on the theory that those people will be dumb enough to pay $.99 a month to read an RSS feed?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:05 PM
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13- Espresso book machine. Priced for libraries rather than personal use, but will print and bind a standard paperback in about 5 minutes


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:06 PM
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It will fail, as every other ebook reader has done.

I agree with that, but I don't think it will be an iPhone that makes the leap. I think the network connectivity will be ancillary, not the main purpose.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:06 PM
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Espresso book machine through Kinkos would really work for me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:10 PM
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but you have to really, really like milsf

You misspelled "milfs".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:10 PM
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ebook readers won't catch on until almost everything that's available in paper is available electronically

This is the wierdest reaction to the kindle I've seen. Doesn't amazon have the best chance of anyone, save google, of getting maximum content onto the thing? It looks like a mediocre device with a reasonable purchasing service behind it, including purchasing books over a mid-speed wireless network rather than wifi.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:11 PM
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would really work for me.

I knew you were teh Kapitalist Oppressor.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:12 PM
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The whole idea of funnelling all content through one source is fundamentally broken.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:12 PM
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44: That's exactly right.

And what happens if I spill coffee on it?


Posted by: Ug | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:12 PM
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ebook readers won't catch on until almost everything that's available in paper is available electronically

Is that more helpful, spaz?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:13 PM
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At standard Kinko's rates (cents per page b&w, plus binding and cover) wouldn't printing a book approach the cost of buying it? And that ignores the IP cost.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:15 PM
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56: don't they eventually have to, Sifu?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:16 PM
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If the device was free or sold at a loss, then it might certainly be revolutionary. But the device is quite expensive and the content is also quite expensive. Yawn.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:16 PM
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58: have to? Why?

I'm not saying that the concept of reading things stored in a digital form won't catch on, but "book" is probably the wrong metaphor.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:17 PM
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How can I stack up my ebooks next to my bed?

How do I impress friends by accidentally leaving an impressive ebook (anything by Dan Brown or Dean Koontz) on my coffee table?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:19 PM
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57: It would mostly work for out-of-print books and collections of journal articles. Elibron and Lulu sell print-on-demand books pretty cheaply (usually less than $20), and I suspect that once Amazon had everything scanned in prices would go down again.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:19 PM
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If the device was free or sold at a loss, then it might certainly be revolutionary

Who knows what'll happen, but it might follow an iPod-like path: one model that's expensive and limited in features and capacity initially, but as production costs go down, they release a more expensive model with new bells and whistles, and a bare-bones version for $99, or something.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:21 PM
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54: It seems to work for music okay.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:22 PM
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Actually, I retract 58, sort of. It seems likely that ebooks may not actually replace books in any direct fashion. It won't be like VHS and DVDs, where they compete directly with one another (supplied by the same publishers) and sales of ebooks creep up higher and higher until they eventually completely replace paper books. What seems more likely is that mobile devices will become more and more sophisticated, and more and more written content will be moved online (both new, original content and older works), and more and more people will be doing more and more of their reading online on portable devices. (This is of course happening already.) They may not think of themselves as "reading books" but as "reading articles the internet", some of which are quite lengthy. And (soon?) everything of importance will be published online. And the paper book publishing industry will die the same slow death as the newspaper industry.

In short, 43.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:23 PM
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parsimon:

Ceci tuera cela ---- ???

Maybe?

Eventually?

And yes, it needs a multicolored pen with which to mark up the text, tablet-style, in savable and sharable format.


Posted by: rm | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:24 PM
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63- I'm looking forward to the Kindle shuffle, the one that has no screen and accesses pages in random order.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:24 PM
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65: mm hmm.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:25 PM
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How do I impress friends by accidentally leaving an impressive ebook (anything by Dan Brown or Dean Koontz) on my coffee table?

These days, it's all about the content of one's Amazon Wish List.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:27 PM
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I'll tell you what would be fresh: an eBook reader that looked like a book. Nicely bound, two facing "pages", you could close it like a book: that would be cool. Why go halfway with this?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:34 PM
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Yeah, and you wouldn't get wet marks on the pages when you read it in the bathtub.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:36 PM
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70: In Japan, ebook readers have to have facing pages so they can read manga.

I want that too, plus color, so I can have comics.


Posted by: rm | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:36 PM
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67: funny
69: true. I have had things on there for years that I would really like to buy but there are only about eight months out of the year, resetting at Xmas, during which I can buy things from it while being sure that there isn't some relative that bought it and is holding in reserve for me.
70: that's the only kind I would want.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:38 PM
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64: How do you figure? The closest thing to that is itunes, i guess, but the number of songs coming off itunes is tiny compared to other sources, and I can rip my own cd's using the same software and put them on the same device.

Which is about what you'd want for an e-book, too.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:39 PM
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Sorry I haven't read the other comments yet.

26:

the internet killed newspapers, movies killed theater, video killed the radio star, which is to say: only sort of.

"Only sort of" can be enough to put people out of business, sweetheart. That's the concern in the longer term.

Of course utter gloom is premature, but this thing has just launched, and it'd be surprising if technical issues aren't resolved with subsequent models.

