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Christian

Kindle and other E-readers

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Kobo's on a roll.

Independent booksellers have been selling Kobos, and that partnership, such as it is, seems to be working. That makes me happy.

What depresses me is to learn what those independent bookstore-loving people are reading on their Kobos.

Kobo's year-end report also offered a bit of a snapshot of its customers and their buying patterns. According to the report, the "Fifty Shades of Grey" and "Hunger Games" series were the most-read books on Kobo devices ... and romance books are the most popular genre among Kobo customers.

I'm not too disappointed; that's what e-reader fans across the board are reading. I just thought fans of independent booksellers might gravitate to a few different titles.

Edited by Christian

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Russ   

That tells me that the people who shop at indie bookstores don't want people to know they're reading S&M for Mommies, so they load them onto an e-reader. I think it's a sound strategy.

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NBooth   

Over at Salon, Laura Miller argues that physical books aren't dead yet:

If print could talk, it would surely be telling the world, Mark Twain-style, that reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. The market for e-books grew exponentially after Amazon introduced the Kindle, and it’s still one of the most fascinating and unpredictable sectors of a once hidebound industry. But the early-adapter boom is showing signs of flagging and the growth of the e-book market appears to be leveling out. E-books are definitely here to stay, but it seems that many, many readers — a threefold majority, in fact — still prefer print.

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My Nook Glowlight (1st generation) had been freezing sporadically. When that would happen, I'd have to power-off the device, at which point it would automatically reboot and then freeze again. 

 

After putting up with this for a little while, I explained the problem to a B&N associate who told me I should bring the device to the store so she could check it to see if it was having problems downloading something. If she couldn't figure out the problem, she could clear the device and have me download all my ebooks again from my Nook account, she said. 

 

I decided to put up with the problem until I couldn't tolerate it any longer. That point arrived a couple of nights ago, when I couldn't get the Nook to allow me to read beyond the first chapter of Richard Ford's Canada.

 

Today I took the device to my local Barnes & Noble and had an associate look at it. As is the case with car repairs, the problem didn't repeat for the clerk, who scrolled through the book backward and forward several times while making friendly conversation with me. 

 

Just as I was preparing to grab my device and head home (I wasn't angry, and the interaction with the clerk was pleasant), the device froze on him! He reset the device, had me log on to my Nook account, then began downloading my ebooks again from my Nook account. The store's Wi-Fi was, he said, extremely slow, and it took several minutes to download my books. (I have only 18 ebooks after owning my Nook for more than a year, a few of those titles were acquired in the just past several weeks; the clerk said he had 150 ebooks on his Nook).

 

I returned feeling like the trip had been well worth my time, but also wondering if the problem would resurface. 

 

Has anyone else had to do an ereader reset? If so, did it solve whatever problems you were experiencing with your ereader?

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NBooth   

NY Times: "Reading Literature on Screen: A Price for Convenience?"

 

 

Do people read as well on screens as they do on paper? Scientists aren’t quite sure. While the type of E Ink used in the latest generation of Kindles and other tablets has been shown to be as or even more legible than printed text, other studies have indicated that — in terms of reading comprehension — the medium doesn’t much matter.

But a forthcoming paper by researchers in France and Norway suggests that there may be some cognitive drawbacks to reading even short works of literature on a screen.

 

 

In most respects, there was no significant difference between the Kindle readers and the paper readers: the emotional measures were roughly the same, and both groups of readers responded almost equally to questions dealing with the setting of the story, the characters and other plot details. But, the Kindle readers scored significantly lower on questions about when events in the story occurred. They also performed almost twice as poorly when asked to arrange 14 plot points in the correct sequence.

 

Edited by NBooth

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NBooth   

This is cool--a kind of DRM-free alternative to Amazon, lower-priced but still (they say) giving publishers a better shake.

 

Perusing his more than 50 titles from independent publishers, I thought about those advertisements in Brave New World that appear on the wall tailored exactly to the tastes and desires of whoever was walking past at that minute. Here was a bookstore curated so that every novel offered was literary, not genre based, and thoughtful in some unusual way. Small presses abound: Tin House in Portland, Curbside Splendor in Chicago, our own local Red Hen Press — those places that can’t afford what it costs to get Amazon’s imprimatur — and 0s&1s makes their best work from predominantly new authors visible in a new way.

 

Ok, rolling my eyes at the genre gibe. Here's Andrew Lipstein in the same article talking about his business model:

 

Part of the $6 price has to do with the market equilibrium, and part of it has to do with what we think the market equilibrium should be. Mostly all of the books we sell are also available on Amazon — but for more. This is because 80 percent of profits go to the publisher; a press could sell the same book they’re selling on Amazon for $9 on 0s&1s (for $6) and retain a higher profit per sale. So we can go low(er) and still give more to the publisher. But we don’t want to go lower than $6, because at a fundamental level we believe that’s the lowest amount a book should be worth. In most cases, this is three, four, five, 10 hours of a one-of-a-kind experience. You wouldn’t want to go to an eight-hour-long movie, but if you could rent one, and watch it at odd moments in the day, you’d expect to pay a lot more than $6 for it.

 

Here's 0s&1s.

Edited by NBooth

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Not sure if there is anything new here, since similar studies on TV watching at bedtime reach similar conclusions. 

One More Reason to Reach for a Paper Book Before Bed

Had I not read a carefully reported story on these results before the onslaught of "ereaders are bad before bed" press, I might have been worried. But the more measure stories, like this one, are out there:

 

But again, there’s a huge difference between an iPad and an e-ink reader such as those in the Amazon Kindle, Kobo or Barnes & Noble Nook ranges. The study does not once mention e-ink e-readers. The iPad was also “set to maximum brightness throughout the four-hour reading session, whereas, by comparison, the print-book condition consisted of reflected exposure to very dim light.”

 

Charles Czeisler, director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, who co-authored the study, told the Washington Post that the “standard Kindle” would provide an exception to the study’s findings as it does not emit light and was more like reading a paper book. A Vox interview with lead author Anne-Marie Chang suggests that the research was conducted between 2010 and 2011, when even the original, non-illuminated Kindle was pretty new and paper books made a better point of comparison.

 

There has been no mention at all of e-ink readers that are not backlit but that are illuminated, such as the Kindle Paperwhite or Nook GlowLight — which is not surprising as these devices were only introduced in 2012. Rather than lighting the screen from behind, illuminated e-ink e-readers are “front-lit” and use small LEDs around the screen, pointing inward rather than outward, to cast a glow over it (the Paperwhite channels this through “light guides” to illuminate evenly). This is more like looking at an earlier Kindle in a lit room, than it is like looking at a light shining directly into your eyes.

 

What’s more, these devices generally allow users to dim the light – and so do blue-light-tastic backlit tablets, for that matter.

 

So in short, yes, you should avoid staring at your smartphone or tablet (or PC or TV) for hours before trying to nod off. And that includes the Kindle Fire, which is after all just a tablet. But let’s give dedicated e-ink e-readers, which are very different devices, the benefit of the doubt until someone proves they also pose a danger.

Edited by Christian

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