RE: Are you debating the elimination of printed docs? (An idea.. .)

Subject: RE: Are you debating the elimination of printed docs? (An idea.. .)
From: "Alan D. Miller" <"Alan D. Miller">
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 14:55:50 -0500

Hi All:

Darren Barefoot wrote:

<<As a point of interest in this never-ending debate, Microsoft and Barnes and
Noble just today announced that they're going to join forces on the promotion
and development of the Rocket eBook--the handheld, shaped-like-a-paperback
digital book--and associated software. In fact, within the next 10 years, Barnes
and Noble Vice Chairman Steve Riggio said, "There will be an electronic version
of virtually every single book in print.">>

At the Electronic Book '99 conference Dick Brass of Microsoft announced MS was
developing new e-book display and delivery products: the Tablet PC, ClearType
fonts, and the MS Reader. This is what this agreement is all about, it would
seem, developing and promoting the MS products. B&N is already selling and
promoting Rocket-ebook (a different product -- developed and sold by Nuvo Media)
editions on its web site. Both the MS and Rocket-ebook products are (they say)
compatible with the Open eBook Publication Standard 1.0 (OEB 1.0), also
unleashed at Electronic Book '99. Other ebook readers have been developed by
SoftBook Press, Librius, and Everybook, Inc.

<<Might this technology, if it gets wide-spread enough, be the nail in the
coffin of the paper vs. online debate? Can it provide the best of both worlds?
Some might scoff at the possibility of "an eBook on every coffee table," but
they said the same thing about the television, automobile and ever needing more
than 64K. Just a thought.>>

This might be ... Microsoft presented (at the same conference) a timeline
predicting that 90% or more of all publications would be in electronic form
within 20 years. The remaining 10% would be niche publications (art collections,
large format books, collectables, and the like) and certain specialty printings.
A hypothetical public service commercial (produced by MS) from a fictitious Pulp
and Paper Industry trade organization showed a kindly, grizzled geezer wearing a
red plaid flannel shirt, standing at the mantle of a fireplace in a rustic log
cabin, and lovingly fondling a leather-bound tome while extolling the virtues of
a real paper book. The spot ended with a shot of a pristine forest with the
voice-over: "Real books from real trees for real people."

I don't fully agree with this view. I think we are more attached to paper than
MS thinks (plus it's cheap, renewable, lightweight, has excellent readability,
and we're trained from an early age in its use). Ebooks will become a
significant part of the market and have many advantages over paper, especially
for technical and business publications.

Another delegation heard from.

Al Miller
alan -dot- miller -at- educate -dot- com

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