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Author Topic: Tablet PC's  (Read 15370 times)
douglasf13
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« Reply #40 on: February 24, 2012, 06:39:46 AM »
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The increase in resolution, to over 3MP on screen, makes the next batch very tempting because that's more megapixels than any of the current laptops that you can buy today. The downside is that because the screens are smaller, there will be more megapixels and smaller megapixels - just like new cameras Smiley

There are rumors that Apple is bumping up screen rez on MacBooks, too, so that may or may not be an advantage.

I just fail to see much of the point of tablets, when laptops like the MacBook Airs exist. I've yet to even bring my tablet on a trip/airplane, because my Air fills the same general space in any bag, and I can run my home Office and Lightroom with it. Plus, the laptop's clamshell design provides a built-in stand that makes it more hands-free.
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John Camp
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« Reply #41 on: February 24, 2012, 01:12:04 PM »
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I just fail to see much of the point of tablets, when laptops like the MacBook Airs exist. I've yet to even bring my tablet on a trip/airplane, because my Air fills the same general space in any bag, and I can run my home Office and Lightroom with it. Plus, the laptop's clamshell design provides a built-in stand that makes it more hands-free.

It's all dependent on your specific application, isn't it? I use MacBook Air, because I can't get along without a computer, and a combination of an Air and an iPhone pretty much handles my needs while traveling. It helps that I prefer paper books. But for people who don't need a computer, they can be convenient, providing back-up and review.

"Paper books are history"
Well, maybe.

Back in the early 80s I used to make corporate films for a computer company called "Wang". At the time this company was rated (by "Fortune" as best I recall) to be one of only three computer manufacturers likely to survive in the market. IBM was another. One of Wang's key slogans and central marketing proposition was "The Paperless Office". I don't recall anyone questioning the underlying assumption.

Been in an office recently?
Roy

People I talk to in the publishing industry (and I do that a lot) think things will settle down so that electronic books become another niche product, like recorded books. Right now the velocity of electronic book expansion is so high that, if you extrapolate it, pretty soon ten thousand percent of all books will electronic, and they will cover the earth to a depth of six feet. That's called the straight-line extrapolation error. There is a very large market of people who read a half-dozen books a year. In aggregate, they account for millions of sales -- but they are not the kind of people who will spend anything between two and several hundred dollars for an electronic reader. They can get a book for $9.99, and if they lose it or damage it to the extent that it's unreadable (and trashing a book takes some work, though it can be done) they're only out the $9.99. An electronic reader may cost them the equivalent of four or five years of typical reading, *before* they buy any books for it, and the readers are relatively easy to damage. If you lose it, of course, you're out the whole hundreds of dollars. What had the book publishers panicking was not the rise of electronic publishing, but the idea that they might lose pricing control over their products -- that the control might shift to a couple of big retailers like Amazon. The "i-store" model has pretty much ended that threat.


We have these keyboards for iPads, for people who need them, and other accessories, which clutter up briefcases. Some things I would like to see...

1. A universal standard for charging ports, so you only need to carry one charger. If I were a major camera maker, I might provide a camera battery-charger that would have, in addition to its regular charging port, a port that would accept an iPhone charger (if Apple would allow that - and since there'd actually by some synergy for both companies, I don't see why they wouldn't.)

2. An Air- (or Ultrabook-) sized computer with a detachable touch-screen that could be read like a Tablet. Or, to come at it from another direction, a Tablet with computer functionality and an attachable base that would provide a keyboard and a wide variety of ports, that could handle some standard software (Lightroom, Word, Powerpoint, Excel, etc.), and still be Ultrabook-sized.

3. An Air that can handle 3G or 4G connections (like an iPad.) This is *very* convenient when traveling by car.

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Farmer
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« Reply #42 on: February 24, 2012, 03:55:34 PM »
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Ultrabooks with 3G already exist:

http://www.mytoshiba.com.au/products/computers/portege/r830/pt320a-0hm00701/specifications#details

As an example.

I'm actually surprised that Apple hasn't made it an option for the Air.
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #43 on: February 24, 2012, 05:07:36 PM »
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People I talk to in the publishing industry (and I do that a lot) think things will settle down so that electronic books become another niche product, like recorded books. Right now the velocity of electronic book expansion is so high that, if you

Maybe you should tell them about Kodak?

I am a book lover (here's a quick shot one of my two reading places).  That small white line on the table below the globe is my kindle (2nd gen). It's where most of my reading occurs.  When I like the physical appearance of hardcover editions (Neal Stephenson's books are alway cute for example), I buy both the electronic and the hardcover version. Even though I am not from the digital generation (I am 49, first computer at 17) I prefer to read on the Kindle and buy books almost exclusively for their appearance and smell these days.