Suffice it to say that for your average, say, undergraduate, being able to download an eBook version of your textbooks from Amazon for half (or less) of the price of a hard copy will be very attractive indeed. Word is that the entire Princeton University Press catalogue is already available for download from Amazon, and that all the major publishers are already on board. Prices roughly half that of a paperback.

Amazon presumably has an interest in keeping the formatting proprietary in order to stave off future competition (they wouldn't want people to be able to comparison shop for their downloads).

Anyway, as a trend, it's good for buyers; not so great for the book trade. We'll see, should be interesting. No deep gloom here.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:40 PM
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This Kindle thing doesn't have much that the Sony Reader doesn't already have, and it's more expensive. Also, there's free pdf-to-lrf software that can convert documents into a format that's readable on the Sony's screen, whereas with the Amazon there isn't any equivalent program.

I'd been thinking about getting one of the Sonys for reading the scads of books I've downloaded from Gigapedia, but they're still too expensive for me (something like $275).


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:40 PM
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being able to download an eBook version of your textbooks from Amazon for half (or less) of the price of a hard copy will be very attractive indeed

This is true, butlargely because undergrads are getting fucked by the publishers, so not a lot of sympathy for that *particular* angle.

I'm sure there are other aspects of the book trade that are really threatened by this sort of thing, but some of them, like undergraduate texts, deserve to be. Other areas? Not so much maybe.

As you say, it should be interesting to see how it shakes out.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:43 PM
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70: There are apparently people hard at work on bendy screens.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:43 PM
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78: This is true, although I don't have the sense that anything is at all close to marketable.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:44 PM
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78: yeah, I think they're pretty close to production, as a matter of fact.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:45 PM
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We're both right!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:46 PM
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For lo, I contain multitudes


Posted by: Bendy screens | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:46 PM
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comity!


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:47 PM
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74: In terms of funneling all content through one source, most people keep their music on their computer and use one digital player when they want to take their music with them. I don't miss carrying CDs around to put in my knockoff Discman. I think the problem with the eBook is that I can't upload PDFs to it like I can put MP3s on an iPod. (If by funneling all content through one source, you mean being tied to one online store, I agree completely. I just mean that I think people are less attached to the format of the book than they think.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:47 PM
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Okay, I'm right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:47 PM
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Yeah, looks like they're getting close.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:48 PM
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I think we're closer to the tipping point on ebooks than most people here. I like the idea of e-ink, and I'll buy one some time soon. If I could have a couple novels plus some work pdf's on there, and not have to carry a charger on trips, I'll be totally happy.

Now this: eBook version of your textbooks from Amazon for half (or less) of the price of a hard copy

It's not the paper that makes textbooks more expensive. It's the small, captive market. If anything ebooks + drm will make textbooks a little more expensive because they'll kill the second hand market.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:48 PM
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Urg: 'I'd be totally happy'. I could care less about misspellings, but god I hate screwing up conjugations.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:49 PM
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Dammit.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:50 PM
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Nobody ever uses those ebooks. I never see them on the train to work which would be the perfect place for them. People who buy them just don't use them. Given that everyone else who thought they would use them don't, I doesn't make sense to check the specs on a new device to see if they meet your requirements. The previous suckers thought their ebooks meet their requirements too.

The iphones are sweet. My wife has one and the quick connection to the internet and usability is awesome. I sometimes use it at home, because starting up or fixing an internet connection on my notebook can be a huge hassle.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:50 PM
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If by funneling all content through one source, you mean being tied to one online store, I agree completely

This is what I meant, it was said sloppily.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:50 PM
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I could care less about misspellings, but god I hate screwing up conjugations.

See, this is where the work of our dogged pedants bears fruit, in changing people's minds at the margins.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:51 PM
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87: I think we aren't far technolgically, but we are practically. This is part of what I meat above about the problem with the success of ring tones.

For so long as corporate interest believe that they can sell you a machine that will leave you tethered to their servers, require a subscription, charge you a fairly stiff rate for content you already own, disallow you to directly provide your own content, and use crippiling DRM schemes, they absolutely will try and do it.

Any reader made under these conditions will suck.

Once corporations get around to the idea that they can make some money by providing a service usable by consumer-friendly devices, it'll be possible to to make one that doesn't suck.

That, and we need light, flexible, A4 sized 300dpi devices. I'd be ok with 150 to start though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 2:56 PM
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75 - Suffice it to say that for your average, say, undergraduate, being able to download an eBook version of your textbooks from Amazon for half (or less) of the price of a hard copy will be very attractive indeed.... Anyway, as a trend, it's good for buyers; not so great for the book trade. We'll see, should be interesting. No deep gloom here.

The textbook market and academic publishing are so far removed from trade publishing as to be basically a distinct industry. Since academics like to get all aflutter, I know the incredible cost of subscribing to academic journals -- and the slowly diminishing availability of book contracts, given the shrinking number of university libraries willing to buy academic books at $65 for a paperback -- is something that people yammer about in the Chronicle on occasion.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:04 PM
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75 - Suffice it to say that for your average, say, undergraduate, being able to download an eBook version of your textbooks from Amazon for half (or less) of the price of a hard copy will be very attractive indeed.... Anyway, as a trend, it's good for buyers; not so great for the book trade. We'll see, should be interesting. No deep gloom here.

