"Premium" ebooks, anyone? - was Re: OT: Physical Book Prices

Joseph Lenox lenox.joseph at gmail.com
Mon Dec 15 15:58:44 CST 2014

For a partial solution to library management, there's Calibre (
calibre-ebook.com). It's free.

The poor random access is a pain, and usually why I don't use eBooks for
technical works (or anything where it's helpful to be able to flip around
in the text).

--Joseph Lenox

On Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 6:11 AM, Peter Corlett <abuse at cabal.org.uk> wrote:

> On Sun, Dec 14, 2014 at 07:18:17PM -0500, Toby Thain wrote:
> [...]
> > I am hoping for a "premium" tier of ebooks. The current versions are
> > typographically horrible (think 1987 DTP) and overpriced.
> > I would expect this tier would have:
> > * complete proofreading and debugging
> > * high quality fonts
> > * actual input from designers and typographers
> > * all of the above leading to a better reading experience
> > * high quality images (implying better UI, which puts pressure on
> > the device platform itself...)
> Are you objecting to ebook pricing in general, or just Kindle?  Because the
> Kindle platform is a joke.  The hardware's crap, the UI is worse, and the
> books
> I tried were badly OCRed from paperbacks and not proofread.  Bizarrely,
> even
> out-of-copyright works that have excellent versions on Project Gutenberg
> were
> also shoddy.  Some of Apple's free samples were similarly half-jobbed.
> I note that ebooks I've bought through Humble Bundle and direct from
> O'Reilly
> and a few other places are of reasonable-to-good quality.  This suggests
> that
> it's just the big names that are cutting corners because they are making
> money
> hand-over-fist without needing to do it well.
> However, you missed "good library management".  Kindle, iBooks, etc seem
> to be
> designed as if one's library is a half-dozen pulp novels which are thrown
> away
> when done.  My iTunes library contains 692 "books" -- some pulp novels, but
> mostly technical documentation and papers -- and it's already
> unmanageable.  In
> particular, ebook readers don't let me have a half-dozen documents open and
> have poor random-access so I can't easily skip around checking references.
> > If we are going to be screwed on price we should demand better quality :)
> Or just pirate them :)
> > Much as a high end print book has. (And the low end stabilised to
> "decent"
> > layout and typography decades ago, thanks to farsighted paperback
> publishers
> > like Penguin who invested in design and typography.)
> You still see this in self-published books where there wasn't an editor who
> would quietly take the corrupted Word document and burn it, then
> re-typeset it
> with sensible styles and no Comic Sans or Papyrus.
> And then we come to self-published books on Kindle. *shudder*

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