Kindle and Beyond

Thereader I think there is a reading revolution starting up and devices that enable portable reading of e-books are what the revolution is made of.

Statistics may prove me wrong when wielded by one of our readers, but my impression is that reading of actual physical books has been on the decline for a long time now.  The "tactile pleasure" of holding a book is great but it does not seem to have been enough to hold the formerly reading public.  On the other hand I have noticed that people are much more willing to read a finished book with covers, etc., than they are to read a manuscript that contains exactly the same words.  Go figure!

In any event, I have ensured that my two novels, "The Butcher's Cleaver," and "Death Piled Hard," (available next month) will be "kindlized" (Sony as well) from the start.  The intelligence book "Intelligence: The Human Factor" is not my property andI can't fix that.

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28 Responses to Kindle and Beyond

  1. John Moore says:

    Books don’t require batteries and once you purchase a book, you are free to lend it to whomever you please. Books are easy to skim, and indexes allow for efficient searching.
    Ebooks usually have poor indexing and search functions because the reader is limited by the file formats and the application reading the file. Thus it is difficult to find specific information quickly. DRM issues prevent sharing your personal ebook copy with friends. If your reading device runs out of power or fails, your ebooks are inaccessible. If the storage media fails, you don’t “have” those ebooks any more. Until the technology is a bit more robust and less controlled, I’ll stick with paper books.

  2. Maureen Lang says:

    This is excellent news, Pat. Also very glad that “Death Piled Hard” is coming out soon.
    A close friend bought a Kindle device last year for his son who’s a sophomore @ Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, to excellent effect. Son has started reading novels as well as newspapers/magazines from all over the world. An engineering major, he was never interested nor had the time before. Told me he started reading them on the long train rides from SLO back & forth to visit his girlfriend & the folks in L.A.

  3. rjj says:

    In this library all the books are superlatively good, and written with the pen, and had there been one printed volume it would have been ashamed in such company.
    Vespasiano da Bisticci (d. 1498) on the Library of the Duke of Urbino

    Federigo di Montefeltro regarded printed books as “a vulgar novelty.”

  4. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    The chief advantage of the book over kindle is the ability to randomly access pages very rapidly.
    Kindle and such devices are useful for linear reading – novels and narrative forms which does not put high demand on one’s cognitive skills which, otherwise, would necessitate consulting the previous read pages again.
    Fundamentally, the paradigm is wrong: subsuming the book into the computational device. It should be the other way: the book ought to be enhanced by the computational technologies.
    Imagine an art book with some of its pages being organic translucent conductors ( see and
    ). The capacity of such a (computationally) enhanced book for displaying color pictures of works of art is limitless – unlimited number of reproductions, the ability to zoom on a specific part of the image, etc. While the text can remain the same or be embedded with active hyperlinks. Likewise for a music book that studies musical style – let us say. But in this case the book could also play the scores quoted and studied in the text via an audio codec.

  5. Ormolov says:

    Sure I love books, and my writer friends and I argue endlessly over the worth of the smell of the printed page, but I am not only a writer. I am a HIKER. When I read reviews of Sony’s e-book or the Kindle, office drones whine endlessly about how e-books do or don’t fit into their compartmented lives. But none of them go on extended long distance hikes carrying nine novels to Japan for a month. Half the weight in my pack!
    What this also means is a brand new day for intellectual property and copyrights. The current system, like every level of the publishing and entertainment world, is sclerotic with middle-men. The last monopoly that the internet did away with was the tyranny of DISTRIBUTION. As a writer and artist I have been at war with such controllers of choke points for a long time. Though some may argue that they are the gatekeepers of quality I’ll happily take that job upon myself, thank you. Like destroyed the recording industry and youtube (is currently) laying waste to Hollywood, now it is the turn of the publishing industry and I for one couldn’t be happier.

  6. Patton says:

    I would get a Kindle- if they didn’t cost over $300, and if I couldn’t get most of the same books, as well as ones that aren’t “kindlized”, at my local library. I think it’s a bit premature at this point to be saying “Books are dead,” but things are definitely changing.

  7. Michael Torpey says:

    I agree even though I collect leather bound books. Here is a link to’s article about the One Laptop Per Child’s hidden secret. It’s the ultimate ebook reader!

  8. bubba says:

    Change is definitely coming. But I don’t think it will be nearly as swift as the move from CD to MP3. More like cassette to CD, VHS to DVD or rotary to touch tone phone. Give it ten years to work out the kinks and widen its user base. Even then though there will likely be more dead-tree hold outs than any other such transition.
    Good to be an early adopter though!

