Thursday, July 22, 2010

Batteries not included.

Friend Marko recently posted on his experiences with the Sony Reader. I've been kinda wanting a Kindle myself.

Just the other day, Alan pointed out that Amazon sales for their Kindle e-books exceeded hardcover sales for three months running, and stated
It’s all down hill from here. Sooner than you think, dead tree books will be a niche market for collectors and art books. Electronic book readers are already free for all general purpose computing platforms and dedicated readers are nosediving in price.
I've noticed a strong upsurge in e-book sales through the Amazon doohicky in my sidebar in the last several months, so this doesn't actually come as a total surprise.

All this eBookery is fine and dandy, but there's still a few hurdles I'd like to see overcome, at the risk of sounding like some cranky Luddite...

The battery thing is, of course, nearly a non-issue these days, with most readers giving you one to two weeks of reading on a tankful. But only nearly a non issue. How long do the unit's batteries last? Are they sealed internally? Are they proprietary? I guess it's assumed that, by the time the lithium-ion cells have crapped out, I will have already been lured by the shiny, new eReader Plus 360 X and transferred all my material over.

(This material will, hopefully, be transferable to my new eReader Plus 360 X, unlike all those cool games I have in boxes in the attic on 5.25" floppy disks or Atari 5200 cartridges.)

Of course, thanks to the dense nature of electronic storage media, folks point out that you can take your whole library with you; something certainly not possible right now for me, since the last time I took my whole library with me, it used up the larger half of a U-Haul truck. Of course another thing I can't do with my entire library in its current format is leave it on the bus by accident.

And speaking of storage media, we seem to be running into a bit of a crisis here in our shiny new digiworld: The copy of Hell's Angels I was reading the other day is a hardcover first printing from 1966. Assuming that there was a "Book On Tape" version done the same year, and I could find an 8-track player on which to listen to it, how much would the sound quality have degraded? Quite a lot, I'd guess. And of course, that's just sound quality; a missing magnetic particle or two on audio tape isn't going to cause your stereo to crash to a blue screen of death and render the whole album useless.

As it turns out, we're still looking for an electronic form of archival data storage that can come close to rivaling decent, acid-free paper. If you're the kind of person who reads a paperback once and then eventually trades it in or gives it away, that's maybe not such a big deal. If you're me, it is.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go see if the battery in my G3 iBook will still hold a charge...

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

PopSci (or was it PopMech) had a large article years ago on the archival and playback issue years ago, back when digital photography was becoming popular. They used examples from NASA, the LoC, etc to illustrate issues with purely digital media.

So far, the only ebook I've read was George Washington Sears' "Woodcraft" and that was because I could download it to my ipod touch easier and cheaper (free!) than I could track down a dead tree version. Otherwise, I'm still hooked on paper.

Chris

Carteach0 said...

I am currently favoring a Nook (replaceable generic batteries).

Will it replace my books? Not a chance. Will it supplement them? Oh $#%@ yes!

I have been buying more books now, in E-format... I'll admit that. On the other hand, shortly after I bought my Nook, the Boy gifted me with HUNDREDS of E-books on a CD.

Nothing will replace browsing a used book store, for me, but it sure is handy to have five dozen books next to me all the time... including the collected works of Pratchett. There are about 600 books still on my PC, not yet loaded to the Nook. I am trying to be a LITTLE picky about it, rather than giggle with glee and grab them all.

Which reader? Try them all if you can. I am an Amazon shopper, but lost interest in their 'Kindle' when they stole books from customers without notice. That lost them any chance of my buying their product.

Weer'd Beard said...

And of course comes the issue with the simple idea of archiving. With electronic media we can simple back things up millions of times over to avoid an odd archive dying of natural natural causes in storage.

Meanwhile a book will live a damn long time if tucked on a proper shelf.

Also I've pulled old electronics out of a box where they have sat for modestly long times only to find some internal widget has given up the ghost and bricked the entire unit. Not a big deal if a replacement technology is readily available and you have a compatible archive to restore the contents to the new device...tho a wide range of electronic voodoo must be applied to copy memory from a device that simply refuses to power up.

That being said a well-read book, or a tape device, or vinyl where the reader must actually handle the media can degrade with use.

