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back to article iRiver e-book reader spied online?

Images of what is thought to be an iRiver e-book reader have appeared online. iRiver_Story_03 iRiver's Story e-book reader? Rumoured to be called Story, pictures of the gadget were posted on an online forum alongside a raft of rumoured technical specifications. Designed to support a range of file formats, including ePub, XLS …

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WTF?

Still - Prices

Sorry, but spending 200 notes on an ebook reader as well as paying the same price for a book...?

Nope, not yet. Bring the costs of ebooks down, and this thing to a more affordable price (i.e. less than half) and there might be a way forward.

I find it very hard to understand how people can afford to spend this type of money on something that is massively overpriced compared to regular books (caveat: unless you REALLY [stress this baby more!!] need to save on space.. just not saving your money..)

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Pint

Que?

"It isn’t clear if the device has any user-accessible storage, but the forum poster added that Story can support memory cards of up to 32GB in capacity."

So if that 32 gig isn't user-accessible ... who uses it ....? Unicorns?

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@Alex

Ebook prices... I'm sorry but I think you're talking complete tosh. People have to get out of this mindset that digital formats mean 'free', or at a fraction of the cost. This is the legacy of music piracy and is one I detest. People have a living to make, authors have a living to make. I know people who have worked at being professional musicians for years and years funding it from their day jobs before selling enough CD's to make a living at it. Only to have illegal music downloading render the products they sell worthless, and have had to go back to full time employment or the dole to survive.

Certainly there is scope for a reduction in the prices at some ebook stores, but I bet you've found the most expensive shop and prices to justify your argument. Much like the people still foaming at the mouth about Blu-ray films. You CAN get ebooks from several sources now at much reduced prices. Legally. I'm not going to list them because it would be pointless as you'd likely only dismiss them for one reason or another. A bit like the lunatic they had on the One Show some time back who they loaned a Sony reader to and she went on a rant about it needed five cables plugging into it to get a book on there (it needed one), and she would NOT be told otherwise.

Do you take a big hit up front with the cost of the devices? Of course, and nobody is pretending it isn't a big hit, but the devices you get/ will be getting for that cost are some great pieces of kit. But if it isn't technology that suites your needs, uses or imagination then don't buy into it.

People are entitled to their opinions about why they don't feel them suitable, but when they say the only reason, with great stressing, to buy one of these is to save space I can't help but roll my eyes. Have you not thought of the fact that these readers are a damned sight lighter than a large print hard back? Or that you can zoom the text? My grandmother, after three years of being unable to read because she no longer had the strength to hold a large print book now reads again because of an ebook reader. And she will NOT be separated from it. Also I used to carry at least three massive text books around with me at university and it killed me. Virtually all my uni texts are now on ebook. If only I'd had one of these then.

Don't buy technology if you have no need for it of course, but make informed choices not petty knee jerk ones motivated by the letter 'e' up front making you take exception to paying more than 50p for the media. Life and consumerism doesn't work that way. Never has done, never will.

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FAIL

Costs

So kind of you to allow that "people are entitled to your opinions", and to thereafter offer yours.

Your comment contains a non sequitur, one on which much of your argument is founded; you have to prove that the view that "digital formats mean 'free', or at a fraction of the cost" is prevalent and, moreover, the extent to which it is in percentage terms. Further, you necessarily have to show what this means in marketing terms to anyone offering a product of this nature. Would there be any point, for example, in persuading a market significantly (notice the empirical term here, it is placed not by coincidence but by design) populated by people "foaming at the mouth" over prices that they must pay them?

Moreover, comments about cost and such miss the point; if it is not cheaper than books it is not going to attract the purchasing power of many people; paying a large sum for the reader *and* high prices for books will result in people not buying them. Not buying the reader due to cost has damn all to do with piracy, it has to do with the cost of electronics at a time when consumers are cutting back their expenditures, when (e.g.) back to school shopping levels have dropped 'alarmingly'. Indeed, a time when people are supposedly not buying as many books as has been the case.

The cost of this product will come down, either because it is selling and the development costs are recovered, or because it is not selling and the manufacturers do not want to lose their costs. It certainly is the case that lazy people prefer to watch candy on their screens - not the HD candy they are unable to afford during a recession at a time when debts are at 1.4 trillion (20,000 per person in the country), and from which they probably would not benefit due to a mixture of eyesight problems and ownership of screens on which HD would not demonstrate any improvement.

We have to take the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. Failing to do so will result only in grief, especially at a time when most people have cut their spending habits by a considerable amount. This means that arguments to the effect that people will have to pay large sums are doomed to failure, and the product too. Where the market goes there goes the product, or it dies.

As far as your comments about blue ray are concerned, whether or not there are people "foaming at the mouth" about costs (and you have to prove your anecdotal experience can be generalised to the population as a whole by means of a soundly designed piece of empirical research, not your personal experience and use of florid language), it certainly is the case that people are not buying, isn't it? Perhaps that has something to do with our current fiscal difficulties, perhaps you could learn something from that, and thus unlearn your legislative temper.

