Your friendly local neighbourhood digital textbook industry



  • There's currently a massive push in Italian high schools towards bringing old and boring textbooks to the digital age. Right now editors are barred from making a print-only book: at least a portion of their books must be exclusively available online. Usually, only the most pointless, optional bits are stuck there, so that hasn't been a problem.

    My mother teaches, and she's being caught in the crossfire: she's started teaching in one of the classes involved with the school's second round of pilot classes going digital-book only. The school leased her a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (actually -- the headmaster did. WTF? What if he gets transferred elsewhere, or dies?), and she's getting her complimentary textbook copies from the editors.

    This is a goldmine of WTFs, and it begins with the pupils discovering about the program only once the school year started. Everybody had already bought the dead tree version of the books.

    Meanwhile, my mother only has the digital version of this year's books. I'm helping her throughout, and it's been making me furious.

    Book editors are supposed to, yknow, edit books. From what I understand, you get a gobbledygook mess of a .doc file from the authors, and spend a few weeks fixing the grammar and putting it in print form. Then you print it, ship it and have others sell it.

    So the first order of business for editors is developing their very own fucking apps to read books. Finally, students will have to have a personal connection with their textbook editors by strongly resenting them every time they try to recall what jail they can find their philosophy textbook in, and working aroud the app-specific ways to work around how fucked up this specific jail is.

    Let me tell you, those jails are a fucking disaster. Here's a screenshot of one from Mondadori. Click on it, and watch in its full resolution glory.

    Here's an embedded version but it's really not the same.

    Those JPG artifacts? They're actually in the text. The entire fucking textbook is a bunch of JPGs. This app is a glorified image viewer, and it runs at 8 frames per fucking second.

    There is not a shred of text information or metadata to be found: the only way to navigate is through the arrows, or by tapping on the page number, punching in a page number like it was fucking teletext, hitting Enter on the keyboard, oh of course that does nothing, you have to hit the "Go" button next to the textbook to actually go there, and it's on the opposite end of the 10" screen. Also, the textbox gives you a numerical keyboard for input, but what the app expects are the print edition's page numbering. The index is on page iii. You cannot navigate to the index. You have to use the bookmark feature to go to the index.

    Of course all the app is is a poor excuse for a fucking proprietary DRM scheme. Pearson's own version of this fuckery comes straight up and tells customers you're only buying a time limited license to those books. And look at Pearson's app screenshots. Oh wow, it's got search! So long as you're okay with just finding the page number. Look it that! Unreadably tiny font! It may not look so on your glorious 22" inch monitor, but remember we are talking about tablets. I think the size at which Discourse embeds images matches a Nexus 7's viewport just about right:

    "What are you whining about? You can watch ROCK SCHOOL. How rad is THAT?"

    Can you read anything without zooming in? I fucking can't. I guess I'm not in the SkillZone! Learning is hard, let's watch Rock School.

    I don't know why my mother's 10" tablet only has a 800×1280 resolution when my much cheaper Nexus 7 is 1080×1920 (TRWTF is Samsung), but I can't imagine the tablet the students haven't yet received are going to sport any higher resolution. I thought one of the things editors were actually supposed to do was layout the fucking .doc in a format-appropriate way; who the fuck gives a shit about skeuomorphic Outlook 97 screenshots when you have to pinch to zoom on every single bit of text on a page and it's unbearably choppy as fuck to do so? This shit gets very old, very fast.

    It's like your fucking book is stuck in a dusty glass cage where you have a couple knobs to "scroll" the page in the tiny plastic viewport, and if you want to annotate each page you can use some fucking transparency sheets, and you get a complimentary FREE magnifying glass you need to actually read what's in that fucking thing, and you're charging for this shit sandwhich as much as the regular, separate dead tree edition. Artistic impression:

    Here is a clue: YOU ARE NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF MAKING ANDROID APPS. YOU ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF MAKING TEXTBOOKS. REFERENCE TEXTBOOKS THAT STUDENTS ARE SUPPOSED TO KEEP AND REFERENCE FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

    If you can't fucking figure out how to sell DRM-free ePubs in a way that doesn't fucking run your company into the ground like other respectable reference textbook companies do (say, Manning or O'Reilly), YOU WILL NOT PRODUCE A FUCKING CUSTOM READER THAT IS FIT FOR PURPOSE.

    Sell a fucking class license to the DRM-free book. Let people use whatever the fuck reading app they want to read your book. Let them change the fucking font size, for god's sake. It's not fucking complicated; it's a solved problem.