I suspect the situation for book lovers is on average roughly as follows

age above 60, on average, preference for physical books.
age between 45-60, quite open to e-books, still under the physical book charm.
age between 30 and 45, if money isn't a critical issue and IT education level acceptable, prefer kindle like experience
age below 30 - prefer tablet experience

My love from the smell and feel of books is not inherited: it was shaped by my childhood and adolescent immersive experiences. Have you been around 12 years old recently? What's shaping their experience? Tablets, smart phones and iPods.

between two and several hundred dollars for an electronic reader. They can get a book for $9.99, and if they lose it or damage it to the extent that it's unreadable (and trashing a book takes some work, though it can be done) they're only out the $9.99. An electronic reader may cost them the equivalent of four or five years of typical reading, *before* they buy any books for it,

Assuming $100 for the entry level, that would put the average reader at 2 $9.99 books per year. Not necessarily wrong in absolute terms, but probably not where the bulk of the money is for publishing companies.

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and the readers are relatively easy to damage.

To some extent, yes. However, this is perfectly acceptable in today's world of yearly smartphone (or camera) upgrades, or a world where TVs have a 3-4 years life expectancy.
Kindle dies, buy new kindle and automatically have access to you whole library, wherever you are.

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but the idea that they might lose pricing control over their products -- that the control might shift to a couple of big retailers like Amazon. The "i-store" model has pretty much ended that threat.

Agreed for the first part. But how has the i-store model ended that threat?
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BJL
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« Reply #44 on: February 24, 2012, 05:26:20 PM »
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John,
We are getting a wee bit off topic and maybe we should take this to the Coffee Corner (which is, appropriately, an electronic version), but I think that those publishing industry people are predicting based on the way they think it should be, not how it will be. IIRC, both Amazon and Barnes&Noble now sell more eBooks than "pBooks", so that "niche" is a sink-hole swallowing most of the traditional book publishing and retailing industry.

Arguments based on stating ways that the traditional alternative is better are usually not to be trusted, even though those advantages are real. Should I restate the advantages of film over digital?


P. S. I still buy and enjoy books, and have not found a satisactory electronic alternative to making notes on them in pencil.
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douglasf13
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« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2012, 02:44:55 AM »
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It's all dependent on your specific application, isn't it? I use MacBook Air, because I can't get along without a computer, and a combination of an Air and an iPhone pretty much handles my needs while traveling. It helps that I prefer paper books. But for people who don't need a computer, they can be convenient, providing back-up and review.


Funny thing is that I prefer reading on both my Air and iPhone over my tablet, because they're both easier to hold while laying in bed.  In fact, I can't really think of anything I'd rather do on my tablet over my Air. Price seems to be the only advantage of the tablet.  I guess there a few things, like apps for children, that make more sense on a tablet.

p.s. I tether my Air with my iPhone, so I've got 3G on it, too.
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sbay
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« Reply #46 on: February 25, 2012, 08:55:11 AM »
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For me, one advantage of the iPad over a laptop is greatly increased display space. I usually like to read things in vertical orientation and for this the iPad (or other tablets) give much more room than a laptop screen which you have to use in horizontal mode.
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Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #47 on: February 25, 2012, 09:15:38 AM »
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John,
We are getting a wee bit off topic and maybe we should take this to the Coffee Corner (which is, appropriately, an electronic version), but I think that those publishing industry people are predicting based on the way they think it should be, not how it will be. IIRC, both Amazon and Barnes&Noble now sell more eBooks than "pBooks", so that "niche" is a sink-hole swallowing most of the traditional book publishing and retailing industry.

Arguments based on stating ways that the traditional alternative is better are usually not to be trusted, even though those advantages are real. Should I restate the advantages of film over digital?


P. S. I still buy and enjoy books, and have not found a satisactory electronic alternative to making notes on them in pencil.

You are not getting off topic because I started this thread to talk about the Tablet and it's impact on books (or not).  Anyone can start a new thread to discuss the tablet as say a storage device or whatever if they wish.  I am interested to hear your feelings on this aspect of the devices.

Jim
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BJL
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« Reply #48 on: February 25, 2012, 11:51:59 AM »
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... I started this thread to talk about the Tablet and it's impact on books (or not). ...  I am interested to hear your feelings on this aspect of the devices.
OK then!

I agree that books as vehicles for printed photographs and other artwork are going to be around for a long time, along with prints and drawings and paintings hanging on the wall. This is usually the case with declarations that "X is dead" or "X is dying", where X can be photographic film, printed books, oil painting, writing letters to family and friends on paper, or whatever. ... At best, it is just a lazy way of saying that the days of the dominant, mainstream role for "X" are past, leaving us to envision what its new role will be.

