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Books

Enter the E-book Pundit

05.04.06 | 5 Comments

I’ve been doing a lot (okay, maybe not a LOT, but more than some) reading about e-books recently. This probably comes as no surprise to those of you who are familiar with what I do in terms of publishing tabletop RPGs in PDF format. Currently, the PDF format dominates the RPG e-book market. However, the more I research the more I see PDF’s limitations as a genuine e-book. PDF is to e-books as a Moped is to transportation. Technically, it gets you there. (In defense of the PDF, I’m aware that it has features we don’t take advantage of. The problem is that those features require even more specialized knowledge, most often programming.)

There’s a whole e-book world out there, and the PDF format is only a small fraction of it. PDF certainly has its strengths (mostly in terms of preserving appearance), but flexibility and small-screen reading is not high on the list. I suspect that in the next few years those two properties will play a much greater importance for e-books, so it’s critical that I familiarize myself with the greater e-book community. I’m convinced there’s going to come a time when consumers embrace them similarly to digital music’s adoption. Going back to my transportation example, when that happens I want 12 to Midnight to be in the personal rocketpack, not the Moped.

Enter the E-Book Pundit (that would be me). I’ll be bringing you news about e-books, book publishing, and more–all from the perspective of a small-“press” publisher. I recognize that I’m giving up a certain amount of competitive advantage with my fellow RPG publishers, but I hope this is offset by an intelligent and lively discourse that benefits us all. While this post is mostly just an introduction to this blog’s new feature (to be categorized under “books”), I’ll conclude now with some links to related sites or particular articles of interest. If you want to hold an intelligent conversation about e-books, I highly recommend you start with some reading at these sites.

Unless I read some particularly fascinating news between now and then, my next post as the EbP will focus on the hardware side of e-books. If you have particular questions, feel free to e-mail me or post in the comments section.

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5 Comments

Comment by Kyle
2006-05-04 16:42:46

I’m noticing that PDF eats a buttload of memory. So that particular limitation is going to have to be overcome, amongst other things.

And I’m actually thinking about an IPOD. This modern stuff really is starting to catch up to me. I might actually get running water next….

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Comment by Prest0
2006-05-04 17:06:50

The only time I listen to music on my iPod is at work, and that’s infrequently. My iPod is mostly a device for listening to podcasts. I listen to shows on writing, RPGs, geekdom, books/movies, and philosophy. In fact, I’m subscribed to more podcasts than I have time to listen to them. I’m at a point where I’m going to have to weed out four or five because I just don’t have the time to keep up.

It’s great.

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Comment by Neal5x5
2006-05-04 18:48:35

About 6 years ago, ebooks were going to be the big thing, and a lot of people dumped a ton of money into them, only to find out that they didn’t sell. There’s lots of reasons why, but I think the biggest one is that people just weren’t used to them. I do tech editing and an ebook with searchable parameters and all the dohicky’s would be great for our membership, but because they are mostly older and generally computer illiterate (or possibly post-literate) even our electronic material doesn’t sell as well as our paper products.

While the technology has a ways to go, both hardware and software-wise, the biggest challenge I’ve seen is just getting people used to using a new method of disseminating information. The younger generation’s ability to use an Ipod/cellphone/computer/etc. with frequency is more than a matter of taste – its learning to dissasociate content from media. In other words, how you get the information (and how your brain perceives how you get it) is less important that the information itself.

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Comment by Jerry
2006-05-05 09:52:24

All of this information is interesting. Wish we could look 10 years in the future to see what is going to happen.

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Comment by Prest0
2006-05-05 11:22:24

The companies I’m watching are clearly trying to emulate the iTunes model. They’re creating hardware AND a store in which to sell content to support that store.

 
 

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