Then there is your use of the straw man argument, namely comparing your interlocutor with a participant in the One show, when there is as yet no basis for such a comparison. It is in fact a non sequitur. You plucked it from nowhere, it has nothing to do with the data that have so far been presented.

As to your arguments about costs and payment of authors; few authors make more than a few coppers from their work. If you had not noticed, there is a tendency for some authors to be vastly rich. One author who writes badly about fairy tales is a billionaire, and it is obscene.

I've not even touched on the reduced costs of transporting digital files vs large clunky pieces of paper and card, the benefit to that thing of which we are a part, the environment, and the spin offs this would bring. I'll let you do that.

To review; because of your techniques in argument, which include non sequiturs, argumentum ad hominem and generalising from the particular (your personal anecdotal experience rather than extrapolating from soundly designed empirical research, by means of statistical tests that were selected during the design phase) most of what you argue falls to the ground. It seems more to be an exercise in puffing your chest out to tell us about your anecdotal experience.

So you *are* talking tosh. I don't think so, I know so. From the benefit of my position of having one arts degree and three science degrees (2 postgrad) I give you the mark of 5/10 for enthusiasm. Must try harder.

I expect you'll want to follow up but, as you do, just mouth the words one point four trillion pounds of debt, twenty thousand to each adult in the country. It may help you to understand why people are showing no interest in new market ventures.

Personally, I can't wait for a decently powered one with sufficient facilities to become available. Then I'll watch http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page for the conversions of old philosophical and scientific tracts. I won't watch for your comments. They'll be but culturally relative steam in the morning air.

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Thumb Up

I will buy one

when they cost £75 and can read any literary format, inc. lit, pdf, doc, cbr, htm etc...

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Troll

@Monkey - WTF??

Woooo woo woo! Monkey man, slow down. Where did I say free in ANY part of my written opinion??

Notice I said bring the price of eBooks down, and then to halve the price of "this thing".

Didn't mention anything about things being free, and I do beleive in paying the Author some of my good money. Kudos to your Grandma for being able to access one of these with the very small buttons - yes, I can understand that it could be useful. As to you at Uni - my heart bleeds.. you obviously didn't excercise hard enough (pah! pitiful).

Don't rant at me, being a prick and feeling smug when you haven't the intellect to grasp a PERSONAL OPINION. Oh sorry, am I not allowed to have one? Obviously not. Stop flaming, and get back to your reading.

It's me rolling my eyes at you being a troll whilst talking complete tosh about my opinion.

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Well that told me!

Comments made in haste. Alex, In fairness some of what was said did smack a little of what I'd heard several people go on and on about, but if I got the intentions wrong I got them wrong. No use arguing with you about it or trying to squirm my way out of it.

Simple as that really.

But hey at least it got some activity into what was an incredibly dull morning for me.

To follow up with Peter though, at no point was I moaning about the lack of uptake globally. You took my comments as far out of context as possible to suit the points you were making during my tellling off. Congratulations on your educational achievements. Judging by the manner in which you told me off and the twisting of my comments to further prove how much more superior you are than me, I'm guessing you're a teacher at a secondary school. If not, you should be. You'd fit right in. I won't insult your intelligence as clearly it would be factually incorrect to do so and pointless. But I can call you a prick.

Alex, as for yourself, sorry. I got it wrong by and large.

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Score...

Enthusiasm, personally I think it was a 10/10 for effort. I went for it completely. Scores for other aspects are certainly questionable, I won't argue there, but effort.... I put my heart into that Teach! Honestly I did Sir.

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After having my eyes bled out

by the lot of you.

Yes devices are to expensive, ebooks are overpriced(face it it should be LESS than a paperback volume - of course DRM crap costs so get rid of that).

I waited for quite a long time to buy an eInk reader. Why did I wait so long? not because of costs I like technology but I don't gobble it up insanely. I wanted to see how it works in life before buying and I have. So yes now I have one of these new fancy readers and I consider that EVERY HUMAN BEING ON THE PLANET should have one. Pre-loaded with everything from project guttenberg for a start. And any other Freely(and legaly) available ebook along with scholary texts(history,science,etc...) and offline wikipedia and other such references.

This is what will eventually improve the world. People learning from the past to not make the same mistakes. It would mean people actually learn not just consume. Let people learn about anything they want and they will be able to improve themselves, their surroundings, help the people around them and in the end improve everything.

Anyway this is my own personal opinion and if you disagree it's your problem not mine ;)

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Pricing and author payments

My neighbour has a book in print at the moment; paperback price £6.99. Ebook price is £1.20 more than that - that's an increase of over 17%.

He does receive an additional royalty for the eBook version - 5% more than the usual royalty he gets on the print version, so he'll get a little more, which is fine - he wrote the book, after all, and deserves to make money from it.

But the bulk of the extra money for the eBook version is going to the publisher - and they no longer have printing, shipping and warehousing costs.

