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Author Topic: e-readers are amazing!  (Read 49283 times)

AnAverageWriter

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #50 on: 30 Jan 2011, 11:32 »

Since you are so sure e-readers don't have any positive points themselves

I never said that.
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jhocking

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #51 on: 30 Jan 2011, 11:34 »

Sure you did. I quoted it twice already; here it is again because you keep missing/ignoring my quotes:

The printing press enabled automated book production. It did not, as e-readers are, simply replace the printed format.

AnAverageWriter

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #52 on: 30 Jan 2011, 11:36 »

Sure you did. I quoted it twice already; here it is again because you keep missing/ignoring my quotes.

I think you've misread, or I may not have been clear enough. I was referring to the replacement of printed book text. I wasn't addressing additional "features" at that point, I was talking about supplanting, not just supplementing. The printing press supplemented book printing. Many people believe that e-readers (including their features) supplant the printed book.
« Last Edit: 30 Jan 2011, 11:38 by AnAverageWriter »
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ackblom12

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #53 on: 30 Jan 2011, 11:49 »

I believe Stephen is the penis-melon in question.
AnAverageWriter, I'm intrigued as to what you mean by "your kind".

I was referring in that instance to the individual who took my entire post and insinuated that it was nothing but an old-fashioned, quaint, outdated longing for book smells. I do have a concern for the future of print. I've seen authors abandon it firsthand- which was why I mentioned Warren Adler.

I'm sure I'll get mocked for this post too.

Now see, that is a proper response and yay. Now I'll stop being childish as well.

If you took the one sarcastic comment in that response and applied it to the whole response, then maybe you actually should re-read it and not take it so personally rather than dismiss any and all points made.

If you actually think that print will totally die out, that's fine. However, there is a point to be made about there being a continuing market for print. As Barmymoo said, if print dies out 100% it'll because there was no market whatsoever for it. If they want a physical version to sell, and if they perceive there to be a market for it, and they very likely will, it will have to be improved upon from what the modern day offering is. That is not hard to improve upon to be perfectly honest. There will continue to be a market, at least for a good long while, for people who do want the physical object. For example, my leather bound Centennial Collection of Robert E. Howard's Conan stories. Of course I bought it, I love books! I love Robert Howard and I found it quite worth it to purchase the CE so that I can add it to my book shelf and enjoy the physical product along with the written works.

The fact is, if a publisher finds a market for it, it's going to be made. Same as the Vinyl resurgence and every other "outdated" technology that has survived.

Edit: Basically Ozy said most of what I was attempting as well as a bit of a history lesson to go along with it.
« Last Edit: 30 Jan 2011, 11:51 by ackblom12 »
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pwhodges

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #54 on: 30 Jan 2011, 12:21 »

This is no longer about e-readers, and should not have reached this level.  Shame on you all.
« Last Edit: 30 Jan 2011, 13:29 by pwhodges »
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #55 on: 30 Jan 2011, 13:11 »

Now this thread is about the appropriateness of moderating the tangents a thread takes, even those that still fall under the subject of the thread, regardless of tenor.
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jhocking

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #56 on: 30 Jan 2011, 13:12 »

I was relieved when the thread was locked; I had stuff to get done this afternoon. Now I have to waste more time on the internet, darnit.

ackblom12

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #57 on: 30 Jan 2011, 13:13 »

Paul, this is a pretty dogshit thing to do without any warning.
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jhocking

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #58 on: 30 Jan 2011, 13:16 »

The ultimate goal is to have every single post split off into it's own locked thread.

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #59 on: 30 Jan 2011, 13:23 »

I would have liked the chance to defend my position, which was misrepresented in the rebuttals.  Also to expand on the discussion of the history of the print book, which I think was also misrepresented. 
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #60 on: 30 Jan 2011, 13:28 »

Sorry folks!  I'll try to get it more right in future.  I guess I shouldn't have let the fact that someone is leaving the board as a result of that rather shitty tiff influence me.