  9. curious says:

    we are definitely moving toward digital book. Reasons
    1. screen quality increases exponentially. (forget TFT, those e-ink thing will bring down paper.)
    2. digital (that mean one can bring 100-1TB no problem. think iPod. that amount of memory in term of pdf/text equal to a small university library. right in the palm of your hand) searching digital material will be zippy. (phone book, manual, list, reports…etc)…infinitely reproducable. no more wasting paper just to read sport section or horoscope. Or other trivial item.
    3. wireless! download all the book you want. continuously updated information (map, databases, chat, blog, etc) think of the amount of paper saved from advertisement, coupons, phonebook, junk mail, etc etc…
    4. Even currently oh so expensive $300 kindle is already the price of 1 yr NYTimes delivery cost. think about it. It is not impossible ebook will be disposable item like mp3 player in the future.think about the amount of information will be flooding the planet, specially in country where paper is expensive.v(think japan)
    etc, etc…. ebook finally is upon us. (it will be scrappy and fragile at first, but after awhile one can’t live without it. we produce too many garbage. paper publication will be only for deep analytical report or something that people want to spend time maintaining, paying and carry around in bulk.)
    of course this means : 1TB torrent download of “how to make your own nuke at home” manual is upon us. lol. (seriously, look at the amount of technical manual floating around the net. it’s simply amazing.) I simply don’t understand people who scream about …omg…maraging steeel, nuclear reactor, isotop separation… secret, secret…(dude, they are downloadble online already)
    one of these days, somebody is going to publish the entire IAEA database. and thatll be the end of it all ..

  10. rjj says:

    The capacity of such a (computationally) enhanced book for displaying color pictures of works of art is limitless – unlimited number of reproductions, the ability to zoom on a specific part of the image, etc. While the text can remain the same or be embedded with active hyperlinks. Likewise for a music book that studies musical style – let us say. But in this case the book could also play the scores quoted and studied in the text via an audio codec.

    There are gains and losses. Some things will lend themselves to digital presentation better than others. Reading and writing will change as they did when we made the transition from manuscript to print. A kindle edition of Gibbon would be good for looking up passages, but not for reading.
    They will be excellent for technical literature.
    People will not experience that limbic ping of picking up an old book, viewing a painting, or attending a performance in real time. Actual works have a vitality that is absent in replicas, reproductions, and facsimiles.
    The first generations of digital books will have the same virtues (mana?) as canned vegetables. But they will come their own as a medium – like print, film, recorded sound, and the internet.

  11. David J says:

    Why is the kindle edition in some cases more expensive than the paperback edition?

  12. PeteE says:

    I don’t know about 2008, but all the evidence is that book sales are increasing. See
    I suspect that Americans are spending less time on TV, more time on the internet or reading. We are becoming a more sophisticated society– gradually.

  13. MRW. says:

    Follow this:
    Be sure to put out in ePub format; it’s non DRM, unlike Kindle’s proprietary format. Check out Smashbooks.

  14. MRW. says:

    A fabulous ebook reader now. Pricier. Better than Kindle. Non DRM. Get all your newspapers on it. More powerful than Kindle. 10″ diagonal screen, and you can annotate:
    The person to keep your eyes on: the genius who produced the screen for One Laptop (MIT): Mary Lou Jepsen:
    To those who think ereaders will replace books. They wont. Not in the bathtub at least. But with genuine paper-white screens just around the corner, they will be irresistible for many reasons. I dont know whether the new Kindle due to be announced Monday Feb 9 will allow a memory card, but others do.

  15. rjj says:

    By way of the tradeoffs with Kindle and the other digital technologies …
    We do have access to a broader perspective.
    Comprehension and understanding are the challenges. I need ahaware.

  16. Interesting to speculate on how the authorities in “Fahernheit 451” will operate in the future!

  17. optimax says:

    I wonder how susceptable e-books would be to Orwellian manipulations of historical facts, or centralized propaganda. A children’s book could say Bambi’s mother died in a conflagration caused by global warming, or a NY Times headline from 2008, and read on an e-book in 2108, could say BUSH BRINGS PEACE TO THE MIDDLE EAST. Without a hard copy, who would know history had been altered? Probably some old crank nobody would believe.

  18. Mervyn Lakin MD says:

    I have used my Kindle to read over 100 books now. I have had it since its release. I thought that I would hate it when I purchased it and that it would go back to sender but it is a wonderful way to read a book and I read 3-5 books weekly. I think it is an amazing invention and I have already ordered the new version and plan to give Version 1 to my wife.

  19. Patrick Lang says:

    As if by magic, TBC is now available as a Kindle book. pl

  20. rjj says:

    1. Question: can you crosslink from one book to another?
    2. Physics, chemistry, and biology are about four dimensional processes. The dynamic content of digital books/media should revolutionize science teaching.
    3. I have a hard time imagining having a dedicated digital device for static material, another for email and verbal communication, and the internet for dynamic content. Seems to me they will merge. Why should folks lumber around with an electronic carapace of Iphone/Blackberry, headset, digital book, laptop, – maybe even a camera plus briefcase and wallet/purse for their nonvirtualizable processes.

  21. I’ve got to hold a book in my hand. Reading from a screen just ain’t the same.
    Guess that means I’m an old fogy now.
    It was bad enough when the barbers started clipping my ear hair and eyebrows.
    Now this Kindle Contraption makes it official!

  22. Babak Makkinejad says:

    As an example consider the following:
    S. Chandrasekhar deposited hundreds of pages of calculations with the University of Chicago in case some one wanted to verfiy the calculations that he had made for “The Mathemactical Theory of Blak Holes”.
    A digitally enhanced book can provide these calculations when the reader requires it via organic semiconductor transparencies.

