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The once and future e-book: on reading in the digital age
ars technica ^ | February 1, 2009 | John Siracusa

Posted on 02/02/2009 1:00:38 PM PST by MrEdd

I was pitched headfirst into the world of e-books in 2002 when I took a job with Palm Digital Media. The company, originally called Peanut Press, was founded in 1998 with a simple plan: publish books in electronic form. As it turns out, that simple plan leads directly into a technological, economic, and political hornet's nest. But thanks to some good initial decisions (more on those later), little Peanut Press did pretty well for itself in those first few years, eventually having a legitimate claim to its self-declared title of "the world's largest e-book store."

Unfortunately, despite starting the company near the peak of the original dot-com bubble, the founders of Peanut Press lost control of the company very early on. In retrospect, this signaled an important truth that persists to this day: people don't get e-books.

A succession of increasingly disengaged and (later) incompetent owners effectively killed Peanut Press, first flattening its growth curve, then abandoning all of the original employees by moving the company several hundred miles away. In January of 2008, what remained of the once-proud e-book store (now called eReader.com) was scraped up off the floor and acquired by a competitor, Fictionwise.com.

Unlike previous owners, Fictionwise has some actual knowledge of and interest in e-books. But though the "world's largest e-book store" appellation still adorns the eReader.com website, larger fish have long since entered the pond.

(Excerpt) Read more at arstechnica.com ...


TOPICS: Books/Literature; Computers/Internet; Education
KEYWORDS: apple; books; deadtree; drm; ebooks; godsgravesglyphs; kindle; tech
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The article is long, but engaging in its detail of how the print media in general is now being dragged down the digital path that the RIAA futilely fought against.
1 posted on 02/02/2009 1:00:39 PM PST by MrEdd
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To: abb; Swordmaker; ShadowAce

Ping for tech and death of dead tree print.


2 posted on 02/02/2009 1:06:25 PM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

3 posted on 02/02/2009 1:08:32 PM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: MrEdd
My wife LUUUVs her Kindle. It was my Christmas present to her.

Sony/Amazon got this one 95% right. There are a few gripes, but the display is phenomenal and the battery lasts for days and days, not just a few hours.

Only gripes: Hard to hold it without pushing a button somewhere; Clicking hotlinks on converted documents sometimes doesn't work very well at all; Reference books don't work well on it, but plain ol' reading is superb

Overall, excellent device!

4 posted on 02/02/2009 1:18:12 PM PST by TChris (So many useful idiots...)
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To: MrEdd

Bookmark


5 posted on 02/02/2009 1:19:04 PM PST by IronJack (=)
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To: TChris

Totally agree. And with Kindle being able to order books over wireless rocks - free, instant shipping - love it!


6 posted on 02/02/2009 1:22:05 PM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: TChris
Ditto, the Kindle has got me back to reading books again.

Thought I would mention that for Kindle (and probably other e-book users) that the free Mobipocket Creator (Publisher Edition) is great for converting various formats into Mobi which the Kindle seems to handle better than other formats, especially PDF.

The Mobipocket Creator is available here.

7 posted on 02/02/2009 1:32:46 PM PST by Proud_texan (Scare people enough and they'll do anything.)
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten

I agree Kindle is terrific! I ordered mine the day it was announced, and regard it as one of my most prized possessions (of course, along with several firearms).


8 posted on 02/02/2009 1:32:49 PM PST by RandyGH (Democrats--So far left they've left America)
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To: MrEdd

I love my Kindle. Plenty of non-DRM books available for it too.


9 posted on 02/02/2009 1:36:16 PM PST by TopDog2
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To: MrEdd

I’ve currently got about 25 books on my iPhone. I owned the iPhone anyway, and found one app with 18 classics (99 cent download) and another with 10 books for 99 cents. All are public domain, but there are more and more coming out.


