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Steve E

The Apple Tablet Event?

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Yes, these are the kinds of questions I'm talking about (also the cost/usage and storage issues that Thoth mentions above). If the big problem is that e-books are worth more than $9.99, for whatever reason, and Amazon is taking a hit that other companies can't afford to build its market share and destroy the competition, meanwhile convincing the public that no e-book anywhere should ever cost more than $9.99, then I would agree on the need to question that practice.

 

I have no trouble believing that Amazon is cutting prices to attract business. Where the big publishers are losing me is in their insistence that an e-book should mirror the price of the hardcover book. Track Title A (this is particularly obvious at the Amazon.com site; B&N tends to follow the market more slowly, which is why I don't own a nook). The book is released in hardcover at, say, $25 and retails at Amazon for $22-23. At that point the Kindle version costs $21-23, about the same as the discounted hardcover price. The book is deemed a bestseller and the retail price drops to $15-17; the e-book is listed at $9.99. The book goes into paperback at $6.99 and the e-book (which has not changed one bit) now lists for $6.39, 10% less than the paperback.

 

Obviously, the bookstore has to match the paperback price if it hopes to sell e-books; otherwise people will bypass the e-book and buy the paperback instead. But why is the e-book not considered the equivalent of a paperback at the beginning of the cycle? And yes, I understand that the publishers want to make as much money as they can from the hardcovers and that they would withhold the e-book from circulation if they saw it as the equivalent of releasing the hard cover and the paperback simultaneously. But I think that is the element that's missing from the discussion: that pricing model, which was developed in a particular publishing context and was appropriate in that context, may need to change in response to the introduction of digital book technology. An e-book is not the equivalent of a hardcover: it's not as durable, as pleasurable a sensory experience, as versatile (the comment about lending, transferring, selling, etc.), or as enduring. And there are costs associated with accessing it and storing it, as Thoth notes.

 

I don't know the answer to the pricing question; I doubt anyone does at this point. But I don't think hammering customers over the head will be any more successful than luring them into unrealistic and unsustainable expectations (if, in fact, that is the result of Amazon.com's campaign). There are real issues associated with the adoption of e-books that so far, most publishers and even many journalists seem unwilling to address.

 

But fortunately, we have the Storyist Forums. :)

M

Maybe we should start sending lots of letters with all these issues to the journalists to enlighten them or start blogging and getting other loud bloggers to talk about it. :lol:

 

I would think Cengage would be right in the thick of this conversation (which doesn't necessarily mean they want employees spilling all on a public forum!), since the iPad and tablets in general offer a clear advantage over printed textbooks: they're light, they're portable, they display full-color graphics, they can connect to the Internet for additional videos and source materials and explanations, and you can update the books as often as necessary. You could also set up sectional pricing, so that a professor who only wants to assign three chapters doesn't have to force kids to buy the entire book (believe me, there are great textbooks I have not adopted because I didn't want to ask kids to spring for $40 when I only needed the first third). And given the price of textbooks, I doubt even the most dedicated bargain shopper expects anyone to sell them for $9.99. They may insist on $99.99, though. Or $20 for the $40 example.

Text books are the one thing I would really love to see in ebook form, especially if they were available on a per-chapter basis. As long as you weren't paying the huge price of the actual book it would make students and teachers very happy. I imagine that it would also make it more feasible to add illustrations/pictures etc. etc. to make it more dynamic.

 

Okay. Okay. To be completely on topic, I feel that there are considerations other than what iPad charges for an eBook. Price should also take into account the cost of buying in. Kindle is less expensive and you don't need a phone-carrier contract — Amazon picks up the cost of transmission. Amazon also picks up the cost of maintaining your collection: lose your Kindle and Amazon restocks your collection for free when you buy a new one. Loose your iPad and you'd better still have your desktop (and iTunes) to backup your eBooks. The iTunes Store won't help you. (Someone please tell me this has changed.)

 

Rabbit!

- Thoth.

You don't need a phone carrier contract for the iPad or an iPod.

 

The backup issue is another problem I have with ebooks. I want a way to back up my ibooks outside of iTunes and a way to read them outside of iBooks.