So my old Marshal Dodge records are loaded with skips and pops, my Steve Martin and Bill Cosby stand-up cassettes, as well as my VHS of Aliens have all be "eaten" by players, and wherever my Atari 7800 is, I have my doubts it'll even power on if I ever find where it was stashed when the wiz-bang Nintendo Entertainment System of the day replaced it (That system I 100% know is dead thanks to that goofy elevator system Nintendo thought was a good idea t the time)

Also I remember reading a copy of "Moby Dick" which very well may have been my Mom's high school reading assignment shedding pages as I turned them. I was sadly forced to give it a somewhat appropriate burial at sea in some of the North Atlantic waters Melville was inspired by.

So is there any real winner in this race?

Tam said...

Weer'd Beerd,

"Also I've pulled old electronics out of a box where they have sat for modestly long times only to find some internal widget has given up the ghost and bricked the entire unit."

That's the thing: Anybody who knows me knows that I'm not writing about this from the point of view of a Luddite, but rather the point of view of someone who has a lot of experience with older technology. (

Further, not all dead tree books are equally archival, as you pointed out. Although to be fair, the old bargain student edition of Moby Dick could still have been read with unglued pages.

Carteach0 said...

It's not a reasonable image... A century from now, a man relaxes during his off time while mining asteroids off Saturn... and comments to his shipmates how much he loves 'This old Book File' and how he's had it since he was a boy when his dad passed it down to him.

I think E-readers have a place. Books have a place too. It just may not be the exact same place.

Robert said...

With your e-reader how easy is it to loan the book you just finished to a friend for them to read (without handing over the whole reader) ? I suspect that is difficult to impossible, depending on the brand of reader. And that's only if you happen to both use the same kind of reader (if they have proprietary formats, like some do)

Carteach0 said...

Robert, It depends on two things. One, the type of reader, as you suspected. With my Nook, I can indeed loan books to other nook readers. In fact, I believe I can loan e-books to anyone who uses the free B+N E-reader software as well. That covers PC's, smart phones, and I-pods.

Second, the type of file, or source of it. As I said... the Boy gifted me a truckload of E-books on a CD.

wolfwalker said...

Of course, thanks to the dense nature of electronic storage media, folks point out that you can take your whole library with you;

Only if it's in electronic form. Which is the big problem I have with e-readers (well, that and price when I don't have a friggin' job). Many of my books are long out of print. Many are specialty science-and-nature publications which had small markets when they were printed. Many rely heavily on illustrations. And some of them are huge. How likely is it that the Museum of Northern Arizona is going to have the resources to electronify The Continental Jurassic: Proceedings of the Continental Jurassic Symposium -- a textbook-sized softcover, printed in 1996, in which about half the pages have illustrations on them? Or From Lucy to Language, a coffee-table book in which the photographs are the main attraction, and the text is secondary?

aczarnowski said...

I'm holding off with e-books until, at least, a dominant format rises. MP3 isn't perfect for sure, but everything plays them. Until ebooks get to at least that level of critical mass, I'm staying away.

Rob K said...

"How likely is it that the Museum of Northern Arizona is going to have the resources to electronify The Continental Jurassic..."

If it was printed in 1996, chances are it was created electronically in the first place, so in a way, it's already an ebook.

Mark said...

I have an original Kindle, I've been using it daily for about a year and a half. I absolutely love it, in fact I have not bought a dead-tree book since I started using the Kindle, this from someone who used to buy five or six books a week.

I commute by public transportation about three hours a day. In a package the size of a thin trade paperback I can carry any book I want, as many as I want. My kindle takes SD cards (a feature removed from the newer ones, which I think is a mistake) so keeping books I've read isn't a big deal. The battery goes about a week and a half on a charge, and I'm still using the original which is replacable. There is TONS of older public-domain stuff out there (I bought a two-CD set of classics of the Western Canon containing 400 books for $30. I could have downloaded them for free, but my time has value too).

Less said...

What about during the apocalypse?

After the batteries go dead, what happens when you really need P.J. to put things into perspective?

Standard Mischief said...

Give me two killer apps, and I'd jump in on the ebook reader thingy like no one's business.

1) minimal expense to copy or convert a majority of my existing library (and I'll take that by hook or by crook, or by torrent), and...

2) grep

charles said...

I'll second the Nook. I got one, and my wife had to have her own within a couple days of seeing mine. Bettery with the Wi-FI and 3G off is supposed ot bo 11 days; haven't tried that out. There is a less pricy Wi-Fi only version, which is what we got for the second one. Plusses vs. the kindle are native support of Epub format, and a user-replaceable battery that runs about $30 in store. You can also add another microSD card yourself to up the internal storage.


w/v: gunes

charles said...

ot bo --> to be

Anonymous said...

