Books, eBooks, why doesn't it work.

in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
We're seeing a huge proliferation of electronically transmitted music and movies, why not books? It's been tried.

Is it the nature of the medium? It does involve a greater commitment to experience a book than a song or a movie. Or is it a certain romanticism surrounding having a book in your hand, or perhaps is it the lack of a great proliferation of electronic devices to make large amounts of text accessible on the go. Is the Audio book filling this void?

What are your thoughts? The evolution of the book in the information age, the next possible electronic medium to gain a foot hold.


  • Reply 1 of 13
    pesipesi Posts: 424member
    simple. e-book readers suck.

    high cost, crappy screens, high weight, etc. etc.

    books are not like music. they are an active medium, not a passive one.

    an mp3 player makes sense, becasue you'll often want to switch around what you're lsitening to at any given point. so, having a huge music collection at your fingertips makes sense.

    with a book, you read it. start to finish. you don't go skipping around through chapters. start one book. read one chapter from a couple dozen more, then go back to it.

    if i want to read something on a trip, i'll go and throw a relatively weightless $4 paperback in my bag. should last me the entire trip. what then is the point of a heavy, several hundred dollar device with a crappy screen that will make my eyes hurt?
  • Reply 2 of 13
    lucaluca Posts: 3,833member
    I agree completely with pesi. Another thing is that if you lose or destroy a $4 paperback, you really won't care. If you liked the book and you weren't done yet, go buy another copy, otherwise just let it go. But if you lose or destroy a $300 e-book reader, you'd be pretty pissed. You can't just go buy another.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Paper is just more pleasant, even than the best displays. Evidence, ever since the inception of the computerized office, paper use has increased dramatically.

    I hope eBook's NEVER take off.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    mcqmcq Posts: 1,543member

    Originally posted by Matsu

    Paper is just more pleasant, even than the best displays. Evidence, ever since the inception of the computerized office, paper use has increased dramatically.

    I hope eBook's NEVER take off.

    I don't think they ever will. The only things I could see reading are digital versions of magazines (i.e. using Zinio), which can be short enough to be read in one sitting without too much trouble.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    chinneychinney Posts: 1,019member
    What happened to the paperless office? It's not just that paper is more pleasant, it is that we are only now just starting to get past old-fashioned display technology. But we really have not made many advances yet.

    What we really need is a extreme-high resolution wireless flat-screen display that snaps on and off an iMac-type arm on the main computer; that you can put flat on your desk for reviewing documents (or otherwise port around with you); that is also a memory device in its own right and that has enough memory to hold a good deal of information and to function, as a reader, independently of wireless range of the computer; that has intelligently-designed easy-to-use controls on the edge of the display for moving around your documents; that has simple editing capability so that you don?t necessarily have to snap it back into the main computer to edit your documents; and that is strong and durable to survive the inevitable abuse.

    I.e. an intelligent display: iDisplay. Apple is just the company to do this. I am hoping that it will be an option on iMacs within a couple of years. Am I dreaming?
  • Reply 6 of 13
    mac voyermac voyer Posts: 1,283member
    It just all depends on what you?re reading.

    One of the best electronic gadgets I ever owned was an electronic Bible. I used it constantly for sermons, classes, and personal study. Being able to look things up, bookmark and the like, was an absolute Godsend. The Bible is a reference book, though. It is not necessarily a cover to cover read. Other books that would be perfect for electronic format are dictionaries and encyclopedias, reference books, in other words. These would be books that you have to refer to several times throughout the course of a lifetime. The girth of such books makes easy access prohibitive. Textbooks would also be perfect subjects for digitizing.

    As far as fiction and casual reading goes, the audio book is a much better option. My iPod and my Audible account make a great team. I can listen to my books while on the go. It makes for a great alternative to mindless radio. Audio books allow me to enjoy books at times and in places that would be impossible with the printed word. EBooks do not allow for any more flexibility than do print books so I can hardly see the point.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    der kopfder kopf Posts: 2,275member
    So far, I've read 6 complete books off of the screen of my iBook. These being:

    -the first 4 Harry Potter books (well. what can I say? as a literature person, I do feel I have the responsibility to know what's going on. And of course I didn't feel like paying for those books. You'd be surprised at how many electronic versions of books you can find if you look hard enough. Hm. Excuses, excuses.).

    - Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

    - Dreamcatcher by Stephen King.

