back to article Cloud computing, eBooks - no thanks (or not just yet)

We promised one final instalment for you from law firm Wiggin's epic annual consumer media survey - and here it is. Look away now if you're anticipating quick riches from your investments in eBooks, 3DTV or cloud computing. In all three areas, a wary public is going to keep its cash safe. At least for now. On the other hand, …


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Are these two things linked ?

"The sample used by the pollsters is a pretty tech-savvy one. 48 per cent use social networks"


the other 52% are presumably the tech-savvy ones

see title

Anonymous Coward

that's a joke

26% of M15-19 would pay for The Economist vs 22% for The Sun?... Ha. Ha. Ha.

Anonymous Coward

A question of trust.

"Maybe broadband has to become several times more reliable than PCs, before it can win punters' trust."

Maybe porcine truffle-o-philes have to get airborne before I trust any corporation not to:

(a) cock up and lose my precious data;

(b) abuse my private data for their own purposes.


I asked this already via email, but it bears repetition

In response to your previous article about the Wiggin report and the support for punishing pirates that it revealed, I asked whether the survey asked questions about the audience's satisfaction with current digital media sales avenues.

This article alludes to the issue (stating that 36% are happy buying albums and TV shows online) but doesn't appear to address the enormous elephant in the room - ie that while digital music sales avenues have matured to some extent and are now numerous and standardised enough that they broadly meet their customers' requirements. The same simply cannot be said about digital TV sales avenues - because, really, what options do we have other than feckin' iTunes? I refuse to use iTunes for several reasons, the main one being that I dislike the software basis of it but a close second being that of the various bits of kit I have around the house there are 2 laptops running Fedora and a Busybox-based media centre. Oh, wait, I could get films from Lovefilm - except, no, never mind, they don't do the downloads any more at all, but offer streaming. Which is better than nothing, but not what I want (and certainly not at the prices they're bloody charging, which are roughly equivalent to the price of buying the DVD on the films I looked at...)

At the moment, my option for getting TV shows in digital form is either:

a) NaughtyClicky download, or

b) Wait for DVD, buy DVD, go through contorted and borderline retarded process to rip contents of DVD to individual files. Which is still technically not allowed because fair personal use is one of those silly things that the law in this country has decided not to bother protecting.

I can but hope that eventually someone at a high level will realise that there are plenty of folks like me who, for example, don't care about Stargate Universe enough to want it on DVD but would happily pay about £1-2 per episode to download it and watch it, but I won't exactly hold my breath.

Has the question of satisfaction with existing sales avenues been addressed in this survey?


screens are too small for ebooks

Here's a test.

Take a paper book - even a paperback will do. Open it on any page and hold it flat against your computer screen. Now try and do any useful work in the remaining screen space - it's not possible. If you use a technical book in ebook format, that you want to use as instructions, the amount of messing about to read some text, minimise (or switch to another virtual desktop) pull up the application you are learning, apply the instruction and then repeat - is just too frustrating. After half a dozen steps of continual swapping / minimising / resizing you've forgotten all the stuff you set out to learn and proabbly doubled your blood pressure in the process.

Working with a second screen is not as bad, but needs a vast amount of desk space to accommodate.

On the other hand, a paper edition can be placed anywhere that's convenient, read with ease (even without electricity), lets yo moveback and forwards through the pages almost instantaneously and can be used anywhere you please.

Until we start getting computer screens about 3 feet across, with resolutions in the multi-megapixel range the utility of ebooks makes them almost completely worthless.


Why on earth would you want an e-book?

I cannot understand the benefits at all - like the rest of the public!

With an e-book

I don't own a copy of the book.

If the reader breaks or goes out of date the books are lost.

I am reliant on other people granting me certificates etc to access content.

I rely on batteries/power supplies to read

Readers are bulky and expensive if just used as e-newspaper

You cant lend/sell/swap books with friends or charity shops etc

With paper

If I look after it it will last years

The publisher going bankrupt will not stop me from keeping the book

There is no advance of technology to cope with, migrating e-book formats and certifcates over time is impossible

I can carry a book anywhere

I can read without a power supply

I can borrow a book from a library

I like the principle of e-book readers and buying e-books - it uses less trees, I dont use a wall of my house with shelving etc etc. but the technology is all about contolling my access to things I have paid for while technology is making itself redundant all the time.

Imagine referring to your university text books from 20 years ago if they had been an e-book? Your reader would not even plug into a PC and would have needed a modem etc. !



Well said... I picked up a copy of Wind in the Willows from my bookshelf last night as I rearranged a few things. It's been in my possession since I was a kid. On a whim I checked the printing date. 1951. And it's in perfect condition.

I have other books in just 'good' to 'excellent' condition that date to 1880 or earlier.

Anyone willing to wager that something they buy as an e-book today will be readable by them without paying for it again in 130 years?

Not to mention the value...


A couple of years ago I would have agreed

My eReader gets a daily newspaper delivered (not a Kindle, over RSS), which saves me having to choose between having the paper delivered daily (often after I've left the house) or going out of my way to go to a shop. I only wish there was an easy way to pay for this service. It also picks up classics from Gutenburg. As well as this, I sometimes drop technical papers that I only have in digital fomat onto it to read. Basically, its a reading tablet that is lightweight, can be filled with cheap fiction I'll only read once on holiday, and I still buy books!