Dunno, I'm sitting perusing a book, that's ...let's check... published in Anno 1785 (I'll spare you the roman) in Holland , in english.

It's still readable, solid enough to squash bugs and swat dogs, and not only has gotten wet a few times, but survived.

When you gadgets can do that 200+ years after manufacture, call me.

Nathan said...

The Kindle 2 will run for a couple of weeks as long as you turn the wireless off. If you don't, my experience is that you get three or four days.

Of course I read voraciously so my battery use is probably atypical. And yeah, the unit does not have an obvious way to get it open and it would appear that the battery is non-replaceable. And there is no SD card slot as Mark mentioned above.

If you buy a "2", be aware that its USB charger/data socket is a proprietary configuration that requires the use of the proprietary Kindle USB cable. That really ticked me off because getting my hands on a spare was going to run another $20 or so, and as a result I've been doing without. I see that third parties are supplying them for between $3 and $10 so maybe I will buy one now.

That being said, all my old Mobipocket e-books worked just fine on the Kindle, so it was an easy migration from reading books on my Palm Treo. I love the damn thing. It follows me just about everywhere I go, and again like Mark, I've bought very few dead-tree books since I got the Kindle a year ago.

Sherm said...

Most of my reading is from the Library of America - authoritative editions, acid free paper. Not cheap per volume but a screaming deal per book. A Kindle or the like may come in the future but I've a lot of Poe, Steinbeck, Tennessee Williams, Waugh, and more to read just to catch up with what I've already purchased.

Borepatch said...

When I read books that I think I'll put up a review post for, I write all over the - highlight/underline interesting passages, jot notes in the margins, etc. Maybe the eBooks will let me do this, maybe not.

But there's a real question as to what will happen with bitrot for electronic files. Even PDF (a security horror show, BTW) is not certain to be around in 50 years.

My first edition Lucifer's Hammer will still be fine.

Of course, I'm wicked Luddite that way.

Jim said...

>>>sounding like some cranky Luddite...<<<

See here Young Lady.

You say that as though it is a bad thing.

Lissa said...

I *LOVED* my Kindle but haven't used it in months. Once I got an iPhone and found that portability and convenience outweight space concerns, my Kindle got pastured out to my bookshelf.

Compared to real books, the pictures aren't as good. It's irritating to flip back and forth sometimes. You can't lend books to friends. It's harder to scribble in the margins.

IMHO, all this is more than outweighed by the fact that:

- I've got about twenty books on my iPhone right now and 215 more Archived

- I will never again be at the mercy of airport bookstores (never say never!)

- It makes my five, or ten, or thirty minutes waits in the grocery store or bank or DMV *EVER* so much more pleasant.

- Mike and I can buy one eBook and read it at the same time.

HUGE fan. HUGE.

Skip said...

As far as formats go - we're down to two. Mobipocket, which the kindle uses, and epub, which everyone else uses. As long as there's no DRM, they're easily convertible from one to the other. And the DRM is easily stripped from both, so as long as you're willing to break the law that's a non-issue. Me? I verified that I could do it, then didn't bother. But I do keep backups of all the files so Amazon can't retroactively decide I didn't buy something, and I'll be able to use those to move to another device if I want, later.

Anonymous said...

Down with all kings but king Ludd.

I like printed volumes. Besides the tactile, I can loan them or give them to anyone, and no one can snoop in my library or delete choice volumes (or rather, it is much harder to).

I Don't like digital cameras either, 4x5 has never been surpassed. Confuses me when folks say digital is just as good as film.

Montie said...

Tam,

I have been resistive of the e-book thing up to this point. I saw a news article on TV last night pronouncing the death of the printed book based on the same Amazon info you referenced.

Like you, my library took up the better part of a large U-haul truck the last time I moved, but I have a lot of stuff more than 50 to 100 years old that will never see electronic publication. Once I've read something I like to have it available in case I might want to go back to it, and I'm not sure I trust having ready access for the next however many years in e-format.

Besides, what happens to your e-book when the SHTF, resulting in no electrons moving down the wires to recharge it, and you want to reference some important info in that survival book you downloaded for just such an emergency?

Tam said...

Heh.

SHTF Survival Manuals in eBook format = Total Concept-Grasping Fail.

Crucis said...

Funny that you should mention batteries...

On the way to Indy, we stopped in Columbia, MO for a pit stop. I pulled out my phone to see if I had any messages or missed calls and...it was as dead as last year's forecast.

