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cruiz

About e-books and our hobby

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Posted (edited)

 

 

Hello fellow modelers

 

I’ll like to know your opinion about books vs. e-books regarding our hobby, either aviation related or modeling focused.

 

  • Which one you prefer and why?
  • Do you think it seems to be so few options of e-books even for books just recently published? If this is the case, why?
  • What do you think about this?

 

Let me share my point of view,  I’ll start by saying “I love to read and also love books” in that order so I somehow can understand the sensitive or emotional part of owning and reading a printed book, despite that and for practical reasons years ago I’ve decided from that point on I’ll only buy the digital version of the books when possible, not only I can read whenever I want at any place but also there are also more tittle options, and generally the price is lower.

 

Being a subscriber  from a woodworking magazine I also switched to the digital version of it, after getting only half of the issues and sometimes weeks after they were available in the newsstand I’ve made the switch, I’ve to admit that is more pleasant to read the printed magazine than from a tablet but at least I have all the issues I’ve paid for, and also the price is lower.

 

Regarding our hobby, one of the most important “tools” I use when building a model are the references, books have been more useful for me than the regular Google search (while looking for precise information, sometimes a paragraph is worth a thousand images); but in my experience, the more interested I’m in a particular book, the more difficult is to get a copy from, either the book is long ago out of print, or there isn´t a digital version.

 

When Detail & Scale started to publish the digital versións of their books it was great news for me, I already got three of them and in my opinion the books are among the bests both in terms of the information provided from a modeling point of view and in the way the digital edition is formatted, on the other hand, they seem to be more the exception than the rule.

 

So this brings me back to the subject of this post, my logic says that there should be more digital editions of this kind of books, the “esoteric” nature of the topics can make more expensive to publish in a physical form thus reducing the number of possible buyers and also, because of shipping costs, making worldwide sales less likely.

 

  • Does the typical buyer prefer the printed version?
  • It’s more expensive or demanding to convert to a digital format?
  • Is the revenue share of the standard services (Amazon, Apple) unfair?
  • Is there a technical reason?
  • Is the risk of illegal digital copies hurting sales too high?

 

Thank you for reading all this verbosity, and I’ll be looking forward to your opinion.

 

Carlos

Edited by cruiz

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Posted (edited)

You forgot one:

  • Is the possibility of being unable to access a digital document a concern?

DRM, "euphemistically" called Digital Rights Management, but, IMHO, more accurately known as Digital Restriction Management, is truly an issue. Having written that, I do find ebooks to have some key values, including search as well as the ability to enlarge an image. I too have a number of the D&S digital books and am quite happy with them. While I tend to get "dead tree" reference books, I usually get modern fiction and non-fiction in electronic forms.

 

Oh, and given a choice between an ebook or a POD (print on demand) book, I choose the digital version every time. POD copies are not worth my hard earned cash. This is probably quite relevant to your line of questioning.

 

BTW, I buy CDs for all my music and then rip them for my audio player. Not clear how much longer I'll be able to do so, though...

Edited by dnl42

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I used to swear that I'd never use a eReader and would ALWAYS buy hardcopy books. Then, one day, I decided to try a Kindle and I never looked back. Now, I have only used it for fiction, but for that type of book, I do all my reading digitally now. Its cheaper and I enjoy the convenience.

Now, as far as references for the hobby, while I do have digital copies of some older books, the vast majority of my references are still hardcopy. I think the reason is that most of the references I want are not, to my knowledge, offered in digital format. If more were, then I would probably buy them. It is nice to have a library of reference books and photographs in the palm of my hand. As more reference books are published with the digital format in mind, we'll start to see very high res photos included that can be zoomed in on to reveal detail not available in most printed books. It's really is nice when you can enlarge a photos with the flick of your fingers.

So, the answer your question. If digital available and reasonably priced, I'll now go for it. Why so many references are not offered in digital format, I don't know. The specialty publishers that publish these type of books may not want to invest in the technology and skills to properly publish their books digitally. I think more and more will as services become available that can do justice to the types of reference books we use.