The textbook market and academic publishing are so far removed from trade publishing as to be basically a distinct industry. Since academics like to get all aflutter, I know the incredible cost of subscribing to academic journals -- and the slowly diminishing availability of book contracts, given the shrinking number of university libraries willing to buy academic books at $65 for a paperback -- is something that people yammer about in the Chronicle on occasion.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:04 PM
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I fucking hate Safari.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:05 PM
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There are solutions, snark.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:06 PM
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I hate safari fucking.


Posted by: Pony the orangutan | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:07 PM
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98: Unfogged is a safe place for ourangoutangs!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:09 PM
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In fact, I just finally ditched Safari. Thanks, snark!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:15 PM
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I don't think it's up to much. Pilgrim has it about right.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:15 PM
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101: Beneath the Planet of the Pwned, a play in 44 acts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:18 PM
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101: See 44.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:19 PM
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That's twice in one thread, Sifu. Watch it.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:19 PM
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Who pwns the pwners?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:20 PM
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At my medical bookstore e-books were an enormous flop. I think that they were only successful when usable as step-by-step training methods for specific sorts of task. But an increasing number of textbooks and reference books included CDs, because computer graphics works better than print graphics, and because of searchability.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:22 PM
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Here's a question: Why is the publishing industry so threatened by Google Books (which I love, btw)?


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:23 PM
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102: You don't think I read the comments here, do you? Besides, recently my role around here has been to make some comment which then someone else makes 20 or 30 comments later and gets the credit for.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:29 PM
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Why is the publishing industry so threatened by Google Books (which I love, btw)?

Because once you disintermediate distribution and production, what's the purpose of the publishing industry besides giving Wesleyan graduates someone to charge their business lunches to?

I was using Safari because Camino was wedged, in fact. I've got five browsers installed on this laptop, I think.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:35 PM
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Is it true that Flock is better than Firefox? (Memory use? Anything else?)


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:48 PM
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Qu'est-ce que veut dire "wedged"?
I finally installed Firefox with ad-block because I got bored with all the cheezy soft-core pr0n ads slathered across Pandag0n.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 3:48 PM
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A sad day it is when the ebook takes the place of the r-e-al book. I must confess something, fellow unfoggedinators: When I was little I didn't get into reading because I actually liked to read. It all started when the book fair came to town. After opening one of those brand-spanking-new volumes,it was the odor of the fresh glue and paper that dragged me in. I volunteered at the book fair from then on so I could just open up them books and sniff for hours on end.

In other words, I'm not a scholar, per se, I'm a life-long addict. If the e-book takes over, I'll be in rehab.


Posted by: Scizor Cyster | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:02 PM
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106: and because of searchability
That's what indexes are for!!! (sorry it's the addiction talking...)


Posted by: Scizor Cyster | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:07 PM
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Everything can't be indexed, and often it's the very thing you want that isn't.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:08 PM
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No comment on this subject. Y'all do know, of course, that tho very poor and without really hurting anyone, I am still evil and going to hell.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:15 PM
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How do you know, bob? Is there some sort of service you can sign up for that will tell you? Maybe an Internet quiz?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:25 PM
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Why is the publishing industry so threatened by Google Books (which I love, btw)?

Because who's going to buy books when you can get them through Google for free?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:27 PM
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116:Agenbite of inwit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:28 PM
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117: But you can't get copyrighted books for free. The free stuff is public domain, much of it long since out of print.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:29 PM
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But the copyrighted books could appear for free, and then Google could refuse to take them down because they are supposedly not profiting from their use, and one downloaded copy can become millions, and who knows what could happen when intellectual property is breached.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:36 PM
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119: Is that right? I'm pretty sure I've seen copyrighted books on there. There are certainly recent books that are not in the public domain.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:37 PM
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who's going to buy books when you can get them through Google for free?

Half of my library was either bought at 25 cents a piece from garage sales or found in abandoned boxes after moving days - free as air, no downloading required.


Posted by: Scizor Cyster | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:38 PM
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Also, libraries exist.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:39 PM
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Also, libraries exist. The publishing industry was destroyed over a century ago.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:39 PM
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Also, libraries exist.

Only because they predate the rise of the modern publishing industry.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:40 PM
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118: I don't speak jive.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:41 PM
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I think they're worried about the pressure to go digital, which subjects them to the same risk as music producers: the one copy becomes millions thing, and in the longer term, it takes away control: why should an author use a publisher when he can sell his book directly? And of course booksellers don't like it in any case, because most people won't want to buy a book, new or used, when it's available online?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:41 PM
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the same risk as music producers: the one copy becomes millions thing

Yeah, I think this is the main practical worry for the publishers. They see what's happening to the record companies and want to prevent it happening to them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:43 PM
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Recently, Gonerill's role around here has been to make some comment which then someone else makes 20 or 30 comments later and gets the credit for.


Posted by: Lemmy Caution | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:43 PM
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Also, libraries exist.

I'm very excited to read that Amazon is considering a library-model for the Kindle. It's about time that DRM is used for something worthwhile.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:44 PM
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129: You know, that's very true. Astute, even.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:45 PM
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127: But most literary classics are already available online, and people still buy hardcopies.