 

Has anyone given any thought to there being a standard to comply to for ebooks? I mean, you buy a book in a store, anyone who can read the language can read it anywhere... It's not the same with an ebook. There's MOBI, AZW, ePUB, etc. etc. What if all ebooks had to be sold in the same format so that any ebook reader you had could read it in whatever program. Then the competition would be who can give you the best price on the ebook and which reader is best and what software is best. Ebooks can go from reader to reader with no trouble, etc. etc. I'm sure there's flaws in that idea, but it seems like it could be a decent idea to me. Maybe I'm wrong?

 

 

There is a saying on Wall Street:

 

You don't have to agree. I suspect most people don't.

But it has proven true time and again. It applies to eBooks

and iPads as well.

- Thoth

 

Agreed

 

Tortoise!

- Jules

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The backup issue is another problem I have with ebooks. I want a way to back up my ibooks outside of iTunes and a way to read them outside of iBooks.

 

Has anyone given any thought to there being a standard to comply to for ebooks? I mean, you buy a book in a store, anyone who can read the language can read it anywhere... It's not the same with an ebook. There's MOBI, AZW, ePUB, etc. etc. What if all ebooks had to be sold in the same format so that any ebook reader you had could read it in whatever program. Then the competition would be who can give you the best price on the ebook and which reader is best and what software is best. Ebooks can go from reader to reader with no trouble, etc. etc. I'm sure there's flaws in that idea, but it seems like it could be a decent idea to me. Maybe I'm wrong?

 

Agreed

 

Tortoise!

- Jules

You can back up your books if you want. They are stored in your iTunes Library, just like music and movies and TV shows.

 

There will be a standard format eventually. ePub is the emerging standard. MOBI and AZW are just Amazon.com's way of making non-techies a bit more dependent on the Kindle Store for content—plus Amazon owns MobiPocket, whereas I think ePub is backed by Adobe (and a consortium? I'm vague on the details). It's very easy to translate ePub to MOBI and vice versa, and lots of publishers and text archives provide both formats. SmashWords, for example, accepts Word files from authors and converts them to all the major formats.

 

PDF to anything is the bear in terms of translation. And the incompatible DRM schemes get in the way of conversion. But in any case, you can read most of the formats on the iPad—even B&N has an iPhone app that runs on it, although it has yet to get serious about updating the app to take advantage of the larger iPad screen.

 

At that point or somewhere down the road, someone will figure out that having multiple incompatible formats doesn't make much sense. At the moment, even the incompatible DRM is there to lock readers into a particular device. When one type of device triumphs, the other formats will go away. (Of course, people with books in those formats will be out of luck, won't they?)

Best,

M

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I'm glad to hear I can back them up outside of iTunes. I think it's mostly the DRMs that have me concerned. Maybe they'll get better in the future too. One can hope anyway!

 

As for books in certain formats being out of luck once a standard takes over.. hopefully there will be converters or at least plug ins or something that will allow them to still be read.

 

- J

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You can back up your books if you want. They are stored in your iTunes Library, just like music and movies and TV shows.

Yes, but you can only back-in back to iTunes. If iTunes goes away...if Apple goes away...what then? Don't say it's not possible. I still have Betamax tapes. I can't play them but I'm still holding on to them. They're wedding tapes. I tried to get them transferred to DVD with no luck.

- Thoth

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Obviously, the bookstore has to match the paperback price if it hopes to sell e-books; otherwise people will bypass the e-book and buy the paperback instead.

 

Right now, some people refuse to consider eBooks because they only read paper books. I can easily see a day in the future in which the opposit is true, and people who e-read wouldn't consider owning and toting around a paper book. I already know people who will only listen to music available digitally, they won't consider buying a CD (poor bastards!). So in the future, it may not be "obvious" that the two prices are paired.

 

Orren

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If you are a vampire... I hope you are more akin to Bunnicula than to Dracula....

 

Niether...probably this one:

633721183063584660-CountChocula.jpg

 

He's even got the Jewish nose! :)

 

Orren

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I think ePub is backed by Adobe (and a consortium? I'm vague on the details).

 

ePub is an open source format developed by an international standards committee, not Adobe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPUB

 

If ePub had been developed by a company, Apple wouldn't have standardized on it. Apple generally only standardizes on open formats, or formats that it develops in house.

 

Orren

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Yes, but you can only back-in back to iTunes.

 

Not completely the case.

