Friday, June 11, 2010

Give me a Hand Pulling My Soapbox Over Here, Will Ya?

My feeling about the Evil E-readers is most likely known to many here, although it has been awhile since I pulled out my soapbox..
And yet..I will admit that on occasion, these Evil E-reader do tempts even me, if just a little bit.

Recently I was up in NY state for the weekend with my brother and sister-in-law and the SIL is the owner of an Evil Kindle. Yes, much about it is wrong, especially the Kindle's proprietary format. But having the choice of all those books on one thin little device, where as I was limited to the one bulky book I could fit in my suitcase...yes, I can see some advantage, at least for traveling.

But I will still wait. Wait for the industry to deal with some still huge issues.

Recently there was an article in the Wall Street Journal that discussed several of the issues that we hold outs have. Bottom line, I want to be able to control the “books” that I buy. But that is not yet the case.
“Reading devices like the iPad, Kindle and Nook will come and go, but you'll likely want your e-book collection to stick around. Yet unlike music, commercial e-books from the leading online stores come with restrictions that complicate your ability to move your collection from one device to the next.”
Things seem to be getting a little better, be opening up a bit. Apple, using some free apps, allows you to open your Amazon purchased Kindle books on a number of different devices now, like the iPhone and a PC. Also books purchased from Sony's bookstore and Borders Kobo can be opened on some other devices using Adobe Digital Editions to transfer them. And I am sure there are also some less than fully legal methods out there to even open up the Amazon software...but why does it have to be so complicated? I want it simple. Buy what I want, where I want, read it with any device I like and do with it what I will. Is that too much to ask?

As I see it, there are two separate issues. First, you want to decide which device you want to buy. Which is easier, nicer to read, most versatile, what is the cost...just like any other devices you buy.
Second, you want to decide where, at what e-bookstore, you buy your “books”. Again, who has the best selection, are easiest to download, has the best prices. I want to buy my books and do with them what I want. Read them on any device I own, loan them out, give them away, just like I can with a “real” book.
Why should one decision have anything to do with the other?
Why, oh why, should it be so complicated, so restricted?

But perhaps there is some light at the end of the tunnel, as the WSJ says, a way that Google seem to be exploring in it's soon to be release commercial service.
“Google, which plans to launch an e-bookstore later this year, says customers will be able to access its books through apps on popular devices and through a Web browser on any device—including a phone or computer. Google's argument is that we shouldn't lock ourselves into one bookstore if it is going to offer titles that are dependent on special apps or devices.”
The simply answer is that all the e-bookstores except the industry standard of the e-Pub format, without adding their own restrictive DMR (digital rights management) software, just as the music industry finally had to except the m3p format. But...
“For now, the e-bookstore choice comes down to which compromises readers are willing to accept.”
How about none? So, in the meantime, I will still be waiting.


  1. I think this will all sort out in the end. It's just all too new right now. who know what will be the choices after some time has passed? If you had told me that I would be able to watch movies I saw at the movie theater on my TV, on my computer, on a phone (?) or a little thing that looked like a legal pad when I was 16, I would have thought you were nuts. We live in an interesting age, don't we?

    I do still love my (evil?) Kindle though. LOL You'll get it figured out right for you.

  2. I guess I wonder if it is possible to have a technology to invert my money in that will not be very quickly obsolete..or is that in fact the business plan?

    I don't want to invest perhaps thousands of $$$ just to be told down the line that I can no longer access them...except maybe for an additional fee.

  3. You bring up some good thoughts and you may be right. I hadn't thought of that. Well, I'm in it now and I do like the ease of being able to slip my Kindle in my purse and off I go. As I said before, we live in an interesting, throw-away aga, don't we?

  4. I think there will be a shake-up in the e-Reader world in the next few years. I read that one of them is going bankrupt already. Boy, would I be mad if I'd bought that reader.

  5. yes, certainly if you were now stuck with a bunch of books, maybe thousands of dollars worth, that would might not be able to read on another device. oh yeah, I would be mad indeed.

  6. I admit I'm firmly rooted in the tactile world of hard-bound books and yellowing pages. I love my books and carry them to places where an electronic device would be utterly destroyed; sometimes it wreaks havoc on the books, but they're pretty forgiving.

    I even subscribe to (2) real newspapers. Because I like the way the ink smells and I like to savor the words with a good cup of coffee; electronic media has its place, and I figure it'll still be there when I'm good and ready for it.

    It could also be driven by the fact that I live in a dual-flat-screened-world by day, with no less than 12 devices humming their electronic tune in my ear while I'm trying to think. Yeah. That's probably it.

  7. Well I don't blame you one bit....the DRM just ticks me off to no end. But wait till you see the recipe e-reader I found, LOL (post coming tomorrow about it). I wonder what the DRM on recipes are????

  8. I think if you wait long enough, all these issues will be worked out. Competition will force them all to work together to come up with something that will work.

    And just FYI: Consumer Reports recently did a test of the e-readers out there ...and the Evil Kindle came out on top.


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