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catoismymotor (< 20)

How I got myself in trouble because of a eReader and a lack of sleep.

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August 18, 2011 – Comments (19) | RELATED TICKERS: AMZN , AAPL , BGPIQ.DL

Last night my wife downloaded an app for her smartphone: a popular eReader. After some searching she was able to find and download a eBook for free/no cost/zilch. She giggled a bit and said, "That is so cool! I just downloaded a book to my phone for free." Maybe it was the late hour or the accumulation of lack of sleep due to having a newborn in the house I said to her without taking my eyes off the TV, "You just shoveled dirt onto your precious Borders and slapped Barnes and Noble across the face." There was silence. A long silence. I was not aware just how long the silence had been until it was broken by her. "I did not. I bought plenty of books from Borders. And Barnes and Noble can take it. They hardly have any good coupons for their books." Again, due to possibly being overtired, without taking my eyes off the TV I said, "What you did is what hundreds of thousands of others have done: gone digital. Borders died, in part, because of the shift to eReaders. You just poked a fresh hole in the hull of a sunken boat. Barnes and Noble would have appreciated the $5 - $10 purchase by you for that book. Now they don't have that money. Now the library science major they hired last week will be laid off because you failed to keep up your end as a supposed devout physical book buyer." There was another long silence followed by a sigh from her. She said, "Are you trying to deprive me of the joy of my finding a book I want, for free, that I can read using my new app on my phone, any time, anywhere?" "No," I said,"I'm too tired to think in a positive way. Just tell me to go to bed so you can enjoy your new book." "Go to bed."

I feel bad about this exchange. I never meant to be a wet blanket. I think in a way I was trying to be rye about it all but failed because of my inability at that time to achieve that affect. I did apologize to her last night as she turned in. This morning I apologized again. She said she realized I was exhausted and could not help being a idiot. I love my wife!

I'm a physical book junkie. We had to convert our guest room/library into our new daughter's bedroom. We donated sooo many boxes of books. I think it was ten banker's boxes worth to Goodwill and gave around two or three more boxes worth to family and friends. The rest of the books found a new home on our bedroom or in the living room. I did not like to see them go, but it was a necessity. Most of what we gave away would have served us best as eBooks (travel guides, text books, general referenece books) but when they were purhased there was no such thing available.

I do understand the appeal and usefulness of eBooks. They have their place. When using a eReader or a iPad I can't help but look over my shoulder to see if Ford Prefect is standing nearby with a towel and a packet of salted nuts.

-Cato

P.S. - If you get the Ford Prefect refernece you have my respect.

19 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 18, 2011 at 10:51 AM, dwot (72.69) wrote:

Well, there is another side to eReaders or electronic books.  I think in part because of the amount of moving I have done in my life, I just don't want books anymore and I slimmed down my books years ago.  I do have a set of books from a favourite author that I would also like to give away and not have anymore, but I'd like to keep them electronically, so there is the potential for people that are converting to digital to be rebuying that which they already own.

Wasn't it the same for records going to CDs?  Many of the CDs I have bought I previously owned on a record.

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#2) On August 18, 2011 at 10:56 AM, saunafool (98.76) wrote:

Physical books are toast. And I love books. I've donated hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books to libraries over the years of moving. Every time I'd go to a new city, there would be 6, 7, 8 boxes of books to haul to the library. 1 or 2 boxes of the really great ones I wanted to keep.

About a year ago, I got my Kindle. I have it in the nice leather case with a reading light. When I am in an airport about to depart for a 7-hour flight, I can download a couple of books to read on the way.

When I used to envision my "dream house" there would be a room with a wall of books. Now, there is just a comfortable chair and a nice light.

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#3) On August 18, 2011 at 11:13 AM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

dwot, I can see your point of view. It is a good one. My concern about eReaders has to do with what happens if it is broken/lost/stolen. Are you S.O.L. and have to buy all the books again? This question comes from pure ignorance.

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#4) On August 18, 2011 at 12:12 PM, lemoneater (77.43) wrote:

My husband just got me a nook for my birthday! I'm finding it useful because I like to read hard to get out of copywright British authors not usually found on the shelf over here. 

Free e-books may have brought flowers to Border's funeral but they didn't drive a stake through its heart. From what I understand Border's problems were endemic and it had a lingering illnesss. I'm hoping that Barnes and Noble will take better care its health. 

 

 

 

 

 

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#5) On August 18, 2011 at 12:26 PM, chlyd (< 20) wrote:

   CATO -- dwot, I can see your point of view. It is a good one. My concern about eReaders has to do with what happens if it is broken/lost/stolen. Are you S.O.L. and have to buy all the books again? This question comes from pure ignorance.

I have had a e-reader for about 4 years, a sony. everytime I have upgraded, I just re-load the books from my computer or sony web site. and my e-reader displays PDF files also.

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#6) On August 18, 2011 at 2:47 PM, lemoneater (77.43) wrote:

copyright not copywright! My spelling circuitry is not fully functional.

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#7) On August 18, 2011 at 5:32 PM, rfaramir (29.43) wrote:

Free eBooks are all I want electronically. When I purchase something, I want to *own* it, to have full control over it, to be able to lend it out. None of that can happen with a DRM-bound eBook (Digital Rights Management nasty protection software).

I'm still buying paper books, at about a 3:1 ratio faster than I read them. I download free eBooks at about a 10:1 ratio faster than I read them. But purchasing crippled rental eBooks? No thank you.

And I say 'rental' because if someone else controls the book and lets you read it for pay but not do anything else that a book owner could do, that's pretty much a rental.

And, Cato, I'm surprised at you for implying that your wife was responsible for Border's demise or the loss of a library science graduate's job! In the free market, jobs and companies come and go as entrepreneurs figure out the best ways to satisfy changing consumer desires. No one owns their job, no company owns its customers.

