will e-books ever take off?

every year or so there is another attempt to launch the e-book market, as if it were new, and every year it fades into obscurity.
i believe this is because books are perceived as the ultimate convenience, pick it at your leisure, leave it on the shelf, loan it to a friend, do whatever you like with it. this stands in stark contrast to the restrictive DRM to be found in encrypted e-book formats.

well here is the latest attempt from sony and waterstones:
Could Sony’s electronic book reader kill off the paperback? - Telegraph

if you feel you would like to voice an opinion, comment under the linked article and make your voice heard.

i would also like to hear your thoughts here.

for myself, if i could buy e-books from amazon or waterstones in pdf format i would jump at the chance, i did buy The Forsight War in pdf several years ago, but it was the exception from a small author distributed by a small e-publisher, we need the big guns to change there tune and follow the music industry with unencrypted mp3 tracks.

There are sites that have free out of copy write, aka classic, books. Here’s one Free Public Domain Books from the Classic Literature Library
Its nice to be able to down load a book but sometimes one needs to be able to curl up with the real deal and have it fall gently on your lap as you doze off imho:) :wink:

and some Linux ebooks: Linux Documentation - Guides (List of eBooks)

That link isn’t that good
here’s a better one Main Page - Gutenberg

  • Dimble ThriceFoon,

I don’t see any benefit, only problems.


I think they are more likely to take off only in very specialised markets. Practically, it is difficult to see them ever achieving the convenience of a paperback. People swapped from a scrolling format for books about 1,600 years ago in Europe and the Middle East partly at least for reasons of convenience and it is difficult to see why they would want to go back to what is essentially a scrolling format except in highly specialised areas.

The other practical difficulty I encountered is the lack of an open format. I considered buying an e-book until I realised that I would be committing myself to Windows - and possibly the need to keep my current version of Windows for ever - if I went ahead.

Hmm. Is the glass half empty or half full? I guess it depends on your perspective. I always answer that question with “Neither, it’s just half.”

This to is one of those. I can see pros and cons both ways.

I cannot read 1000 WPM + on a computer screen. Or, on a little box.

Furthermore, books have a certain aesthetic appeal, particularly those with high quality paper and an excellent print job. The tactile sensations of a fine book cannot be replaced by battery powered boxes made of plastic.

They do not sell. It should be obvious that the “technology” is not desired.

There is research going on (at IBM, I think) to make foldable/rollable screens. When the time comes that you can just roll out a nice high quality screen from, say, your mobile phone, then I don’t see why they wouldn’t take off… They may not replace regular books for a long time, but they don’t need to do that to just “take off”.

I’d say no. One HUGE problem with anything ‘e’
is over time it becomes extremely difficult to find
a machine to even read the contents, whether it is software
or hardware. If I grab a book off the shelf I don’t have to
track down some esoteric piece of equipment or software just
to read it. I have that problem already with some books (protected PDF
format) that I own on CDROM. It’s great as long as I don’t want to view it
on Linux… it doesn’t work with Linux and it doesn’t work under WINE due
to some cryptography/copy protection I assume.

There probably are niche markets for them like Autoparts stores or anywhere
that has a need to access a lot of catalogs that change and would be
excellent to have a search feature.

Even still, I vote ‘No thanks’.

It will never take off…ever.

On Tue, 02 Sep 2008 06:44:15 +0000, Uwe Buckesfeld wrote:

> * Dimble ThriceFoon,
> I don’t see any benefit, only problems.

Well, one of the benefits is that Amy can read more books with eBooks
because she can adjust the font size. She’s been looking at the Kindle
(from Amazon); DRM is an issue for us, but with her eyes being as weird
as they are, she’s found that with the lenses she wears now, as long as
the font is large enough, it’s easier for her to read electronic texts
than a real book.

She seems to have fewer problems with the nystagmus that comes with her
condition when dealing with electronic media as well.


> It will never take off…ever.

Well…never say never…I did forget one
esoteric piece of equipment I have to hunt down
to use books…my glasses. LOL…of course I hear
Lasik can fix that up. Just waiting for the beta testing
to finish up. :slight_smile:

  • Jim,

point taken.


On Wed, 03 Sep 2008 04:17:38 +0000, Uwe Buckesfeld wrote:

> * Jim,
> point taken.
> Uwe

It’s something I hadn’t really thought about until Amy started looking at
it - with her special contacts, she was having a hard time reading the
screen on her laptop until I suggested she increase the font size on her
system; we did that, and it’s no longer a problem. :slight_smile:


Yes and no. They have some good positives and some big downfalls.

One of the biggest benefits I see is the size & weight factor. Being able to carry a library of books in a device that’s no bigger than your average book and only weighs a few ounces is extremely convenient. Which would you prefer: 50 lbs of school books or an Amazon Kindle to carry around?

Also the ability to change the font size is nice for those that read tiny fonts… or those that prefer fitting as much content on the screen as possible.

One downfall is when it comes to research or homework that needs multiple books open at a time side by side. There has been many times that I needed to have 2-5 books open at a time to compare information or take in as much as possible just for a simple homework assignment in math, english, any subject. And then the fact that i have to flip to the index to find something really quickly and so on… I just don’t see having multiple ebook readers cost efficient and see them as more of a hassle for this stuff.

Then there is color… Many books have color diagrams and pictures and I cant think of a single ebook reader that has a color screen (though this may be fixed in time… but i doubt any time soon)

And like someone mentioned earlier (too lazy to click the back button) there various different formats and all the drm crap will make stuff a pain.

Also… Books don’t need batteries and power sources. Think about it. You have your kindle and are on the road somewhere and didn’t bring a charger with you and you try to find something in a book for your job… and the batteries cut out… What now?

Basically… ebooks are convenient for some… but there are many uses of books where ebooks fail.:\

But I could be proven wrong in time… so we shall see :slight_smile:

i think they are mssing a trick by releasing devices with 6" screens.

so many people have visual impairments these days that a 9-12 inch ebook reader would sell like hotcakes.

But not until i can buy ebooks in unencrypted pdf format!