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Kindling an interest in ebooks

First peadarog posted that he was coming over to the dark side (i.e., buying a Kindle), and then jpsorrow posted on the Apex blog about not being able to browse ebooks. Next my boss' boss told me she's on the pre-oder list for the Kindle 3 (her first eReader). It seems like everywhere I look, things are reminding me that the Kindle 3 is shipping at the end of the month and I'm going to get one.

Now mind you, I've had a Kindle 2 for about a year, and this one is nicer but not so radically different that using one will be an entirely new experience for me. But the more I read about it, the more I think Amazon has really got the thing right this time. The screen is supposedly 50 percent sharper, and battery life is almost double. What's more, this is the first Kindle that really helps folks who can't see well. Kindle 2 can read the book aloud (unless the publisher turns that feature off). Kindle 3 can also read the menus to you! I think that's really cool, and I can't wait to see how it works.

Plus, there's wifi on both of the new Kindles; one has only wifi and one has wifi and 3G (I'm getting the latter). Now that we have wifi at home, I'll be really interested in checking out how that works. When I send one of my manuscripts for conversion, I won't have to worry about the 15 cent charge (not a big worry, I admit). That was more of an issue when converting a huge (and otherwise free) PDF ebook to Kindle format.

There has also been a rumor that Kindle 3 will ship with the OED but I suspect that if that rumor proves to be true, it's merely the concise version, not the mega-huge, 20-volume real thing..

But I'm still excited. And for the record, you can browse ebooks just fine! And try asking a bookstore for a free sample of a print book!

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Aug. 10th, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC)
Moving? More like racing! But I think predicting the death of print books is as foolish as those folks who keep saying the iPad will kill the Kindle. This is not Highlander; there can be more than one of whatever (publishing medium, eReader, etc.) Choices good to have they are (sorry, slipped from Highlander to Yoda. Blame it on peadarog).
Aug. 10th, 2010 01:37 pm (UTC)
I'm sure they made the same predictions when audio books came out.
Aug. 10th, 2010 01:48 pm (UTC)
And audio books remain a niche market.

One thing is certain, enhanced eBooks will be a niche market. The people who want to read will buy the "regular" version, and trying to entice non-readers with extras forgets that the non-readers are non-readers: they'll wait for the movie, thankyouverymuch.
Aug. 10th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
At this point, "enhanced" ebooks are almost completely just books with some video interspersed, which I consider gives them the same relationship to books that Fruit Roll-ups have to real fruit. Yeah, there's a core of fruit in there, but it's nowhere near as good for you as the real thing.

I am more interested in ways to truly enhance the book, some of which are here already (searching through it, making notes, highlighting) and some not (having a character file accessible so if you don't remember a character's name, you can instantly look up who he/she is in the story; having a map that shows the protagonist's location based on where you re in the book; having a pronunciation guide for character's names that reads them aloud).

Now, for nonfiction books, I can see having things like web links and all sorts of appendices that might include video.
Aug. 10th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
Well, if you're old enough (like Karen and myself), you might even remember that when Battlefield Earth came out (the book, not the godawful movie), there was a soundtrack to accompany the book you could purchase.

Before you ask, hell no. I tend to like my own soundtracks, and back then the sort of quality level associated with that sort of thing was abysmal. I did see a copy of the album in a secondhand store once, but I couldn't be bothered to shell out even the $2 to buy it.

(Besides, I wasn't entirely convinced that there wasn't a subliminal message espousing Scientology in there.)
Aug. 10th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
I may be old enough, but I have carefully suppressed all memories of BATTLEFIELD EARTH.
Aug. 10th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
If you took the book for what it was worth --the equivalent of a 1930's pulp novel written in the 1980's-- it wasn't too bad. If you avoid thinking about who the author was.
Aug. 10th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC)
I don't recall that much attention ever being paid to audiobooks, actually. For one thing, playing an actor to read the book, and then creating all those tapes/CD always made them a lot more expensive than printed books.

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