All along the way, we watched for my carrier's phone stores and stopped at several. No batteries for my four year old phone. They all were ready to sell me a new one, but I'm perfectly satisfied with the one I own. It does everything I want a phone to do plus some.

When I got back to KC, I ordered a new battery online from a supplier. I expect you're right. By the time the battery in your e-reader expires, you'll have been pressured to buy a new one.

Planned obsolescence lives.

D.W. Drang said...

We each have a Sony eBook. The batteries on these are proprietary, but they are user-replaceable. (More so than an Apple product, less so than a cell phone.)
They are emphatically not replacing dead tree editions, but they are very handy for bus rides, plane trips, or killing time in the waiting room.
And, yes, the utility of these for reference purposes during any sort of disaster--especially TEOTWAWKI--is debatable, to say the least. Mine is part of my go kit for ARES/RACES--as an amateur radio operator I can expect that someone is going to be giving me juice...

WV: jiquiand. Wasn't he G'Kar's god?

D.W. Drang said...

BTW, there are a LOT of public domain e-books available for download from a variety of sources, including http://www.mobileread.com/, http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/, http://www.forgottenbooks.org/, http://www.scribd.com/, http://books.google.com/books.
The books on the Mobile Reader Forums were digitized by folks doing it for love; others may not be free.

Robert said...

"but they are very handy for bus rides, plane trips,"

Nobody has ever had me turn off my dead tree book while we were taking off or landing ;)

word verification: Molde. As in what happens if you don't keep your dead tree books dry. Dey git molde.

Jenny said...

And coincidentally, this little trip down memory lane came up in an industry newsletter today -

Lost Formats Preservation Society

Joel said...

I've got nothing against ebooks, as such. I have several on my PC. But ebook readers still have issues that keep me away.

Somebody really needs to decide on a dominant format, preferably one that can be read on a PC and not proprietary to a portable reader. When my reader dies and I need a new one, can I load and re-use my files? Or am I gonna be stuck with the twenty-first-century equivalent of a box of eight-track tapes? Can I get that in writing? On paper? Because books might fall apart from age and use, but they don't just lock up and refuse to boot one fine day.

That Kindle "We sold you the wrong thing, we're reaching in and taking it back" thing really, really weirded me out. If I'd been tempted by a Kindle before the feeling went away swiftly. Until I see proof that sort of thing can't happen, I'll stick to dead trees and Gutenberg downloads.

Außenseiter said...


The battery thing is, of course, nearly a non-issue these days, with most readers giving you one to two weeks of reading on a tankful. But only nearly a non issue. How long do the unit's batteries last? Are they sealed internally? Are they proprietary? I guess it's assumed that, by the time the lithium-ion cells have crapped out, I will have already been lured by the shiny, new eReader Plus 360 X and transferred all my material over.

For every control freaky, money grubbing American control-freak outfit like Apple or Garmin which sells overpriced,straitjacketed iCrap, there is a Chinese or other Asian outfit that provide decent kit that uses standard batteries, it's software is open source, thus easily modifiable, supports non DRM-ed formats and doesn't cost an arm and leg.


As it turns out, we're still looking for an electronic form of archival data storage that can come close to rivaling decent, acid-free paper. If you're the kind of person who reads a paperback once and then eventually trades it in or gives it away, that's maybe not such a big deal. If you're me, it is.

Nope. Quality DVD's probably last decades. If you worry, you can have a RAID. Unless it's physically destroyed, if you keep moving the data to fresh disks, it'll never 'degrade'.

Also, I'm sure there are specialist optical media(something like CD) that are engineered to last centuries.

Sigivald said...

Are they sealed internally? Are they proprietary?

As long as you buy a popular one, it doesn't matter.

You can still get aftermarket replacement batteries for the original iPod from nine years ago.

Most consumer electronics that you use heavily won't physically last that long anyway.

(Aussen: You do realize that Apple's readers and players have always supported non-DRM content, right?

And that commercial books are essentially only available with DRM, which is why every eBook reader supports DRM formats, yes?

The problem is not the hardware or the providers of the software on it; it's the providers of the content demanding that they get paid and not realizing that DRM doesn't really help with that.

When the company that owns the material won't let sell it without DRM, all the "open platform" in the world won't get you that content without DRM.

Also, which tablet-like computer or reader uses "standard batteries", and who gives a damn?

A search reveals the Jetbook... and I can see why they're not selling very well.

