Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

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Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Does the media used to read a novel make it different?

[ Edited ]

Roads usually lead somewhere.  Trends usually point to an end result.  The trend in books is towards e-books, and away from DTBs.

 

In an article published more than a year ago, Publisher's Weekly said: "E-books accounted for 7% of consumer spending on books in 2011 and 14% of units purchased, according to the most recent data from Bowker Market Research. In 2010, e-books had a 2% share of dollars and a 4% share of units."

 

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/digital/retailing/article/52204-the-march-of-the-e-books...

 

An increase in units from 4% to 14% in a single year is a significant shift.  Apparently, more-recent data is not available.  If one takes a look at the trend line, however, it is not unreasonable to see a dramatic move away from paper and towards electrons for the reading public.  Even the U.S. Department of Justice believes these trends, as asserted in the lawsuit against Apple Computer and the Defendant Publishers in April of 2012. 

 

ETA: I believe that it will be a whole lot sooner than 100 years.

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 3,770
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
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Re: Does the media used to read a novel make it different?

[ Edited ]

Nobody is disputing those trends, Deesy. Considering this is a forum for electronic reader device owners, that's hardly surprising. My own experience showed an even more quick change of reading habits to almost exclusively ebooks for everyday reading. However, I expect to own, read and be able to buy paper books as far out as my life's journey is likely to take me. We can speculate beyond that, but that's all we're doing.

 

Shifting topics then: As I wrote in my previous post, while I don't expect paper books to be the primary means by which the public reads, I'm not convinced that an electronic format designed to emulate such printed books is the future either.

Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Does the media used to read a novel make it different?


bobstro wrote:

Nobody is disputing those trends, Deesy. Considering this is a forum for electronic reader device owners, that's hardly surprising. My own experience showed an even more quick change of reading habits to almost exclusively ebooks for everyday reading. However, I expect to own, read and be able to buy paper books as far out as my life's journey is likely to take me. We can speculate beyond that, but that's all we're doing.

 

Shifting topics then: As I wrote in my previous post, while I don't expect paper books to be the primary means by which the public reads, I'm not convinced that an electronic format designed to emulate such printed books is the future either.


Hmm.  I think that the name of the set of Web pages that comprise this forum is the "Barnes and Noble Book Clubs."  I didn't see anything specific limiting discussions or participation to electronic reader devices or their media.  Also, the name of this particular forum is "Community Room."  There have been a good many discussions about a host of topics not limited to electronic reading device-related matters on these boards, and I haven't seen anybody else complain about that fact. 

 

Of course we're speculating.  It is crystal clear that you, and probably many others, do not believe that e-books will replace DTBs in any foreseeable future.  TnTexas and I believe otherwise, as do a number of others who have said as much in the past.  The trend, however, clearly indicates that the DTB is becoming obsolete, whether anybody likes it or not. 

 

Back in 1982 or 1983, I attended a small local conference of HVAC engineering-types and the guest speaker was the owner of a small computer store.  He predicted that the primary means of communication between people and computers would be an electronic headgear worn by the user to communicate directly between the machine and the human brain.  Furthermore, he asserted, "this technology will be the norm by 1990."  I had the temerity to challenge his belief, but the conference was quickly brought to an end before anybody's delusions could be shattered.  I'm sure that some of the attendees left the meeting believing his absurd assertion.

 

This sort of technology might, indeed, develop some day, but not in the near future, IMO.  We do not sufficiently understand the operation and functioning of the human brain to be anywhere near the perfection of this technology, and I feel the same way about e-books.  The only thing likely to replace reading as a means of conveying information efficiently from one human brain to other human brains is something similar to what that computer store owner believed we would see by 1990.  It could happen, but it is still a long way off. 

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 3,770
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
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Deep thoughts on the evolution of reading (and dorky head gear)

[ Edited ]
deesy58 wrote:
bobstro wrote:

Nobody is disputing those trends, Deesy. Considering this is a forum for electronic reader device owners, that's hardly surprising. [...]

 

Hmm.  I think that the name of the set of Web pages that comprise this forum is the "Barnes and Noble Book Clubs."  I didn't see anything specific limiting discussions or participation to electronic reader devices or their media.

 

Also, the name of this particular forum is "Community Room."  There have been a good many discussions about a host of topics not limited to electronic reading device-related matters on these boards, and I haven't seen anybody else complain about that fact. 

Ah, Deesy. Even when someone agrees with one of your modified positions, you can't reisist finding something to argue with!