I've stuck the thread back together, so carry on as if I hadn't interfered.
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jhocking

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #61 on: 30 Jan 2011, 13:33 »

someone is leaving the board as a result of that rather shitty tiff

oo oo gossip

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jhocking

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #62 on: 30 Jan 2011, 13:42 »

If it'll help I'll start a new account so I won't have such a high post count anymore.

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #63 on: 30 Jan 2011, 14:12 »

This, and the other walls of text hastily written in defense of the e-reader, have unfortunately missed the point. They say that the printed word will not "disappear" when in reality it's already occurring- as was mentioned before, authors such as Warren Adler have already begun the transition to "digital only" formatting, forgoing the printed book altogether.

I suppose it was too much to expect anything from digitalophiles here to actually appreciate the advantages books have to offer beyond "their smell". After all, in a hundred years, when every ebook on the market has been forgotten and the only records of our current lives will be the fragmented remnants viewable on some holodeck somewhere, NOBODY would ever want to preserve anything we've written today! No, sir, put those books in the fire of time with LPs and the Nickelodeon. After all, today's books can't satisfy our desire for instant search gratification or be censored to remove "bad" words (ala Huckleberry Finn) at the push of a button.
I confess my post was long, because I have a lot to say about the issue.  I hope that you actually read past the first paragraph though because I did address the questions you raised about obsolescence which is a real concern for digital formats.  Many of the problems keeping file formats up to date arise from copyright issues, and that is a challenge society is still working on.  Either way a grad student spending days in a library trying to download an obsolete file format is really no different that one spending those same days trying to discern the script on a decaying piece of parchment.  We lose cultural works all the time, it is inevitable.  Every year some Grad student writes a theses on the lost works of "X" that they found in a musty pile in the back of some private library.
 
As far as the advantages of print, I didn't say the only advantage printed books have is their smell.  It is however frequently brought up as a reason e-readers are not good.  I prefaced that statement with my history of discussing this issue because I was trying to show that it is brought up by many"defenders" of printed books, regardless of the setting or profession of the person.  I agreed that printed books have advantages.  You have mentioned one author who is going digital only, there are also authors who refuse, and ones whose works cannot be translated to an electronic format.  For example Mark Z. Danielewski's work "Only revolutions" which makes continuous use of its physical form and would therefor be difficult/impossible to translate to an e-reader. 

I agree with Jens that there is a parallel between vinyl culture and print culture and that is why I predicted that a market will emerge for quality printed editions of books as a market has emerged for vinyl. 

Also the assertion that the printing press just sped up the production of books and didn't change and replace them is wrong. When was the last time you held a book that was written by a scribe on parchment?  One with out page numbers, or a table of contents, or an author? The printing press completely changed what a book looked like, what it was made from, what was written in it and who owned them.  The printing press made books smaller, cheaper, and faster to produce this opened up the medium allowing entire new genres to emerge and eventually made room for the profession of "author."  The "print revolution" is often cited and though I have read arguments that no such thing existed, one cannot deny that without the printing press we would not have the book culture we have today. 
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jhocking

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #64 on: 30 Jan 2011, 14:23 »

I think you've misread, or I may not have been clear enough. I was referring to the replacement of printed book text. I wasn't addressing additional "features" at that point, I was talking about supplanting, not just supplementing. The printing press supplemented book printing. Many people believe that e-readers (including their features) supplant the printed book.

I'm not sure what you mean by "features" other than "things that I don't care about." The distinction you make between supplanting and supplementing is just a matter of perspective. The people who fought printing presses sure didn't see them as supplementing the books they already had. Similarly, just because you don't see e-readers as supplementing books in their current form doesn't mean other people (eg. many of us) also don't see them as supplementing.

