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Showing posts with label Apps Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Apps Books. Show all posts

Thursday, 12 February 2009

E-books readers: Good or Bad?

Quite a shocking news item from Guardian:

My iLiad ebook reader is sleek and beautiful. It's a pleasant object to hold, and with its useful page-turning bar, one-handed reading is simple. The matt non-backlit screen is easy on the eye, the design is elegant and unfussy, and it is simple to make notes in the text using the stylus, or to make the font larger or smaller. Perhaps my attachment to the physical form of the book was a little childish. After all, the words are the same whatever format I read them in, and surely it's the words that matter.

It's been striking to me how many book-lovers can immediately see the use of an ebook reader. I've taken my iLiad to writers' gatherings, book launches and meetings with editors. The very people I'd have expected to resist it - bookish people, who both read and write a lot - are the people who have looked at it, played with it, cooed over it and said decisively, "I need one of these." If these people take to the ebook reader with ease, the future of books may indeed be electronic.

And will this be a good thing for the environment? It's hard to judge. A report by the US book industry study group last year found that producing the average book releases more than 4kg of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - that's the equivalent of flying about 20 miles. Then there's the cost of warehousing and transport to consider and the waste and toxic chemicals produced by paper mils.

What about the electronic alternative? While the digital books themselves have a relatively low impact - recent figures suggest that transferring one produces around 0.1g of CO2 - there are other factors to take into account. Charging the reader and turning virtual pages all have an energy cost, as does turning on your computer and downloading a file. Even so, the balance may still favour the hi-tech alternative. A 2003 study by the University of Michigan concluded that "electricity generation for an e-reader had less of an environmental impact than paper production for the conventional book system".

The heaviest burden, though, will be in making the reader itself. If one were to buy an ebook reader, then keep it for 30 years, the impact would be small. But many electronic devices don't last that long, and with the constant advances in processing power and functionality it's unlikely that we would want to keep a single ebook reader as long as we might keep a book.

Disposal of electronic items is extremely problematic. More than 6m electronic items are thrown away in the UK every year, and the cadmium from one discarded mobile phone is enough to pollute 600,000 litres of water. Even recycling electronic equipment - or processing them into constituent parts - isn't without environmental damage. A recent study by Hong Kong Baptist University examining the environment around a Chinese village intensely involved in e-waste recycling, showed that lead levels in the area - including schools - were raised to an extent that might be dangerous. Paper books are, at least, eventually biodegradable, while ebook readers might pose a lasting environmental problem.

Read the complete article here.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Battle for ebooks on mobiles heating up

It seems that the new mantra for this month maybe 'ebooks on mobiles'. First the mobile operator '3' launched its ebook service. To be honest they have audio books as well as e-books. The only problem IMHO is the pricing which is between £5 and £10 for the complete book. There is also a possibility to download extracts for £1. Generally people in UK who want to read extracts, read them at the newsagents or bookshops for free during their Lunch time so I will be amazed if this service proves popular.

Amazon has said that books that Amazon.com Inc. sells for its Kindle electronic reading device will also be available on cell phones, too. Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said Friday that the Seattle-based online retailer is working on making Kindle books available "on a range of mobile phones." The company is not yet saying when the books will be available, or on which phones.

Another e-book provider, Mobipocket, which is owned by Amazon, already sells titles that can be read on numerous smart phones.

Google has launched its Book Search service for mobile phones, featuring novels by Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, as a challenger to Amazon's Kindle device. The internet giant has made the original text of 1.5m books available to be accessed for free via iPhone or Android phones. A spokesman for Google's book search mobile team said, "We believe we've taken an important step towards more universal access to books."

Experts said they expected an online battle for the market. Stuart Miles, of gadget website Pocket Lint, said: "Google has obviously seen how Amazon dominated the online selling of real books, and wants to stop that happening again. By offering free, out-of-copyright books they can instantly offer this huge library.

"Google's approach is also very clever because it is costing them very little, as they don't have to develop their own hardware."

Of course you can always download books on your windows devices and they can be read via PDF readers ;)

Indigo Books & Music Inc. believes strongly that the market for e-books is hitting critical mass, and, most important, that consumers will want to read e-books anytime, anywhere. Which is why the multi-channel retailer next month will launch Shortcovers, a mobile and conventional web destination for free and paid electronic content ranging from books and magazines to newspapers and blogs.

Shortcovers, Indigo Books & Music tells Internet Retailer, is a new division of the company with its own e-commerce infrastructure. Shortcovers in February will launch its web site and a mobile application for the iPhone. IPhone users can download the free program in Apple’s App Store. They create an account and profile through the mobile app or at Shortcovers.com that will enable them to search, browse and download e-books in numerous file formats, most significantly the publishing industry’s ePub standard. Indigo will introduce mobile applications for smartphones using the BlackBerry, Android and Symbian mobile operating systems, in that order, but did not specify a timeline.