Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Archive for the tag “DTB”

Reading format

ralph-and-chuck-cartoon

One pointlessly heated discussion that seems to occur with painful regularity in reading circles is which book format is superior. Do you prefer audio, or digital, or paper, or papyrus, or clay tablets? Personally I can’t see anyone topping the long-term data retention of carving stuff into stone cave walls. Bit time-consuming for authors though.

When this discussion starts everyone rolls out their usual banal reasoning for their preferred format. Without fail someone will talk about the smell of dead tree books (DTB), or the feel of eviscerated tree flesh in their fingers, or refer to some dodgy research that denigrates e-books. For some reason the reading world is filled with technophobic troglodytes intent on proving that their old-fashioned way of doing things is better.

Currently I read books in three different formats: DTB, e-book, audiobook. I like reading all three formats and they have various advantages and disadvantages. I have many fond memories of dead trees. The time I used one to level a table with an uneven leg. The time I threw one at the TV on election night. The time I used a bag full of them to prop open a door with a hydraulic hinge. Good times. I’m sure I have some fond memories of e-books and audiobooks…

Let’s run through a few pros and cons of the three formats.

DTB Pros:

  • They are a book.
  • You can read them.
  • They make you look smart/nerdy when you have lots of them on shelves.
  • Can turn to the end of the book to see if that character actually died.

DTB Cons:

  • Being a physical entity they have to be physically moved to your house.
  • Generally more expensive than an e-book.
  • Are heavy and awkward to hold.
  • Hate having tea spilt on them.
  • Can’t stop a .45 slug, despite claims to the contrary.

E-book Pros:

  • They are a book.
  • You can read them.
  • When you want another you just download it instantly.
  • Everyone thinks you are reading the latest political biography when you are really engrossed in the love triangle between a teenage girl, a 100-year-old pedophile, and a smelly dog (yes I got dragged to the Twilight films by my wife).
  • Text can be resized.

E-book Cons:

  • E-books can’t be used to start a fire in a life threatening situation.
  • E-book files won’t be forever, but the database will be, which means updating your collection.
  • E-readers cost money too.
    • Dedicated e-readers are the domain of avid readers, everyone else can just read on their phone or tablet.
  • Hate having tea spilt on them.
  • E-readers are even less likely to stop a .45 slug.

Audiobook Pros:

  • They are a book.
  • You can read them.*
  • Can be read when you’re doing something else.
    • Exercising and reading is a personal favourite.
    • Certainly a better way to read when driving.

Audiobook Cons:

  • Can be expensive.
    • Are becoming cheaper in digital versions.
  • Some voice actors don’t have great voices, nor acting.
  • Takes longer to read… unless you read by sounding out the vowels still.
  • Are probably the least likely to stop a .45 slug.

What is my key point out of all of this? If you like reading you will like reading regardless of the format. The medium isn’t the message.

The reality is that we have to stop with the snobbery of the format wars. Every format has benefits to enjoy. Every person I have met who has bravely tried e-books and audiobooks has commented that they were unsure until they made the leap. Then they fell in love with all the formats.

I love books in all their forms, you should too.

*Yeah, go ahead and try and argue that point. I dare you.

Can’t we all just get along: DTB vs E-book

Print vs ebook infographic
The big take home from this infographic is that readers are more interested in reading, not on the format it comes in. I also found it interesting that people read slower on an e-reader (which I’d guess is because the screen is smaller and requires more ‘page turns’ which breaks reading flow) yet those using e-readers read an average of 9 more books per year (24 vs 15).

In summary: reading is good, go and enjoy a good book.

Book Review: The Running Man by Stephen King

The Running ManThe Running Man by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have so much admiration for Stephen King. There are few authors who have managed to be as enduring and successful as he has. The Running Man is a great example of his ability to write an enthralling novel outside of his normal genre.

I’m a very late addition to the Stephen King appreciation society. I blame the movie IT. Scared the crap out of me as a kid and made me fear reading King novels. I’m a big boy now so I’ve started to buy up a few of his books (ebooks and DTB)and will be diligently reading them.

Which one should I read next?

View all my reviews

Reading survey – Are you avid?

Raise your hand if you actually read more than one book a year. Ever wonder about every reader out there? Well, some good folks did a survey to find out about us readers.

http://www.versoadvertising.com/DBWsurvey2012/

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E-Readers Are Cool

That’s right, E-readers were the gift of gifts this holidays. Now the Pew Institute have crunched the numbers to look at who was buying them and how this has changed over time. Report here.

