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Displays Books Education Portables Hardware

Devices To Take Textbooks Beyond Text 115

An anonymous reader writes with a New York Times piece about the tumultuous transition to electronic devices, instead of printed materials, for text. "Newspapers and novels are moving briskly from paper to pixels, but textbooks have yet to find the perfect electronic home. They are readable on laptops and smartphones, but the displays can be eye-taxing. Even dedicated e-readers with their crisp printlike displays can’t handle textbook staples like color illustrations or the videos and Web-linked supplements publishers increasingly supply. Now there is a new approach that may adapt well to textbook pages: two-screen e-book readers with a traditional e-paper display on one screen and a liquid-crystal display on the other to render graphics like science animations in color."
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Devices To Take Textbooks Beyond Text

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  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:42PM (#30345682)

    Why not have a pc / netbook that can do more for about the same cost?

  • by illumastorm ( 172101 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:50PM (#30345730)

    The e-reader will probably cost in the $500 range to cover cost. Each "book" will still cost $200 and will have to be bought again the next semester. Bookstores themselves most likely will not carry these unless they get a percentage of each reader and "book" sold because they will lose out on the used book sales.

  • Why not have a pc / netbook that can do more for about the same cost?

    Because PCs/netbooks don't have e-ink screens.
  • garbage (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @03:59PM (#30345794) Homepage Journal

    Even dedicated e-readers with their crisp printlike displays can't handle textbook staples like color illustrations or the videos and Web-linked supplements publishers increasingly supply.

    Last time I looked, dead trees don't handle videos and Web-linked[sic] supplements either.

  • Battery life? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pancakegeels ( 673199 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:21PM (#30345940)
    I would like a *cheap* usb ebook screen so I can reduce the eye-strain when reading text at work/home etc. Why doesn't that exist?
  • by masshuu ( 1260516 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @04:22PM (#30345954)
    make removable displays in netbooks then. Push in a couple thing and it pops out. You could then stick a new display(say old one was damaged for some reason, or new one has higher res and higher dpi), or pop in a high contrast, black and white e-ink screen
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday December 06, 2009 @05:04PM (#30346304) Homepage Journal

    You probably care about the subjects you're taking, unlike 90% of students who are just there to jump through the necessary hoops to get the necessary qualifications so they can be mediocre workers.

  • by lamapper ( 1343009 ) on Sunday December 06, 2009 @08:32PM (#30348104) Homepage Journal

    There is something about a newspaper, magazine, book, flipping through it that I simply love. I find it relaxing and enjoyable to lazily leaf through a book, magazine or newspaper. Always will.

    I have to admit that if I were searching for a phrase or phrases I would prefer to have it on a computer. Just works better.

    What matters to me more is not the device (hand held, net book, tablet, laptop, PC, desktop, tower, etc...) but the data format.

    I want to purchase my content ONCE, maybe twice if I have too, but not repeatedly for the rest of my life, every three or four years. That it crazy. I was taught at a young age to try to avoid being penny-wise and dollar foolish. I like to purchase things that last. So if you put the content on cheap materials that will not last, your bad, you will lose my business. I would rather save more money, pay a little more and get the data on better materials that will last. Look at furniture, I will not buy cheap furniture that breaks in less than a year. I would rather pay more (its usually not that much more either) and have it last, it should still be in good shape so that I can give it to my grandchildren if I want too. Instead of something cheaply made that will not last till I see my own children. What a waste of money.

    To buy too cheap is penny wise and dollar foolish.

    I apply the same logic to computer hardware and software that is proprietary in nature. Having been burned not just once, not just twice, but many more times than three, I am simply tired of seeing my hard earned money being drained away by insane fees, charges and forced updates. I will pay for innovation, however I am hard pressed to see how spreadsheets, word-processors and database programs have really improved enough to be labeled "innovative" since Windows 95/98. Granted you might have a chance with databases of finding one or two obscure new features that might be a "must have". But not with Spreadsheets and Word-Processors.

    A friend of mine loved WordPerfect, the technical writers would keep finding new ways to apply WordPerfect to their craft, technical writing, literally every day, day in, day out for multiple years. It was not because the product had been improved, though it was, it was because the product was feature rich and would let a master at their craft (word processing, tech writing, etc..) really excel. Word Perfect was the best Word Processor ever. That was years before Word gained only because of Microsoft Office and Microsoft's control of the desktop. Even later when most had switched to Word after Microsoft corrupted their own file formats to force users to upgrade to the new Word, the experts, the technical writers who knew their craft preferred WordPerfect and other Desktop Publishing tools. It just made sense.

    Word did not take over through innovation, but it did take over none the less. We are all poorer for the lack of innovation.

    So the idea of forcing us to buy some proprietary e-reader hardware in order to read a proprietary data format that could just as easily be provided in an open data format is crazy. Quite frankly it is beyond offensive and hardly endears us to your brand.

    We were not born yesterday.

    Even those (probably because they are simply too inexperienced) that have not experienced this kind of FUD, still understand the concept.

    Buy me (book, music, content, etc...) on this device in that format (proprietary of course) and in a couple of years that device (proprietary) will be left without support (because we said so) and not only will you be forced to purchase the content again because of the proprietary data format; but they (proprietary company) will attempt to force me (and you dear reader if you mistakenly bought in the last time) to purchase yet more new hardware (proprietary of course) that offers yet again, no new innovative features.

  • Re:garbage (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, 2009 @11:13PM (#30349116)

    Here, let me translate that for you:
    Even dedicated e-readers with their crisp printlike displays can't handle (textbook staples like color illustrations) or (the videos and Web-linked supplements publishers increasingly supply).
    Reading comprehension fail?

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