E-books. anyone try/do them?

I see from time to time smaller publishers who do e-books.

I know nothing about them and would like some real world opinions.

I have bought/read several of them. I have a Palm OS-based handheld and so far, I’ve tried out e-books on the Acrobat Reader and the eReader. I like the eReader interface (it has a neat auto-scroll feature), however the Acrobat Reader sucks. Whenever I scroll back one page, the "hourglass " icon turns up and you have to wait several seconds to continue reading…

I used to make them.

I think they are great for reference and technical books - you can search the full text for keywords, etc.

Not so great for pleasure reading, IMO. That is not because the experience is bad, some of the eBook readers made a few years back are really excellent. The problem is that the publishers are still hesitant to release anything new or popular in electronic format until they have wrung the paper market dry.

Check to see if your local library has aome eBook readers for checkout (mine does). They provide backlighting (no reading light necessary), so you can read in bed while your SO sleeps, you can change the font size, and you can easily bookmark pages or highlight text.

This is one of those technologies that really works as advertised, but the public just hasn’t adopted (yet).

I think it will be the wave of the future, but not for a good 10 years or so. Until a generation grows up on it.

I haven’t tried any, and I don’t own a PDA ( one day, I’m sure.) but I just think the entire concept is neat.

I have an e-reader on my cell phone, and I keep a book or two in there for emergencies. I rarely remember to carry a book with me, and I like having a book in my phone if I get stuck somewhere.

Shirley, I think you’re right, that we’ll see more and more of the market in e-books. But you can have my real books when you pry them from my cold, dead hands. :wink: Reading an e-book is not like reading a paper book, both in terms of the size of the text and the ability to flip forwards and backwards. For example, if I forget who a character is, it’s much easier to flip back a few pages than to try to find it in the e-book. There’s also something satisfying about the weight and heft of a book in your lap when you’re curled up on the couch.

So I like them for the convenience, but they’re definitely a substitute for the real thing.

Since I started knitting a lot, I don’t have much time to read. I do almost all my reading via ebook. I have a Palm OS device (Zire 71 and E2). I read in bed at night. I can turn the lights off and readwithout disturbing my husband.

I have eReader Pro and Mobipocket Pro on my Palm. I prefer eReader, partly because it has a little clock down at the bottom of the display. But the Mobipocket reader version that I have lets me convert .txt files (i.e., those from Project Gutenberg) to files readable on my Palm. Of course, on my E2, have Documents to Go, so I suppose I could use that to read files. But I’m used to Mobipocket format too.

I love ebooks, but only on my Palm. I don’t like to read stuff on the computer.

I’ve never purchased an eBook, but I have downloaded numerous public domain and reference titles. I’ve got an iPaq (Pocket PC); it’s great for when you’re stuck in a boring situation and forgot to bring a book with you.

I’ve mentioned this before but I love, love, love my ebooks. I have about 10,000 on my computer from uh, less than legitimate sources and I rotate about 200 of them onto my palm pilot at any one time. I use all the spare gobs of time that all of us have to catch up on reading I never would have otherwise done. Waiting in lines, at bus stops, waiting for friends, after I order a meal and I’m waiting for it to get served. I can probably go through a book a week just from these spare moments.

And the autoscroll feature is great for reading in bed. I hate reading paper books in bed because I can never get into a comfortable position. My arm is always at some awkward angle in order to keep the book open. This is especially bad for thick or heavy books. With the palm pilot, I can just prop it on the bed and turn autoscroll on and I don’t have to move while I’m reading. I can also read in the dark, I can read in the park, I can rea pretty much goddamn anywhere.

I occasionally do read paper books but I always end up getting frustrated by their limitations. You drop a book and you’ve lost your page, they’re bulky to carry around, it’s really uncomfortable to hold them, you need to use both hands to hold them to be comfortable, you have to flip the pages all the time etc etc.

I read them on my PDA occasionally, and I’ve also had about ten stories at Fictionwise and a couple of novels published by Embiid.

Fictionwise was a nice little bonus for old stories that weren’t going anywhere, and I got some payment from Embiid. There seems to be a market for previously published work, but few want to buy original e-books. Fictionwise does well because their stories are cheap and they’ve been previously published, so readers have the idea that the works have some liegitimacy. Unpublished work is a very hard sell – it’s hard to convince people to buy when they can’t pick up the book and read it.