I mean, you're absolutely correct that many people see e-readers as supplanting printed books, but that is the same as the situation kat raised which you were responding to, when some people viewed printing presses as supplanting hand-written books while others viewed them as supplementing books.
« Last Edit: 30 Jan 2011, 14:26 by jhocking »
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celticgeek

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #65 on: 30 Jan 2011, 14:27 »

Yes, there have always been Problems.
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #66 on: 30 Jan 2011, 15:25 »

I should admit straight up that I've only ever read reviews of e-readers, I've never held one myself, but based on that: I can't help feeling that the fact that all the e-readers I've read about seem to go out of their way to replicate the feeling of reading an actual book (giving the images the superficial appearance of paper, providing papery swooshy sounds as you turn the pages) is a big giveaway. Sure, e-readers may be convenient, but I think books have such a long-standing cultural legacy that they'll continue to hold our emotional investment for some time to come.

In more practical terms, books for me win out for several important reasons: A book will never crash. A book will never run out of battery life. A book doesn't have a start-up time and it doesn't need to be loaded. You'll never come across compatability issues with a book. You can drop a book or cram a book in your bag or spill food on your book and it's still going to be okay. When you're sick of a book you can sell it or give it away, and when you see a book you like you can borrow it from a friend without having to pay any money or sign any terms of use agreements. Basically the book is a brilliant and robust piece of technology and even if you can only carry one or two around at a time, I think its advantages are going to give it the edge for a while. The best thing about e-readers that I can think of is they present the opportunity for long out-of-print books to become readily available to anyone who wants to read them, without the prohibitive cost of printing them or storing them.
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #67 on: 30 Jan 2011, 16:35 »

i've sort of skimmed through this whole thread and i think this may have been said before, but i just want to reiterate - most of the people (including me) who own and use e-readers aren't saying "down with all print media! digitalize everything ever!" personally i just see e-readers as something super convenient and easy to carry around when it is less practical to carry a stack of books. i am a very fast reader and as a kid my standard practice for family trips would be to go to the library and check out a stack of books for the car ride/plane ride/train ride/what have you. i have literally taken a stack of 16 books with me on vacation before. e-readers don't have to be a replacement for real actual physical books! they are just a cool thing that take up less space and provide perhaps a wider/quicker range of access.
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jhocking

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #68 on: 30 Jan 2011, 17:02 »

You'll never come across compatability issues with a book.

I can't always fit tall books in my bookcase. Does that count?

i have literally taken a stack of 16 books with me on vacation before.

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Papersatan

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #69 on: 30 Jan 2011, 17:19 »

I would argue that format changes in books are just slower, and they don't require the mediation of a piece of technology, but have you ever tried to read a book printed in the 1700's?  The long "s", the funny 'c' that looks like a capital "E" the repetition of the last word on a page on the top of the next one.  These take a lot of practice to ignore and be able to just read like you would a modern edition.

If you are not familiar here is an example.    

What I mean is they can still have compatibility issues, just with the reader's education.
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Ozymandias

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #70 on: 30 Jan 2011, 23:43 »

e-readers don't have to be a replacement for real actual physical books! they are just a cool thing that take up less space and provide perhaps a wider/quicker range of access.

This is my feeling exactly. It is a tool for when I want the content of a book for entertainment. I have several hundred at my fingertips. I'm pretty happy with that.
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jhocking

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #71 on: 31 Jan 2011, 04:16 »

I don't have an e-reader personally, but the people I know with Kindles primarily use them for technical/reference books. Do textbooks come in electronic editions?

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #72 on: 31 Jan 2011, 04:20 »

the funny 'c' that looks like a capital "E"

OK, so I'm familiar with the other bits (reading ye olde books is an important part of a growing lad's history education), but I don't know this. Can you link to an image of this? (Or point out where it is in what you linked, if I missed it in there...)
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #73 on: 31 Jan 2011, 04:43 »

Probably meaning things like the C at the start of "Christ" at the top left of the fourth image down here (yes, that old prayer book is mine).
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #74 on: 31 Jan 2011, 06:44 »

I think they mean like the "c" in "Collected" in the very last image - it's got a ligature connecting it to the "t".

p.s. Beautiful book!
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ackblom12

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #75 on: 31 Jan 2011, 07:01 »

I don't have an e-reader personally, but the people I know with Kindles primarily use them for technical/reference books. Do textbooks come in electronic editions?

