Has anyone seen the new Amazon Kindle? It's the new e-book. Take a look at all the features!
It weighs less than a paperback, is updated with cell-phone-like technology so you can download from anywhere, and it can hold lots and lots of books. Also, it reads like a book page, not backlit like a computer, so you can even read it in full sun (so I'm told). It even has FREE wireless access to Wikipedia.
Has anyone seen one in person yet? Thoughts?
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
First thought is that people who like books like books. I'd never buy an e-book reader I like the look, feel and smell of books and I like having shelves full of books at home. I don't think it will catch on.
All I've seen about it so far is a single newspaper article.
You may call that an article. I call it an advertisement. It should have the words "paid advertising feature" prominantly displayed at the top of every page.
I want you all to put your hands on your hearts and say after me
"I, <insert name here>, hereby pledge that I shall never buy this device or any similar device and that my eternal allegiance shall be to books printed on paper."
Guess it's pretty obvious where I stand on the matter.
and it was the cover story!
I watched a bit of Jeff Bezos appearing on the Charlie Rose show (PBS), and amidst all the salesmanship (boy does he sell), he said one interesting thing relating to the problems they encountered in developing this technology - the key feature of a book is that it disappears while you read it.
quote: my eternal allegiance shall be to books printed on paper
I guess I should scrap my plans to Christmas-gift you with a subscription to OED on-line.
Pity; it seemed such an appropriate gift.
I meaant of course books that you actually read. Reference sources are adifferent kettle of fish altogether. (Mind you if you can afford the shipping I'd absolutely love the full bound set of the paper version of the OED.)
I agree with Bob that there is just something about curling up with a book, turning the pages, and having books around. That "feel and smell" that Bob describes is why I prefer hard covered books, though for the sake of cost I often relent.
Jason Fried on the Signal vs Noise site blogs that he's read overwhelmingly negative reviews so far and urges we give it more time before slagging it off. "Yesterday barely anyone on the planet had actually used Kindle, but they just couldn’t wait to tell you how much it sucked."
Most of the comments on the article are ... overwhelmingly negative.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
Mine don't. What was he talking about?
metaphorically, I suppose -- when you really "get into" a book, you don't even know it's physically there.
Arnie, that was an excellent link. I found this site, within your link, interesting. The person who linked to that site said, "It’s not the physicality of books that people love, it’s their reliability and permanence...." To me, the physicality is related to the permanence and reliability. For example, if I enjoy a book, I will often make notes to myself in the margins of the book (physicality) so that I can refer to that section again (permanence and reliability). That, of course, is not possible with the online function.
I guess, as some had posted in arnie's link, the key is that people can choose what they'd like. I probably wouldn't choose the online feature, but if others enjoy it, so be it.
I'm not pimpin' for Kindle, you understand; but I think y'all missed this feature, "You can jot down a gloss on the page of the book you're reading, or capture passages with an electronic version of a highlight pen."
I think this is something you can't do with the Sony Book..
I see two possibilities for the future, one appealing, the other not.
The appealing one is that, as I said at the top of the thread, people who like books like books and the Kindle will be a failure. Regardless of the extremely long Newsweek advert (is Newsweek supposed to be nothing more than an advertising rag ?) If that happens hurrah for our side.
The unappealing possibility is that the Kindle will be a success and what will happen is the same thing that happened when CDs were introduced and we were assured that this wasn't the death of vinyl, we'd still be able to choose vinyl if wanted. Well I did want and I couldn't - within months new recordings were being issued only on CD. The same techno-con is now happening with MP3 downloads. Many recordings are available in no other format because this is what we are supposed to want. Well I don't. Losing vinyl was bad enough. Now we're expected to put up with losing the physical item altogether.
If Kindle took off how long do you think it would be before authors were releasing books ONLY playable on an electronic format?
Fortunately I just can't see book lovers ever wanting it so I think the first scenario is far more likely than the second. It's a toy that will appear to techno-geeks rather than literary ones and as such won't (I sincerely hope) find the market that they are hoping for.
even so, I sure would like to get my hands on one (on the cheap), just to see for myself exactly what we're railing against! (;
The last two books I wrote (admittedly non-fiction) have only been released as CDRoms. This saves their supplier a huge amount of cash since there are no printing costs. Those who want the physical item can print it our at their own expense on their office printers.
