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02/14/2010

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jimbino

The effect of e-readers should be even greater in Europe and Latin countries, which charge outrageous amounts for a book. Who knows? -- maybe I will someday see Brazilians and Argentines reading a book on a bus or at the beach--something I have never seen.

Alan

I wonder what the related effect of conversion to online-only distribution of magazines will have to sales of these magazines. I used to get PC Magazine via mail. Now it is only available online. The online presentation is slick, but I prefer the ability to read and markup/tearout from a tangible, good old paper copy (while I am watching the news.) I will not be renewing if they ask me to pay.

N.E.H.

E-readers taking the place of books? Who knows... First you've got to buy the reader, at about $100 - $500 a pop, then comes the expense for the data chip. What happens when they change the software every two to three years as they seem too do? Is the old chip worthless and one has to toss ones complete library and buy anew? Or just toss and forget about the investment and expense.

With the advent of the "Digital Age", there are major problems with archiving, maintaining libraries, maintaining documents and other intellectual endeavors & integrity. Will the "Digital Age" create the burning of the "Library of Alexandria" on a biannual basis? At lest with books and like, one is not dependant on continually changing technology and its readers too allow one to read or even gloss the texts.

E-readers? They're probably good for Dime Novels. I certainly don't want them getting their hands on and controlling important Literature and other Intellectual endeavors. Whoops... there goes our Cultural and Intellectual Memory.

Rick's TwypePad

I'm assuming that e-book readers will improve technologically. If they develop the ability to help us browse, and to refer to one page while reading another, while still offering good search capabilities, they become much more tempting.

I think Amazon has hitherto artificially stifled the development of e-book readers by creating not-very-good hardware and by charging too much for it. My feeling is that they'd do themselves more good by thinking of the books as their core business and being ready to give up on the hardware.

tamara

People do not need so many stuff and add ons on their lives. Just take a look at the iphone great useless product that has people acting stupid; instead of just talking to people around them or comunicating with another human being they sit quietly and play dumb add ons on this devices. People texting TEXTING while driving. The human brain is not power to deal with so many things at the time, people need to procrastinate a little bit. Anyway, back to the kindle is gonna be the same they did with the Xbox. After 3 years they force the costumer to upgrade and buy a new console that costs like 500 dollars and how did they make you pay ahh because all the new games came for the new format XBOX 360 thus making the black xbox obselete and all your money with it.
And people always wanna have the new thing on store even if the old one is better so they HAD to buy the Xbox 360 to play games like Halo.

Jimbino, yes latin americans dont read as a general rule and is a sad situation truly and I dont think the cost of books is the only reason: the cultural paradigm is to be cool and reading books is for nerds and clumsy people who dont have lives. Very wrong, very wrong.

www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=508679122

We can definitely expect to see the ebook reader technology become more advanced and affordable, thus increasing the supply to consumers and allowing for more publishers to enter the market. I wouldn't say it would make printed books obsolete, decline probably, but more so create a shift in the book industry towards more electronic publishing that overall will increase the revenue of the industry making all parties better off, for the most part.

And as to the comment by 'N.E.H.' concerning throwing away your old library and having to start anew, the Whispernet used by Amazon for Kindle prevents this since it stores all of your data through Whispernet. For example, my wife has a Kindle and I have a Blackberry with Kindle application and the Whispernet stores my library allowing me transfer devices at ease.

N.E.H.

And what happens when the technology changes or Amazon goes out of business? By the way, who's paying for all this data storage anyway? Hey - it's another Profit Center! I can envision the size of the memory banks that are going to be required. In order to power them, they will probably have to have their own dedicated Nuc. Plants.

Green Technology?

At least with books, they can sit on the shelves for hundreds of years and not consume one Kilojoule of energy. And if the "Great Collapse" occurs, where are we then?

Barstowtx

I take great issue with the statement that it is hard to see how the improvement in distribution technology will hurt the maker of goods. One must either be blind, ignorant or deliberately obtuse not to see that small scale reproduction of intellectual property which makes up the book readers' domain is much easier for an individual to do electronically in a convenient format than to set up a printer or binder to print one copy. This is true even when taking into account copy machines for the copying of published material or the print on demand technology now making the rounds.

