Oct 16, 2002, 1:10am
You know, I haven't read a paper book in about 1 year now.
Man, do I love the concept of eBooks. I just don't like the stingy implementation of it.
See, I think in the last 24 months, I've read about 75 novels, and I own probably 70 of them either in paperback or hardcover format. But about 60 of those books I've read (or reread) in electronic format, either on my old Palm Vx, on my Compaq iPaq, or currently, on my Sony Clie T615 (did I mention to you all that I was given a Sony Clie by a very cool person recently?)
I haven't bought a single eBook. It's not that I don't want to, or that I want to pirate per se; I don' buy eBooks because publishers have their heads in the sand.
I've argued this in the past - make eBook pricing realistic, and I'll happily pay. Right now it's a joke - you can find some popular best seller novels in eBook format, but you're expected to pay $20, $30, $40 for the electronic format, then only to find it's locked down, limited use, and in some cases, expires after a period.
Because of this one sided, unrealistic system that is currently in place, I have no personal moral dillema about downloading, via various pirate channels (usually newsgroups), books that I already have paid $10 for in paperback format, or $25 or more in hardcover format. I own every Tom Clancy book ever written, but I've also downloaded every Tom Clancy book in ebook format (people scan and process the books through a word recognition program, then convert to a text file, then post). If all of Tom Clancy's books were available for say $3 or $4 for an electronic download, I'd happily buy them. But I'm not paying $30, like one price I saw for Clear and Present Danger. I feel that is morally corrupt on the publisher's part, so I access the pirate versions.
If publishers were more in tune with the times, I think they could make a mint. For years, the hardcover / paperback modus worked very well for publishers and writers, and continues to do so - bring out a book in hardcover, charge $20, $30 or more for it, and reap in the dough. Then six months, nine months, or a year later, release the paperback version for $10 or less, and reap in more dough. It works well for publishers, and even if the books get passed around, resold to used book stores, or donated to libraries, the publishers and writers were generally happy.
Then the digital age came upon us, and publishers were slow to the take. Then (unfortunately) major publishers had RIAA (mp3s) and MPAA (mpg movies) to look at, and think, hey, we can be greedy too. Digital Rights Management of books became paramount. It also became a big limiting factor in the sales and popularity of legitimate, legal eBooks. It's weird too: Publishers weren't worried about joe consumer buying a hard cover, reading it, and giving it to his wife to read, then his brother, then his friend. But they were absolutely paranoid that they'd be losing millions if they put the book out in eBook format, and everyone would copy it.
Follow the hardcover / paperback route. Add another step: hardcover / paperback / ebook. Price the hardcover at a reasonable price (say $30), then release the paperback six to twelve months later, and price the paperback at 1/3 that cost (say $10). Then release the eBook version three to six months after the paperback, and price it at half to 1/3 the paperback cost ($3 to $5). There's almost NO cost associated with eBooks as compared to physical paperbacks or hardcovers. Pass the savings onto the consumer, but still reap in more profits per sale than the paperback. DON'T put major restrictions on the ebooks, make them "open source", easy to use on any device (or make it a package including Microsoft .lit format and Palm .doc format).
And we, the buying public benefit. And we'd spend our dough, filling their coffers.
I know I'd much rather pay a $3 to $5 price for a perfectly formatted, perfect spelling, nicely laid out eBook by a publisher than the choc-full of spelling mistakes, layout errors and grunge feel of a "free book". Almost everyone I know who's into eBooks feels EXACTLY the same way. Hell, I'd probably drop $50 to $100 a month on Amazon for easy to use, almost no restrictions eBooks. That's $600 to $1200 a YEAR, you publisher dinks!
But publishers don't get it. They see RIAA's stand and follow. Blah.
|Previous Ten Daily Rants
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|| 1:20am, 02/16
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|| 5:00pm, 07/26
Photos from Algonquin Park
Photos from my trip to Algonquin Park this fall with my Mom and two brothers.
Making Snow for the Fortress
One of the worst jobs I ever had... till I got out.
Tools I Use
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iPod and iTunes Offline
iMark's iTunes and iPod isn't iPlaying anything right iNow.
Most Recent Songs
Fiddlers Green by The Tragically Hip
Around The Bend by Pearl Jam
Here With Me (Rollo's Chillin' With the Family Mix) by Dido
With arms open wide by Creed
truffle pigs by Matthew Good Band
In the News
Burundi and Beyond - NY Times
Great article by Peter Meehan - provided some background.
St. Petersburg Times
Side mention in an article about good machines
AP Story on Espresso
Background and information provided
NY Times - Grinders Article
Especially proud of this one - got the reporter to focus on grinders
Globe and Mail
LOL - showing bad reporting, dude says I'm an American-based site!
The Olympian, WA
Talks about my love for the El Sal Siberia Pacamara
Seattle Times - Clover
Interviewed for comments on the Clover brewer
NY Times - How it Works
Background and information for various espresso machines
Time Mag Article
Just a brief mention, article about roasting beans.
Front page article about consumers getting into specialty coffee.
Quoted reference to what I wrote in an article at CoffeeGeek.
USA Today - Barista Jam
Intereviewed for my thoughts on what the epitome of espresso is.
The Wall Street Journal has interviewed me 3 times. This is the first time my name got in a story.
Interview with Reuters, Jan 2 - this is the USA Today version.
My Other Stuff
Launched Dec 22, 2001, this is THE online community for espresso and coffee fanatics.
It's all new, as of March, 2002. My personal coffee obsession site.
My company's site - needs an update!
Hey, if you feel the need to buy me something, check here!
Great gadget site run by the guy who used to do Gizmodo.
This is how I get my daily news fix.
The most active forums for digital photography online today.
Need my Daily Zen fix!
A blog about car stuff. Vroom Vroom.
An industrial design blog. Very cool stuff.
Friends and Family Plan
Beata's got her own blog! She updates it most days.
Riddla on Flickr
Matt Riddle's flickr account, updated regularly
Irdy, my friend from Jakharta, on Flickr
Canon EF 24-105 f4 L Lens
The best lens I've ever owned. Super sharp and quick.
A full frame dSLR, with luscious colour reproduction.
Alzo Digital Lights
Some amazing florescent cold lights for product photography
Canon Xsi dSLR
Amazing technology and image quality in a tiny package.
Latest prosumer camera from Canon - a much better upgrade than the 30D
Great 2.2lb computer that does most of my travel / writing needs
28mm f1.8 Lens
A great lens for closeup work and full picture photography
Finally got the right tools for freezing green coffee.
Canon 50mm 1.4
Most amazing lens I've ever owned. Produces stellar photos.
Super wide angle (full frame fisheye) zoom for my Canon 20D