I don't think the ebook will ever replace the real book for people who like to cuddle up on winternights in front of fireplaces with a great classic and a cup of coacoa.


Posted by: Scizor Cyster | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:46 PM
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Only because they predate the rise of the modern publishing industry. intellectual property boondoggle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:46 PM
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I don't think the ebook will ever replace the real book for people who like to cuddle up on winternights in front of fireplaces with a great classic and a cup of coacoa.

I think your attitude is a bit pessimistic, I think the ebook will replace a lot less than 99.9% of book sales.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:48 PM
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You can get substantial portions of SOME copyrighted books free, depending on what the publisher permits. Check books published by Verso for instance. Many biology textbooks and monographs are similarly available elsewhere; authors want to distribute this way, by and large, and only learn that they can't after they read the fine print of the first publisher's agreement.

It's not clear what effects free content has on sales-- I thought that the consensus from music was that free distribution increases sales for the less popular, and decreases sales for the most popular, which is fatal for a business whose model is short half-life objects marketed relentlessly.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:49 PM
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133: Six of one, a half dozen of the other.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:50 PM
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The thing about books is that they're a very good technology.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:50 PM
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I should note that I'm not really defending the publishers here, I'm just pointing out that it's not that hard to see what they have against Google Books etc.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:52 PM
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Funny book technology video


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:53 PM
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Stirling Newberry, at his old blog & at the Agonist, has discussed the long tail and top-down distribution, e.g., the need for the old macro structures to control the pipes. He, inimitably, connects this to the way for instance the two political parties control effective entrance to politics. I suppose everyone has read the article by the writer/producer who is quitting television because the 1995 FCC ruling reduced 60 independent content producers to ...zero. There are now 6 places to sell television scripts, and one set of rules and prices that are not negotiable.

It is an economic structure, which means it is a social and political structure. Newberry goes back centuries in his analysis, kinda Marxian.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:53 PM
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You can get substantial portions of SOME copyrighted books free, depending on what the publisher permits.

Isn't this different from Google's original plan, due to pressure from the publishers?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:53 PM
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intellectual property boondoggle.

Which goes back to the 18th century, and the rise of the modern publishing industry.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:54 PM
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Did Google have an original plan? They developed some nice software, made an agreement with several libraries for access to out-of-copyright material, and all else was uncertain, as far as I had read.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:56 PM
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134: I meant never - not "ever", see what the internet does? - this would never have happened in hardcopy. yet another reason why hardcopies will never be outdated.


Posted by: Scizor Cyster | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:56 PM
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Basically, I think the original publicity about Google's plan at least strongly implied that it would involve making the entire contents of several university libraries available for free regardless of copyright status, which pissed off the publishers, who then pressed Google to require their consent to make their books available, leading to the situation as it stands today. At least that's my memory of it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:56 PM
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I realize. It's a lot bigger than them now, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:56 PM
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18th
14th, I think, with a loose enough definition of property (copy control by Monastery libraries). Cited in the linked fulltext above.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:57 PM
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146 to 142, or alternately whatever dirty thing you sickos can come up with.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:58 PM
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Stirling Newberry could make a runaway fire engine crashing into a women's prison sound boring.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 4:59 PM
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146 to....um...That's what she said!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:00 PM
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The thing about printed books is independent of the things about electronic distribution and intellectual property. If I bought a lot of e-books I'd print out the ones I wanted to read.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:00 PM
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Being a slow reader, I just read the last paragraph of the post, where Ogged concedes the error of his ways regarding the iPhone. About time.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:00 PM
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Indeed, the UI is so fast and well-designed and browser so easy to use, that I was won over. Of course, I was using it in the store on a wifi connection, but I figure 3g will be acceptable. Note that I still don't want the current version.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:04 PM
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129: You know, that's very true. Astute, even.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:04 PM
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Ned, you're a genius.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:05 PM
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Well, fortune favors the prepared.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:06 PM
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146 cont:This is where, and a way, I disagree with Emerson about alternative left-of-center media. The PTB cannot, will not, let it happen. Not on their pipes This isn't even a content question, but, to get banned, like allowing people to build their own new roads or alternative high-voltage power grids. I lack the word, it is about an ontology, a episteme? A way of thinking.

The internets are a problem. Google & Amazon & Itunes are working toward an answer that will fulfil needs & desires while quelling anarchic the imagination.

I don't know, maybe I need to read Foucault & Baudrillard, but it just feels, from what I know, that they gave up.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:09 PM
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Law books have largely been replaced by electronic versions: younger lawyers don't seem to know how to do research with just paper. Which is fine most of the time.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:10 PM
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153: I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much wi-fi is available to steal.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:12 PM
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Indeed, the UI is so fast and well-designed and browser so easy to use,

Did you use the keyboard at all? I find it impossible.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:13 PM
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Besides, recently my role around here has been to make some comment which then someone else makes 20 or 30 comments later and gets the credit for.

