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   Re: [xml-dev] Re: xml, books

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Dave Pawson wrote:

> I've heard this discussed on one of the docbook lists.
> The conclusion was that readers place different value on
> a print book and the same content on the web.
>   Just human nature?
> I guess that allows for two versions to meet two different needs.
> Or perhaps two different groups of people.
>  I'm curious what this group of 'readers' think of this evaluation.

For me, there are more factors than that.  For starters, I like books 
and think that a good book has some kind of inherent worth - or at least 
it should be so regarded.  I like holding and leafing through them, and 
I like to be able to return to particular places.  I like having less 
eyestrain than reading on line, and I get esthetic pleasure out of 
feeling good paper and reading fine printing.  I appreciate a good cover 
and a high quality binding.  Unfortunately even good publishers seem too 
often to be cheapening up their paper.

On the other hand, paper books are way too expensive.  Maybe not in 
terms of production costs for the publisher, but for the user.  And it 
is convenient to be able to start looking through a book at once, as you 
can on line.

For me, the best of both worlds would be that I could test drive books 
on line, buy paper copies of the best ones for a reasonable price, be 
able to mark up and bookmark books on line somewhat like I can do with 
paper ones, and have the online quality good enough to at least avoid 
eyestrain.  I would buy some paper books in this world, but fewer than I 
do now.  Or maybe not - if I could sample more of them, maybe I would 
end up getting more, not less.   Hard to say.

At least I would be able to avoid some of the real bombs I have gotten - 
the ones that looked good enough in the first five minutes but turned 
out to be lousy.  Maybe a free test drive, and if you want to keep 
coming back, a modest charge.  I don't know - it seems to be a tough 
business to be in.


Tom P


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