    I tried to tell my mother that she should tell the editor reps "DRM free ePub or paper, grazie." Naturally, she didn't have any clue what that meant. I showed her a couple of books of mine. She saw the difference. Yet, she's powerless. She can't change the choice of textbooks for next year, and she can't wiggle her way out of this pilot program. If she tried to speak up, she'd probably get called out for being "stuck in the past" with things that just fucking worked. This is supposed to be a "pilot" program, but there doesn't seem to be a moment in which teachers can give feedback on how terrible this is — and after all, how are teachers going to realize when everybody's going to be using dead tree textbooks this year anyway?

    Outlook is terrible.



  • @bp_ said:

    you're charging for this shit sandwhich as much as the regular, separate dead tree edition

    That's the part that surprises me the most, given their racket.



  • @chubertdev said:

    That's the part that surprises me the most, given their racket.

    I would personally value a bunch of DRM-free textbooks I could carry in a USB drive and reference any time, with full text search, fast navigation and my personal notes embedded into them actually more than the voluminous dead tree editions who've mainly only been gathering dust.

    ...especially if the parents are paying ;)



  • @bp_ said:

    Everybody had already bought the dead tree version of the books.

    Wow, your high school students have to buy their own books? In the US, you don't buy your own books until college.

    Is the Italian government as corrupt as the stereotype here in the US? Because that might explain a little bit: maybe all the app development money ended up in someone's yacht.



  • On the other hand I'm in the most expensive public university in Italy (also the best in Italy for engineering and a top 50 worldwide in CS) for the asking price of ~$4,000/year for the highest income bracket. Most courses do not require you to buy books — slides do just fine and they're DRM free etc.

    We've got 99 problems but the price aren't one.

    (The lowest income brackets have schoolbook subsidies.)



  • The great ship Berlusconi's Bitches is a prestigious yacht.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @chubertdev said:

    That's the part that surprises me the most, given their racket.

    It shouldn't. The entire publishing industry thinks electrons cost just as much as trees do to chop down, convert to paper, and ship all over the planet.



  • Which is why ( I hazard to guess ), for the most part, ebook versions seem to be priced in the same neighborhood as their dead tree versions.

    Although I do enjoy ebooks, I'm a lover of the dead tree versions for visceral reasons: the feel, the smell, the heft, the potential use as a clue bat…


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @M_Adams said:

    Which is why ( I hazard to guess ), for the most part, ebook versions seem to be priced in the same neighborhood as their dead tree versions.

    That's basically it. They are TERRIFIED of electrons cannibalizing their dead tree business. Terrified to the point they will deliberately screw their authors with the pricing structure. (I wish I could find an analysis I read recently in the context of the Amazon/Hachette dustup. It was something along the line of, if Hachette used the same pricing model Amazon does to independent authors, they could drop their prices of books by, say, a buck, and let the author gain $2 in profit. That's probably not exactly right but it boils down to they sabotage their own authors--and themselves--with their pricing.) That's before you even get into economies of scale.



  • @FrostCat said:

    It shouldn't. The entire publishing industry thinks electrons cost just as much as trees do to chop down, convert to paper, and ship all over the planet.

    Given the prices of the damned things, I wouldn't be surprised if the cost of toilet paper used at the office makes a bigger part of the price than the actual paper.

    Also, is the Outlook excersise a fill-in-the-gaps one? I wonder how they're going to do that...

    Anyway, since kids have the paper books, then just use the fucking paper books whenever possible. It's not like there's any *scoff* indexing feature, or even - God forbid - multimedia content to lose out on. There, problem solved.

    @bp_ said:

    "DRM free ePub or paper, grazie."

    Oh, fuck ePub. Or maybe rather "fuck Amazon for having Kindle not supporting it out of the box", but Kindle is awesome enough to make the rules anyway.



  • I remember that stuff. It comes down to selling more books at a lower price, thereby making more money on volume, instead of treating books like each copy is a special delicate flower that will be hard to replace if something happens to it. Amazon wants to maximize distribution. Best way to do that is to lower the price to a point where getting it from Amazon is lower cost than the opportunity cost of getting the information/entertainment/what have you from elsewhere.

    Knowing all of this, Amazon has actually set up their pricing structure so that it incentivizes sellers to sell within a certain price bracket by providing a greater return, because they know they will make more money on volume if the product is sold within that price range.



  • Oh, you're just a Luddite who fears change. Get with the program!

    On a related note: a customer I've set up with a Linux laptop came back to me after picking up The Complete National Geographic cheap at an op shop and being unable to install it. Should be no problem, I said, I'm sure the e-book reader that's part of the Calibre package you already have installed will deal with it...

    Nuh-uh.

