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Thread: The demise of books in paper form?

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar View Post
    We've got a very cool library here in the Wild West, which I visit a couple times a month. I prefer reading paper books, and Mrs. Cougar likes audio books, which are also available there....


    Click image for larger version. 

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    That looks impressive!

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF
    She's struggling a bit with "WotW", but making her way through it. That book's 120 years old, though, so I think even some of us old farts might find some of the language a bit difficult to parse.
    Do they discuss H.G. Well's point about Darwin and Spencer's "survival of the fittest"?
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    The only thing apparent is that we never agree. But that is OK. We are wired differently.
    It appears we agree that physical books are pleasant things to own.

    Grant Hutchison

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    I will repeat: nothing beats holding a paper book in your hand.
    If you keep insisting that your opinion is fact, we're not going to get very far.

    CJSF
    P.S.
    I also prefer a paper book, in most (but not all) cases, but that is still a personal preference.
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  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    My 15-year-old daughter (high school freshman) is doing a project for one of her classes that involves reading two books, one "classic" and one "modern", on similar themes and then comparing the two. She's reading "War of the Worlds" and some modern-day alien invasion book that I'm unfamiliar with (I think the title is "The Fifth Wave" or something like that).

    She's struggling a bit with "WotW", but making her way through it. That book's 120 years old, though, so I think even some of us old farts might find some of the language a bit difficult to parse.
    I would hazard a guess she is struggling with the writing style in WOTW. Wells used normal English but the style is heart and soul Victorian era, riddled with commas and phrasing techniques modern writers (typically) no longer use:

    Yet so vain is man, and so blinded by his vanity, that no writer, up to the very end of the nineteenth century, expressed any idea that intelligent life might have developed there far, or indeed at all, beyond its earthly level. Nor was it generally understood that since Mars is older than our earth, with scarcely a quarter of the superficial area and remoter from the sun, it necessarily follows that it is not only more distant from time’s beginning but nearer its end.
    ETA: I struggle with it as well, but I like a more direct style and not as wordy. But that's just me.
    Last edited by schlaugh; 2019-Feb-14 at 03:32 PM.

  5. #35
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    I might never read another paper book. My phone is easier to hold and doesn't need to have light shining on it.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Oh look, some other data. (The link is to a summary article - follow the links to reach the data on which it is based.) Independent bookstores increasing in number, sales of physical books increasing year on year since the low in 2013 (a trend maintained in 2018), e-book sales falling for the traditional publishing houses. I don't just make this stuff up, you know.
    And some more.

    Grant Hutchison

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    I assume pricing hasn't increased for tangible books, so the data should correlate with actual number of books, no doubt.

    Do authors influence whether or not their works will be in print vs. digital? I would think they prefer the former and has that changed? It's hard to turn around and not see another hard-bound book plug by another news person, politician, or known personality including the infamous ones. Is there a fad afoot?
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I assume pricing hasn't increased for tangible books, so the data should correlate with actual number of books, no doubt.
    My previous link referred to unit sales - both numbers and revenue are increasing according to those figures. (Swift's earlier graphs were based on a market forecast for 2018, not real data.)

    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Do authors influence whether or not their works will be in print vs. digital?
    Publishers decide. Given the cost of a print run, some authors are "tried out" with a straight-to-digital release (in the same way as some used to go straight to mass-market paperback). Occasionally sales of the ebook are so good the publisher (or another publisher) will buy the print book rights and issue a physical edition. There's a paperback out there, for instance, that quotes a review I wrote of the Kindle edition two years ago, when there was nothing but a Kindle edition.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2019-Feb-14 at 05:04 PM. Reason: bracketed

  9. #39
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    I have a few friends who have sold books, and it's easier to get an e-book release for exactly that reason. One of those friends has several published children's books that I was able to get through my local independent bookstore, but when it came time to get his adult novel, I had to buy it on Amazon, as his publisher for that had made no other printing arrangements. Actually, when I bought the children's book a couple of years ago, I asked if there was a way that made him more money than another. He said no but specifically asked me to shop at my local bookstore to support them, not him. They had to special order it, but the book in question does bring up one more reason at least physical books for children will continue to exist--the design of the book involves moving a toy rocket ship along the pages as you read. Yes, you can move a digital one, but children still like physical objects, especially when they are very small.
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  10. #40
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    Well, the situation in Switzerland is different, look at this graph: (even if you do not read German, the green graph speaks for itself.)
    https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/kultur/...story/30003331
    Last edited by gzhpcu; 2019-Feb-14 at 04:36 PM.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Well, the situation in Switzerland is different, look at this graph: (even if you do not read German, the green graph speaks for itself.)
    https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/kultur/...story/30003331
    Well, even I can read sinkflug.

