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Death of the physical book?

Discussion in 'Pop Culture Board' started by Nettdata, May 19, 2011.

  1. Nettdata

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    Amazon just released this news today:



    <a class="postlink" href="http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1565581&highlight=" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zht ... highlight=</a>

    Just yesterday I listened to THIS PODCAST by Adam Carolla about the fucking nightmare it was trying to work with his current hardcover book publisher to do a totally self-produced second audio book. Basically, AceMan was going to do everything for it; content, record it in the studio, etc., and cut them in for half. And they didn't get it, and fucked around until AceMan said "fuck it... you're out".

    It really is worth a listen if you want to hear how archaic some of the agents and publishers are when it comes to the new technology and distribution. I have no idea how representative it is of the industry, but in this case, it's mind-numbing.


    FOCUS: Books in print. What's your take?
     
  2. Elset

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  3. Nettdata

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    Ha. Missed that. I'll wait for SheGirl or Fry to come swooping in, call me an idiot for not searching, and lock the thread.

    But until then, I think we've hit a rather pivotal moment now, when one of (if not the) largest online book retailer announces that they're selling more digital versions than physical books.
     
  4. Fernanthonies

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    I've been going back and forth quite a bit recently on this exact subject, ever since I got an iPad back in December.

    On one hand, I love gadgets and tech stuff, so the ability to read eBooks on my iPad is right up my alley. Also, the kindle app is the shit, I love being able to browse Amazon, find a book, buy it with one click and start reading it in less than a minute. I also have my kindle account synced between my iPad, my android phone, and my desktop PC, so I can read on my phone while on the shitter at work and pick up right where I left off while laying in bed with my iPad. It's also kind of cool to be able to carry around an entire digital collection of books right there in your pocket or bag.

    On the other hand I've always loved to read, and there is something that just feels more natural and more 'right' about holding a book in your hands. I also get a certain level of satisfaction in having a bookcase in my house filled with all the books I've read. The biggest downside to eBooks though, in my opinion, is you can't share them with friends. I'm reading an actual, paper book right now that I borrowed from my friend because he loved it and suggested that I read it. If I read a great book on my iPad and want to share it with someone, they would have to take my word for it and go buy it themselves.

    Also, after reading the last few books on my iPad, reading these in actual book format has been nice. Like I said, I'm pretty torn between the two.

    EDIT: Guess I missed that other thread too. Oh well, I'll just leave this post here since I took the time to write it out.
     
  5. Rob4Broncos

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    While I've yet to get a Kindle/iPad/e-Reader/crystal ball of any kind, I've become increasingly intrigued by them. I've always been accustomed to physically holding a book and turning its pages to read, but that kind of nostalgia is overrated. Because let's accept the e-reader for what it is: a technological advancement.

    Sure, you don't get to turn the fancy pages, but in every other way, it's superior. Printed books are more expensive to produce (and thus, more expensive to buy), take up far too much space, and aren't nearly as convenient to access, should you decide you want to read a particular book while away from home. E-readers bypass that, and pay for themselves very quickly.

    The only times I can justify keeping books in print are for children's books (for kids who wouldn't have a clue how to operate an e-reader) or art/photography books that are visually-driven, and may require a larger field of view. For books that contain only text, e-readers trump print, 100% of the time.
     
  6. sartirious

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    I have a Kindle, and it's great...but I'm never getting rid of physical books.

    E-readers are perfect for novels. Pick your poison: whether it's cheap & campy romance novels, Harry Potter, or the latest and greatest that Oprah is schilling this week - I'd rather read it on my Kindle. Yeah, I can't borrow them as easily to friends, but I can carry half of a library in my pocket on vacation - it's a tradeoff I can deal with.

    But novels are only half of the books I buy; the rest are reference materials of some sort. I've tried reading a cookbook from the Kindle before, and it just doesn't work. I like to jump between completely different areas of a book, and I'm not about to press the page-forward or page-backward button a hundred times just to glance at something before continuing where I was. Likewise, I don't want to try and read The River Cottage Meat Book or Starting Strength without being able to quickly jump back and forth between chapters.

    That being said, the Kindle really is convenient. This way no one will know when I actually get around to reading Twilight, and none of my coworkers will know that I'm reading SM101 during my lunch break.
     
  7. Nettdata

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    Interesting, as I found that I no longer buy reference books on anything other than my iPad/iPhone. Having immediate access to a ton of reference books on one device, without having to lug shit around or take up space in the shelves in my office, is extremely handy. Never mind that the more recent reference books I've purchased come with a "continual update" feature, so that you automatically get the latest editions with all the updates, etc., and Kindle, iPhone, and PDF formats.

    These guys are the best example I've found of that: <a class="postlink" href="http://pragprog.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://pragprog.com</a> They are doing it right, and have my business as a result.

    It's a no-brainer for me, and I'm one of those guys who used to code with at least a few different Safari books open on my desk; a nutshell book or two, code cook book, etc. Now, I have my iPad on a stand beside my laptop, and even in low-light conditions, it's all good.


    But I can see your point about a culinary cook book... I wouldn't want to handle my iPad when I'm cooking.
     
