the issue of books.

From: Joel S. Zimba (
Date: Wed Aug 14 1996 - 12:24:50 PDT

        I have contemplatingthe issue of electronic books for a while now.
Here are my thoughts.

1. I scanned A Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan throughout he month of June.
I finished it one month to the day after it was released.
I will not see it in a catalog until this time next year when it comes out in

        Ok, so I spent a hell of a lot of time sitting in front of my scanner and then reading a page.

sometimes I would scan 10 pages ahead so I coul read for a while.

I didn't translate it into braille, just standard computer braill eon my braille display
(80-cell Braillex-2d)

I did buy textassist along the way to listen to a bit of it, but I think might be able to read
braillea bit faster.

2. as I understand the publishing process (at least for text books)
most of them are run through a desktop publisher like quark or a high-end aldus product.
Then they are cranked into massive printers and that is that. Now, somewhere along the way, there should be a
simple means of getting at the books.

well, if there is some sort of format publishers use that is not standard, maybe we should attack it before it gets to that stage.


        almost every author uses a computer. Most will use something like word perfect or word for windows or whatever.

then they senda disk not a printout to the publisher (I know this is true for many authors anyway)

then, they have to copy edit thethingand make it look retty.
I don't knowif the desktop publishing images are like graphical jpeg or tiff files, or if they are
text r postscript or what.
some text books actually go through a latex stage btw.

Since the cost of writable cd's is so low now, it would be trivial to press x hundered or thousand onto cds ad sell them for te price of a
paper back or smething through the mail to blind people straight from the publisher.

this won't happen until we can prove that demand exists for the supply
and we have to prove this is worth their time.

wining and simpering about the ADA won't do it.

Now, all we have to do is show them that ebooks might be mass marketable, or that it would be so easy to
do this whole thing, they should do it for everyone.

that is simple really.

there are various schemes for securely encrypting a data file so that only one person can ever decode it.

pgp is a good example. this would mean you could do something like this.

I call / email/ web form the publishing house and give them some money via creditcard or whatever.

they encrypt a version of my favorite author's latest book, and post it in their web site or ftp site, or maybe just email it to me.
whatever. then I am the only person who can read it unless I gve out my password (private key to you bit heads)
to someone who didn't buy into this scheme.

This is simple elegant, cheaper then publishing!!!
already being done with some magazines on the net!!!
and many sighted people would do it too.
It owuld alow for computer indexing and maintaining of your own online

why not?

        We might have spoken to pblishers about it before, but they are a beaurocracy.
The people we need to talk to are our favorite authors.

send them a nice letter explaining the problem and break the news to them that many of their devoted fans have to wait a long long time to
read a book they would be willing to PAY for now!
yes pay, ther should be no free lunches here (even though I do use nls, I'm too
conservative to thin it is right for us to suck up money)

When authors start mentioning this to agents and publishers, soemthing is more likely to be done.
I think this is a betteraproach, and in fact I am about to mail such a letter to
Mr. robert Jordan. (I shudder at the thought of scanning another 680 page book
of his.

does anybody have a though here?
does anybody have a better scheme? Mine two schemes are probably flawed, but could work.
I know there are others that would be even better.


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