 

  • There's a small park near my hosue where children play. Do you infer that to mean that adults are not allowed?
  • There's a restaurant nearby that has a sign in the lobby that reads "Seniors Welcome". Do you infer that to mean that youngsters are not welcome?

Yet when I mention that this B&N site, on which nearly half the discussion groups deal with the NOOK ereader devices, is a place where owners of ereaders converse, you want insist that I implied an "only" or "exclusive" focus? Did I write, or otherwise hint that there have been complaints about non-NOOK related discussions here? Seriously.

 

I think it's fair to say that owners of ereaders are represented well here. Surely you aren't trying to make the point that this is not a forum for electronic device owners? Let's move along to something at least modestly more interesting.

 

Of course we're speculating.  It is crystal clear that you, and probably many others, do not believe that e-books will replace DTBs in any foreseeable future.  TnTexas and I believe otherwise, as do a number of others who have said as much in the past. 

 

Foreseeable being the operative word. If the sun burns out in the future, I do not intend to worry about books!

 

The trend, however, clearly indicates that the DTB is becoming obsolete, whether anybody likes it or not. 

 

I conditionally agree, depending on the specific meaning you assign to the word "obsolete". I agree in the sense of "being less often used because something newer exists" or "having been replaced by something newer." I might take issue if you meant it to mean "no longer used by anyone".

 

Back in 1982 or 1983, I attended a small local conference of HVAC engineering-types and the guest speaker was the owner of a small computer store.  He predicted that the primary means of communication between people and computers would be an electronic headgear worn by the user to communicate directly between the machine and the huhman brain.  

 

Part of being a good futurist seems to be avoiding getting overly specific. If he'd left it at "headgear will be used for human-computer communications", he could claim to have been right. While he got the specifics wrong, in hindsight, I might give him points for at least getting the visual of Google Glass right. A visitor from the past might be forgiven for confusing an attack helo's crew helmets with being that sort of interface.

 

Watching the old Start Trek ToS episodes, I began to appreciate how close they came on at least in terms of form factors. Uhura's earpiece could have been someone's impression of a bluetooth headset. Those computer cards looked about the right size to be CF cards. Heck, even the tricorder bore some resemblance to pre-iPad tablets! My Sharp Zaurus looked more like a shrunken tricorder than any modern tablet.

 

Furthermore, he asserted, "this technology will be the norm by 1990."  I had the temerity to challenge his belief, but the conference was quickly brought to an end before anybody's delusions could be shattered.  I'm sure that some of the attendees left the meeting believing his absurd assertion.

 

I wish I'd kept notes about what I thought the future of computing would be like when I first started in the early 1980s. I do remember playing with digitizing sound (crudely) at the time, and envisioning a solid-state device to play back music. I even thought of a nifty commercial with a dirt bike racer listening to driving music without missing a beat -- something impossible to do with the portable cassette decks of the day.

 

I'd crow about anticipating the MP3 player, but I was certain you'd walk into Tower Records to plug in and load up music you'd purchased. :smileyhappy: Ah well, it would have been a good commercial. 

 

This sort of technology might, indeed, develop some day, but not in the near future, IMO.  We do not sufficiently understand the operation and functioning of the human brain to be anywhere near the perfection of this technology, and I feel the same way about e-books. 

 

If it ever does develop, recent experience indicates that it will appear in unexpected ways. Rather than it being an interface for us to control a computer, I'd now expect it to be an entertainment device that uses a computer to surreptitiously monitor our toughts to target advertising at us.

 

The only thing likely to replace reading as a means of conveying information efficiently from one human brain to other human brains is something similar to what that computer store owner believed we would see by 1990.  It could happen, but it is still a long way off. 

 

I don't think an electronic format that trys so hard to mimic the presumably-obsolete paper book is a long-term proposition. Modern MP3 players don't try to mimic records, cassettes or CDs (In most cases. I am tempted to find an old 8 Track player, gut it and replace the innards with an MP3 player, then stuff USB sticks into cannibalized cartridges and use it as my car audio system.)

 

I don't think the ebook has evolved into anything like its final form yet. Several readers provide text-to-speech capabilities. There's surely some refinement that could be done there. It would be nice if I could bookmark or annotate while listening to an audiobook, and switch between modes when driving, for example. A hybrid ebook-audiobook might work very well if they can improve the speech. Google Maps has the amusing habit of pronouncing nearby Rudasill Road as Rude-Asil Road, sounding like a drunk hiccuping on the first word, yet it gets some of the contorted Massachusetts street names right.