I rather fear that the extreme cheapness of online and similar electronic formats will be the driver in this.
I saw the Charlie Rose interview with Bezos.
I think it's a cool gadget; I don't imagine it will replace books. It looks more like an IPod for readers. I would love to have it just to travel around with, so I can always be reading in my spare moments.
I have 3 kids who spend more time playing instruments, making CD's, and listening to music than any other leisure activity. They all have ipods. The internet created a huge surge in our CD-buying, because it was so much easier to find music that one enjoyed, & broaden one's interests through research. Now ipods have cut back the CD-buying somewhat, although one is paying musicians via MP-3 downloads of individual songs. However. All this research and listening to IPods inevitably culminates in the purchase of CD's to amplify & enjoy on one's home system. IPods didn't replace enjoying the in-home system, they broadened the possibilities of portable listening. I expect we'll see something similar with the Bezos-thingie.
Right now, the only ebooks I buy are those I need & want to have permanently available on my computer, to consult as I'm creating lesson plans or other tools. If I had a Kindle I'd be tempted to buy copies of books I was reading at home, to take on the road. Or boooks I was only mildly interested in, or how-to books and others which become obsolete quickly. I would actually be increasing my spending to include a new way of reading, and perhaps even to study and research more than I presently do.This message has been edited. Last edited by: bethree5,
ALl well and good until someone starts releasing books ONLY in the electronic format because
it drops production cost to zero. Then all of a sudden this device becomes something that you MUST have if you want to read Harry Potter Volume 64: Harry Potter and the Walking Frame of Doom.
Yes, we talked about this on the chat today. Bob makes an excellent point about the CD/record example. When CDs came out, Shu and I had to decide which way to go, and we, too, chose to buy a turntable, and not a CD player. 'Twas a pity. Recently my father wanted to replace his VCR player, and they were only selling DVD players where he is (I do realize he can get one elsewhere). He can't watch his video cassettes at this point.
With Richard's example of the cost differences, I do wonder if we will see a huge trend toward online reading. Yet, books won't completely disappear; of that I am fairly certain.
It will be interesting, however, to see if Bethree is correct that the Kindle will be an added dimension. I know that I very much prefer reading books, compared to reading online. I doubt I will change in that.
I would just add one more encouragement. The internet-- so far-- seems to respond very well to smaller markets. True, for most of our adult lives, if the market was not big enough for a mass assembly-line run, the object didn't get produced. However that's really changed. There are plenty of us who'd rather have books, & will pay for them. We will no doubt find what we want on the internet, eventually.
For example: I have had trouble all my adult yrs finding decent medieval music to buy, as it's such a tiny market. It used to be Deutschegrammophon only-- go to the old B&N in NYC or forget it. There's more of it now being produced & sold than ever, thanks to global market on internet.
Another example: for. lang. teaching materials for the very young used to be completely non-existent. My main problem has been the head-in-sand US attitudes about languages other than English. However, things have been a-poppin' in UK, Europe, Scandinavia, & Eastern Europe for a decade, & now there is PLENTY available to me-- even tho maybe 1% of it is produced in USA.
Did you know vinyl is having a retro comeback, albeit in a minor way? Many of my sons' oddball music interests produce at least one record per year. We still have a turntable, and cassette player, and cd player.
As to the eclipse of VHS, I believe that's just a case of quality. Tapes age, get brittle, disintegrate rapidly. We switched as soon as we could for that reason, when both were widely available.
Time may prove me wrong, but I can't imagine that the global market for real books will dwindle to the point where it doesn't pay for a few companies in the world to keep printing them.
But the point is that it only has to be ONE book that you want to read that is published exclusively in electronic format and you are forced to buy a reader if you want to see it and the CD experience teaches that it wouldn't be one and it wouldn't be an obscure title , it would be many of the most popular titles. Moreover we are already seeing the death of CDs replaced with the download format where you need a computer to do the downloading, storage on the computer to hold the file, software to transfer it to a more portable device, a more portable device to transfer it to... etc.