 

iBooks can read, and the iBooks store includes, both DRM'd ePub and non-DRM'd ePub books. Non-DRM'd ePub files, from the iBooks store or any other store, can be be read anywhere. So if you have an iBooks library filled with non-DRM'd ePubs, you can back up your iBooks library and read those ePubs in anyone's ePub reader.

 

The way the iBooks store works is that it's up to the publisher to let Apple know if it wants DRM or not. I don't know if the "big 5" in the iBooks store want DRM or not. But remember—even if they do at first, they can always change their mind later, and if they do, you'll be able to download the non-DRM version instead (this is what happened with music when the iTunes store went non-DRM; you could upgrade your library).

 

So for now, depending on your iBooks library, there is a possibility that a certain percentage of your iBooks library will not be able to be read outside of the iBooks application. But this condition certainly doesn't apply de facto to the majority of iBooks (in fact, most of them are from Gutenberg and non-DRM), and I believe that in time, those publishers who do use DRM will realize it's as useless as the music industry has realized it is, and 100% of your iBooks library will be "mobile" to any other ePub reader.

 

Orren

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Not completely the case.

...

So for now, depending on your iBooks library, there is a possibility that a certain percentage of your iBooks library will not be able to be read outside of the iBooks application. But this condition certainly doesn't apply de facto to the majority of iBooks (in fact, most of them are from Gutenberg and non-DRM), and I believe that in time, those publishers who do use DRM will realize it's as useless as the music industry has realized it is, and 100% of your iBooks library will be "mobile" to any other ePub reader.

Yea! :)

And three cheers for the coming enlightenment.

 

(So why does Count Chocula have teeth like a bunny and not a snake? Evolution?)

- Thoth.

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(So why does Count Chocula have teeth like a bunny and not a snake? Evolution?)

 

Tooth decay from how sugary the cereal is?

 

Orren

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Yes, but you can only back-in back to iTunes. If iTunes goes away...if Apple goes away...what then? Don't say it's not possible. I still have Betamax tapes. I can't play them but I'm still holding on to them. They're wedding tapes. I tried to get them transferred to DVD with no luck.

- Thoth

Would this work? http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/41/betamaxhd.html

 

Niether...probably this one:

 

He's even got the Jewish nose! :lol:

 

Orren

HAHAHHAHA!!!! That picture is awesome. I totally agree about the Edward Cullen part.

 

He may have the nose, but he doesn't have your hair.

 

Not completely the case.

 

iBooks can read, and the iBooks store includes, both DRM'd ePub and non-DRM'd ePub books. Non-DRM'd ePub files, from the iBooks store or any other store, can be be read anywhere. So if you have an iBooks library filled with non-DRM'd ePubs, you can back up your iBooks library and read those ePubs in anyone's ePub reader.

 

The way the iBooks store works is that it's up to the publisher to let Apple know if it wants DRM or not. I don't know if the "big 5" in the iBooks store want DRM or not. But remember—even if they do at first, they can always change their mind later, and if they do, you'll be able to download the non-DRM version instead (this is what happened with music when the iTunes store went non-DRM; you could upgrade your library).

 

So for now, depending on your iBooks library, there is a possibility that a certain percentage of your iBooks library will not be able to be read outside of the iBooks application. But this condition certainly doesn't apply de facto to the majority of iBooks (in fact, most of them are from Gutenberg and non-DRM), and I believe that in time, those publishers who do use DRM will realize it's as useless as the music industry has realized it is, and 100% of your iBooks library will be "mobile" to any other ePub reader.

 

Orren

 

Hurray! Gotta say I'm anxiously waiting for iBooks. I think it will be an improvement over Stanza, though I could be wrong.

 

So why does Count Chocula have teeth like a bunny and not a snake? Evolution?

- Thoth.

Probably because Bunny teeth are more kid friendly than fangs.... wouldn't want the Count to give the kiddies nightmares.

 

- J

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Probably because Bunny teeth are more kid friendly than fangs.... wouldn't want the Count to give the kiddies nightmares.

 

Are you familiar with the nightmarishly viscious killer rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail? It has nasty pointy teeth!

rabbit-montypython.jpg

"We better not risk another frontal assault—that rabbit's dynamite!" :lol:

 

If you curious to see the clip:

(there is some obviously humor/cheesy blood)

 

Orren

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHA!!!! I believe that's the first Monty Python clip I've ever seen.... I can generally tell when people are quoting it, but I've never seen it. That'll teach people to mess with rabbits.