Look at the online catalogue for Penguin and you'll see that the pricing of most of their eBooks is set in line with the pricing of the hardback edition. I can't imagine that doing anything other than harming the business in the long run.

Most people do want the authors to be rewarded, I think. But it seems pretty clear to me that, though authors may benefit a little more from electronic sales, the biggest winner is the publishing company, by a country mile.

It ought to be possible, surely, to sell for the equivalent of the paperback price - or less - and still provide the author and publisher with a better return than for the print edition - unless somehow those involved in creating eBooks and licensing the DRM and fulfilment mechanisms have contrived to make all that more costly than printing and shipping actual physical products.

That perceived greed was at least a factor in the woes of the music industry; it's disheartening to see the major publishers (with some exceptions, like O'reilly) not learning from their mistakes.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Argumentum ad hominem

Tsk monkey boi, I am not a teacher; I am an ex soldier, and a scientist who also has a philosophy degree and cannot stand bravo sierra mixed in with p*ss poor attempts at flaming. You did not even properly address the points that I made, as I enumerated the errata in your argumenta. (That's a non latin speakers' pun for you), you merely resorted again to the argumentum ad hominem. As the military saying goes, 'bloody civvies'.

As for the mark for enthusiasm, it clearly went over your head, and 5 was being damned generous since enthusiasm only has significance in an argument (that's in the classic Greek sense) is that it acts as a motivational force. IOW, more light less heat, more cognition, less testosterone, think before you flame, use your sodding brain.

Bloody civvy.

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Bronze badge

Pricing and author payments

Nigel, yes, yes, yes.

The sooner every one on the planet has one the better - and this will require a standard format to obviate many problems - it will save a lot of living wood. The downside is the tendency of publishers to emulate the stupidity and greed of the music industry. I'll except Naxos here.

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Ahhh peter...

Nice to see that you bit. Despite all the education you clearly have old boy. I fully understand the points you were making, as well as the ones you were implying too... Hence the joke at my own expense about marks out of ten. Which clearly you missed.

In terms of the point about the single format, totally agree. Sony seem to have realised the same thing and are ditching their proprietary formats to move to the standard the same as the Amazon store. I think it'll take a long time for the readers themselves to catch on and reckon the take up of ebook media(viewable on PC's), will eventually be fuelled more by educational institutions buying digital formats alongside hard copies. Libraries as well quite possibly. Whether that will trickle down to price reductions for consumer purchases though is another matter. Although the prices are coming down already as I stated in my badly made original points. I've seen that in the last month with my own purchases.

Your point about the global situation is valid too, although I'm certain people will soon start finding the means to again buy things they can't afford. But at £200+ for the latest models and the cheaper old models vanishing from stock fast, I suspect the £150 ish limit once felt to be the impulse purchase threshold, but vastly exceeded the last few years, is going to come sharply back into force.

That's my opinion on it. Slightly better put and considered I hope than previously!

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JJM
Grenade

Physical vs Virtual

Ye gods, I really shouldn't wade into the fray here...

Re: the cost of virtual files vs phyical books (or CDs) and how much cheaper should the price be:

Remember that shipping costs on a per-unit basis are probably very very low. I can ship an entire PC across Canada for little more than $100. When you start talking bulk shipping rates for pallets of books, how bad can it be?

When I can buy a spindle of 50 CD-Rs for under $20, you can't tell me that the physical price of a music CD is anything more than pennies.

But we're not removing the physical costs... we're just replacing them. Enterprise storage sure isn't cheap. Bandwidth also isn't cheap. Someone has to pay for both... Oh, to be an end-to-end ISP - you get to charge the company as they send the file, AND the consumer as they download it. Add in the Server monkeys. Web monkeys. Power. Cooling. Licensing DRM as was mentioned previously. Payment gateways and all the cuts that the banks take from each transaction, and so on.

So, my reasoning is - the bulk of what we pay for doesn't go away just because it's "digital". Add a healthy dose of "what the market can bear" since there's a lot to be said for convenience - it's what McDonalds banks on, after all. You can make it cheaper & healthier at home, but you have to actually cook and do dishes. This is the age of instant gratification, or so I've been told between my credit-card fueled shopping trips...

I'm looking forward to more public libraries that have an online portion to them, where I can "sign out" my ebooks, read it over 2-3 weeks, and have it go poof at the end. All for the yearly cost of a library card. It's funny how people (myself included!) reel at the thought of an all-you-can-listen subscription service for music (I MUST OWN IT! THE TRACK IS MINE MINE MINE!), when at the end of the day, it's really just a trip to the library...

My books? Still on paper. Hardcover, mostly. But those days are numbered methinks... currently looking at the new PRS 600 - no goofy keyboard taking up possible reading surface. Would I like to see ebooks and their readers cheaper? Hell yes. Do I expect them to come down? Maybe eventually... but then I look at what an X-Box sells for and think probably not. Consumer electronics seem to have some pretty fixed price points...

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