Nobody gives a damn about "standard batteries" compared to build quality and size - especially given the first thing I said, above. You'll be able to get batteries in an iPad or Kindle replaced for longer than the device's plausible lifespan.

I've seen and used too many of the "cheap" Chinese products. There's a reason I have an iPhone, not one of these. Often you get what you pay for, and "open source" does not mean "easily modifiable". Take it from a programmer. [And there's a reason so much OSS software has such useless crap UI that it's worse than free...])

Tam said...

Außenseiter,

"Nope. Quality DVD's probably last decades. If you worry, you can have a RAID. Unless it's physically destroyed, if you keep moving the data to fresh disks, it'll never 'degrade'."

I said "archival", kiddo, not "decades".

As I pointed out, the copy of Hell's Angels I just finished re-reading was older than I am. "Decades" is not "Archival" as anybody who's tried to sort out land deeds in Old or New Hampshire could explain to you.

Tam said...

Sigivald,

"You can still get aftermarket replacement batteries for the original iPod from nine years ago."

I have half a dozen PowerBooks for which I can't easily get batteries, and they had crushing market superiority a decade-and-a-half ago.

D.W. Drang said...

1) If you don't want one, don't get one. I happen to like mine, but that doesn't mean I think Dead Tree Books are Dead and shouldn't exist anymore.
2) Proprietary formats, esp. "someone needs to decide..." Once upon a time I would have taken that statement to mean that the non-existent ebook reader industry group should work it out, but when congress wants to grill Steve Jobs about the poor design of the IPhone... Anyway, how 'bout we let the market decide.
3) Check out Baen Books. They have free ebooks.
4) It seems that the industry is shaking down to Mobipocket and ePub, although Sony's .lrf will be around for a while. (Amazon's .azw files are mobipocket with extra-special DRM added.)

Skip said...

Joel, I can certainly understand your concerns with Amazon and the Kindle, and that's the reason to back up everything you buy from them. Which is easy enough to do.

As far as formats go, right now we're in the Betamax/VHS phase, and I honestly couldn't say who's going to win. The problem is DRM, but not necessarily the what you are thinking. Right now, the publishers mostly all require useless DRM. The Kindle uses secure mobipocket, which they own. Almost everyone else uses secure epub, using Adobe's DRM. And the royalties for DRM systems are non-trivial. B&N, etc., really don't want to use secure mobipocket and pay Amazon, and Amazon doesn't want to pay a competitor for it's services. But both formats can be read on PC, and on a variety of devices.

EPub is a better format, just by virtue of being about a decade newer. Right now the Kindle can't handle epub - but they could easily implement non-DRM epub support. I'm talking 1 developer 1 tester 2 months level of effort - trivial for a company like Amazon.

One of the formats will win, but we're probably 3-4 years away from that happening, at least.

DirtCrashr said...

I had an REB1100 because I was working on and with it, and I thought it was pretty good especially for the time - 2001-03. It had good battery life and was popular with airline crews - a body of people who buy and trade an immense number of paperbacks. After the inside-out takeover TV Guide pulled the plug on the eBook Group since books weren't a part of their overall rule-the-world strategery which was in disarray after Henry Yuen got kicked out...
So nowsdays I'm going over to my mom's house to help her finish her book, scanning-in photos and inserting them into the page-content - to be output as a .PDF then self-published at Lulu or something - and I get a massive sinus attack from inhaling the acrid funk given off by ancient stinking books - it's book-dander as sure as a cat allergy. Mom also had a bad and persistent dry cough.
The room (my old room) is wall to wall and stacked to the ceiling with old paperbacks and various books and papers, files and folders of church and mission work from 1969-forward, all in states of decay. I have to take an antihistamine every time I go over there to do some work.
Want a copy of Gunnar Myrdal's groundbreaking 1968 book Asian Drama: An Inquiry Into the Poverty of Nations. I can smell my way to it over in the corner, but my Dad won't get rid of it even thought the spine isn't even cracked. There's stacks of similar tomes, all vaporizing and slowly turning their pages reddish brown and crispy...

DirtCrashr said...

One of the killer apps (we thought) that we never got around to producing (there's an inherent, nuclear, event-horizon tendency to kitchen-sink the reader-device - and Thompson/RCA rode herd pretty hard on the hardware aspect) was a foreign language dictionary that *spoke* the word in question, especially useful in Chinese: Did you say 漢堡包 or 漢堡 -?? Having the ability to carry actual expert-vocalizations around helps with tonal-based languages.