 

So, anyone know what the latest news is about Hulu on the iPad? Or other similar sites?

 

- J

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Thanks for caring so much. ***little kiss*** But I've tried a service that claimed to have such a machine and all I got was a DVD of blank scenes and static. Perhaps, like the wampir, I cannot be photographed. But more likely the metal oxides on the plastic tape began to flake off. At least that is what I was told. Sad. So sad. But an example of unexpected obsolescence. Tapes flake. DVD layers separate. Flash memory drives decay over time. Ashes. All is ashes.

 

I finished my script and am now suffering from post-Frenzy depression.

- Thoth

 

Knights of Camelot: [singing] We're knights of the Round Table, we dance whene'er we're able. We do routines and chorus scenes with footwork impec-cable, We dine well here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and Spam a lot. / We're knights of the Round Table, our shows are for-mi-dable. But many times we're given rhymes that are quite un-sing-able, We're opera mad in Camelot, we sing from the diaphragm a lot. / In war we're tough and able, Quite in-de-fa-ti-gable. Between our quests we sequin vests and impersonate Clark Gable / It's a busy life in Camelot. [solo] I have to push the pram a lot.

(Click here for the clip.)

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The APPLE TABLET EVENT thread

has reached 20 pages.

Amazing.

 

Bit off topic though. :lol:

 

I'm waiting to get the new iPhone before I decide on the iPad. Prob will just get a macbook instead but we'll see.

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Bit off topic though. :lol:

The length of the topic thread? THAT'S what you consider a bit off topic?

Oh. Right. You're just teasing old Thoth. Good one.

- Thoth

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I'm waiting to get the new iPhone before I decide on the iPad. Prob will just get a macbook instead but we'll see.

 

As an owner of a 2009 MacBook Pro 13" I can tell you this is hands down the best portable computer I have ever owned (and I've owned Mac, PC, and Linux laptops). It is the perfect size for maximum portability, yet has enough screen space and high enough resolution to be highly suited for professional audio, video, and text creation. It is fast as can be, comes with a very nice compliment of RAM (2GB standard) and is upgradable to even more. It's a fully 64-bit processor—meaning that you can even switch to a 64-bit Kernel, not just run the 64-bit Snow Leopard OS over a 32-bit Kernel (as I do on my 2006 Mac Pro). And of course the new 2010 MBP 13" are even better, faster and more RAM, etc. But you could easily get yourself a 13" MBP used for a bit of a savings and be certain that you have the best "bang for buck" portable machine on the market, which can also run Windows and Linux if you need it to.

 

The iPad has been designed as an intimate "media consumer" device but it's really not intended to be a "media production" device. That's not to say people can't figure out ways to stretch it into a minor version of one but it doesn't have the processor power, the RAM, the expandability, and so on, that a true laptop has. That's why it sells for half the price of a laptop.

 

So if you're looking for a production machine, don't consider an iPad. You'll only end up ultimately wishing that you had something that had more power, storage, flexibility, etc. OTOH if you're looking for a media consumption device, I don't think an iPad can be beat.

 

My 2 euros,

Orren

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As an owner of a 2009 MacBook Pro 13" I can tell you this is hands down the best portable computer I have ever owned (and I've owned Mac, PC, and Linux laptops). It is the perfect size for maximum portability, yet has enough screen space and high enough resolution to be highly suited for professional audio, video, and text creation. It is fast as can be, comes with a very nice compliment of RAM (2GB standard) and is upgradable to even more. It's a fully 64-bit processor—meaning that you can even switch to a 64-bit Kernel, not just run the 64-bit Snow Leopard OS over a 32-bit Kernel (as I do on my 2006 Mac Pro). And of course the new 2010 MBP 13" are even better, faster and more RAM, etc. But you could easily get yourself a 13" MBP used for a bit of a savings and be certain that you have the best "bang for buck" portable machine on the market, which can also run Windows and Linux if you need it to.