    What can I say? All books I wouldn't be caught dead giving money for, but every once in a while, I tend to need something to loosen up my brain, some cheap-o cheesy stuff to put in between my Saul Bellow - John Edgar Wideman sandwich. So that, to me, is one reason to read an ebook. I also didn't quite mind it. The things came as flat text, and I formatted them somewhat in plain old AppleWorks and then saved them as pdf. You'll notice that F8 and F9 in adobe reader allow you to go into some kind of full screen mode with your text. And I used a ridiculously large font, just so it'd be easy on the eyes. (I believe one of the harry potter books came out at about 1300 A4 pages). I didn't quite mind sitting in my bed with the laptop on my lap, but, being honest, I don't think it beats a real book.

    And do printouts of ebooks count? I read Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker cycle entirely from printouts from etexts. A bit stupid actually, seeing a full paperback is probably only 10 or 15 euros hereabouts. But then again, literature in English is not that omnipresent in my region.

    All in all, I think ebooks just can't quite win from paper books in the convenience department. How many people like to sit in a bathtub for hours reading a book (like myself)? A bit hard to do with a several hundred euro (or 1650 euro in the case of my ibook) device. On the other hand, having had my bouts of collecting fury, I do have an ebook library that far exceeds my paper book library, which is, modest though I may not be, rather large. Probably more than 2000 books which I will, even more probably read only 1% or 2% of in the foreseeable future, and that probably in a paper version I'll buy when time comes. And that is, deep down, an illegal situation. Many of my ebooks are public domain, but as many, if not more, aren't. So if I were to think about what I'd have and/or read on my iBook if I'd have to pay for it, it would amount to nothing at all.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    keshkesh Posts: 621member
    I've got literally dozens of ebooks on my Powerbook & my PalmOS handheld.

    The reason ebooks have only begun to catch on is:

    1) price of hardware

    2) price of books

    3) availability of titles

    4) portability

    So far, the only format I've found that works on all those fronts is Palm Digital Media's Palm Reader. You can use your PalmOS or WinCE/PocketPC handheld as your book reader. Everything from the $99 Palm Zire to the $1000 PocketPC tablets, to your laptop or desktop PC or Mac can read the files.

    Prices vary from free up to the same as buying the hardback edition of the book, so it can be a bit iffy on that part. I've found good deals and I've found rediculously overpriced ebooks.

    There's finally a large selection of books in this format, both on PDM's site and at FictionWise, and the reader can also display books in the regular Palm DOC format.

    The best part is, you can put the books on as many different handhelds or PCs as you want. Each book is encrypted using your credit card number as its passkey. So, people won't be sharing their ebooks on Kazaa unless they're willing to give out their credit card number too.

    So, I'd say ebooks are just now starting to reach a sensible price/availability/portability ratio. We'll see them start to take off more in the next year or two. Just avoid those expensive, proprietary ebook readers, and tell your friends to buy a used Handspring Visor or new Zire for their books.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    jbljbl Posts: 555member
    I enjoyed reading books on my Newton MP 2000. It had a pretty good screen (although it could have been higher resolution), and a decent form factor for reading. Unlike a real book it was pretty easy to hold in one hand, and the backlighting was great for reading in bed. The real problem for me was availability of books.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    liquidrliquidr Posts: 884member
    Yes, I do think ebooks and audio books are clever, but for me nothing beats the printed page, the smell of the paper and the texture.

    I've only ever listened to an audio book once, it was okay, the reader was a little stiff and I felt like I was being read to by a grade school teacher. I guess I'd like it better if it were preformed as an old radio drama, with different voice actors for each character.

    Has anyone heard of the electronic poem published by William Gibson, I forget the name. It was programmed so that it could only be read once, and then it wiped itself out. I know there are copies on the web somewhere.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    murbotmurbot Posts: 5,262member
    I'll listen to an audio book when travelling a long distance - great way to make the miles fly by.

    As for reading eBooks, I don't think I could get used to that. Hell, if I'm reading something more than a page or two on the computer I'll print it out on the laser to read. I just can't get "comfortable" with a computer display.
  • Reply 12 of 13

    Originally posted by Chinney

    What happened to the paperless office?

    Popular misconception!

    "The paperless office" was never originally meant to be about reading from screens versus reading from paper. It refers to the large filing cabinets full of paper that were used for the long-term storage of business data. A function for which paper has largely been replaced (and totally surpassed) by computerised databases.


    I love books and reading in all its forms and (bearing in mind that it's not an either or proposition) think ebooks are pretty cool and due for a minor boom.

    I read a few PDF books on my old Wintel laptop. I turned it 90 degrees and held like a real book, well a real, big, ungainly book.

    The thing is they work *so* much better for public domain/freely distributable/pirated material as DRM in all its many form sucks royally and totally ruins the experience just as it does for all those iTMS competitors.

    Hey! Anyone remember the fake screencaps of an Apple ebook reader app that were doing the rounds (complete with open GL page-flip animation). I was disappointed that they turned out fake.
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