  12. #42
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    I collect books on the early space program, because the knowledge from those books is not reprinted. Did you know that on an early Viking rocket test flight (pre-1960), an upper stage fuel tank became dangerously overpressured because the rocket's first stage had caught fire on the pad, and to prevent a second explosion one of the launch crew retrieved a .22 rifle from his car and shot holes in the upper tank, which successfully relieved the overpressure? Ah, those wacky days at White Sands. No one I know of remembers that event. It's in a history of the Viking rocketry program in my bookshelves. The knowledge has been otherwise lost.

    I also own a Kindle, a gift from my youngest son, but it supplements my library and does in no way replace it.
    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    — Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi (1883)

  13. #43
    Looks like just over 3 out 4 books sold in Canada are either paperbacks or hardcovers. I can see how e-book readers have there place but for some things I like going back and forth and print books are better for that. I thought my collection of a couple hundred books was large, what I need is to find time and a place to read them.
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  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Publishers decide. Given the cost of a print run, some authors are "tried out" with a straight-to-digital release (in the same way as some used to go straight to mass-market paperback). Occasionally sales of the ebook are so good the publisher (or another publisher) will buy the print book rights and issue a physical edition. There's a paperback out there, for instance, that quotes a review I wrote of the Kindle edition two years ago, when there was nothing but a Kindle edition.
    That's logical but works counter to the recent gain in paper vs digital, however.

    Adding to the puzzle a bit... Looking at the price history of carbon black and pulp/paper, those have increased in price in 2018. I assume those are useful indexes for book publishers have in the way of important cost factors.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Oh look, some other data. (The link is to a summary article - follow the links to reach the data on which it is based.) Independent bookstores increasing in number, sales of physical books increasing year on year since the low in 2013 (a trend maintained in 2018), e-book sales falling for the traditional publishing houses. I don't just make this stuff up, you know.

    Grant Hutchison
    I hope you don't think I thought you (or anyone else) was just making stuff up. I wasn't even advocating a particular position with the things I linked to, since I interpreted that data to support aspects of various sides of these arguments. I'm just "amused" by the fact that on a scientific forum, and on a question for which there probably is actual data, that people would not make efforts to find data to support their positions (this isn't the only thread that I find that amusement).

    As to my personal preferences, I prefer physical books, as opposed to e-books (though I agree that it is terrific that so much stuff is available electronically), I love bookstores and libraries (very pretty library Cougar), I have a house full of books (its genetic, my dad was a librarian), and I read a fair number of books a year, but less than I wish I did (probably about a book a month - lack of time what with work and sleep and such). I almost exclusively read non-fiction, but that's just what I like. I recently finished a great book by the Ravenmaster of the Tower of London. Just started reading a book about the New Horizons mission.
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  16. #46
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    Some of us do actually fact-check ourselves before posting - but it gets tedious to weigh in immediately with evidence for things that are likely to be common knowledge, and on this occasion the facts relating to ebook sales have been widely discussed in the media.
    Always willing to provide a reference or two if someone asks, though.

    Grant Hutchison

  17. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Do they discuss H.G. Well's point about Darwin and Spencer's "survival of the fittest"?
    That'll be up to her, I guess - each student got to choose their own pair of books.

    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    I would hazard a guess she is struggling with the writing style in WOTW. Wells used normal English but the style is heart and soul Victorian era, riddled with commas and phrasing techniques modern writers (typically) no longer use:
    Yeah, that's the kind of thing I meant. She's commented on Wells' habit of using "said he" or "said I", and also wondered what a "dog cart" was.
    Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanF View Post
    Yeah, that's the kind of thing I meant. She's commented on Wells' habit of using "said he" or "said I", and also wondered what a "dog cart" was.
    Another reason classics in ebook form can be useful - a tap on an unfamiliar word can bring up a definition.

    Grant Hutchison

  19. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    If you keep insisting that your opinion is fact, we're not going to get very far.

