DRM free next?
The obvious next step is to add value by allowing their books to be read on kindle or any other hardware platform.
Bookseller Barnes & Noble has played catch-up with Kindle by launching a web version of its shop. Nook for web – accessed via Barnes & Noble's library site – is a web platform that will make the store and a "reader experience" available on all major PC and Mac browsers – avoiding the annoying sign-in, a la Amazon's Cloud …
Their DRM should suck for a while, so I might actually have a window in which to buy some new books in a format I can actually use. That'd be a nice change -- I mean, Google Books is a godsend, the Elysian Fields for anyone who likes reading real history, but every so often it'd be nice to read something published after 1923, too.
"I can buy a Kindle book and read it on my Kindle or my PC or my iPad or even on my WinPhone. It's a fairly open type of closed :)"
And if Amazon choose, they can remove your book from your Kindle or your PC or your iPad or even on your WinPhone.
Whereas, I can buy a Kindle book, and read it on my Sony Reader or my Kobo reader, and probably on my Nook if I possessed such a thing. I have to strip the DRM and convert it, but at least now, I OWN the book, and Amazon can't take it back from me.
Anon, because, well, Amazon don't like people stripping their DRM for some reason...
B&N and MS are now big buddies focused on textbooks. As physical textbooks are gradually phased out which as an engineering graduate I think is detrimental (I can't believe that most advanced science or engineering students didn't have bookmarks of some kind in their text books so they could flip back and forth very quickly between pages or even different books) MS is going to get the big jump that the Mac's enjoyed in the 90's. It's selling to kids who will not want to work with anything different once they get into the job market. Apple (and Tandy, God love them) did the same thing and it really worked well at the impress the student level.
Uni's are going to offer a Nook discount on textbooks and student aid programs allow you to take the most efficient option and keep any excess cash for yourself: Maybe even get a kickback from the manufacturer...
So students get an extra $2k per semester for their own 'expenses' and get a semi-functional education, Uni's benefit from more students and MS gets a decade long windfall from pandering to kids.
I don't really care about the tech someone is using, as long as it gets the job done. My concern is that the very educational issues that "everyone" cares about aren't being addressed. My giant text books were way faster for cross reference purposes that any portable device has ever been. Reynolds coefficients in marine vs brackish vs fresh waters. Try and find those formulas faster with technology vs textbooks that you've bothered to read and bookmark.
The moment students thought they could walk away from physical reference sources was the moment I started seeing people who got stressed out because work was "too hard"; and it's bollocks. They just didn't know what they were talking about and expected their 'degree', or laws or unions to support them. Going through the motions of an education doesn't actually mean you know anything: It simply means the Uni needed more students to get their funds from govt offsets.
What if B&N allowed you to pay a nominal fee, say a couple o' bucks, to download a Kindle-ready version *at the store* that would evaporate after, say, 14 days?
Cross platform reaching out that would shift loaners (something B&N do for free on their own Nook) for a fee and get otherwise elsewhere readers into a B&N store with actual paper in the shelves.
Not saying that it would be trivial to set up, but it would steal a march on whoever decides "the hell with it" and starts offering cross platform compatibility as a draw to get people to abandon both the Nook and the Fire.
Everyone focuses on what Amazon has over the competition but it is possible to turn that model on its head and work out ways to leverage what a trad store has over Amazon.
I can't think of a worse way to "consume" books like "An Index of Possibilities" or "The Domebook" or "How to Hold a Crocodile" than a a screen smaller than the book. Imagine trying to browse the Times Atlas of the World on even a large screen computer. The experience would be completely lost.
I really do not envy those who will live in the world of the future where oversize books are a thing of the past. The current fad for razor-thin small screen tat is, for all the advantages they offer, throwing out some babies with the bathwater.
I love audio books (especially when on holiday sitting by the pool supping a pint..ah, or on the train), anyway the utilities to actually convert a book to audio (i.e. something to read the screen out for visually impaired readers) is currently not great - but if it gets better........then what. Anybody could convert a screen of DRM's book to an undrm'd Mp3. I look forward to the day (as DRM is s**t).
I will not support any E Book technology on the principle that if I do, I am just another fool giving paper books the bum's rush out of existence. Paper has a permanence that will NEVER be equalled by electronic media.
Let alone being able to easily view literature in the format it was always intended to be in, physical books will always retain their value, be useable by anyone, almost anywhere and will always be unencumbered by DRM or orphan format issues (outside of outright book burning or censorship).
Okay, I understand that Schools and Universities need to cut costs and Ebooks will allow that but someone needs to recognize that there is a need for paper if only for archive and reference purposes.
True "Books" will increase in value as Ebooks displace them so buy real books as an investment now, before it is too late!
I don't know about anybody else reading this, but I have a full bookcase plus piles of books on the floor around the place that I simply don't have shelf space for.
Personally, I think the attraction of ebooks is simply not having to have shelf space for them. If I had paper copies of all of by ebooks then i'd need another bookcase.
Well, I need another bookcase at the moment, but I don't have the space. You know what I mean. :)
That said, I am not buying ebooks from somebody who forces me into buying them in a format that's more or less tied to their hardware and software, which is why I haven't bought a single book from B&N. When they decide to supply their ebboks in a range of formats convenient to me, then I will consider spending money with them. Until then, I shall shop elseware.
It would be nice if paper books were easily convertible such that what would take up a hundred or so feet of shelf space instead fits in my trouser pocket. That not being true and not being likely to become so, I don't mind electronic copies -- just so long as the person who owns them is me, which has put me off buying Kindle and Nook versions thus far.
On the other hand, converting an electronic copy to paper requires little more than a fresh ink or toner cartridge, a ream of paper, and a bit of time and wall current. It's not hard or time-consuming to make your own (quite nice) bindings, and as long as you have the ingredients to make another one then the copy you've just made is as disposable as you'd like it to be. Left it on the train? Oh, too bad -- with the right materials and equipment you should be able to replace it for about ten quid.
(Don't think so? Laser print @ 1.4p/pg * 350pp = £4.90; paper @ £5.19/ream * 175pg = £1.81; total for a 350-page book, seven pounds on the dot. Assumptions: printer is a Kyocera Mita FS-1320D, reviewed by Reg Hardware in mid-February; paper is XEROX A5 Premium Multi Purpose Paper, bought from WH Smith; print is duplexed, yielding two pages per sheet -- and the Mita even has a duplexer, which will save you effort and time. Granted, using the Mita for this example drives the price per sheet about as low as it possibly can be; for most printers you can probably double it, but it's still cheap enough to be extremely practicable.)
Granted that electronic copies lack the pernamence of paper. However, so do I, and nothing of which I have a copy is even slightly unique to me; I'm perfectly happy to satisfy my own requirement of convenience and portability, and leave the archival concerns to those better equipped than I to handle them.
B&N actually have a 'sales audit' team, whose job function is to stop you buying e-books if you're not a permanent resident of the US. You can't even sign up and put a non-US country in the 'Country' field for your billing address. They're even wise to you supplying a a forwarding service as the billing address . You'd have to get a US credit card with a US billing address, to fool them convincingly.
It's a weird kind of capitalistic inversion. Who's ever heard of an American that wouldn't take your money? Further, they incur an expense to ensure that they don't get fooled into taking it. Either B&N didn't think it worthwhile to buy the non-US rights to the digital editions of the books, or else Amazon already stitched up exclusive deals for the international rights to those books before B&N got their skates on. Either way, B&N seem content to *not* compete with Amazon in the global marketplace.
Bring on the competition, I say.
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