I have also mentioned my preference for having some technical and text books on paper, so that I can scribble notes on them, and I am not alone: this is apparently what killed the Kindle DX as a text-book replacement, even when tested with technology-friendly subjects like MIT students. But maybe the technology will solve the note-taking dilemma soon enough.

On the other hand, the roughy 10" touch screen format, as with the iPad, is my favorite for most reading of web-pages, technical papers and documents (formatted for 11"x8 1/2" paper) and technical books where I do not want to make marginal notes, email, while for novels, it is a toss-up between the iPad and a smaller, lighter Kindle, with printed books in third place.

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OldRoy
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« Reply #49 on: February 25, 2012, 12:42:11 PM »
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Pierre wrote:
"I suspect the situation for book lovers is on average roughly as follows
   age above 60, on average, preference for physical books.
   age between 45-60, quite open to e-books, still under the physical book charm.
   age between 30 and 45, if money isn't a critical issue and IT education level acceptable, prefer kindle like experience
   age below 30 - prefer tablet experience"


Broadly speaking I'd guess that this is a reasonable estimate. As an over-60 I'd definitely buy an e-Reader (probably a Kindle) if I spent more time travelling on public transport. As someone who owns thousands of books my own preferences are clear - it's  lifetime habit. The inconvenience of carrying books when travelling is vastly outweighed by the sheer inconvenience of the number of batteries and chargers that now accompany every trip: somehow this irritates me far more than the bulk of books, which can be readily discarded or exchanged. Books don't need batteries; they can be purchased very cheaply (a used market where there are ridiculous bargains); nobody is very interested in stealing books, unlike electronic consumer durables (to the extent that anything electronic can currently be designated "durable"). And of course books do, er, um, certainly furnish a room...

As for the lower end of the age-scale, I often wonder just how many "books" people actually read today - as opposed to shorter forms of text? One thing I did notice last time I took a look at what was available for Kindles (a couple of years ago) was how many contemporary authors - and not obscure ones either - were unavailable in this form. V.S. Naipaul (Nobel prize winner) and Paul Theroux were unrepresented. Uh? Additionally when I looked at the copyright free listings the problem was that there was no decent search facility in the sites I examined, so unless one was looking for a specific author or title, it was impossible to locate, say, particular subject groups of interest. Maybe this has already been improved. It certainly needs to be.

Roy
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John Camp
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« Reply #50 on: February 25, 2012, 12:44:49 PM »
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John,
We are getting a wee bit off topic and maybe we should take this to the Coffee Corner (which is, appropriately, an electronic version), but I think that those publishing industry people are predicting based on the way they think it should be, not how it will be. IIRC, both Amazon and Barnes&Noble now sell more eBooks than "pBooks", so that "niche" is a sink-hole swallowing most of the traditional book publishing and retailing industry.

The market is much bigger than Amazon and B&N. Right now (end of 2011) e-books are about 20% of the market. That will continue to grow, but the growth will slow. Where it will end, I don't know. People may be right when they say younger people prefer tablets...but I'm not sure that younger people prefer reading.

@Pierre: In a nutshell, Amazon's $9.99 pledge for bestsellers, which really fueled the growth of e-books, costs them about $4 per book (they lose that much.) What they were trying to do was to seize pricing control over the market, and force the publishers conform to their low-price standard. That, in turn, would have forced competitors (who were heavily involved in bricks-and-mortars stores) out of business. That is, paper books can't be sold as cheaply as e-books, and if competitors like B&N and Borders couldn't cut their prices to meet Amazon's, then they were in trouble (and indeed, Borders went out of business, although part of their problem was management -- they might have gone out of business anyway.)

Then, along came the iPad and the Apple store. The iPad sells way more than the KIndle (or B&N Nook.) Apple has a different pricing scheme -- they don't care what the publishers sell their books for, they just want a cut. That's more or less the standard deal with regular bookstores. That undercut Amazon, because if the publishers decided not to provide books in Amazon's format (and that threat was made explicit by some publishers), there was still an e-book outlet through Apple. At that point, it was Amazon that got squeezed. The end result was, the market stabilized with everybody more-or-less where they started.
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #51 on: February 25, 2012, 01:34:48 PM »
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Having looked at the new, used, and Kindle books on Amazon, I was surprised that often you can buy a used hardcopy book for less than a price of the ebook.
 
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BJL
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« Reply #52 on: February 25, 2012, 04:00:13 PM »
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The market is much bigger than Amazon and B&N.
What I have seen in the US book market is first the almost complete domination of book selling by major chains like Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Waldenbooks, marginalizing independent booksellers, followed by the disappearance and shrinkage of most of those chains, leaving Amazon and Barnes & Noble dominant (along with pure eBook sources like Apple) and becoming more so. So the pattern at those major players is to me a very good predictor of what the overall pattern will be soon. Also, I wonder what fraction of paper book sales to young people are school and college textbooks, where paper still dominates (due in part to the dictates of teachers and professors?). The electronic textbook push is really just getting started.