Your wife's reading preference changed and she was enjoying the new possibilities offered by the free market, thrilled by it, even! The companies have to adapt, not your wife feel bad. Hope you fully get over your grouchiness; it happens to all of us, sometimes.

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#8) On August 18, 2011 at 5:40 PM, SultanOfSwing (98.89) wrote:

Your story reminds me of the scene in The Devil Wears Prada where Miranda tells her assistant Andy ("Emily") how she picked her cerulean sweater.

Look on the bright side, though.  If we all start reading books from phones, optometrists and the eyeglass industry will stand to benefit.

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#9) On August 18, 2011 at 6:28 PM, dwot (72.69) wrote:

Cato,

I am far more concerned about losing music then books, so I still want cds and I am not so interested in downloading music.  Also, I don't have to deal with the limitations of where or how often I can load my cd on different devices.  Before the break-in I had 2 ipods and when I bought the second I found it wasn't designed that I could just plug my second ipod in and add my music.  You have to search out ways around the controls they put on it, which I didn't figure out so well so I just loaded the cds onto a different computer and used that for the second ipod.

But here's the other thing, music you listen to the same songs over and over, books you usually only read once, and then they just sit on a shelf.  The collection I mentioned I have read 4 times and I am interested in starting over at the beginning and reading it yet again, although I'm not in any rush.  The vast majority of book for reading pleasure I have only ever read once and I just don't see the point in allocation home space for something that is so rarely used, and creates so much work with moving.  I want the space just to be space or for something else.  Why forever want bigger and/or more rooms for stuff that a whole wall of stuff can be stored on a device that takes up the space of maybe one book?

If a new music device came out next year that I wanted, I can see myself using my CDs again.  Although right now my music options are limited because they didn't take just one playing device, but all 3.

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#10) On August 18, 2011 at 7:35 PM, dragonLZ (99.26) wrote:

"...I said to her without taking my eyes off the TV, "You just shoveled dirt onto your precious Borders and slapped Barnes and Noble across the face."

"Again, due to possibly being overtired, without taking my eyes off the TV I said, "What you did is what hundreds of thousands of others have done: gone digital. Borders died, in part, because of the shift to eReaders. You just poked a fresh hole in the hull of a sunken boat. Barnes and Noble would have appreciated the $5 - $10 purchase by you for that book. Now they don't have that money. Now the library science major they hired last week will be laid off because you failed to keep up your end as a supposed devout physical book buyer."

 

Man, I'd hate to be your wife...

 

p.s.

:)

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#11) On August 18, 2011 at 11:06 PM, whereaminow (30.26) wrote:

Damn Cato, this post is disappointing.  The eReader and a physical book are two different products.  However, the end of brick-and-mortar is not something to fret about.  It is just the market's way of letting people know that consumer tastes have changed.  You can bemoan that, but you'd also be bemoaning the death of every industry in world history (do you bemoan that pianos are not made in America anymore, or that some ancient instrument is rarely ever made at all?)

Technological improvement creates more jobs than it destroys. Think of all the different labor that goes into making a single pencil.  Now imagine how many different forms of labor go into an eReader!  Celebrate the eReader. It's a wonderful thing!

David in Qatar

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#12) On August 18, 2011 at 11:28 PM, HarryCaraysGhost (99.71) wrote:

Cato,

All I have to say is-

Happy wife equals happy life.

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#13) On August 19, 2011 at 12:19 AM, mtf00l (46.60) wrote:

Harry,

I thought it was ugly wife happy life...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NF5XU-k2Vk

 

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#14) On August 19, 2011 at 2:02 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

David,

I did not mean to disappoint you, my friend. I am well aware that paper books and eBooks are two different methods of delivering information to my cobwebby mind.

Not that long ago I used to shoot a ton of film doing my work. It was nothing to me to run through 35 rolls of 36 exposure professional 35mm film and five or six rolls of 120 format film over the course of a day shooting the pre-wedding stuff, the ceremony and the reception. I loved, LOVED, the Canon EOS 3, A2 and trusty old Mamiya C3 I used for doing the work. But finally the new technology caught up and surpassed my film cameras. I broke down and switched to DSLRs. My biggest worries now revolve around having enough CF card space and batteries on hand to last a 10-12 hour day. Oh, and comforable shoes for being on my feel for that long. God bless Rockport!

It is not a strech for me to compare traditional books and film to eBooks and digital cameras. I know that one day I will break down and buy a eReader of some type and possibly fall in love it. But it will be a while before I do.

-Cato

PS - Steinway still makes pianos in NY. I'll bemoan later should that change. :)

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#15) On August 19, 2011 at 2:20 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

#14, Pt. 2:

With new tech does come new jobs. I used to spend about $250 for the film and about the same amount to have it process and digitized. So that is $500 that I can pocket. Or, as I often do, I can hire a assistant I trust to lend a hand with all the minuteae and as a second camera. And that is a new job that I generated to help the ecomony (and myself) in spite of all the Obama non-sense because I pay under the table and blah-blah-blah. :)

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#16) On August 19, 2011 at 3:40 PM, dragonLZ (99.26) wrote:

Please see comment# 2 on this article.

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#17) On August 19, 2011 at 4:22 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

Re #16:

Ha-ha!

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#18) On August 20, 2011 at 3:14 PM, chaz572 (< 20) wrote:

Embrace it, Cato.  Just think how much less market craziness we'd all have to deal with if everyone toted around an eBook reader with the words "Don't Panic" written on it in large, friendly letters.  ;-)

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#19) On August 20, 2011 at 4:25 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

Chaz, 1000 recs to you, sir. I had not thought of that.

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