Yup, and they're about half cost or so from the college textbooks I've seen.
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Papersatan

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #76 on: 31 Jan 2011, 08:17 »

I think they mean like the "c" in "Collected" in the very last image - it's got a ligature connecting it to the "t".

p.s. Beautiful book!
yes like the one in Collected
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Barmymoo

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #77 on: 31 Jan 2011, 12:56 »

If my textbooks had been available on Kindle, that would have fully tipped the balance for me as I spend over £100 on textbooks each year, plus an extra amount on books for the exam (which have to be a specific edition and unmarked etc so would have to be a physical copy). Unfortunately they don't seem to be available which is why I am still dithering.

For me an e-reader would be entirely about convenience, like a library in my pocket. As I said before, I love books and quite often a book I have read in the library has led me to buy another, or even the same, book. A good example is the collection of books I have with me now - one of them was bought because I had got another work by the same author out of the library and enjoyed it, and one is a French version of a book I read in English from the library.

Basically what I'm saying is that I think e-readers might even encourage some people to buy books, not discourage them. I feel the same way about music being available online or on Spotify or whatever. Greater accessibility will lead to greater sales.
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Elysiana

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #78 on: 31 Jan 2011, 13:38 »

Ryan's grandma is legally blind and can't read anything smaller than about 24pt text. We bought her a Kindle for her birthday because she can increase the size of the text to the point where she can read it. She was so excited when he showed off his Nook and she was able to read what was on the screen, because anymore she is limited to audio books.

We have a buddy who's a small truck driver. He recently bought a Kindle and said this is the first time in years that he's actually sat down and read books. He can bring it with him on long days and take a break and get some reading done, and if he's bored with the book he's currently on he can switch over and read one of the magazines he's got a subscription to. Given the choice, he would just not bother buying or checking out physical books, but he's devouring them on his Kindle.

We got the entire White Wolf series of books so that we can bring them with us to LARP. Considering they're often $35 apiece and therefore nobody else has the whole set, they've come in handy many times. And since the printed books are all hardbound and the size of a small textbook, even the people who have them aren't going to lug around several BOXES of books to a biweekly game.

We download all our books for free, but the ones I like I still buy. There's something about holding a book and getting to enjoy its cover, and being able to easily lend it to other people.

Conversely, we bought my mom a Kindle last Christmas because she reads SO much, but she never uses the thing. She likes it but doesn't understand how to get books onto it or where to find them, and she doesn't buy books so the Amazon store isn't much help. She still prefers going to the library. It's frustrating because when we got it we told her "If you don't think you'll use it, let us know and we'll just exchange it for something you'll use" but she didn't want to tell us that she wouldn't use it because she thought we'd cry for days over it, so it was kind of a waste of $200. It's definitely not for everyone.

As far as the e-ink debate, we've found that turning the brightness down on the Nook makes it a fairly moot point. I don't think I could read it for QUITE as long as paper or e-ink without getting eye strain, but it's a pretty negligible difference. The fact that it's a tablet computer is enough to make me very happy we didn't go with the Kindle. The newer model may be easier to use, but we found that the one we got for my mom was a pain in the butt to get around on.
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #79 on: 31 Jan 2011, 13:55 »

I don't want to sound rude because I'm really not intending that. But do remember that you have the Nook Color - it's different than the original Nook because it is, as you said, a tablet computer. The original Nook is much like the Kindle only with a little touch screen at the bottom.