 

There are ebook readers that throw out the "page" metaphor, and reach further back in time for a "scroll" interface. The "book" is presented as one long, continuous page, regardless of the underlying epub formatting. You can turn on auto-scrolling for a teleprompter-like experience. I didn't like that feature, but so long as there was a "sticky" setting to indicate the last line I read before scrolling, I could use it in manual mode.

 

I would like to see a "unversal sync" product being developed that helps readers keep in sync when reading both electronic and paper books (Goodreads on Steroids). Pick up your reader, scan the barcode on a printed book or enter the ISBN and it tells you what page in your edition of the printed book matches to your last reading position for the same title on the device. Dock your reader on a NFC-equipped shelf, and the screensaver activates listing your last read page in your current set of books.

 

I think there are more blending and hybrid modes of reading that will (hopefully) evolve (and die out) before the vast majority of people resort to reading one format or another exclusively. I don't want to pick one format so much as I want to be able to keep up with reading the same title on a plane with a backlit device, on the couch with a paper book, at the beach with a daylight readable device, and while driving with an audio device. I'd just like to read (or listen) when I want to in a manner compatible with where I happen to be.

 

Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: Deep thoughts on the evolution of reading (and dorky head gear)

[ Edited ]

:smileyindifferent:

Distinguished Correspondent
msmoonlite
Posts: 175
Registered: ‎10-03-2010
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Re: Deep thoughts on the evolution of reading (and dorky head gear)

[ Edited ]

This whole discussion is such a first world problem. There are SO MANY people in the world who don't even have a power source, let alone the means to buy an ereader. Books are not going to die so long as there are people in the world that still have to debate whether or not a book can fit into their luxury budget, because thats what we're talking about, a luxury not a necessity.

 

And I'm full aware of the car/buggy discussion. How many people are simply relying on their own two feet to get around, not even thinking about the possibility of having a horse; a car is not even in the realm of possibility.

Distinguished Scribe
gb18
Posts: 819
Registered: ‎12-06-2010

Re: Deep thoughts on the evolution of reading (and dorky head gear)

[ Edited ]
And those of us who are live in the U.S.A. are thankful for it. Too many of us don't realize what we have.
Freedom is not free.
Wordsmith
TnTexas
Posts: 884
Registered: ‎10-22-2011

Re: Deep thoughts on the evolution of reading (and dorky head gear)

msmoonlite: This whole discussion is such a first world problem. There are SO MANY people in the world who don't even have a power source, let alone the means to buy an ereader. Books are not going to die so long as there are people in the world that still have to debate whether or not a book can fit into their luxury budget, because thats what we're talking about, a luxury not a necessity.

 

And I'm full aware of the car/buggy discussion. How many people are simply relying on their own two feet to get around, not even thinking about the possibility of having a horse; a car is not even in the realm of possibility.

 

I did stipulate that I, at least, was talking about developed countries. To get more specific, I'll change that to developed areas.

Distinguished Bibliophile
Mercury_Glitch
Posts: 1,395
Registered: ‎06-07-2011

Re: Deep thoughts on the evolution of reading (and dorky head gear)

I think it's only reasonable to presume that the countries and peoples who are the focus of this discussion are those who do not view books as luxury items.  As was pointed out earlier in this thread publishers wont be able to turn a profit on DTBs if the demand drops to a certain level, that level requires certain amounts of freedom in purchasing the books.  Along the car/buggy/feet line, those who can't afford cars or horses certainly did not prevent them from becoming the default mode of transportation at the respective times in history.  Neither will those who can't afford to buy books let alone ereaders prevent ereaders from replacing books, just as they did not prevent books from replacing oral story telling. 

 

Something else which we have talked about, but I don't think any one has tried to pinpoint, is at what point do we consider a replacement as official?  I think DTBs will still be published after that time, possibly in numbers near to what they were prior to that time.  Much like VHS tapes were fairly widely available for a comfortable amount of time after it became clear that DVDs had replaced them. 

The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and we are only the thread of the Pattern.
Distinguished Bibliophile
bobstro
Posts: 3,770
Registered: ‎01-01-2012
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Re: Deep thoughts on the evolution of reading (and dorky head gear)

[ Edited ]
One thought is that a media-delivery technology has been "effectively replaced" when content become impossible or difficult to find in mainstream outlets. If you can't find current media at a well-stocked mall or shopping site, any mainstream tech can probably be considered replaced.