The example of the music industry is unfounded. The music, once it is in a common digital format can be duplicated and distributed costlessly just as easily by file sharing as by any other means. It is this type of behavior which destroys publishers and denudes copyright owners of income to support the time spent creatively. Further this type of distributed control of distribution is viral and almost impossible to rid once started. Lastly any attempt to control this through any key type of encryption in its most general sense is doomed by the constant exponential increase in computing power and the unwavering attempts to crack codes by various parties against a necessarily technologically relatively static encoding technique. To the extent that the royalty owner receives only a small portion of income it is the producers (of the book not the content) and distributors who bear the brunt of lower incomes. It is apparent the genie is long out of the bottle on this one.

The music distribution industry was in decline before the iTunes store came into being. File sharing without royalties accounts for over 90% of files distributed. Just as the printing press destroyed the thirty five hundred year old scribal industry by lowering the costs of production so too will paper technology be affected. Similarly, just as regulation of printing was an utter failure each time it was attempted whether by a monopoly of printers or by central authority so too will regulation of the electronic press fail.

E-readers are doomed as an independent gadget. Why should one pay $500 for what is basically a retarded computer when one can purchase a full strength computer with a little bit of software that can duplicate E-readers' capabilities along with all the other communications, audio and video technology crammed into the same box for more or less the same price. Independent software allows the user to avoid having publishers reach into their library and destroy it at will.

dovi

Changing technologies will not hamper the coming digitalization of book ownership. Don't limit your understanding of ownership to tangibles like chips for storage and readers for viewing and start thinking of your online profile as like a wallet, a bookshelf, a CD collection, a photo album. Lose your phone or ereader or whatever is the tech dujour and you get a new one to which you can download your property from where it resides in the cloud.

Ricardo S.

While Becker provided an interesting overview of the e-book topic, Posner has raised some and noteworthy points which I would like to discuss:

1-) “it just is very hard to see how improvements in distribution hurt the maker of the distributed goods”. I will agree in general with that statement, but would like to add that sometimes hurdles in distribution, specially when they are related to information on price, enable a firm to price discriminate and obtain a greater profit. For the consumer the price transparency might increase surplus, but for an individual firm the optimal price point might be different. This is also true when price discriminating between different regions (e.g., a typical book for a graduate business student might cost $200 for the U.S. edition, but sell for under $40 in the international edition delivered to the US. It is hard to assume that just the hard cover adds $160 in costs). Moving all or most of the distribution online, where there is almost perfect transparency, reduces the power of individual publishers to set different prices. As such, it should be expected that publishers would be reluctant to move their premium books online. Beach-worthy paperbacks mostly have a fixed price printed on the cover, so publishers will be more willing to move them online.

2-) “Books compete with other forms of intellectual property, the demand for which has grown with digitization” and “Online publication offers both unbundling and immediacy”. These are key issues for the publisher, record labels, movie producers and others, which need to realize that people won’t necessarily move to free entertainment; they will do so only in the cases where the entertainment they were paying for was not worth it. As Posner noted, digital publishing allows for the unbundling of content. Consumers can now not own a TV (and a cable subscription), instead watching just the 2 shows per week they are wiling to pay for online (payment can be in the form of a subscription fee – e.g. Pandora – or time viewing advertisement – e.g. Hulu). This was the effect of the Ipod on recorded albums and could be the effect of Hulu on TV. Newspapers like the NY Times are experimenting with only charging for certain content. The will succeed only if the content consumers value the most is not a commodity. For instance, the WSJ has subscribers that value its analysis, which cannot be obtained anywhere else, therefore it can charge subscriptions fees, online or in print. In contrast, if the content on the Chicago Tribune that consumers value the most is some local information (e.g., streets to avoid due to constructions), weather reports and comics, it will not be able to charge much for them if it unbundles the newspaper, because all of these have perfect substitutes which are free for consumers. If the only advantage local newspapers can offer is convenience, they will only be able to charge up to the cost of a users time finding substitute information. This time diminishes as the Internet is more organized and a bigger percentage of the population is familiar with it.

George Mardikes

How many of you have actually used a Kindle?

We gave my father the second generation smaller Kindle before a trip to Europe. He didn't use it, so I took it over to figure out how to use it. I also purchased the larger Kindle DX, since I figured my father, who always wants the best, but not most practical, would be happier with the DX. I figured I would keep one of them.

After learning how to use the Kindle, I realized it is an amazing technology that I choose not to live without. It is an e-reader, not a notebook computer. It really is designed for text knowledge.

First, when I read a book, if I put the curser in front of a word, it displays at the bottom of the page the definition of the word from the Oxford American English Dictionary, which is loaded on the Kindle. If I hit "enter," I get the whole definition. Absolutely wonderful, especially for books with archaic words.