I'm also not trying to nag here. It's just an important distinction, I think. Also - you can try selling your mom's Kindle and get her an original Nook. She can still get books from the library. It is somewhat complicated at first though so really you might be better off just selling the thing to someone else.
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #80 on: 31 Jan 2011, 14:11 »

You didn't come off as rude! Yeah, the original Nook is much different. I guess what I'm saying is I'd much rather spend $270 on a tablet than buy the original or a Kindle for $170ish. But then, we had use for a tablet and we had the extra $100 to spend. Not everyone is in that situation.

I think even if we were to get my mom the Nook, she still would be lost. She's a technophobe and is afraid that she can wipe a hard drive just by hitting the wrong key at the wrong time. I mean, she's 71 years old so she's kind of used to doing things a certain way. Also I think she really just likes going to the library, but she also travels a lot so we thought the Kindle would be handy. She's coming to visit in March so I think I'm going to load her up with books and see if that helps any. She was all excited the other day though because one of my brothers got her an Amazon gift card and she bought an e-book with it. She wants so badly to like the thing, but I think she's just hesitant about trying to learn how to use it.

Even though I'm not as much of a Kindle fan, I still recommend it very highly - it's just that now that there's an alternative, I prefer the alternative, but that's all personal preference.
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #81 on: 31 Jan 2011, 15:24 »

one more happy e-reader story from my family:

my dad and i both got kindles for christmas (thanks, mom!) and, as a gymnastics coach and gym-owner, he nearly cartwheeled with excitement when he realized he could put the entire Men's Code of Points on his Kindle.

gone are the days of carrying 158 printed pages in a binder around to meets/competitions.

you should have seen his face
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #82 on: 01 Feb 2011, 01:19 »

Probably meaning things like the C at the start of "Christ" at the top left of the fourth image down here (yes, that old prayer book is mine).

That is a beautiful book, Paul. Jealousy. I think that the feeling of reading books over a century old is probably the best thing about doing historical research - well, second-best, after reading old documents and thinking you're one of the few people who have touched this in the past two centuries - so I am inordinately jealous that you can do so whenever you want.

Cheers for the help on the fancy C, folks!
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #83 on: 01 Feb 2011, 03:23 »

Alright guys you've convinced me, I'm going to start saving up to buy one of the damn things.
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #84 on: 01 Feb 2011, 03:24 »

Come to think of it I could afford one now but... I'm going to save!.
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #85 on: 01 Feb 2011, 17:35 »

Honestly I'm completely impressed by how cheap these things have become.  Sure, they're basically single-purpose devices but still, going from 400 dollars in 2007 to 139 now.  They're getting better and cheaper, I am continually amazed by how awesome technology has become. 

Also, getting public domain books has been the greatest thing in the world.  I could potentially complain because I have no idea whether the translations of some of these are any good or not, but that would mean complaining about free books.  I really wish this thing would arrive in the mail already, I'm so excited for it.
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jhocking

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #86 on: 01 Feb 2011, 17:53 »

How long are you going to save for?!.

Don't rain on her parade, she looks so excited.

Barmymoo

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #87 on: 02 Feb 2011, 02:09 »

I'm going to save for?!. as long as it takes to afford it out of my wages (which will be like three weeks but whatever).
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

Scandanavian War Machine

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #88 on: 02 Feb 2011, 10:13 »

Also, getting public domain books has been the greatest thing in the world.  I could potentially complain because I have no idea whether the translations of some of these are any good or not, but that would mean complaining about free books.

The Anna Karenina translation I was reading was pretty wonky at times. At least I think it was, I've never read any other versions so I have nothing to compare it to. Maybe that's how it was written.