Do you have a source for that 20% eBooks figure, and for the trend over recent years? It is for the US, or global?
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #53 on: February 25, 2012, 05:00:31 PM »
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What I have seen in the US book market is first the almost complete domination of book selling by major chains like Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Waldenbooks
Canadian market is about 10 times smaller, but completely dominated by Indigo-Chapters. There are hardly any independent bookstores left (beside used books stores).
Because of limited shelf space in the stores, this monopoly situation makes it very difficult for small publishers to keep their books in stores.  Virtual shelf space for ebooks might help small publishers and authors.
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WallyM
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« Reply #54 on: February 25, 2012, 06:52:31 PM »
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Having looked at the new, used, and Kindle books on Amazon, I was surprised that often you can buy a used hardcopy book for less than a price of the ebook.
 

Sometimes the ebook costs more than a new paper copy of the same title.  That is the result of the "Agency Model" that John was describing - where publishers set the selling price with no room to maneuver by the vendor.  I think it is a deliberate move on the part of publishers to kill the ebook market.  Publishers can't control ebooks - anybody can create one, but not everybody can create a physical paper book.

At one time publishers - print and music - were able to completely control the market because they controlled manufacturing of the medium.  Those days are changing and the old-line companies don't like it.  As one of the over 60 crowd I like both physical books and ebooks; each has their place.  But I also remember how we were told the advent of music CDs was going to lower the cost of music to the consumer because they were cheaper to manufacture than vinyl.  Instead, prices went up.

Wally


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John Camp
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« Reply #55 on: February 25, 2012, 07:04:33 PM »
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@BJL -- The numbers are for the US market. http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/story/2012-01-09/ebooks-sales-surge/52458672/1

THe US actually has several smaller regional (but still large) chains, like Hastings and Books a Million which are doing okay, because they were never as over-extended as Borders and B&N. What actually damaged Borders, as much as anything, were mistakes made in buying/leasing real estate. If you ever noticed, B&N is mostly in strip malls; Borders for some reason tried to expand into mainline shopping malls and got stuck with longterm leases on outrageously expensive real estate.

We are also seeing the re-rise of small mom 'n pop bookstores, which is possible because they usually serve niches (cookbooks, childrens books, mysteries, etc.)  and because they often are run by a husband and wife as the only employees. That can be a ruthlessly efficient business model.
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BJL
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« Reply #56 on: February 25, 2012, 07:37:33 PM »
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We are also seeing the re-rise of small mom 'n pop bookstores, which is possible because they usually serve niches (cookbooks, childrens books, mysteries, etc.)
I certainly hope that small bookstores make some comeback, in places like the market holes left by Waldenbooks, in part to serve the "look before you buy" market, such as for art reproduction books. Then again, I hope for the return of photography stores run by individual photographers, now that their former nemesis, Ritz, is on the ropes (Ritz is gone from my town after killing off all the non-chain competition).
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #57 on: February 25, 2012, 10:03:51 PM »
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I certainly hope that small bookstores make some comeback, in places like the market holes left by Waldenbooks, in part to serve the "look before you buy" market, such as for art reproduction books.
I'm quite sceptical about the outlook. The main problem (at least on the Canadian scene) are the high operational costs (rent, payroll, pilferage).

In Toronto, the last large and finest independent book store called PAGES (catering to art, travel, and quite a few other niches) located downtown on Queen street, when faced in 2009 with a lease renewal at almost twice the previous rate, decided to close rather than to move to suburbs. In the small Ontario towns, they are a few independent book stores, but even those are slowly disappearing.
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PierreVandevenne
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« Reply #58 on: February 26, 2012, 06:47:56 AM »
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Maybe this has already been improved. It certainly needs to be.

I agree that the situation is far from perfect now, but that also means it can only improve whereas the real book market is quite mature already. When someone said on this board that "Thinking, Fast and Slow" was a very good book, I started reading it within a couple of minutes.
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BJL
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« Reply #59 on: February 26, 2012, 08:03:43 AM »
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One thing I did notice last time I took a look at what was available for Kindles (a couple of years ago) was how many contemporary authors - and not obscure ones either - were unavailable in this form. V.S. Naipaul (Nobel prize winner) and Paul Theroux were unrepresented.
There is a distinct lag in getting the "back catalog" of still in-copyright works into electronic form, with newly published works doing better, and out of copyright in wonderful shape thanks to efforts like Project Guttenberg. On your examples, iBooks now has twelve by Naipaul and eleven by Theroux, so progress, but still half or less of their totals. And "The Mosquito Coast" is missing: the pattern of when and if older books get reissued electronically is mysterious, and maybe depends on legal/financial wrangling.
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