NMM1AFan said...

Microfiche, baby. Lasts 500 years, all you need is light and some magnification.

Tam said...

D.W. Drang,

"1) If you don't want one, don't get one. I happen to like mine, but that doesn't mean I think Dead Tree Books are Dead and shouldn't exist anymore."

Just because I haven't yet bought one, doesn't mean I think you shouldn't have one. I haven't taken the plunge yet, but that doesn't mean I think eBooks are ghey and shouldn't be sold.

Somebody's gotta be an early adopter, after all. ;)

D.W. Drang said...

Tam, I wasn't thinking of you when I wrote that.

BTW, folks, Algore's intert00bz are full of conversion utilities, although some of them skirt legality. standard answer on the Mobile Reader Forum is "we don't discuss that, but Google is your friend..."

Bubblehead Les. said...

Only problem I have with current eReader thing is where do I get the Author to put his autograph on the First Edition when I go to a book signing?

GreatBlueWhale said...

As with so much in our society, it's convenience, convenience, convenience. Nothing wrong with ebooks or ebook readers, as long as you make allowances for teh Zombie Apocalypse.
Live is certainly less tedious with the Kindle and Bookshelf apps on my iPhone.

docjim505 said...

Two thoughts from the pages of sci-fi I've read:

America 2040 by Evan Innes - Spaceship crashes on a distant planet. Surviving colonists, after dealing with the immediate problems of rescue and recovery, start recording everything they can think of on clay tablets because all their computers and huge electronic libraries are gone. "You're a physiscist / chemist / engineer / physician. Write down everything you can so our children don't have to reinvent the wheel (or Newton's Laws, the process for making bronze, log tables, etc.) fifty years from now when you're dead."

Prelude to Foundation by Asimov - As civilization ages, information is unavoidably lost not only due to loss or degradation of storage media, but simply due to selection: I've got 10 / 100 / 1000 years of data and records. I can't keep all of it, and even if I could, there's no way to organize it such that anybody could access it in any easy manner*. What will I keep so that the collection is managable?"

All this being said, Kindle for Android and Aldiko for Android are two of the greatest programs EVAH!

----

A computer archive search, the Library of Congress on-line system, July 23, 2110:

"Your search terms 'M1911 beavertail grip safety installation' returned 4,535,124,684 results. Good luck finding what you are really after."

DaveFla said...

Tam,

"I have half a dozen PowerBooks for which I can't easily get batteries, and they had crushing market superiority a decade-and-a-half ago."

You likely already know that you might still find opportunity to buy the individual cells for the packs, given time, vendor catalogs, and a willingness to take an Exacto to your old packs. Heck, they would probably be NiMH replacements for the very nasty NiCads that surely lurk in your oldest models. OTOH, while I think it's cool that my neighbor still keeps his '68 Beetle in nice shape, I note that it rarely displaces the three-year-old F150 in his daily driving...

Waitaminit. Are some of us really referring to ourselves as 'luddites' via BLOG COMMENTS?!? Conclusion: your snark is rubbing off on your readers.

Außenseiter said...

@Tam

That's why I mentioned the raid. Anyway, I think I've read about 'archival' optical disks.

Dead tree paper's good for us monkeys, but some crystals ought to last forever..

Tam said...

Hopefully we'll find something before too long.

Properly executed dead tree is very archival, but a bit bulky and awkwardly suited for some tasks: Can you imagine how much shelf space your archival copy of, say Microsoft Office would take up? Not to mention that restoring from dead tree backup would be a stone bitch.

Windy Wilson said...

I recall a Sci-fi short story about 45+ years ago about some guy recounting how, in an age of electronic books he invented one on pages, with printing on both sides, and stuck together on one edge of the pages. He called it a "B.O.O.K.", which was either a n acronym (basically oriented organizer of knowledge), or something based on the intials of the co-inventors.
The same guy also tired of sticking the wrong end of his self-lighting cigarettes in his mouth and so invented a gizmo to set them afire, which he called a "match" since it was more than a match for the old system (sorry, that's his pun, not mine).

NoNic said...

It's all about the computer-side software folks. Manage your eLibrary, convert to just about any format there is (but avoid DRM'd formats out of principle, if for no other reason) and manage about any eReading device there is: http://calibre-ebook.com/ I've been using it for 3 years on a SONY PRS-500 and now an iPod Touch and I love it. Open Source software, Linux, Mac & Windows and the author accepts donations.