The way the books are processed to digital form may have had something to do with it too though, if Hyperion is anything to go by.
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nekowafer

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #89 on: 02 Feb 2011, 10:38 »

For the most part, when transferring books to digital form, the page is just scanned. A computer is the one "reading" everything, and transferring the type on the page to the type in the e-book. With no logical reasoning, it has no way to know that some letters don't actually make real English words. No one goes over these files if it's for a public domain book, which I find a little silly. But then again, that would involve time and money, and they'd no longer be free books.
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Papersatan

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #90 on: 02 Feb 2011, 17:49 »

this is why I prefer to buy public domain books.  I find the formatting and proof reading to be worth the 1-2 dollars they charge. 
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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #91 on: 02 Feb 2011, 19:02 »

Only semi-related, but my girlfriend actually works for her University library proofreading scanned copies of textbooks for handicapped students. She's actually really fond of the job in that it lets her read random obscure subjects that she would never take the classes for.



*she would like to to be known that her job is nothing so pedestrian as a "proofreader". She is, in fact, an "eText editor"
« Last Edit: 02 Feb 2011, 21:35 by SirJuggles »
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nekowafer

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #92 on: 02 Feb 2011, 19:46 »

That sounds like the best job ever.
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Ikrik

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #93 on: 02 Feb 2011, 19:50 »

That seriously does.

Amazon just notified me that my package has been shipped and is expected to arrive on friday.  Can barely contain my excitement, I love getting new technological doodads.  Plus now I now that my entire weekend is pretty much going to be me reading, which I am so down for.
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Barmymoo

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #94 on: 03 Feb 2011, 14:21 »

I'm not sure what is holding me back from being excited about this, which suggests that actually I don't need one. Is it likely that I am wrong?
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

nekowafer

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #95 on: 03 Feb 2011, 14:33 »

It might be that you don't quite see how big of a change it will be? Maybe? From carrying books around, that is.

If you were close to anyone that had one I'd say ask if you can borrow it for a day or two, try it out. But I'd pretty much only let my boyfriend and maybe two other people borrow mine so I guess it depends on who it is.
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Barmymoo

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #96 on: 03 Feb 2011, 14:58 »

I did use Jens's for a while and it was nice but I didn't carry it around or anything so I don't know how that would change things. I think you might be right, since there are very few books which fit in my handbag so I generally don't carry them - but I cope quite happily.

On the other other hand one of my goals for this year is to become better-read. Maybe that is A SIGN.
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There's this really handy "other thing" I'm going to write as a footnote to my abstract that I can probably explore these issues in. I think I'll call it my "dissertation."

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #97 on: 03 Feb 2011, 16:15 »

it's not just the weight/volume though, i'm constantly being amazed by seemingly simple things like...for example, the internet browser. I was reading this neat little "kindle single" thing about human evolution, it's history, and future, with a huge focus on the present and what new technologies might drive humans to speciate in the future (i think it was called Homo Evolutis or something. cost me two bucks. i recommend it).

so anyway, i was reading this and there was some sort of theory or principal i wasn't familiar with, but it was underlined...so i clicked on it and it took me right to it's wikipedia page. And if what you're reading doesn't have that functionality, you can always just look up words while reading without even needing to use the internet. it's wonderful.

I feel smarter already.
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Quote from: KvP
Also I would like to point out that the combination of Sailor Moon and faux-Kerouac / Sonic Youth spelling is perhaps the purest distillation of what this forum is that we have yet been presented with.

nekowafer

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #98 on: 04 Feb 2011, 07:29 »

I love Calibre, it helps me organize all my side-loaded books.
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Toba

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Re: e-readers are amazing!
« Reply #99 on: 05 Feb 2011, 10:41 »

I fucking love my kindle 3g.

Free Reading!

Free old classics... http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
Free PDFs of awesome papers published on every topic ever! http://scholar.google.com/
Free transfer of these things to kindle without any stupid wires... [email protected]!

Free Internet!

You can browse the web, anywhere, on a decent sized screen, for free, forever.  It's hidden under Experimental but there is a web browser that is pretty okay.  I use it to read everything2 etc when I am bored and stuck somewhere but none of the well, tons of things on my kindle already are what I want.  It's no multimedia experience but if you just want to read, it's great.

Eventually I might bother to buy a book in the kindle store... but we'll see. I don't see it happening quite yet.
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