Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Any sort of discussions. Levity yes, flames no.

Have you tried an ebook reader recently under realistic, comfy reading chair conditions?

Yes, and liked it
22
76%
Yes, and didn't like it
0
No votes
No
7
24%
 
Total votes : 29


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Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Postby aburt » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:50 pm

I hear people talk about ebook readers and how they like or dislike them, but what I'm wondering is how many of those who dislike them have actually tried them under realistic, "comfy reading chair" conditions. Like, sitting in your favorite reading spot with a Kindle or whatnot in hand, and spending a goodly number of minutes reading a book you like. And "recently," since the devices change a lot. So, here's a poll about that... Feel free to discuss at length.

A followup question would be, what did you think of it?

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Last edited by aburt on Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Postby aburt » Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:43 pm

I should point out that I've been a huge fan of digital reading for years, reading on my Blackberry and a bunch of other devices. (I don't enjoy reading fiction on desktop screens or laptops, though.) I've been projecting for years now that we're on the path to digital replacing paper, and that this would happen in the near term. So as I see ebook sales now 9% of all sales, and doubling/tripling year over year since 2002, I think we're seeing "the big one." :)

See http://critique.org/ebook-sales-curves.ht for the data and my projections. Yowza!
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Re: Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Postby crit24868 » Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:54 am

I installed Kindle for my Android phone a while back, and so far I have purchased exactly two books, mostly because I was curious to try out the process.

Overall it's quite painless; you find a book on the familiar Amazon.com search screens, click on the "buy Kindle edition" link, and presto! you own a book that downloads almost instantly.

I fly a lot, so I have read my kindle books on the plane. I also have read them in the bathroom, in bed, on the elliptical machine while exercising, and in restaurants (while eating alone).

It's not as nice an experience as the real Kindle must be, with its gorgeous black-on-white screen. But, as a long time Palm Pilot user prior to my wonderful Nexus One phone, I'm pretty used to the small screen and the Kindle software is reasonably user friendly and all that.

I don't plan to buy any more books this way, however, unless they are a super bargain or else someone gives me an Amazon gift card (hint to loved ones). The main problem for me is that despite the convenience of having several books in my shirt pocket, I totally miss out on the experience of giving a book to a friend when I'm done with it.

I'm willing to believe that e-books will take over eventually, but not this way. If we couldn't pass books on, the entire publishing industry would fold. Reading is about more than the initial purchase. Like music, it's a shared experience. Once an author has produced a work, then like a musician or painter he is sending his art flying off never to return. It's his work, to be sure, and I strongly feel artists should get full compensation, but at the same time they have created something that takes on a life of its own.

This is why e-books that can't be shared are merely a short lived novelty. Even Amazon seems to have faced facts and they are now allowing Kindle users to lend their purchased books to another Kindle owner for up to 14 days, or so I have heard.

I also installed FBReader on my phone, by the way, and it has built-in access to the huge Gutenberg.org library of free and out-of-copyright books--the works of Shakespeare, old encyclopedias, 19th and early 20th century literature, and much more. With War and Peace, Moby Dick, and a dozen other tomes in my pocket, I'll have enough reading for the next few years (at the rate I'm going).

One more thing--Kindle also has access to free books. So, you don't have to spend money to enjoy e-books, and fortunately there are thousands of them, with more being scanned and converted every day. What with Google scanning the entire Harvard University library, among other institutions, it's likely that paid books will be vastly outnumbered by free ones eventually, if not already.
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Re: Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Postby aburt » Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:05 am

crit24868 wrote:Even Amazon seems to have faced facts and they are now allowing Kindle users to lend their purchased books to another Kindle owner for up to 14 days, or so I have heard.


I agree that lending is a necessary feature that they haven't got right yet. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't really allow lending like you'd think: It's exactly one time, to exactly one person, ever, for exactly 14 days. Being able to give a book away or resell is also important.

However, "real" libraries seem to have rights to lend out ebooks on ordinary lending terms (multiple recipients, renewable, so long as only one person can use the copy at a time). I suspect it will only be a matter of time before the digital rights correctly mimic the rights of a physical book.
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Re: Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Postby ChetG » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:58 pm

My work (editing) has me staring at a computer screen. Writing and artwork too. For an eye relaxation, I welcome the change of pace that a physical book has, particularly a well-done book. A well-designed book is a pleasure.
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Re: Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Postby aburt » Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:42 pm

ChetG wrote:My work (editing) has me staring at a computer screen. Writing and artwork too. For an eye relaxation, I welcome the change of pace that a physical book has, particularly a well-done book. A well-designed book is a pleasure.