  8. lostalldoubt86

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    On the one hand, I prefer print books. I'm a nerd for the smell and the feels and all that stuff. I like to write in my books, underlining and highlighting stuff I find particularly funny or well-written. I don't like the idea of having to charge my book or have to worry about breaking it.

    On the other hand, I hate the poster child for this ideal. The uber-hipster who says they prefer print just so they can seem superior. These people make true bibliophiles look bad.
     
  9. Elset

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    I would like it if when I bought a book on Amazon it came with a digital copy also. Not unlike the blu-ray/dvd/digital combo packs. That way I could still have the physical book on my shelf but not be hindered by it every day.
     
  10. GTE

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    Having never read an ebook on a kindle (or like device) I wonder how is it on your eyes? I've read one novel online (standard LCD flat screen) and it absolutely killed my eyes. I had to read it in 75-100 page blocks and then take a day or two off. Maybe I just have bitch eyes.

    I like having a traditional paper library because I'll read books over and over and like having the ability to just open the book, scan to a part that I like and start reading. Maybe ebooks have this ability also?
     
  11. sartirious

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    The Kindle does allow you to highlight sections and add notes, but it certainly isn't as easy as dog-earring a page and telling yourself ''I'll get back to that later..." One additional feature of the Kindle that has really grown on me is that you can see the most common phrases that other people have highlighted. In most books it doesn't add up to much - but apparently a majority of Seth Godin's readers like to emphasize every other sentence he writes as if it's the gospel.
     
  12. Elset

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    I don't have any stats or anything, but devices like the Kindle use a special display using E-Ink, which is supposed to be far better on the eyes than a typical LCD like your computer or an iPad. Googling e-ink vs lcd yields lots of results, but I haven't read any.
     
  13. Nettdata

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    Might be a bit off-topic, but I use software called Flux that adjusts the screen output.

    <a class="postlink" href="http://stereopsis.com/flux/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://stereopsis.com/flux/</a>

    It makes a HUGE difference, and he's right about the "staying up late". Ever since I started using it, I have a tendency to get tired at night, rather than feel like working on the laptop more.

    I highly recommend it.
     
  14. mya

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    I just hope that this doesn't mean the death of bookstores and libraries. There is something about browsing and getting lost in them for hours that doesn't have the same appeal as sifting through Amazon. Of course, that being said, while i am browsing for hours, if I find a book that interests me, the first thing I do is look at my iphone to see how well it was reviewed.

    I haven't jumped on board the e-reader thing yet, but I am considering taking the plunge. I have gotten so used to reading things online that I can't use the "I like the feel of paper between my fingertips" excuse anymore.
     
  15. Nettdata

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    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-16/borders-book-chain-files-for-bankruptcy-protection-with-1-29-billion-debt.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-1 ... -debt.html</a>

    I don't see libraries closing as a result, as they don't rely on book sales. I also think that the large amount of reference material found in them are also a reason for them to stick around.
     
  16. silway

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    I have a Kindle and the e-ink doesn't strain anything. It's not backlit (which means you can't read in the dark) and looks like normal ink on paper. Works really well and I love it. Not to mention that when my Kindle broke, Amazon shipped me a replacement in days with no hassle.

    Over the years I have gotten rid of an insane number of books as I move or reorganize or whatever. It got to the point where I stopped buying books because I knew it would just lead to this ridiculous clutter in my apartment. Now, I can buy a book and not ever have to get rid of it because of space. As odd as it may seem, owning digital books is a more permanent form of ownership for me than paper ones.
     
  17. lhprop1

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    I'm a bit of a neo-luddite. I don't own a home computer, I don't own an I pad, I pod, I phone, or I-whatevertheycomeupwithnext. I don't think my answer to this question is going to come as any surprise.

    I like books. I like the glossy smell of the pages of a new book as well as the dry, musty smell of the pages of an old book. I like to see how deep the bookmark sits between the covers to monitor my progress. I like to buzz the corner of the pages with my finger as I'm reading. I like the feel of turning the pages and I like the sound the plastic cover makes when you open a hardcover.

    Fuck E-books.
     
  18. lust4life

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    First thing I did when I got my iPad was buy an ebook. I wish more of my textbooks were sold this way (at the very least it would cut down the weight of my bag). The Gutenburg Project is awesome for the classics. I really like be able to read in bed without having to have lights on and disturbing my wife.

    I'm not done buying paper, but more of my purchases will be digital copies.
     
  19. bewildered

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    How have you found that electronic books effected your textbook usage? Does it make it easier to search for things or are you forced to read or skip to chapters only?

    I am interested in e-textbooks because of the sheer weight of the things. Also, sometimes the cost is a bit cheaper.
     
  20. lust4life

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    I've only been able able to find one of my textbooks in digital format, and it's for the coming summer session (didn't get the iPad until last month), but it seems just as easily searchable as a hardcopy. Depending on the material, I either highlight or write notes as I read and that won't change (it has a highlighting feature which takes some getting used to). We'll see how it goes when summer session starts. The digital copy was about $10 less than the hardcover, and like you said, it lightens the load in my bag.

    Stanza is another good app for cheap/free e-books.