There are already albums ONLY available in download format and if I want even one of them then I have to have a device that will download them and another device that will play them.
If anyone wants to buy a Kindle (though I wouldn't) I'd offer a prediction and a word of caution. The prediction is that within a year there will be at least one, perhaps several products offering a near identical service in a completely non-compatible format. The word of advice is to wait a couple of years until the rival formats have come and one has dominated the market then buy that one. Remember that of the three systems that were originally in the video market both Philips and Betamax were superior to VHS but it was VHS that won.
My biggest objection to new technologies is that they DON'T run alongside the old ones they replace them. Turntables are now very difficult to buy, consumables such as styluses for them nigh on impossible.
Video players are much more diffiuclut to buy than a couple of years ago and getting ever more difficult. That means when the one I have breaks down I'll have to hunt hard for a replacement or throw away all the VHS movies I have and buy them again on DVD, except that we're already seeing the attempt to oust DVD by bluray so that DVD players will become obsolete and all the movies that people originally had on VHS and then replaced to DVD will have to be replaced again when their DVD player breaks in ten years time.
I know this is a rant but it seems to me that the development of new media technologies is driven solely by the desire to make people replace perfectly good stuff that they already have with a new format and to make the companies selling it to you very rich in the process.
The good news from the book front (and doesn't Jeff Bozo just wish it were otherwise) is that the old fashioned books printed on paper require no special equipment for reading and so can't be made unreadable by the introduction of new formats. You may never be able to buy and read another book but you will always be able to read the ones you already have.
Maybe what Jeff said about books disappearing was just wishful thinking on his part.
Special equipment ?
Some of us have found, as premature middle age approaches and we feel "time's winged chariot hurrying near," a need for such special equipment as contact lenses or even bifocal spectacles. Macular degeneration, they say, can be remedied through the use of Brighter Lights, and maybe even Magnifying Glasses.
I think you are overstating your case here. Amazon will happily ship a turntable or stylus to your doorstep. In fact, turntables are as popular as ever in clubs. They stopped releasing music on vinyl because people stopped buying it on vinyl because vinyl SUCKS.
Sorry, but someone had to say it.
My first abortive career path was audio engineering, and as an undergraduate in the late '70s we all knew digital was coming, it was just a question of who and what and when. The record companies hated the idea of digital formats because it was so easy to copy. They had every economic reason to try to squash it.
Turntables are actually amazing engineering demonstrations, because the process of reproducing music by dragging a needle through a groove is so primitive and difficult to make work. I think they real reason phonograph records lasted so long was because they were so simple to make: you just stamp them out.This message has been edited. Last edited by: neveu,
We'll just have to agree to disagree here. I've exceded my rant quota for the week now and won't be able to rant anymore until at least next Saturday.
Oh, Bob, you are so funny. Sometimes I really hate that pond that keeps us apart.
I suspect some of this is about personal preferences, and the frustration when those are taken away. DVDs may indeed have higher quality that VCR tapes, but I've never noticed. I have lots of tapes of old movies that I love or of Bulls/Michael Jordan games (like the one where he was deathly ill and has become well-known) or tapes of our kids, and it's irritating to have to buy a DVD/VCR player together in order to play them. Yes, I suppose I can find some site to send me one, but why can't I buy a cheap one at a Best Buy type store like I used to be able to do?
The same goes for records. While neveu says they suck, Bob (and I agree) loves the wonderful album covers. Those have all but disappeared with CDs, and of course they have completely disappeared with downloads.
The problem to me is the nanny state mentality of those who want to give us what they think is better for us. It would be so much cheaper to download a book and either read it on your screen or (horrors!) print it out. I want an old fashioned book.
We'll see what happens, but when I found an advertisement for the Kindle on Amazon as I was about to order some books, I didn't have a good feeling.
Now, I guess my rant time has expired as well.
if y'all aren't going to argue anymore, I'm going to attempt to turn this into some sort of word thread.
I had a bit of difficulty unscrambling the message here, as it seems to be saying that vinyl is both a difficult and simple technology — difficult to master, but easy to reproduce?
(BTW, does anyone know offhand the relative production costs of vinyl v. CDs?)