Back off, man, that's my gig.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:14 PM
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SCMT, how long have you been using it? The trick really is to have faith in the auto-correction. It's brilliant, if you'll let it be.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:16 PM
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149:Too much Derrida, I think. SN is loose & dense

Ezra had another post this week about what can his generation do (about the war, financialization, PO & GW)? Please help? The 60s protests, or al the old alternative politics, just ain't gonna work any more, partly because his generation doesn't believe in them.

I remember the remarkable fact that like 30 percent+ of Berlin bought & read socialist newspapers every day/week, Kautsky for the masses. But did it do any good?

I wrote & deleted four comments before saying fuck if I know. I should go


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:19 PM
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160: I don't mind the keyboard. I don't have an iPhone, but rather the itouch -- I think the keyboards are the same. I admit that I prefer the tactile "key" feel on my Treo, but that is vastly, vastly, vastly outweighed by the infinitely preferable iPhone/iTouch UI.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:19 PM
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Did you use the keyboard at all?

I did. Seemed ok. Search for "iphone typing" on youtube; seems like people manage fine.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:20 PM
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My main problem with the keyboard's autocorrect is its habit of changing my oft-used interjection "Gah!" to "GDR!" This has caused me to adopt "German Democratic Republic!" as a cuss.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:22 PM
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That's a problem?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:23 PM
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iPhones are also great for commenting on unfogged at any time. Though scrolling through long comment threads is a mess.


Posted by: It's patentable and it's sharp! (6) | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:23 PM
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Note that I still don't want the current version.

I don't own one, either, for much the same reason.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:25 PM
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I'll be much more excited about them once the SDK is out, but there really is wifi pretty much everywhere.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:27 PM
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I agree. I'll get one -- but not until it has more memory and 3G. At least, I think I will. I really hate AT&T. I do hate my Treo a lot though. The Palm OS is barely functioning.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:28 PM
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there really is wifi pretty much everywhere

Not really. At the movie theater, waiting for the previews; if you're at a restaurant by yourself; standing in a long line somewhere.... All prime browsing times, usually with no wifi in range.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:29 PM
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I did. Seemed ok. Search for "iphone typing" on youtube; seems like people manage fine.

Apparently I have abnormally fat fingers.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:31 PM
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The wait for 3G is because EDGE is too slow?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:32 PM
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The wait for 3G is because EDGE is too slow?

Yeah. I have edge on my current phone, and you can surf if you don't load pictures, or go through the google proxy, but it's still friggin slow. Here let me load the NYT front page sans images and let you know how long it takes...


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:34 PM
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I agree that there are lots of good browsing times with no wifi, but edge is fine for a lot of browsing, so long as you're spending some time on each site.

On the negative side the autocorrect features don't seem to work in comment boxes, because it thinks you're filling out a form.


Posted by: It's patentable and it's sharp! (6) | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:35 PM
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EVDO is much faster than EDGE, but not in as many places.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:35 PM
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157: I disagree with Emerson about alternative left-of-center media.

As far as I know, the only one in the world who wants alternative independent media is me.

It would take a lot of money, and while there are lots of more or less liberal big-money people, some of them have very limited goals (e.g. no censorship, sexual freedom) and some have no imagination and only want to piss away a few hundred million every two years on electoral campaigns that don't leave any residue.

People seem content to just beg Graham and Sulzberger and Murdochs and Moonves and Moon and Scaife to see the light and quit being naughty. Not a winning tactic or strategy.

None of the left blogosphere has ever picked the idea up. People seem completely unconcerned by the fact that the semi-engaged lazy voter never hears anything center-right and right-wing propaganda. Olbermann and Air America are rare exceptions, but they get little support (either material or moral). The blogosphere is a good alternative, but only interested people go there, and we need to reach everybody.

My conclusion is that the snobbishness, elitism, professionalism, and bureaucratic indoctrination of most liberals and Democrats is incurable. They'd rather lose than present an effective message to low-information voters.

Off-topic, but McManus started it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:38 PM
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On the iphone I get nytimes with images on edge in about twelve seconds.


Posted by: It's patentable and it's sharp! (6) | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:39 PM
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1:15 to load the page, almost 2:00 until it thought it was done (loading image placeholders, I think, but I wasn't loading images). It's usable--I've had the phone for a couple of years now and browse on it all the time, but if I get a new phone, I want it to be faster.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:39 PM
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"anything but"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:39 PM
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On the iphone I get nytimes with images on edge in about twelve seconds.

Ummm...have you been to the site before? Cache cleared? That seems way fast to me, as comment 180 will attest. Of course, my old Nokia isn't as fast as an iphone, but I'm still shocked.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:40 PM
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Hmm. I'm probably getting a shiny new iPhone for Chrismukkah; I wonder whether the slow data speeds will sadden me.

Does anyone with more technical skill than I have know whether a 3G upgrade could be handled in software, or it would require a whole new phone?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:42 PM
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I load the clearly pda-optimized version of the NYTimes site in about 10 seconds on EVDO.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:42 PM
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178--

josh marshall's got the fire in the belly.
give him some credit.


Posted by: kid bitzer | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:45 PM
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I can try the pda optimized nyt on edge in a few minutes. Gotta do some work work first. Sad, I know.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:46 PM
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Cleared the cache and tried again. At about ten seconds all the text is there, images appear between twelve and eighteen seconds. This is all with wifi manually turned off.