Are there enough white elephants in the room for this to count as an elephant enclosure?

nuMedia has too many f*c*ing restrictions to be a useful replacement to physical media! Take for example good old fashioned swapping books/cds/dvds/games ( "oh why yes you can borrow [insert trashy beach novel here], mind if i borrow [insert trashy rom-com DVD here] ")

I keep thinking back to university students in US being given Kindles for research, then them being subsequently deemed a failure because of inability to jot notes on, highlight sections, thumb to relevant sections quickly. Defacing books (in the name of learning!) is pretty damn useful (especially with some of the howling mistakes in course texts *looks at you "Physics for Scientists and Engineers"- Tippler* )


The thing about ebooks for me is...

The thing that really puts me off ebooks versus hardcopy is the price. Yeah, I may be able to copy an ebook to multiple devices, but when I can get 2+ hardback copies for the same price, that seems kind of moot.


Doesn't really work in practice

I read 2 journals regularly, the New Scientist and The Times. The NS I have switched to digital download. It is worth it for the price saving and it is just practical to read it on a large LCD monitor and the software supplied is adequate for the job. I have been looking at switching from paper for The Times, but having tried the trial version, it just doesn't cut the mustard. It is cumbersome and quite unsatisfactory after getting used to scanning through the paper copy.

On one specific usability feature, NS allows annotations, The Times doesn't.

Even so, with the NS I do tend to get a backlog of unread/part read copies. Now I have gone digital, I can no longer catch up in the bath.

I would like to try reading either on any existing e-book reader. My comments above relate to a 24 inch monitor.

I've have been (occasionaly) reading books on screen since Bruce Sterling released Hacker Crackdown a public domain e-text (was that about 1995?). I have no intention of going to e-books yet. Most of my books come from book swap sites ( and or from the charity shop (typical price 75p).

Why would I want to pay for an e-book that I don't own, when it is priced the same as the RRP of the paper version, although who ever pays RRP for a book? At present, if I drop my book in the bath, my onnly worry will be that I cannot finish the story until I find another copy. All my other books will remain perfectly functional.

I regard my self as tech savvy as a retired systems programmer/designer/engineer with cable, HD TV, PVR, Xbox, etc. and building my own PCs.

Perhaps I will go for an e-book reader when there is a reasonably priced model with flexible A4 size colour e-ink display.

Silver badge

I will consider an eBook when...

... either I *own* the book for which I have paid with freedom to move it between devices (which includes paper), or the digital cost is a fraction of the cost of the paper version.

While I am *licenced* to view a copy of the book (at pretty much RRP, if not more?) on a fixed device, apparently in several cases with the built-in ability to "retract" due to some external event, I will vote with my feet and say "not interested".

I can see potential problems regarding copies of ebook data, however this "licenced not purchased" thing needs to be addressed. Maybe time for a revision to sales legislation to state that... if you pay for <x> then a transaction took place, therefore <y>. After all, doesn't Disney's adverts state "Own it on DVD now!"? When did the word "own" become corrupted to mean "use it at our discretion and on our terms"?


I'm a freetard

It's the fact that the Internet lets me get so much for free. All these other items and services will have to be paid for, and I just don't do paying. The reason the Internet has succeeded is exactly because it was free. Usenet and uucp started this off.

Time and again companies have tried to own their environment -- Novell tried it, then M$, and most recently Apple.

I expect -- nay demand -- that whatever content I get I own. I demand no restrictions on what I can do with it. Hence I'll not be buying an iPhone. I have a Blackberry, but it is pretty crap. I can't even view PDFs on it. It seems I have to pay for a PDF viewer; well I don't have to pay for one on my PC, so I won't be forking out any cash to get the same sort of functionality on the BB. I'll just do without.

And I love the way the Interweb-thingy keeps pushing out free information. It may be bollox, but then, so is the Daily Mail.

Anonymous Coward

I've been using audio books a lot lately

Concerning the stats in this survey, I can see why some are not fond of ebooks; however, I have not had any difficult with them. I own a Kindle that fits right in my purse, so if I ever have a bit of free time, you will see me on it. I mainly get my ebooks from which conveniently has audio books as well for whenever I'm on the road (which is a lot considering the commutes I make day to day). Being able to buy books from their website in either ebook or audio book format is really great for me, and for those of you who haven't tried listening to a book while driving, or maybe even as you're sleeping at night, definitely give it a try. It's a nice change.


50/50 shot at a security breach?! use secure SwissDisk

Just like a game show... "the survey says" that you have a 50/50 shot of a breach in privacy. Security is obviously a HUGE issue for people using online services... SwissDisk provides iPhone, Blackberry, Droid and Palm users with a secure link and end-to-end encryption... take a breath and relax if you sync with a secure webDAV app to a service like SwissDisk. and... According to this article peoples other main concern is the cost... you can't beat free now can you? 99% of SwissDisk users find that the FREE account is all they need. Free and secure? "the survey says" ok!

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