Actually a lot more expensive. To print a whole, average length, book would almost certainly use up two complete black cartridges on my printer and as they cost over £20 each that's a hell of a lot more than buying the book.
Also, when on occasion, I've printed shorter things from the internet reading them on A4 paper stuck in a folder is almost as unpleasant as reading them on the screen. It's still not like reading a book.
Yes, I guess you're right, Bob. One would have to read it on a screen.
I've been thinking about the vinyl vs. CD question, and I am changing my mind a bit. I began to remember having records. They'd get scratched, would skip (CDs will too, but not as easily), and you'd have to change them frequently (remember that drop-down feature?). Because they were so big, and stored so little (comparatively), they took up a lot of space. While the covers were nice, I am now wondering if I really prefer them. Possibly I am romanticizing the "olden days." Oh...and then there was the need to change the needles. I suppose I prefer CDs when all is said and done.
There aren't that many advantages to DVDs over VCR tapes, though.
Sorry, but I don't know the answers to your questions, tsuwm.
No problemo. I'll just respond as if you had and you can pay me back later.
I used to photocopy entire books when I was in college; it is often cheaper than buying them. For example, a 200 page book, copied at 5 cents a page, only costs $10. It takes less than ten seconds per page, so one could do the whole thing in 30 minutes. If the book cost $25, that's the equivalent of $30 an hour, a substantial ROI for a college student in 1980. And one can also set the copier to magnify them, so they are actually easy to read than the original. True, it's not as aesthetically pleasing as a book, but if you put them in a binder it's close. I have a couple of them from that time that I still use.
It's cheap and easy to make discs, phonograph or CD, because you can just stamp them out. However, there are a lot of problems involved in storing sound to and retrieving sound from a phonograph record. Turntables are little mechanical engineering marvels. Tape recording, which came later, was a great improvement in many respects, but tapes can't be stamped, they have to be individually recorded, a much more time consuming and expensive process. I'm arguing that the phonograph record survived as long as it did because discs are cheap to manufacture in bulk, not because there is anything good about the process of electromechanical recording. It's a Victorian technology.
Hey, I'm as nostalgic for those old album covers as the next long-haired old guy, especially when I see some poor, ignorant kid trying to clean a lid on the back of his iPod.
As bethreee said earlier on in the thread, "Tapes age, get brittle, disintegrate rapidly." Not to speak of them getting jammed in the VCR or cassette deck, or becoming unwound.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
I agree that tapes are easier to damage than DVDs but DVDs aren't perfect either. They suffer from picture freeze, digital break up, menu system failures, sychronisation of sound and picture failure etc. Granted that most of these can be fixed by taking the disc out and cleaning it but the impression that is sometimes given that they are perfect items that don't fail is misleading at best. Probably one in twenty that I play, perhaps more, will at some stage during watching need to be stopped, ejected and cleaned, then restarted.
I had problems with records. But I've never had VCR problems. I suppose that's where I am coming from.
There was an interesting column about the Kindle today in the Tribune, saying that while the Kindle may stimulate reading, it will limit conversations about what you are reading. I fly a lot, and people often ask me if the book I am reading is good, and that will stimulate a conversation. I guess I could live without that, though.
The article did say that the Kindle is a hot item...it is already on back-order at Amazon.
Thanks a lot, Kalleh!
That's the most depressing thing I've heard this year.
C'mon, it's got wireless access! I, for one, welcome the day when I can choose from any magazine in the world to read while I'm taking a dump.
>whilst taking a dump
ha! that's getting down to the.. er.. crux of the matter.
I am reminded of the reporter character in the Big Chill (played by Jeff Goldblum) who told his friends of his magaine's chief editorial policy: "to write nothing longer than can be read in the length of an average crap". (Or words to that effect.)
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
LOL! And I'll read it, too. On a Kindle, if necessary.
Something alluded to way above: the ability to increase type size, and hinted at by Jerry. The Kindle and devices like it are a great boon for those of us who have trouble reading books in type fonts smaller than, say 11 pt. And the more expensive paper becomes, the smaller the publishers make the type.
These days, I prefer reading newspaper articles online, because all I've got to do is click CTRL +++ to make the type nice and big. I have only one eye for reading and it's got glare and other problems. The Kindle would definitely be something I'd like to try. Why is it depressing that people want to snap it up? The words and the works being read are the same, and yes, for me, the book does disappear when i am reading, and the entire content opens up in my imagination.