Posted by: It's patentable and it's sharp! (6) | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:46 PM
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a 3G upgrade could be handled in software

Nope, it's a separate chip. There were rumors that it was already in the original iphone, but that turned out be to untrue. But look, the earliest rumored 3G I've heard is next May, and most rumors say the end of next year, so take your iphone and enjoy it; they're sweet.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:47 PM
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Chrismukkah

Racist.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:47 PM
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At about ten seconds all the text is there, images appear between twelve and eighteen seconds

I need to kill some Fins.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:50 PM
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I once went to see a klezmer band. I think it was right about Chrismukkah.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:50 PM
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There's nothing like the heart-warming sight of Chrismukkah, one tree for each night. Gets awfully piney by the end, though.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 5:56 PM
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OK here's the joke. It's winter in the old Soviet Union and the rumor goes around that the butcher's shop will have meat. The queue forms early, people wait. At 10am the owner comes out and says, "Comrades, I am afraid the delivery will be late and there will be less than expected. So we will have to ration. No Jews will be allowed any meat. Any Jews in line? Leave now." Some people grumble and shuffle off.

At 2pm, it's freezing. The owner comes out again and says, "Comrades, I have more bad news. The shipment is still delayed and not all of it will get here in time. Only Party members will be allowed any meat." More people leave.

At 5pm, it's getting dark. The butcher comes out and says, "Comrades, we expect just one small truck to arrive at this stage. Only old Bolsheviks will be allowed any meat." There is further grumbling. By now only three old men are left in line.

At 7:30pm, the butcher emerges and says, "Comrades, I am sorry: there will be no meat today. You should go home." As they shuffle off into the night, one of the old men turns to the others and says ...


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:11 PM
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(Stop me if you've heard this one.)


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:12 PM
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185: I like lots of internet people, but the internet doesn't have enough reach. Passive voters, ambient voters, low-information voters -- that's who got Bush his 51%. His demented core was never more than 35%.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:12 PM
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194: That's great comic timing.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:17 PM
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195: Marshall has a good start going. And Media Matters has somebody writing checks for it.

I agree, though, that the moneyed Left seems to be missing a bet.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:22 PM
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Gonerill, you need to explain to the Jews that there isn't enough punch line for everyone.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:25 PM
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" ... I told you the Jews always get the best treatment."


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:30 PM
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Radio and YV -- we have almost nothing. And not a single good national newspaper. Don't fool yourselves.

"Good" in the sense of "honest, informative and intelligent about American politics and international relations, and not requiring constant reading between the lines".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:30 PM
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TV


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:31 PM
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So! Whatcha all talkin' about?

158:

Law books have largely been replaced by electronic versions: younger lawyers don't seem to know how to do research with just paper.

This is partly what interests me about the whole thing: what's comfortable (and convenient) for readers is evolving fast. For all that using an eReader, assuming its technological kinks are worked out, seems odd now for all kinds of uses, like curling up in front of a fire, it doesn't seem far-fetched to suppose that sometime rather soon, it won't seem at all odd to curl up with your eBook.

How many people have given up CDs altogether in favor of MP3 players; or curl up in bed together with a laptop in their laps, rather than, say, reading aloud to one another. (I know, very old-fashioned.)

Some of this has to do with the mere fact of crowding: books & CDs take up a lot of room, who wants to move them, etc. Mere physical space is at a premium.

From the publishers' perspective, the production of paper books is expensive (in storage terms too), and everything is about keeping print runs as close to projected sales rates as possible. The used book market has cut into their sales, and Amazon has something to do with that, for offering used copies on the same webpage as new copies. Publishers destroy excess print copies of their titles to a greater extent than ever: it's ultimately a losing proposition for them to fight electronic texts. By embracing them, they can cut costs tremendously and still stay in the game (by cutting deals with Amazon in this case).

So from a user perspective as well as a supplier perspective, a much wider accommodation of e-text is a done deal.

This interests me mostly from a cultural perspective. The ascendancy of the ephemeral and all that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:33 PM
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As you were.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:35 PM
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Two good comments from Ezra's

1) Warren Terra:"The powerful move Amazon is making here is that they own your library. I caught some of Bezos on Charlie Rose last night, and what he promised was this: if you discard a book from your Kindle and want it later, they still know you own an electronic copy and you can re-download it for free. Give them five years of this and you can never afford to leave Amazon - or you lose your whole library. "

2) Petey:"The revolutionary thing about Kindle is the network arrangement - you get access to a high speed cell network on a pay-per-use basis, rather than with the monthly contract you'd have to pay for to use a device like an iPhone or a roaming laptop." ...I don't claim to really understand this. Does this mean I can reduce my monthly cable bill to $3. paying for Unfogged, Ezra, and MY? There are scarey implications to Amazon gaining a large market share there.