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Posted (edited)

I buy e-books for fiction or biographies.  When it comes to things, I buy books because picture reproduction is several orders of magnitude better.  I shudder to think of buying a Kindle version of a Squadron In Action or Walk-Around.  Now, a .pdf verson that I can read on my 27" PC screen is a different kettle of pickles.

 

An additional feature is that as long there is light enough to read, I'm golden with a book.  An e-reader must be kept charged.  And as Mstor mentioned, DRM might  become an issue that is not possible with physical media.

Edited by Slartibartfast

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Thank you for your responses.


dnl42

 

That’s a good point, didn’t knew anything about DRM but, now that you mentioned it, I did a little research on the topic, yes it could be a real concern, only one of my e-books was purchased via iTunes, I’m not an Apple user but do have access to an iPad and it was the only format available, it really disappointed me that I can only read it through an Apple device, technically the book is mine, but they limit me; it was the first and probably the last I’ll buy from them. Fortunately, that’s not the case with the other formats I use, (Kindle, E-pub and PDF). Regarding music, I only recently stopped buying CDs.

 

Mstor

 

Let’s hope that more publishers join in, I always thought that doing a digital version of a new book would be easy, or not too tricky at least, because most of the work to edit one for printing is done in digital mediums, someone working in the industry could clarify this maybe.

 

Bruce

 

I started with the Kindle but now only use it for books with little or no illustrations, for the ones with pictures or diagrams I use an Android tablet and the PC monitor, right this moment I’m on my PC reading the Kindle version of D&S Crusader book, I can zoom in the pictures and the level of detail is impressive, sure there are also some e-books that are more or less a scanned image of the printed version and didn’t have the same quality. And yes DRM is an issue.

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I for one vote for good old fashion printed and bound books. Why?

 

How many of you still have a floppy drive in your computer?  A cassette player?  8 track?  Reel to reel?  Punchcard reader? Remember zip drives?  Someday you will be able to add e-books and tablets to that list. If you don’t have the hardware to view your electrons, you’ve essentially lost the content. 

 

Books have endured the test of time, going back centuries.  Say that about your e-book. 

 

Full disclosure: I just finished doing a brake job on my 1967 Pontiac, so I’m not exactly an early adopter......  😎

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8 hours ago, Slartibartfast said:

I buy e-books for fiction or biographies.  When it comes to things, I buy books because picture reproduction is several orders of magnitude better.  I shudder to think of buying a Kindle version of a Squadron In Action or Walk-Around.  Now, a .pdf verson that I can read on my 27" PC screen is a different kettle of pickles.

 

An additional feature is that as long there is light enough to read, I'm golden with a book.  An e-reader must be kept charged.  And as Mstor mentioned, DRM might  become an issue that is not possible with physical media.

 

That was dnl42 who brought up DRM.

 

As for picture resolution. I agree, a Kindle would not be the right type of viewer for photos in reference books. But, there is the potential for creating eBooks with very high res photos. These could far surpass those found in books. One could hot link parts of a photo that, when clicked, would bring up photos and multiple views of that particular area or feature. A photographer with the proper equipment could take 360 degree photos of things like landing gear, pylons, cockpits.  I can't tell you how many times I have had to search and search, both online and in printed books, for a photo of say, the main landing gear from a particular angle. Imagine being able to just spin the pic to see it at all angles. That's where the potential is. Probably would require a new format eBook, I don't know.

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When it comes to reference material, I insist on physical copy. The e-version benefits are nice, but I hate being restricted by a screen that constantly turns off and/or demands battery power. DRM concerns rank pretty high for me too. If I pay for a reference book, I want to own that book until *I* decide to get rid of it, or whatever. DRM doesn't affect things like reference material often, but I'd rather not have to worry about it.

 

I don't like e-books, but occasionally I'll get one on audible to listen to while at work

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Personally I want/prefer a good old fashioned paper copy. I've tried electronic versions and just don't like them.