Ever since I asked for an ebook reader recommendation in this thread I’ve always had a book on the go from various sources. In the linked thread there are a couple free sources mentioned. Viva ebooks!

I use them too. I always have one I’m in the middle of on my Palm Pilot. Once you get used to it, it’s just as natural as a “real” book.

I’ve got a small library of about 60 or 70 ebooks. I don’t have a PDA and read here on my home computer. I’ve got mixed feelings about them. Most mainstream publishers have what I feel are completely unrealistic pricing policies on their ebooks. An ebook, from most publishers, is: encrypted so it cannot be protected, nor can you sell it after you’re done with it, as you can with a dead tree edition; generally the download will be specific for a single reader and for a single machine; and often is all of 80-90% of the hardcover price. If I’m being asked to pay that much, I’m not willing to accept that it’s meant to be a throw-away item. Let’s also consider that compared to the costs involved in creating an ebook, once the book has been set up for modern publishing, asking that much for it is an incredibly inflated price. (And one I doubt that most publishers pass on to the authors.)

There is some hope, however. One publisher of SF has what I consider a very reasonable policy on pricing its ebooks. At the moment, all it sells is SF/Fantasy, but there are rumors that the publisher has been contacted by a number of other publishing houses to sell their ebooks at reasonable prices ($4-6 an ebook). With no encryption, and unlimited downloads after purchasing the books. And that price range is the price for new releases that would otherwise be only available in hardcover.

If this model keeps growing my money spent on purchasing dead tree editions will be dwindling. Not going away entirely - I like a book to hold, and there are problems with my current ebook reader: I love reading in bed, just before going to sleep. And reading while on the toilet. Can’t take a computer either place with me.

Put me down as another ebook addict=) and a longtime Webscription.net subscriber [Baen Books ebook division] and now a subscriber to the new ebook magazine Jim is starting.]

I love treeware, but as previously mentioned, the PDA I use has mobipocket loaded, and I keep a couple dozen books in it, it has a backlight so i can read in the dark, I don’t have to schleep around lots of dead trees, and it is packaged conveniently so i can read standing in line, sitting in a movie theater waiting for the movie to start, sitting in waiting rooms, or lying in bed. I even will zip it into a baggie and read it in the bath tub=)

Alright, now I want to start surfing for info on PDA’s, which I know nothing about.

I have heard of Palm Pilots, but are there different versions of them?

What do you use?

What else can someone do with a palm pilot?

(I am such a techno moran.)

The word you’re looking for is “Neo-Luddite,” I think. :slight_smile:

Quite right! If I have to pay 80%-90% for an ebook, screw it, I’ll just get the hardcover/paperback version. At least when I’m done with those they’ll look good on my bookshelf ;). And of course you can always trade in some of your old books at used bookstores, getting a tiny amount back on that purchase price.

This looks like a pretty cool way to read e-books:

Sony Reader.

It uses ‘e-ink’, which makes the display look like regular paper, and it doesn’t consume power after the page has rendered. So the batteries last a long, long time.

Yeah, but it’s pretty expensive, and all you can do on it is read books (I think – I haven’t read all the specs.)

And if it’s not backlit, I can’t read in bed with the lights off. And that’s one of the big reasons I read on my Palm.

You can also read PDFs, HTML files, text files, and I think it will take RSS feeds for news and blogs and such. It’s pretty cool.

And yeah, you need light to read it, because the screen is essentially just a piece of paper. It uses a technology which brings black ‘ink’ to the surface when a charge is applied, so it looks just like a regular book.

So the inability to read in the dark is a drawback, but there are many advantages. No refresh causing eyestrain. Large screen. Great battery life (Sony claims 7500 page turns to a charge - enough to read 20 average books).

But the biggest advantage is simply the quality of the reading experience. I’ve read e-books on my PDA, and the biggest problem is that you can’t see much of the page at one time. I find it tiring to read the tiny text with the short column widths. I want a reader that presents a page exactly as how it looks in a real book. The Sony reader does that.

Oh, I had forgotten this! Back when I was taking my required English classes, I had professors who would post 60+ page PDF files online as the required reading. Adobe makes a PDF reader for Pocket PCs (and Palm too, I think), so I just downloaded the documents and took them to class on the iPaq.