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Will ebook readers replace real books in your life?

 10:40 am on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I love reading. I read on several subjects - fiction and non-fiction. While I do see myself using ebook readers like Kindle for reading reference books and maybe ebooks written by experts on some technology related subjects, I can't imagine doing any real leisure reading with an ebook reader. Not now. Not anytime in the future. Spending a lazy afternoon with a good book is altogether different from staring at a screen. If I wanted to stare at a screen, I wouldn't get away from my computer or I would watch TV. Ebooks are expected to out-sell paperbacks in less than a year according to Jeff Bezos and I believe him. I've seen ebooks outselling paperbacks even when they're *more expensive* than the touch-and-feel books. Besides I think the newer lot which has grown up with Xbox, Playstation, Facebook and everything else may just take to ebooks without reading any paperbacks outside obligatory reading. Yet, I don't think I'll ever be able to change my preference for a real book. How does everyone else here feel about this?



 11:31 am on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I've been a (real) book reader ever since I could read many decades ago and I also have an extensive library. However, just recently, I bought an ebook reader preloaded with more books then I will probably finish reading and I am all taken with it. I'm currently reading Voltaire's Candide and whilst reading I completely forget that it's not a real book and that I'm looking at a screen.

So, yes, I'm won over though I don't expect the sale of real books to go out of fashion anytime soon. ;o)


 11:57 am on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Generally, I don't buy new books. I like the touch and feel of a real book, and buy almost all of them in charity shops.

I would expect ebook readers to become even more popular as the price comes down, however, at the moment, I have no intention of acquiring an e-book reader. If i'm going to dablle in it, i'd wait for the e-book reader to be close to free. I don't see why the reader shouldn't be free as you have to pay for each book as you download it.


 12:38 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Maybe, but it's going to take a while.

The book publishing industry has been trying to change it's model for almost two decades and there's still been no noticeable change from consumers.

I've got an ipad, haven't read a book on it yet. Bought two paperbacks last week and read them, just like I've done for the past 4 decades :).

Part of my problem isn't technology. It's that I read enough in a narrow genre that I'm always waiting for new books to come out - and they don't seem to be readily available in ebook format. Second problem is that I want to know before I buy if I'm likely to buy the book. My local bookstore does the research and actually orders specific books in ahead of time just so they have books in stock for when I walk in and ask if they've got anything good to read. I can't get that kind of service with ebooks, and am not looking to start researching on my own. I know the amazon crowd don't get that kind of service so for them it's no loss.


 12:48 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is an interesting development. One of our area libraries now loans out Kindles: [watertownlib.org...]

I've been pleasantly surprised by the Kindle reading experience. I like it more than I thought I would and I just might make the transition... very gradually.


 1:11 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have no intention of acquiring an e-book reader. If i'm going to dablle in it, i'd wait for the e-book reader to be close to free. I don't see why the reader shouldn't be free as you have to pay for each book as you download it.

I'm with you on this. I thought Amazon would introduce something on the lines of 'free cell phone' plans offered by cell phone providers wherein you're committed to a long term plan and get the phone for free. Something like $200 for the Kindle and $200 in Kindle ebook buying credits bundled for the price of $200. That would make the Kindle free. It would really explode its user base. It's quite like razor companies giving a razor and a few blades together or camera companies back in the age of analog cameras giving away cameras with a few rolls. Paying for Kindle seems rather indulgent, considering that in a few months, it could be outdated, as a new version is out and with no possibility for an upgrade. What I do like about ebook publishing is that it allows people who're experts in niche subjects to reach out to their target audience without the costs and bottlenecks.

I don't think paperbacks are going anywhere especially with print-on-demand services and with people (like some of us) who prefer real books.


 1:50 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Paying for Kindle seems rather indulgent, considering that in a few months, it could be outdated, as a new version is out and with no possibility for an upgrade.

Ipad's, ebook readers and cell phones are all ripe for some sort of open standard where we can mix and match hardware and software as desired.


 2:12 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I bought the Sony Reader PRS 500 a few years ago. I used it for some time, then only about six month after I bought it Sony announced that no Firmware updates would be available so the new EPub format would not be supported. However you would get a 100$ discount if you bought the next model.

All I can use this thing now is to read books from websites like gutenberg.org where the author has been dead for more than 70 years.

So I am back to paper again. E-Book readers are fine but paying 200 EUR for a device that will be obsolete in 2 years - no thanks. And you do not even know what happens in 10 years, maybe there will be new file formats and you won't be able to read the old files.


 2:28 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Since getting the iPad and the Kindle app for it I have read more books in 2 months than in the 3 years before it... And have replaced a fair few magazine subs with iPad ones...

The holiday last week was a great example of the usefullness of it. To have such a large collection at my fingertips was something I couldn't have before.

However I will continue to collect Wisden physically but "throwaway" books will all now be bought electronically.


 2:48 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't see why the reader shouldn't be free as you have to pay for each book as you download it.

Amazon has free Kindle reader apps for iPhone and Android phones and also for Windows. Probably for Apple PCs and other devices too. You don't have to buy a Kindle to get them.

You buy the book once and can read it on any/all of the platforms. You can start reading on your PC, bookmark a page, and pick up again at that point on your phone.


 3:05 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I seriously doubt books or newspapers (kill me here) are going away ever. It is not just the same. I love the e-readers and online newspapers but sometimes I just feel like having a life and grab a paper book or make a trip to Cirkle K to get my newspaper. Also these e-readers expire pretty quick. They won't be supported forever. And there is always a catch with them. If you get the devices free, you are stuck with high book prices.


 3:15 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I feel both have a place.

There are certain places where I would take a book or magazine, but not an eBook reader. If I take an expensive piece of electronics to the beach, I'd worry about it being stolen while I'm swimming. But I can live with a book or magazine being stolen (but would any one bother to steal one?).

I can continue to read my book/magazine on a flight even after the flight attendant tells everyone to turn off all their electronic items.

When I'm sitting in my comfy chair/sofa/hammock, I don't care if I fall asleep and let my book/magazine go crashing to the floor.

An eBook reader is usually easier to setup and use while on a treadmill or other exercise machine. Plus your heart gets a serious short-term workout when it falls to the floor. :)


 5:04 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Real books are produced to some excellent open standards. English words in Latin script on paper. It doesn't matter if I go to Amazon, Waterstones, Blackwells or a charity shop my inbuilt bio-OCR system installed at primary school works perfectly.


 7:45 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

no never.

reading printed text is far easier to read then a digital screen glowing in your face.

If i ever have a long PDF i need to read I don't read it on my 22inch LCD I click print and take it to the couch or table to enjoy it with no eye strain.


 10:30 pm on Sep 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I like reading from a book and I like keeping books that I like, don't you think it feels good surveying the book you kept.


 6:33 am on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I will if they drop the DRM. I do not want to be tied to a reader, and I want to be sure of keeping my books once bought - remember what happened to MS's "plays for sure" (most ironic name ever).


 2:59 pm on Sep 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

You can`t beat a good rummage in a secondhand bookshop. Just the smell of old books is enough to suck you in. Whilst the kindle is awesome it will never be an equal substitute to an actual book.

In my lifetime books will never die out, but in the future? Who knows.


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