 

 

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I'm with Don with on this, personally I think nothing beats a good old fashion book collection. Electronics have a planed obsolescence where good old fashion books can last for many years. I still have books from the late 90s that I refer to.

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I get lots of modeling e-books and magazines for my iPad.

 

They are cheaper and don’t take up shelf space. When I go to bed at night I don’t need a light on.

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Paper. I work in technology and have no confidence that anything digital will be available within five years of acquisition. Major companies have outages and have lost files and data of their customers. "Digital Rights Management" is for the rights of the creator, not the buyer. Mostly you're buying a license to read and store locally on your reader a copy of a work that you do not actually own, even though you paid money for it. All of this stuff only works when the power grid does. As an amateur historian, I like my history to have a little more permanence.

 

Short term storage convenience  doesn't outweigh long-term access it my book (pun intended). Only time I will buy an eBook is  when there is no other choice and it has information I need.

 

Also, for those proposing "zoom in" and 360 degree books - very, very unrealistic. I'm not saying it couldn't happen and that it's not a valid desire, but you're talking about an order of magnitude more data and work. Most authors don't have the access or time to procure that much high-resolution content. Most authors do not make enough money to actually pay for the time and effort they put into a book in a "fair living wage" sort of way. The file size wouldn't be viable for most readers in terms of data transfer and storage. I have photos I've personally scanned in at the US National Archives that are easily in excess of 200Mb. Now imagine an 80 page book with 20-30 of those

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10 hours ago, Tracy White said:

Also, for those proposing "zoom in" and 360 degree books - very, very unrealistic. I'm not saying it couldn't happen and that it's not a valid desire, but you're talking about an order of magnitude more data and work. Most authors don't have the access or time to procure that much high-resolution content. Most authors do not make enough money to actually pay for the time and effort they put into a book in a "fair living wage" sort of way. The file size wouldn't be viable for most readers in terms of data transfer and storage. I have photos I've personally scanned in at the US National Archives that are easily in excess of 200Mb. Now imagine an 80 page book with 20-30 of those

 

Those are valid concerns. I think maybe these ideas are a bit ahead of current technology and software tools, but things like storage density continue to increase and the costs continue to decline. Soon, concerns about storing 200Mb photo files may be a distant memory. I started in computers when the top of the line home computer was an 8 bit processor Atari, Apple or Commodore. My first computer had 16K memory and programs were loaded from a cassette player. My first modem was 300 baud and I had to write an 80 character per line terminal emulator so I could log onto the local university's Unix system and connect to Usenet. Within a few years I was connecting to the Internet at megabit speeds. I think today's restrictions will not last. But, when it comes to computers, I have always tried to imagine the next steps.

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Books - definitely physical books. There is a tactile quality about leafing through a book that no e-reader can ever replace.

 

I regularly surf the web and download reference images for projects - but that's raw imagery rather than words.

If I'm reading anything I much prefer the printed page in front of me. I've used e-readers where it's necessary and get on fine with them, but my default preference remains printed paper.

 

Regards,

John

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A point I should mention that is important to me is bookmarking.  This became an issue for me when computer app documentation changed from paper to HTML, particularly programming references.  I often found myself having three fingers stuck into various sections of a book and flipping quickly between them to learn what was necessary to solve a problem at hand.  Can't do that with electronic references.

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Thank you all for your responses. I’m enjoying to learn different points of view.

 

Is interesting to see how DRM is an issue for most of us; in my case, one of the factors that encourage me to switch to electronic versions was the availability of those books through cloud services, like Amazon and Google drive, this gave me some assurance that even if can have the files in multiple devices, my library still would be safe in the case of some catastrophic event like a stolen tablet or disk failure; regarding the obsolescence of the hardware, cloud services seems to diminish its effects, I’ve been through a couple of PC’s, some smartphones (including a pair of BlackBerrys) and could read my e-books on all of them.

 

Of course, there is the risk of losing, or not being able to access, any information that is stored in digital format, I’m betting on companies like Amazon or Google to exist in the long term future and I have the feeling that they would find a way to make a profit even after the zombie apocalypse.