  23. Nevadan says:

    Starting at $250, I’ll stick with books. Like you, to hold a book in my hands provides a pleasure no device can offer. To see favorites in my book cases is almost a sensual reaction….words written by the brilliant or funny, are some of “live” with me.
    Real books also help me interest my granddaughters in various subjects. My love of reading has been passed on to children and their children. No technology needed. Just a comfy chair and a lamp.

  24. curious says:

    Interesting to speculate on how the authorities in “Fahernheit 451” will operate in the future!
    Posted by: William R. Cumming | 09 February 2009 at 10:32 AM
    depending on the regime and level of industrial sophistication I suppose. But the second generation of ebook (eg. Plastic Logic) is about to come out. the main components are made almost entirely out of plastic instead of complicated silicon semiconductor.
    that means a)it doesn’t require expensive microprocessor fabrication, it’s really a superfancy printing machine. only slightly more complicated than that metalized bag of potato chips from grocery stores. basically layer of semiconducting plastics are printed on plastic sheet.
    that will produce a) much cheaper device. obviously a lot more people can afford it in the world and b) a lot more durable device compared to current glass substrate screen. (you can roll them/hide/drop) without damage. c) above all all plastic device can be produced with less capital intensive fabrication line. (ie. wait until the chinese print plastic screen by the yards.) Everybody can do it.
    technology to watch.
    “Self-aligned imprint lithography” – this one will enabled much more sophisticated plastic electronic to be printed than current ink jet type of fabrication.
    better mciroencapsulation. (obviously those electrophoresis ink looks kinda ugly. not white enough, color looks grim and react too slow for moving images. I think e-ink and Toppan have join project. (their most advance electrophoretic color screen still look sad compared to modern glossy magazine. comparable to 12th century color ink brightness (minus the gold palette)
    low cost laptop. a lot of standard smartphone and laptop technology will migrate to ebook. I for one think they will combine OLED with electrophoretic screen as a compromise of image quality vs. cost and battery use.
    standardized content. (Unfortunately, this is the hardest to do, the publication industry will fight it till the end. we have to live with basic web mark-up languages)
    color e-ink
    plastic logic demo (they suppose to be sale by now, production problem.)
    old clip from sigraph
    robotic book scanner (you can read all the book ever printed soon, provided they are not locked away)
    Sony OLED (I think they are the most advance in production ready OLED. But Sony is completely clueless when it comes to open standard.)

  25. curious says:

    A digitally enhanced book can provide these calculations when the reader requires it via organic semiconductor transparencies.
    Posted by: Babak Makkinejad | 11 February 2009 at 12:28 PM
    e-ink has a screen with epson driver (touch screen, basic handwriting/pen input, moving images) but once silicon enter, the reader becomes expensive. It’s practically a small laptop.
    more fun video
    curtain screen (funny: there are bunch of huge cables hanging on the sheet…lol)

  26. Frank says:

    I have a palm pilot and have installed Plucker on it ( ) . Plucker is a free ebook reader for the palm os. Then to get free books for that free ebook reader go to . This site has many, many books that can be downloaded free. There is nothing illegal about this. These are books no longer under copyright restraints and there’s lots of really good stuff there by the likes of Henry James, Edward Gibbon, Anthony Trollop and so on.

  27. curious says:

    I wonder how susceptable e-books would be to Orwellian manipulations of historical facts, or centralized propaganda.
    Posted by: optimax | 10 February 2009 at 12:28 AM
    ok. last post. cause I know I am getting giddy about gadget.
    The beauty about ebook is this: it’s actually cheaper and harder to control once more advance generation is out. They have been trying hard to implement DRM/publication control onto ebook. But they simply don’t sell.
    so things like kindle and plastic logic reader start to include ability to read more open standard.
    but like any consumer electronic product, once it becomes widely available, people will start hacking and repurpose the device. (linux PMP anybody?)
    where we are at in term of ebook, is exactly around the time of printing press invention. People thought printing press is merely a “replacement/faster method than handwriting”, but in reality it was alternate channel of knowledge distribution.
    after the printers done priting bible, official church letters, etc. They started printing popular literature. Things that people really want to read… after awhile, there are more popular printed material tan standard church reading. people becomes cosmopolitant, public knowledge increases and finally brought about modernity.
    ….. same with ebook. once it hit sub $100. people will hack it and repurpose the ebook, printing new form of writing, wider subjects, type, varieties .. basically things that current publication industry consider “can’t be sold”, too silly… or downright unacceptable to the adult in charge.
    and you know how that goes… It’s always the silly writings and odd balls ideas that brings about new era.
    Do it yourself microbiology manual, computing handbooks, technicals reports, popular novels, new poems, alternate religious interpretations, translations, philosophical treatise, letters to friends… etc.
    or, you can always download the classics. (I read so much more classics books because of digital …)
    so here is one download
    so. yay ebook! I can now download all the books that I couldn’t possibly read them all…

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