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    • New note by bobjonkman 29 November 2020
      Bread machines are great. I haven't bought a loaf of bread in about three years. If #sonTwo's bread machine has custom settings, I recommend 20 min knead time, changing the rise times (1hr, 1.5hrs, 1.5hrs) and at least 60-70 min bake time. A good recipe is 1 cup water, 2.5 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lnxw48a1 29 November 2020
      RT @lnxw48a1 #sonTwo texted to tell me that his in-laws bought them a bread machine. Me: Oh, cool! I was thinking the same thing, but it's beyond my current budget. They can sometimes be competitive, but I'm more of *good, you're helping take care of our kids and grandkids*
    • New note by bobjonkman 28 November 2020
      I'm near the Great Lakes (about an hour's drive from either Lake Ontario or Lake Huron, depending whether I go South or West). It was 5C for most of the day, about 40F for your USians. Apparently that's normal for this time of year...
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lnxw48a1 28 November 2020
      RT @lnxw48a1 About halfway through today's #YoCo ( #yogurt and #coffee ). Indoor temperature is 60°F, outdoor temperature is 30°F. Outdoor cats' water dish has about 0.5in / 1cm of ice on top. Very glad I'm not near the Great Lakes right now.
    • Favorite 24 November 2020
      bobjonkman favorited something by lnxw48a1: @vegos I agree. To most organizations, their primary concern is reach. So they congregate on big #corpocentric #socnets, even when the central corporation running things is actively hostile to their point of view. Then they're butthurt when their accounts are shadowbanned. Years ago, I tried to persuade some local Black […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lnxw48a1 24 November 2020
      RT @lnxw48a1 @vegos I agree. To most organizations, their primary concern is reach. So they congregate on big #corpocentric #socnets, even when the central corporation running things is actively hostile to their point of view. Then they're butthurt when their accounts are shadowbanned. Years ago, I tried to persuade some local Black churches and ethic-focused […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by lnxw48a1 24 November 2020
      RT @lnxw48a1 https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/24/australia-spy-agencies-covid-19-app-data/ [techcrunch com] #Australia spy agencies caught collecting #COVID-19 app data #surveillance Source: https://mastodon.social/@glynmoody/105266051824700682
    • New note by bobjonkman 3 October 2020
      There's also Megablocks, the precursor to Duplo. And there are also Micro Megablocks, the same size as LEGO. The kits for Micro Megablocks were much better than the LEGO kits, making slightly larger models but using only standard bricks. The LEGO models were smaller, depending on many custom pieces specific to the kit, which were […]
    • Favorite 3 October 2020
      bobjonkman favorited something by clacke: Not only are Duplo blocks *like* Lego blocks, they *are* Lego blocks, and I don't just mean that Duplo is a Lego brand and produced in the same factory, the two systems are actually compatible.A Lego 2x2 block fits and sticks to the underside of a Duplo block, and the […]
    • bobjonkman repeated a notice by clacke 3 October 2020
      RT @clacke Not only are Duplo blocks *like* Lego blocks, they *are* Lego blocks, and I don't just mean that Duplo is a Lego brand and produced in the same factory, the two systems are actually compatible. A Lego 2x2 block fits and sticks to the underside of a Duplo block, and the nob on […]

Archive for the 'kindle' Category

Kindles and the Death of Newspapers

Posted by Bob Jonkman on 5th March 2009

News boards in Stratford, mostly from the Stratford Guardian or the Newham RecorderLately, there’s been lots of online hullabaloo about Kindles and the death of newspapers and journalism.

Dave at Wordsworth made me think about this, and like an old curmudgeon I disagree with everyone about everything.

E-books are not going to be the death of journalism, but they’re another nail in the coffin for newspapers. Regardless of what I’m reading or reading it on, someone still has to write it. There always need to be authors[1], journalists and bloggers. What I don’t necessarily need is another book, magazine or newspaper to clutter up all my horizontal surfaces.

Journalism isn’t dead, and Marshall McLuhan was wrong — the medium is irrelevant.

Neither are fiction and non-fiction dead, but the sales of physical books will probably continue to decline while the sales of e-books increase. Partly it’s because e-books are displacing physical books, and partly it’s due to long tail effects. Digital books won’t be pushed by your bookstore’s favourite sales force, and so a single title’s sales may well fall off when there’s so much other choice. But more titles can be published: Printing on demand is becoming cheaper, and the vanity press will likely be making a comeback. The total sales of all books are likely to be greater, since many more books can be published at next to zero cost, especially with digital-only titles, distributed online.

So why will I never get a Kindle? It’s not the form factor, although I’d like an e-book reader I can snuggle up with. Somebody needs to mash up a plush toy, a Chumby, and a Nintendo DS (the hinge and double screen would make it a great book analogue!) No, what completely turns me off the Kindle is the DRM, or Digital Restrictions Management. Unlike a real book, you cannot loan a Kindle e-book to a friend. There are no Kindle used e-book stores, and there will never be Kindle e-book libraries. All the convenience I take for granted about books don’t exist on a Kindle.

Unlike the United States, Canada does not have a “right of first sale” in its copyright law. Fortunately, this means authors or publishers cannot legally prevent the re-sale of a book. But with DRM they can technically prevent the re-sale of an e-book. This puts authors and publishers in a position above the law. They are now the ones who get to decide what we can and cannot read, at least on their devices.

So, no Kindle for me, and I’m not the only one.

The other Kindle hoopla has been the Authors Guild vs. Text-To-Speech. [T]he guild is asserting is that authors have a right to a fair share of the value that audio adds to Kindle 2’s version of books. Later the Authors Guild tried to backpedal :

The remarks have been interpreted by some as suggesting that the Guild believes that private out-loud reading is protected by copyright. It isn’t, unless the reading is being done by a machine. And even out-loud reading by a machine is fine, of course, if it’s from an authorized audio copy.

This is completely erroneous; for an e-book there is no difference between an “audio copy” or a “visual copy” . Once I have a legal copy of an e-book all the author’s rights have been satisfied, and it makes no difference if I consume that e-book with my eyes, my ears or with my fingers on a Braille device. It’s exactly the same bits in the e-book. Fortunately, the Author’s Guild has been held up to ridicule on this. Sadly, Amazon immediately acquiesced, and will be adding still more DRM to prevent us from using text-to-speech! Fortunately, Amazon has been held up to ridicule on this, too.

So, no Kindle for me. And it doesn’t look like any e-book reader manufacturer will get it right — all the other e-book readers have been crippled with DRM too, and e-book stores have to sell at least four different, incompatible formats. Even worse, the DRM is incompatible with itself. If your e-book reader breaks, you won’t be able to use the e-books you’ve already bought on a replacement device. Some e-book readers are keyed to the credit card number you use to buy the e-book, so if you change credit cards you won’t be able to buy new e-books for that reader.

So, no Kindle for me. I’ll stick to real newspapers, real magazines and real books.

And yes, Dave, I’ll still rely on knowledgeable people to read books (or e-books) and recommend them to me. There’s nothing like someone else’s fresh perspective as an introduction to a new author or genre. The problem with Amazon’s recommendations is that they get you into a rut — if I buy science fiction I’m unlikely to get a recommendation for a mystery. One of the highlights of visiting a bookstore is talking to the staff to get their views on what they’ve read. That in-person interaction is a valuable service you can’t get online.

–Bob.

Footnote 1: Full Disclosure — I’m related to writers.

Image by DG Jones, used under CC

Posted in blogging, drm, ebooks, journalism, kindle | 6 Comments »

 
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