Yes, Bob, I know how you feel about your beloved books. We have a house full too. But I am reading them less and less these days, because seeing the words is not as easy as it used to be. So let's hear it for "reasonable accommodation!"
Traditionalists 8, Early Adapters 3?
But, Wordmatic, it is so small. I cannot imagine the words being really big, or you'd read a paragraph at a time.
I understand Bob's point. I was on a plane today from Chicago to New Orleans. I saw several conversations started with, "What are you reading?" Now, the person might be like the man who sat next to me and read the United magazine the whole time (how can someone read that for 3 hours?).
On the positive side, it would be much easier reading smutty books that way!
The point is, you can change the size of the type to suit your vision, whether that means you're constantly scrolling or not, I don't know. Beats having to be sitting in a certain position, under a certain light, with your glasses off and your nose up to the page wearing a baseball cap to cut down on the glare. Not that I'm complaining. much. I'm glad I can still read. But I like the idea of the Kindle's portability and the adaptability and the availability of so much reading material in one place.
Yes there would be a couple of downsides that I can imagine, and I admit it, not having the feeling of pages turning between your fingers would be one of them. Also, if you lost it, it would cost a lot more than losing a single book. But for me the loss of conversations with strangers on planes would not be a bad thing. I generally do not feel that sociable about talking with my row-mates. Well, depending on the person, the nature of the conversation, etc. But it can be really awkward. And if I see somebody reading next to me I don't interrupt them. As for the man who read the United mag for 3 hours, well, I've done that--reading with my eyes closed mostly.
I just wrote a really long post that didn't get loaded up. Sigh. I"ll try to recreate it here.
First, I think it's a great idea to reduce the number of printed books we produce every year. That's one of the reasons why I think Libraries are fabulous. As a community we can purchase fewer copies of a title and just share them among ourselves, rather than each person buying their own copy, reading it once, and using it as a coaster after. Wasteful!
When I think back to having vinyl records and using a turntable, I cringe. The medium was easy to damage (remember leaving a record in your car on a sunny day?), once damaged could never be repaired (my Mama's and Papa's "California Dreamin'" single skipped in one spot so that I actually thought there was a repeated word there for a while), and took up a lot of space.
Have you ever had the chance to work at a circulation desk in a public library? Shelve books, maybe? Well I have, and let me tell you, don't wear nice clothes! Books are dirty! Not only do they collect dirt and dust, but they also CREATE it! Books are disintigrating from the time the paper is printed. Dust mites go in and eat the book glue, paper dissolves (especially in paperbacks because the paper is so cheap to begin with). It's gross! Those of us with asthma do better to have fewer books around, frankly.
Now think about all the trees that get sacrificed each year to print that cheapo paper in your precious books. Isn't anyone else trying to go to a paper-less office? Well, imagine a paper-less library! I say it sounds cool!
Have you ever had to un-pack some clothes so you could fit another book into your bag just in case the first one is boring or you finish it too quickly? No more! Load all those books into one electronic reader!
I understand the investment issue. I understand that you don't want to get rid of the things you already have. I know you don't want to re-buy all those videos . . . try buying a DVR and a stack of cheap recordable discs and transfering your collection. We've done it, and it's great! Takes so much less room in our family room now! We can store our movies in notebooks, not even using plastic cases.
Miss the album art? Look it up online! You'll also find extended liner notes and more pictures of the bands!
Do you really think people will talk less about books? Honestly? I've seen the opposite happen with iPods and music. Because it's so much easier to carry around, and because it has actually caused MORE interest in the musical world, people are talking more than ever before (at least around me) about new artists and releases.
As Bethree pointed out, there is the long-tail theory happening, too. Since producers now have a global market, the niche-artists are able to actually make a living in their craft because they're not just trying to sell to their neighborhood anymore.
I see this as a positive advancement.
Bob's caution to wait and see when market standardization sets in and what that will be is good advice, though. NO point in doing all that investing in the 8track of e-books. I'm going to wait until it's ready for the masses and then I'll buy one for everyone in my family!