The researchers performed phone interviews with 2,986 people and asked them, “Are you cool enough to own the greatest gadget since Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone?” With an error rate of 2.2%, the results were as follows:

  • E-readers and tablets were owned by 10% of people in December 2011.
    • This was 19% in January 2012.
  • The proportion of people owning at least one of these two increased from 18% to 29%.
  • Tablet owners are likely to be under 50 years old and have graduated college.
    • They are also likely to make enough money to buy lots of apps and books.
  • E-readers are more popular with women and the 30-49 age group.
    • E-readers are still pretty popular with anyone under 65.
  • College graduates and rich folks also love E-readers.
  • You should own an E-reader.

I have my E-reader, the new Kindle. I still love my pile of dead tree books, but I also love my Kindle.

My Kindle and a DTB

Going For Broke

Everyone will have now read, seen or heard the news that Borders and Amazon have been heading up a fetid creek for far too long. In the land of Oz (the non-magical and not infested by Munchkins version) the media are now weighing in.
See this article

You see I’m to blame. I brazenly buy books from places other than big chain stores. I have a Kindle and enjoy reading e-books. I am, in short, the devil incarnate and will be sacrificed on a pyre of celebrity biographies, cookbooks and other non-selling book store stock.

A Recent Photo of Me.

Lets take a look at some of the points that were made.

I’ll play devils advocate here and talk about taxes first. There are only two sureties in life; taxes and whining about them. In the non-Munchkin land of Oz we have a 10% goods and services tax (GST) on everything except food. This means that imports don’t have this tax, because they aren’t Australian. I guess we evil overseas book buyers paying taxes to a foreign country should pay another tax for daring to participate in the global economy. That way I can be more involved in the global economy with taxes in multiple countries.

Recently we also had a change in the Aussie dollar, it reached parity with the US dollar. For those who haven’t studied economics, this means that if I have one Australian dollar I can trade it for one American dollar, I know because I saw an article on it – tricky stuff that economics. Now that means that if I wanted to, say, buy materials that are needed to print books they would have gotten cheaper. Equipment upgrades, cheaper. Printing ink, cheaper. So clearly a stronger Aussie dollar must mean that it is harder to compete…………

The threat from online sales is, of course, just terrible. How dare our country sign up to a fair trade agreement and actually have its citizens abide by it. Who’d have thought that when you have a business competing in an international market it would mean that you would have to compete with stores all over the globe?

Of course this means that me and my evil kind are killing retail jobs.

One point that Bob Carr (former politician – which means dodgy) makes is about how it is all the government’s fault that books cost so much. He states that they would be 33% cheaper if only his benevolent company Dymocks was able to buy their books from overseas instead of locally. 33%? I think it is basic maths time for this particular businessman.

As an example I will use the latest action-thriller by Andy McDermott. His book Empire of Gold (which I’m looking forward to getting my fiendish hands on) has just come out recently and is available from Dymocks in Australia, or for the evil book buyers, from Amazon.
Dymocks Australia online price: $24.79 (paperback)
Amazon: $9.99 (paperback) or $24.63 (hardcover)
So let us take 30% from the Dymocks price:
$24.79 – 30%(7.44) = $17.35

Well, I’m not a maths genius, but at a guess I’d say that being able to buy a hardcover at USA retail prices for the same price as the paperback retail in Australia is not exactly a 33% difference for a paperback. In fact, to buy it would be more like a 60% difference between the paperback prices. So I’d have to say that I’m not looking as evil as I first thought.

I wonder where that other 33% is going? It certainly isn’t into royalties for writers. I’d just like to be reminded what the wonderful companies that have just left a hole in the heavenly book retail world went bankrupt not paying (analogy: imagine that the authors are Marsellus Wallace, the publishers are Butch, the retailers are Zed and Maynard, and in this version Butch just does a runner). While we are on the subject, I’m unsure whether Dymocks is a discounting chain store driving every other book store out of business or The Coalition for Cheaper Books.

Clearly I’m so evil and my kind are the cause of all problems in the publishing world. It could never be the fault of antiquated business models forgetting that there are only two important parts in the publishing industry, namely the readers and the writers, everything else is clearly expendable. Excuse me while I pay a 70% royalty to a new author for a book that you can’t buy from a publisher or store.

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