Peter, that friend of the eternal copyright, has other things to say. And Petey, if you object, if there is copyright, and Amazon holds it, it will be eternal. Theoretical objections mean shit.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 6:46 PM
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if there is copyright, and Amazon holds it, it will be eternal

In 18th-c. Britain, they called it perpetual copyright, which is what the powerful London publishers tried to assert, in defiance of statutory limits. They lost that round, but Amazon's legal team is probably sharper.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:02 PM
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Give them five years of this and you can never afford to leave Amazon - or you lose your whole library.

Monopolization of content? How realistic is that? Doesn't seem that's going too well on other fronts.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:07 PM
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I'm a fan of google books, but they still have work to do on their pdfs. I was reading some 19th century stuff last spring and in each case where I could find a google books copy and an internet archive copy, the internet archive copy was better. Amusingly, the internet archive copies were from the UC Berkeley libraries and the google copies were from Stanford's. I've heard that google has been going back and correcting errors - misplaced pages, blurred type, etc. - so maybe the same books are in better copies today.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:08 PM
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200: I think we agree; we're just of different temperments. You see the glass as 99% empty, I see it as 1% full.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:10 PM
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Update on the issue of horrible Jewish jokes: to find the one about the pedophile, I searched google for "kids go each on". The first result was from JewishFamily.com. But it wasn't the joke.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:13 PM
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206:What was meant was that you lose everything you downloaded from Amazon. I don't know how DRM works, not really how Kindle works. With Kindle, do you actually have book on the device, on a hard drive, or are you reading it off their servers on a high-speed network? I suspect the latter.

Does this model extend to other recievers? Will I be able to buy the Amazon/Kindle books for my desktop? Probably, but again, I will be reading at Amazon, and quitting Amazon will mean losing the book. This is not the ITunes model. You will never ever have the book.

This is more like the digital cable On-Demand model, and I expect publishers to love it. Read Petey at Ezra's.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:16 PM
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No, you download the book to your device; you don't read it off the server. But because the format for books purchased from Amazon is proprietary, you won't be able to use another device to read what you've bought from them. You're still locked in in that sense.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:21 PM
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209 should be "kids go easy on"


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:22 PM
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211:Are you? How large is the Kindle storage capacity? Can I buy 10,000 books, and offload the excess to my PC harddrive? I should study before guessing I suppose, but the cable On-Demand model makes a whole lot of sense. I can watch Apocalypto ten times a day for a least a month, and since most of the movies come back, I expect to be able to watch Apocalypto or Cache if you want a good movie, for at least a year. Or off & on for five years.

It is a good model. The main TV has a DVR(Tivo) with a hardrive.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:28 PM
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213:Are you sure? was meant.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:29 PM
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But because the format for books purchased from Amazon is proprietary, you won't be able to use another device to read what you've bought from them. You're still locked in in that sense.

Yeah, but "locked" for what, 12 minutes until some high school kid cracks it?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:32 PM
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Sure, gswift, but most consumers don't take advantage of that stuff. It's a pain to keep track of which crack works on which version and should you update the firmware, or will it brick your device or make cracked files unplayable, etc. Probably 90% of people will be locked in, as far as they know.

Bob, it's supposed to hold about 200 titles.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:38 PM
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215, thinking that way is dangerous. Tech geeks who don't have any ideology often decide not to get upset about DRM and intellectual property issues because of the "LOL we'll just crack it and then anyone with half a brain can have access to it" factor. The record companies have successfully gotten it so that maybe one in a thousand internet users now have the know-how and the time and energy to figure out the workings of bittorrent and where to download torrents, and those people don't mind that this doesn't benefit noobs who used to revel in the simplicity of Napster. It's not like the high school kid who cracks it is going to sell it for profit, it's going to be ad hoc distribution system among nerds like file-sharing is right now.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:41 PM
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Ok, the linked site is real slow for me, I hate the animated ads, but it says storage for 80 titles and more with an SD (storage disk?) expansion. I am still guessing they intend an "On Demand" model.

The DVR has output jacks, but I have never messed with them. And I was above just talking about "Free" On Demand, what I get with my HBO etc subscriptions, not the hundreds of other movies available for $2 up. I never go there.

If I were a publisher or a music distributor, that would be the ideal model. Not that it provides complete protection.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:42 PM
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Bob, it's not on demand. And there's already something like what you describe on Rhapsody, in which you can buy a compatible device and sync any song from their entire catalog and carry it around with you and have it play as long as you sync it with an active account once a month.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:46 PM
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217:"It's not like the high school kid who cracks it is going to sell it for profit"

Dead wrong on movies. The Asian for-profit crackers, among others, are probably costing, or lowering profits, by billions a year.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:47 PM
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220: yeah, in countries with no enforcement of the laws.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:48 PM
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the laws can be enforced.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:48 PM
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Sure, blame the Asians. Apparently, it's the Hungarians.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:49 PM
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OK, I was thinking about music, not movies. More alarmism is warranted by an analogy with movie piracy.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:52 PM
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The On Demand model is not that bad. I am not sure why people use Net-Flix, ok I guess it's cheaper. I have thousands of movies available. Not everything I want when I want it, but with thousands to choose from, it's good enough. Since I never pay per view, actually the few hundred suits me.

Forget what, I read something at Gutenberg this week. In a sense I downloaded it, to the cache, but I didn't save it. So I read it online? Does anybody download the entirety of Gutenberg anymore?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:54 PM
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Yeah, but "locked" for what, 12 minutes until some high school kid cracks it?