    CJSF
    P.S.
    I also prefer a paper book, in most (but not all) cases, but that is still a personal preference.
    Sorry, you are right. It is my personal opinion. I do have over 400 titles on my Kindle. But they are the read once and throw away bestsellers and thrillers.

  20. #50
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    According to Wolf and others’ research findings, electronic reading can negatively impact the way the brain responds to text, including reading comprehension, focus and the ability to maintain attention to details like plot and sequence of events. Research roughly indicates that print falls on one end of the reading spectrum (the most immersive) and that online text occurs at the other end (the most distracting). Kindle reading seems to fall somewhere in the middle. “A lot of people are worried that our ability to enter into the story is changing,” Wolf says. “My worry is that we’ll have a short-circuited reading brain, excellent for gathering information but not necessarily for forming critical, analytical deep reading skills.”
    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/2016...y-disappearing

  21. #51
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    The field, however, is in its infancy, and findings about the negative impacts of e-reading are far from chiseled in stone. Indeed, some studies have produced opposite results, including that e-reading does not impact comprehension or that it can even enhance it, especially for readers with dyslexia.
    Ibid.

    Grant Hutchison

  22. #52
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    If I were to go on vacation again, I'll admit that's a time I'd love to have e-books. My suitcases get awfully heavy without them, and on my last vacation, I ended up buying three or four books because I'd finished all the reading material I brought with me!
    _____________________________________________
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    "You can't erase icing."

    "I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"

  23. #53
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    My e-reader must be populated by about 50% classics, 30% stuff I've downloaded while away from home, and 20% stuff not available in print. Of the 30% emergency downloads, I probably now own about half in print, too - most of them have been histories or memoirs of places I was visiting, accessed because of local recommendation.

    Grant Hutchison

  24. #54
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    Just to set the record straight: I have nothing against eBooks. I use them for best sellers at home and when I go on vacation too.

    From a Swiss perspective, looking at the situation here, the last 15 years all the great English bookshops have shut down. A small number remain, and have only best sellers. 15 years ago it was possible to browse a large selection. All gone. Sure, I order my books and eBooks via Amazon now, but I miss handling and leafing through books. Also because I have topics not frequently searched, like biographies of Roman Emperors, Frederic Remington art books, etc. I prefer seeing the book in person.

    What is disappearing in Switzerland are bookstores you can browse in. In Dubai, their main shopping mall has a huge and terrific bookstore where you can really find everything. You can literally browse for hours.

  25. #55
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    My Kindle is very much a travel companion. I am happy enough to use it but at home I far prefer a physical book. Luckily we have a couple of Public Libraries nearby where I can keep up my reading. These days I do most of my browsing for particular books I am chasing on-line at sites like "The Book Depository". I really don't know of a "great" bookshop in Perth.

  26. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    Just to set the record straight: I have nothing against eBooks. I use them for best sellers at home and when I go on vacation too... .
    Yes, but based on your comments you also seem to be under the impression that e-readers such as Kindle and Nook are only good for bestsellers. Several of us have stated that we use them for a far broader array of books. I get that you prefer the feel and experience of paper - many of us e-reader folks agree.

  27. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by gzhpcu View Post
    How many young people do you know that have a large collection of physical books? Sure, bestsellers can be on Kindle, but classics?
    Not everyone collects books, even if they read a lot. I have cut down the number of books I keep (because of downsizing). I give most to charity shops after reading them.

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    Paper book reading distance is 35cm. Computer screen reading distance is 60cm. After a generation of non-stop reading at 60cm, our eye muscles may be losing the ability to read text at 35cm.

  29. #59
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    When I got a smartphone a few years back and saw that it came with the Kindle app, I thought "That's just silly. How can you read a book on this tiny screen?" But since we already had an Amazon account I went ahead and downloaded a couple free titles. Read them. Downloaded more. Read them. Then started buying. I read all my naval historical fiction on the phone these days. I even donated hundreds of physical books to Goodwill.

    However: There's books, and then there's books. Remember my interest in naval history? This book is an awesome resource, is heavily illustrated, and would in no way work on Kindle. Same for all the other large format illustrated books of naval history, lighthouses, and nature on my shelves. I think there'll always be a place for those.
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  30. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Paper book reading distance is 35cm. Computer screen reading distance is 60cm. After a generation of non-stop reading at 60cm, our eye muscles may be losing the ability to read text at 35cm.
    Given that the average distance for reading a smartphone is 32-36cm (depending on the text), I doubt that.

    Grant Hutchison

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