Second, while reading, if I just start typing, it opens up the search box at the bottom of the page with what I am typing set forth. I then have the choice of searching the words in the dictionary, wikipedia, google, the internet, everything on my Kindle or the Kindle Store. While reading Moby Dick, a word that didn't appear in the dictionary was actually a typo in one of the earlier versions that was continued in subsequent versions. Having access to google allowed me to discover this.

Third, instead of buying books, you can download samples for free. So when I hear of a book that I might want to read, I download the sample. If and when I get around to reading a new book, I read the sample and if I like it, I then download in 2 minutes the rest of the book.

Fourth, before getting onto a jet, I can download the current issue of Financial Times, and many other publications, to take with me. It only costs 75 cents for the Kindle version of the Financial Times. I can also download other articles.

Fifth, I can take Word documents and e-mail them to my Kindle. They are immediately converted to a Kindle format. This is great for long articles I am sent from the internet by my dad that I prefer to read sitting somewhere, other than in front of the computer. I can also get pretty much all of the Guttenberg project books converted onto Kindle format.

Sixth, with the touch of two buttons I can increase the font size of the text I am reading. Great if my eyes are tired (from my computer at work), or if I am reading in low light. (The Kindle is not backlit, so it does not tire your eyes.) It basically makes any book on the device a large print book.

Finally, I really enjoy having access to a dictionary, wikipedia and google next to my bed, when I am in a coffee shop, etc. Although it is really designed to access to good text sites, rather than youtube, video and color pictures, which is quite fine.

So, before you pass judgment on the device, give it a try.

And yes, it is not as easy to scan and flip, but you can make notes and bookmarks. In addition, you can search a book easily. It does take some time to figure out how to use it effectively.

matt.

i'm not particularly interested in the kindle/iPad but, the drawback to me is the fact that i can't let my friends borrow books that i recommend,etc. if they don't have a kindle/iPad, they can't partake in the book that i'd willingly lend to them if it should interest them. this, to me, is a huge drawback. if i were to own either of these e-reader's, i wouldn't let them borrow the device so they could read the book i recommended.

this same drawback applies to mp3 based album purchasing. if they want to borrow it, i either have to burn the cd for them or zip file it, upload it, and send the link for them to download.

nfl jerseys

Probably what underlies the fear of the effect of the e-book on the book-publishing industry http://www.new-jerseys.com is a broader concern with the competitive impact of the Internet and the Web on the demand for books

Angela

At least with books, they can sit on the shelves for hundreds of years and not consume one Kilojoule of energy. And if the "Great Collapse" occurs, where are we then? http://www.rapidskunk.com

MrTBOBBY

Another thing about a book is that it will never go away unless not taken care of. In a machine you always run a risk of a malfunction. I think there will always be a paper recorded version of everything. I do not doubt that the majority of it will become electronic, but everything will have a paper backup.

annabel larsen

Thank You for such a great idea!.... :)

hopeline

I will be the subscriber pages of this website, .. because what you write really make my knowledge grow ...

Joseph Lira

I dont think ooks will be obsolete, they just will become more scarce, as people get used to electronic books, there will be less libraries, it will be like a more expensive niche, the paper niche.
Good site, I will tell my brothers about it.

sesli chat

Changing technologies will not hamper the coming digitalization of book ownership. Don't limit your understanding of ownership to tangibles like chips for storage and readers for viewing and start thinking of your online profile as like a wallet, a bookshelf, a CD collection, a photo album. Lose your phone or ereader or whatever is the tech dujour and you get a new one to which you can download your property from where it resides in the cloud.

Book Publishing Houses in India

Competition is unavoidable. The positive sign is readership ( which took a beating because of TV ) is increasing. Internet has become an alternative place for reading. Web is more capable. We can add voice, images, animation etc. So, plain printed text on the web doesnt excite much and unlikely to evoke emotions the same way as reading books in print.

Die cutting machine

The effect of e-readers should be even higher in Europe and American countries, who charge outrageous amounts for a book.

Soaps operas spoilers

I wonder what the effect of conversion related to online distribution of magazines only have to sell these magazines. PC Magazine used to have via email.

Cartuse

I wonder what the effect of conversion related to online distribution of magazines only have to sell these magazines. PC Magazine used to have via email. Now only available online.

joey

Another thing about a book is that it will never go away unless not taken care of. In a machine you always run a risk of a malfunction. I think there will always be a paper recorded version of everything. I do not doubt that the majority http://www.fullmediafire.com of it will become electronic, but everything will have a paper backup.

Prank call voices

I also agree with the analysis of Becker, but suggested some additional points.

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