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
Oh, I just hate it when that happens!
Hey, I have an idea. As long as we are reinventing the way we live (paperless books, and the like), why in the world do we even need clothes? Of course we need coats in the winter and jackets when it's cool and shoes (generic ones, of course) when you're outside, but that's it. Think of the closet space we'd save! And no more washing and drying your clothes would save time and the environment. No more underwear to sort or dirty kids' clothes to wash. There are possibilities here!
I am going to a conference session this afternoon in a toasty room here in the hotel. I will start this new updated phase of a clothes-less life...I'll go naked. If anyone asks about it, I will refer them to this discussion.
[Couldn't resist, folks! ]
WM, you make a good point about the reading problems, I suppose. I know they have large font books, but perhaps these Kindles could control the size of the font as one's eyesight deteriorates. On the other hand, haven't they had those already? I remember a gentleman from another forum who was nearly blind and yet he read voraciously, using some kind of technology.
Kalleh, I know that you are right about existing technology--I haven't gotten to the point that I actually contacted the assn. for the blind or anything, but I think it's something of a big deal to get set up with those things. The Kindle would be a nice, portable interim solution for those only annoyingly impaired (still getting by without too much extra help) and not yet ready for the big guns. Plus you wouldn't have to apply for one or fight with your insurance to cover it or sit at a nice big desk where it fit--maybe I am just imagining things as they used to be, but I have seen pictures of projection systems, etc. that were quite bulky.
As for your Nudist Impulse, hmmm. My husband always says in such circumstances, "I wish I could be a mouse in his/her pocket..." but you won't even have any pockets. Where will the mouse hide?
I'm with Adam and Eve. I have downed that apple and I see the full ugliness of nudity and I Chose Clothing!
And so to CW's Dust Mites of Death. Now I am a bibliophobe. Them beloved tomes is crawling with creepies.
I would love to know if most librarians agree with CW about the Kindle. I'd think not, but who knows.
No need to feel guilty about your books. All the cellulose in those books is made from CO2 pulled from the atmosphere. Paper is just sequestered carbon - we should get carbon credits for buying a book, and more again for throwing it away in a landfill (so the dust mites won't get it).
imo the problem with the Kindle is that the files you buy for it are copy-protected: you can't read them on any device other than the Kindle, and you can't lend them to other people, even other people with Kindles. There's no guarantee that the files will be readable if Amazon goes out of business.
Plus, you can't mark them up. The technology will not be a substitute for books until you can do these things.
Books are not just books, they are atmosphere... (er, unwelcome additions to the atmosphere for some, viz. CW above)
My living room has evolved over decades into what I consider max comfort, which for some reason, tho' eclectic, is clearly circa 1929 or so. "Some reason" according to my dear ma (deduced as a long-time buyer for an antique jewelry shop): one rebels against one's parents' decor, but many adopt a style reminiscent of their grandparents'. My barrister shelves are stocked with N C Wyeth-illustrated editions of the old Simon & Schuster adventure stories, as well as an Oz collection that spans 1900 - 1950's.
What is tickling my fancy now, is imagining the children of my children paying top dollar for "mint" (i.e., not-yet-disintegrated)paperback copies of "I'm OK--You're OK", "Future Shock", "The Silent Spring"... plus maybe one hardback copy of "Sexual Politics."
Hang on to those books! One day we'll be auctioning them off on ebay to supplement our pensions.
You can see the same thing with children's names. Children's names tend to have a 120-140 year cycle. Sixty to seventy years after they peak they bottom out and start to rise again. Case in point: my grandmother's name was Emma. I never met any American female within ten years of my age named Emma; now it is the second most popular girl's name. On the other hand, half the girls in my class were named Susan, but in 2006 it had dropped to 611th place.
My oldest daughter, a real bibiliophile, and I were talking about the Kindle today. She told me of hearing a lecture once by Kurt Vonnegut. She said he spoke of the beauty of walking over to the the book shelf, pulling out a book, and sitting down to read it. I hadn't thought of that, but it's true. I think that's why Border's and Barne's do so well. They put in those cushioned chairs with side tables for your coffee, making it a pleasure to pull a book from a shelf and to read it.