10 posted on 02/02/2009 1:40:30 PM PST by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: Temple Owl

ping


11 posted on 02/02/2009 1:40:56 PM PST by Tribune7 (Obama wants to put the same crowd that ran Fannie Mae in charge of health care)
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To: MrEdd

Thx for the ping. Cross-posting to today’s Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™ thread.


12 posted on 02/02/2009 1:42:21 PM PST by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
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To: MrEdd

Another impact of this will be to make dead-tree books much cheaper on Amazon and at library book sales.


13 posted on 02/02/2009 1:46:31 PM PST by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
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To: MrEdd

Interesting. I personally do not like to read on the computer. I find it more tiring on the eyes, less convenient (I can’t sprawl out on a couch, for example, even with a laptop), and less pleasant (there is something about the change of pace I like in reading a book; I use a computer all day at work and sometimes at play—books provide a nice way to get away from it all). This isn’t to say, of course, that I haven’t done it. Particularly with harder to find books, I have used gutenberg, archive, and sacred-texts. I just don’t like it as well.

Maybe a reader would be better. I don’t know. At the moment, I am not really inclined to try it, though. :)


14 posted on 02/02/2009 1:55:40 PM PST by Se˝or Zorro ("The ability to speak does not make you intelligent"--Qui-Gon Jinn)
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To: MrEdd

Meh. Get back to me when there’s an e-book reader with a photo-level color display.


15 posted on 02/02/2009 1:56:58 PM PST by steve-b (Intelligent design is to evolutionary biology what socialism is to free-market economics.)
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To: Se├▒or Zorro

I drive for a living and have found Audible.com to be a splendid choice. You download books to an mp3 player and off you go... I’ve been doing it for years and they have more books added to their already large selection all the time.


16 posted on 02/02/2009 1:58:23 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: TChris

Can one mark text & make notes in the margins?


17 posted on 02/02/2009 2:15:28 PM PST by KosmicKitty (WARNING: Hormonally crazed woman ahead!!)
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To: KosmicKitty
Can one mark text & make notes in the margins?

From the User's Guide:

"You can highlight lines of text and add notes to any of the content on Kindle. Amazon automatically stores all of your annotations in the "My Clippings" file and even backs them up on Amazon servers so they will never be lost even if you lose your Kindle. As an example, this paragraph has a highlight and note attached as indicated by the surrounding box and small note icon to the right of the text. Using the select wheel, move the cursor to the note icon, press the select wheel, and choose "Edit Note" from the menu to see the note. To add your own note, simply move the cursor to the line where you want to add your thoughts, press the select wheel, and choose "Add Note" from the menu. Then type your note using the keyboard and select "Done". You can later view the note, edit it, remove it or see all of your annotations in something you are reading by selecting "My Notes & Marks" from the menu."

"Using Notes

To add, edit, or delete a note, follow these steps:

1. Scroll to anywhere within a page you are reading.
2. Press the select wheel.
3. Scroll to the "Add Note" selection if you want to add a new note, the "Edit Note" selection if you want to change an existing note, or the "Delete Note" selection if you want to delete an existing note.
4. Press the select wheel.
5. Use the keyboard to enter a new note or to edit an existing one.
6. When you have finished, scroll to "Done," and press the select wheel.
7. If you added a note, once you return to the page, notice that a note icon now appears on the right side of your text."

The notes go into the .mbp file for the file you added the note on, and a copy goes into the "My Clippings" file.


18 posted on 02/02/2009 2:21:29 PM PST by TChris (So many useful idiots...)
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To: Se├▒or Zorro
I agree with your sentiments...I'd have to do some looking but some time ago, recall reading a study that people generally have a much higher retention of information when read off a printed page than off a monitor or screen...besides, I can't quite figure out how you'd press a flower with an "e-book"


19 posted on 02/02/2009 2:27:21 PM PST by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: RandyGH

Ditto on the firearms! (and the cars, and the dog, etc. etc.)


20 posted on 02/02/2009 2:33:13 PM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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