This is important, but Bezos isn't an idiot, and knows that there are plenty of smart people out there who'll be working on this sort of thing.

That's not really a deterrent, though, in terms of content: the market is in new, ongoing downloads/purchases, and that's what Amazon excels at. Dedicated, repeat customers.

Only Google can rival Amazon in terms of electronic content, and Google is way ahead of the game at the moment. Amazon puts together better hardware than the so-far lacking Sony Reader, it has a plan in conjunction with publisher contracts for not just their in-print titles, but their back catalogues.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 7:56 PM
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on Rhapsody, in which you can buy a compatible device and sync any song from their entire catalog

This, unfortunately, is not true.

I love my Rhapsody account, and I was thinking of getting one of the compatible mp3 players, especially since I have no great love of the ipod. As I look over my music library within Rhapsody, I would say that about 30% of the songs are in the form that could travel. The rest require a live internet connection to play. I also thought I could sync all my library, until I looked at the fine print.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:00 PM
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Damn, I forgot, you can already download a lot of books from Amazon. So why a new proprietary format? To sell the devices? Fuck no. Money is always in content.

ogged, since once you have bought a book Bezos says you can always download it again, it is On Demand. Most book people have thousands of books, and will not store them on their Kindle. An academic will go grab the need 10-20 she has already paid for.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:05 PM
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If the Kindle catches on, this seems like a really awesome feature.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:10 PM
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The rest require a live internet connection to play.

Didn't know that; thanks.

Bob, define On Demand however you like; go with God.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:12 PM
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Fuck me, I also forgot "Search Inside the Book". Once an academic has paid for 2K books, she doesn't even need to download them to do her research. Her entire library can be online.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:17 PM
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Most weeks I find myself in a situation where it would be really, really helpful to have a full-text search of the books on my shelf. Google Books and Amazon's Search Inside feature are hints of the great things that are possible but unrealized as yet.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:21 PM
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the great things that are possible but unrealized as yet.

YES, but Gonerill, Amazon wants to own your soul! Don't do it, man, don't do it!

There are other projects out there dedicated to electronifying contents, ones that certainly predate all this hoo-haw. Even Google's better at least.

Truth is that the big boys are fighting it out pretty seriously right now, and once electronically-rendered content becomes proprietary, it's a sad road.

Uh. I'm obviously swinging wildly back and forth between what a joke it all seems, and how serious I probably think it is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:34 PM
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YES, but Gonerill, Amazon wants to own your soul! Don't do it, man, don't do it!

I know, I know.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:37 PM
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Bob, re your 204 - It's my understanding that they're going to be offering a certain amount of a la carte content (250 RSS feeds?) at $.99/month a pop. This strikes me as a business decision doomed to failure in a couple of ways -- for one thing, all power to Boing Boing and Engadget and the rest, but I doubt they're going to have Heebie's livejournal or Unfogged or anything else that I might find myself regularly wanting to read while stuck in line. For another, the cost is absurd.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:37 PM
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I don't think the blog feeds are supposed to be a major selling point. They're gravy, like the "free" (?) access to Wikipedia. The main attraction is supposed to be the books and their readability. This thing is not supposed to be an iPhone.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:46 PM
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My understanding from the Newsweek article, though, is that the RSS feeds are supposed to be one of the ways that they subsidize the cost of always-on wireless Internet. You're right that presumably the business gnomes at Amazon thought things out more thoroughly than that.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:48 PM
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233:Yeah, I was just thinking about Thomas Rick's Fiasco just suddenly disappearing, or only appearing on a few rebel websites subject to killer civil lawsuits.

The ways this actually shows up is more subtle, artists can be directed toward what can keep them from starvation. There will be iconoclasts and self-publishers, but with one or two pipes, who cares about, oh, Red Crayola's Parable of Arable Land anyway?

235:I have no idea, but I can certainly imagine people who would want just Yahoo or Amazon, and little else. I don't know how they will handle all the links.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:49 PM
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The RSS feed seemed like a "why the fuck not" move on their part. The newspaper subscriptions seemed like a more sensible (and plausibly popular) way to raise revenue.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 8:50 PM
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Gonerill, what's your soul worth, anyway? Speaking for myself and with all due respect, given the choice between your soul and Amazon's possibilities, I'd find it very easy to come to an immediate decision. Why should it be different for you?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 9:00 PM
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239a - Because people are inevitably going to complain about which 250 feeds are offered. I can almost hear the PowerLine tools whining now.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 9:01 PM
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and with all due respect

I love this phrase.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 9:01 PM
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241: What, you don't think the Blog Of The Year is going to be one of them?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 9:02 PM
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Don't make the Baby Jesus cry, HL.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 9:03 PM
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Of course, this doesn't stop me from printing out the same thing six times.

My sister!

At the same time, I read tons of stuff online, including entire novels, often. The Kindle looks unpleasant to hold, though (and also looks unpleasant).


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-20-07 9:11 PM
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Ha! Interesting (or not): apparently the Kindle sold out in 5.5 hours.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 11-23-07 10:20 AM
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