Just to play devil's advocate, but couldn't an ebook be better designed than a print book? One has (in theory) the ability to display high resolution art and generally to play with design possibilities that don't exist in books because of cost.

Magazines on the iPad look amazing. Books typically don't have all that fancy layout because of the cost of four-color printing and whatnot -- but that ceases to be a barrier for an ebook. Just because cost has kept most print books black print on whitish paper doesn't mean it has to be that way for ebooks. (There's the cost of the design, of course, but I can imagine ebooks starting to employ more color and graphics...) And of course, any design choices one wants...
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Re: Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Postby crit21586 » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:23 pm

Just to play devil's advocate, but couldn't an ebook be better designed than a print book? One has (in theory) the ability to display high resolution art and generally to play with design possibilities that don't exist in books because of cost.

Magazines on the iPad look amazing. Books typically don't have all that fancy layout because of the cost of four-color printing and whatnot -- but that ceases to be a barrier for an ebook. Just because cost has kept most print books black print on whitish paper doesn't mean it has to be that way for ebooks. (There's the cost of the design, of course, but I can imagine ebooks starting to employ more color and graphics...) And of course, any design choices one wants...


Of course a better design on an ebook than a print book is possible (and seeing any number of the Lulu results makes that an easy answer). Another question might be probable. Probably has something to do with the ins and outs of embedded fonts, and how many are possible before the whole thing breaks down. (I've no idea of font selection and embedded fonts; true in Acrobat one can have any font that one has available for print.)

Graphics would depend on the resolution of the ebook screen, and, generally speaking, the resolution of a screen doesn't match that of print publications. Line art on screen often looks better as a gray scale than true line art. Even so, one can have all types of color electronically speaking, so that's a potential plus.

Many print magazines today are overdesigned: superimposed graphics, weird letter combos, and so forth. A downside of many print magazines is paper cost, and so the text font is so tiny as to be unbelievable.

On the plus side (and speaking without having tried an ebook), staring at something that isn't light emitting is far easier on my eyes, particularly if we're discussing novels. Call it one less electronic product to have around the home.

--Chet (and I don't know--since I entered via Critters--what kind of name will be attached to this)
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Re: Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Postby aburt » Thu Nov 04, 2010 5:27 pm

crit21586 wrote:Graphics would depend on the resolution of the ebook screen, and, generally speaking, the resolution of a screen doesn't match that of print publications. Line art on screen often looks better as a gray scale than true line art. Even so, one can have all types of color electronically speaking, so that's a potential plus.


Check out the Kindle or any of the other readers that use the "E-ink" technology -- it's designed to be extremely crisp and print-like.

On the plus side (and speaking without having tried an ebook), staring at something that isn't light emitting is far easier on my eyes, particularly if we're discussing novels. Call it one less electronic product to have around the home.

--Chet (and I don't know--since I entered via Critters--what kind of name will be attached to this)


Kindle/e-ink is not light-emitting, as you asked for. :) I'd be curious what you think of it, should you get to try one under comfy-reading-chair conditions.

(Oh, and your name gets attached from Critters, using whatever name you signed up with.)
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Re: Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Postby crit24693 » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:41 am

aburt wrote:I should point out that I've been a huge fan of digital reading for years, reading on my Blackberry and a bunch of other devices. (I don't enjoy reading fiction on desktop screens or laptops, though.)


I agree. I hate reading a manuscript on a computer screen. Reading an ebook on my ipad is a totally different experience - even better than being curled up with a book, as you can adjust font size, background brightness, etc.

That's why to read a critters' manuscript I first copy and paste it into a text file; do a global 'change' of all single paragraph spacing to double; convert the text file to an epub document using Calibre, upload it to my itunes book library and read it in book form on my iPad. (After reading and reviewing the books I always subsequently delete them from both my library and iPad.) The whole process takes about five minutes, but it would be nice to have the option to download manuscripts as epubs, to save having to go through this process each time. I'd be happy to convert my own manuscripts to epub files before uploading them. Perhaps this would even help to minimize the errors that occur when people try upload text files.

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Re: Ebook reader tryouts and reactions

Postby aburt » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:45 pm

I could probably connect up a format converter to create epubs, mobis, or whatnot of manuscripts for those who want them. There's already a text reformatter that Critter member Mike Alexander wrote, http://critique.org/c/critstyle-info.ht - you might see if that helps you avoid some of the work in the meanwhile.
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