 

The iPad has been designed as an intimate "media consumer" device but it's really not intended to be a "media production" device. That's not to say people can't figure out ways to stretch it into a minor version of one but it doesn't have the processor power, the RAM, the expandability, and so on, that a true laptop has. That's why it sells for half the price of a laptop.

 

So if you're looking for a production machine, don't consider an iPad. You'll only end up ultimately wishing that you had something that had more power, storage, flexibility, etc. OTOH if you're looking for a media consumption device, I don't think an iPad can be beat.

 

My 2 euros,

Orren

 

Yeah I don't game as much as I used to, and the new 13 inch gets 10 hours of battery life. But I think I'll be able to WAIT until an i3 version comes out which may be this year. From what I've read the only reason they didn't get it this refresh was Intel has very few left and manufacturers who want them are paying premiums, something Apple will never do. I expect the i3's the be just as long in the tooth battery wise when they come out. I imagine myself one of those pretentious writers, typing away at the local Starbucks. :)

 

In other news, here's a nice html5 clock, works great on my iPod too.

 

http://icondesign.dk/ipad/clock/

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That is a nice little clock. I wish that it was bigger and centered when displaying on my iPhone though, but it works, so that's cool in my book!

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I think in another thread I wondered about the "ultimate longevity" (and Thoth answered, I believe) of our entire e-society. We have stone carvings and dead sea scrolls and ancient Egyptian papyrus from thousands of years ago because weather conditions allowed these works to survive, and nothing was required to access them once we re-discovered them. What about our digital world? What will be left after an apocalypse? If tens of thousands of years from now, extra-terrestrial archeologists find our little rock, third from our sun, and try to understand what sort of culture existed here, will they be able to? Or will all of our data be lost, with little physical other than buildings?

 

The more ephemeral our information becomes, in a way, so do we. Look at the Boskops. Back in pre-historic times, humans were not the smartest, biggest brained creatures on earth. The Boskops were bigger-brained. And yet, they vanished (either dying out or breeding with those human dummies). But we know so little about them, because as smart as they might have been, they didn't leave a written culture. http://discovermagazine.com/2009/the-brain...smarter-than-us

 

Will we? Or will we only leave unaccessible, broken hard drives? (I sort of give my answer to this question below)

 

There will always be a place for "souvenirs" as they say. For example, the majority of people choose to buy a movie; but some buy the movie poster, too. And so it will always be with books. Even if the day comes when the majority of books are electronic, there will always be people or special works that people will choose to buy physically.

Orren

On the topic of preservation and the balance of physical/digital book, see this article from the most recent Harvard Magazine.

 

In the interests of full disclosure, let me note that I researched my dissertation in the depths of Widener Library. In those days (early 1980s—not that long ago), I could walk along the stacks and pick up a book published 150 years earlier, its pages still uncut, and read it in the carrel at the end of the row. I found information no one even knew existed. Would I have asked for these books from the depository library? Probably not. It was already operating then, and I never requested anything from offsite storage. So I am both sad (that my experience is gone forever) and happy (that the books that have been digitized are available to so many more people). But I wonder what we have lost—and gained—in the transition.

Best,

M

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On the topic of preservation and the balance of physical/digital book, see this article from the most recent Harvard Magazine.

 

In the interests of full disclosure, let me note that I researched my dissertation in the depths of Widener Library. In those days (early 1980s—not that long ago), I could walk along the stacks and pick up a book published 150 years earlier, its pages still uncut, and read it in the carrel at the end of the row. I found information no one even knew existed. Would I have asked for these books from the depository library? Probably not. It was already operating then, and I never requested anything from offsite storage. So I am both sad (that my experience is gone forever) and happy (that the books that have been digitized are available to so many more people). But I wonder what we have lost—and gained—in the transition.

Best,

M

 

By the same token if you asked about something in said book, there's a good chance Google would have the answer in .0023 seconds.

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On the topic of preservation and the balance of physical/digital book, see this article from the most recent Harvard Magazine.

 

Thanks for the heads up! Very interesting article. I liked how it concluded that both are necessary, and that librarians (and the ability to parse through written information expertly) aren't going away. I do think it would be too bad if all that's left for us is zeros and ones and internet search engines.

 

Orren

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By the same token if you asked about something in said book, there's a good chance Google would have the answer in .0023 seconds.

True. But you see, I'd have to know the book existed, not to mention what it might contain....

M

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