 

I’m on the same boat with many of you, the sensation of reading a printed book is more rewarding (and sometimes more practical) than reading from a screen; for me, the advantages of an e-book comes before (it’s easier, faster and cheaper to get one) and after reading it (it doesn’t take physical space or sits on a shelve gathering dust).

 

In any case, I see the options of printed and electronic books not as mutually exclusive but complementary, in the case of a publisher having both could only add to sales; this, of course, is only speculation on my part, but it intrigued me the lack of digital versions of such books.

 

Please keep sharing your thoughts.

 

Carlos
 

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I have a bit of a different take on electronic print versus hard print. I'm an elementary school teacher, and more and more research is coming out that the more kids use electronic media, the less they are actually reading. It has been shown that when you read on an electronic device, you don't track across the page like you do in print. You tend to jump around and skim, not getting the full information from the text. Over time, this will have an effect on kids' education and learning. We went full on tech in my district with 1 to 1 iPads for all kids. There is now a push to either limit or get rid of said technology.

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Similar to forcing kids to learn math instead of how to use a calculator to get answers.  There is a place for that (college) but it's after you understand how to do the work.

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When I was in school, back in the days of clay tablets, my history teacher announced that she didn't mind if we copied text from a book into our handwritten or typed reports. Her stated rationale was that the text had to go through the eyes to the hand, and some of it was bound to be retained.

 

Just recently, a teacher acquaintance commented on that, noting that with word processing SW and online references, some students will merely place paragraphs verbatim into the document and submit their "work." Such efforts are apparently not too difficult to identify because of the non-sequitur paragraphs. Some other students will at least attempt to change the first and last sentences of each paragraph for continuity.

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1 hour ago, dnl42 said:

When I was in school, back in the days of clay tablets, my history teacher announced that she didn't mind if we copied text from a book into our handwritten or typed reports. Her stated rationale was that the text had to go through the eyes to the hand, and some of it was bound to be retained.

 

Just recently, a teacher acquaintance commented on that, noting that with word processing SW and online references, some students will merely place paragraphs verbatim into the document and submit their "work." Such efforts are apparently not too difficult to identify because of the non-sequitur paragraphs. Some other students will at least attempt to change the first and last sentences of each paragraph for continuity.

On that note, I had a professor in college let us bring in one 8.5x11 piece of notebook paper with whatever we wanted on it. It could be both sides, but had to be hand-written, not typed. I crammed my entire semester's worth of notes on it. During the final, I looked at it exactly once, because in transcribing the information and writing as small and carefully as I could, I reinforced what I had already learned in my brain. Hand-written note tacking is very underrated!

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I have a web site where I post historic US Military documents (99% US Navy) that I find and scan in at the National Archives. I scan and OCR the originals but then have to proofread the final result to take out as many errors as possible ("attack pianos" versus "attack planes"). Naturally, having to carefully read each document multiple times gives me a much better understanding and retention than those that just skim them.

 

Likewise, some companies are having to re-think how they present information and make it accessible as younger generations are now assuming that if they can't find something, it's not that they haven't searched thoroughly, but that it's not there or doesn't exist. Having an instant search for everything is handy, but it can teach the wrong thing.

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4 hours ago, Darren Roberts said:

I have a bit of a different take on electronic print versus hard print. I'm an elementary school teacher, and more and more research is coming out that the more kids use electronic media, the less they are actually reading. It has been shown that when you read on an electronic device, you don't track across the page like you do in print. You tend to jump around and skim, not getting the full information from the text. Over time, this will have an effect on kids' education and learning. We went full on tech in my district with 1 to 1 iPads for all kids. There is now a push to either limit or get rid of said technology.

 

I find it really difficult to proof read and correct any documents on the screen. I find it much easier to print them out and read the physical page - I suspect for exactly the reasons you've stated.

 

Regards,

John

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For proofreading technical documents and papers, I've used a "chant." This involves a small group of people wherein one person reads the text aloud while the others follow along. While tedious, it's extremely effective at finding errors and difficult to read text.

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