March 31, 2004

Digital Paper E-Book

by Andrew Stern · , 4:02 pm

Next month Sony, Philips and E-Ink will be releasing the first digital paper electronic book in Japan, called “Librié” (see big pic). Its resolution is 170 dpi (newspaper quality), can download up to 500 book-length texts from a PC, has a little keyboard, and costs $375. The display only draws on battery power when text is refreshed. (via join-the-dots)

Can it run hypertexts, and if so, will e-lit finally pass the bathtub test?

7 Responses to “Digital Paper E-Book”

  1. andrew Says:

    By the way, on Hanna’s blog join-the-dots where I found the link to this article, it says she’s currently reading “The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain”. Nick, care to comment? ;-)

  2. nick Says:

    From what I understand, the extreme male brain is sort of like … from Jupiter. Or maybe even Saturn.

  3. hanna Says:

    Ah, perhaps this is one of those times that I should have used the “why I am reading this book” facility on! ;-)

    Actually the book (which unfortunately makes several apparently unjustified assertions and appears to contradict itself in a number places) is largely about autism, a subject that is not unrelated to video gaming. Not only does Espen Aarseth discuss IF and autism in his chapter on Deadline in Cybertext, but also, I had the opportunity to observe a group of kids with Asperger’s Syndrome (an autistic spectrum disorder) play various PS2 games on many occasions over a period of six months last year, which prompted me to think about the appeal of video games to kids with autism—especially in relation to rules, predictability, and constrained interaction. I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff to be looked at regarding autism and video games, but as yet little has been done.

    To be honest, I doubt The Essential Difference has much to contribute to the topic of autism and video games—and certainly anyone reading the book to learn more about the “female brain” with the intent of creating video games to be enjoyed by girls would end up seriously misled—but it is an interesting (albeit frustrating at times) read for anyone interested in autism.

  4. gregolas Says:

    >Can it run hypertexts, and if so, will e-lit finally pass the bathtub test?

    What exactly is e-lit in a time when people are web-surfing and moblogging on PDAs? Isn’t it just “more pleasant reading technology”?

  5. andrew Says:

    Reading a well-crafted e-lit fiction, e.g., The Unknown, while curled up in bed or on the beach or in the bath would be a different experience than surfing the web or reading blogs. For me, half the fun of reading fiction is the sensual pleasure of the act itself; with e-lit, to date I’ve been forced to read sitting in a chair looking at a monitor…

  6. gregolas Says:

    Sorry — I misunderstood the question. But now that I understand it, I wonder if that kind sensual electronic reading (in addition to making eLit more enjoyable) will also produce a new kind of blogging / blog-reading / gaming? E.g., monitor blogs v. bathtub blogs.

  7. andrew Says:

    A NYTimes article on the Librié offers some more information:

    Sony plans to begin selling the reader next month in Japan for about $380. Users will be able to download electronic books for less than $5 each from a Web site set up by Sony and a group of Japanese publishing companies. At least initially, the works will be rented rather than purchased and thus will disappear from the device after 60 days. The idea of renting the books is a concession to publishers who are worried about unauthorized copying. … Sony says it will wait to see how well the Librié sells at home before deciding whether to offer it in the United States and Europe.

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