    Turns out that TCNG is supplied as a huge mass of JPEGs (cunningly encrypted by XORing every byte with 0xEF and changing the filename extension to .cng), a vestigial Sqlite search index, and an Adobe Air reader app. You can actually run the resulting mess on Linux with a bit of fartarsing about, but given its less than stellar reviews as a Windows application, and the fact that my customer was much more interested in browsing than search, I chose not to. Cunningly decrypting the JPEGs and bundling them as PDFs let her use an ordinary PDF viewer, which navigates much faster than the Air thing and has better zoom and view options besides, and also means she can easily transfer selected issues to her Android tablet or iPad (she has both) for more portable browsing.

    I honestly do not understand NG's motivation for doing this the way they did. It's not like they're making pots of money selling the digital edition (it's really cheap) and I would be astonished to find that developing their bullshit Air app with its bullshit attempt at DRM cost them less than making properly OCR'd PDFs would have done.



  • It's pathetic. It's almost as if someone just wants to make money out of it and doesn't care about the effects or the results. It's almost as if you live in Western Europe's most corrupt country.



  • @TGV said:

    It's almost as if you live in Western Europe's most corrupt country.

    It's almost as if I was interested in knowing how things are in other countries, considered that Pearson does business wordlwide. ;)



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    Oh, fuck ePub. Or maybe rather "fuck Amazon for having Kindle not supporting it out of the box", but Kindle is awesome enough to make the rules anyway.

    While I really like the way Amazon deals with physical items and I'm a Prime subscriber (which here simply means free 2-day shipping no matter what), I don't really care for their digital offerings. I don't own a single eBook from Amazon and so far I haven't had the need to fix that. Thus the Kindle only holds so much appeal for me.

    Also, all of O'Reilly, Manning and Packt sell their DRM-free digital editions for less than the dead tree version. They even run deep discounts on their catalogue pretty frequently (they're not as deep as Steam's but they're more frequent). I'm just impressed by how much they seem to get it.



  • While Pearson is definitely a WTF, I'm not sure they could have gotten their way without a bribe here and there. Either that, or incompetence abounds.



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    Or maybe rather "fuck Amazon for having Kindle not supporting it out of the box", but Kindle is awesome enough to make the rules anyway.

    Now you're just being part of the problem.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @TGV said:

    While Pearson is definitely a WTF, I'm not sure they could have gotten their way without a bribe here and there. Either that, or incompetence abounds.

    As long as that's not an XOR…



  • Yeah, educational book publishers can be very ... strange.

    For instance, I recently discovered a worksheet for some topic which I wanted to buy. As with all online shops, I had to register. Because I am a teacher I selected the proper checkbox and was told that, in order to be recognized as such and be eligible for discounts, I'd have to send them a copy of my school's acknowledgment of this fact. Fair enough.

    I wanted this worksheet now however and not in one week, so I accepted the loss of some 30 cents and went to download said sheet.

    Which I wasn't allowed. Because I wasn't deemed a teacher yet and only teachers are allowed to download those sheets.

    Okay. I'm a bit dubious on the reasoning there but I think they wanted to prevent cheating or somesuch. Only problem with that particular logic: You could see (and actually download!) a preview of the whole worksheet, only with a semi-transparent "PREVIEW" plasted diagonally across it.

    The other time I went and bought the 3rd edition of Molecular Quantum Mechanics by Atkins & Friedman (in English) in order to prepare for my exams in Germany and I had found this book to be quite clear on the concepts involved. Naturally, I began to work the end of chapter problems only to find that the solutions weren't included with the book. Okay, I'd have to buy those, like for my Physics and Organic Chemistry books. Or maybe simply lend them from my library first?
    Nope, only the solutions for the 2nd edition were available and were too different to be worthwhile. But our library had the 3rd edition itself available so I asked the librarian in charge of acquiring new books if they might be willing to buy the solutions for the 3rd edition?

    Turned out, they couldn't. Because they didn't exist as a book.

    So I emailed the publisher. Got a big "nope" back. Because the solutions are only available to lecturers actually using this book for their lectures. But maybe I could ask one of those lecturers to mail me a copy?

    You can guess how many lecturers there are in Germany who are doing a lecture about Molecular Quantum Mechanics in English. Told them as much, they didn't budge.

    Last try: I emailed both Friedman and Atkins (the authors of the book). Friedman answered immediately but answered in the negative, insofar as he'd really like to help me but there were copyright issues and all. Damn.

    One week later, Atkins (a real bigshot in the Chemical Sciences!) himself answered me and apologized(!) for taking so long. He made me promise that I'd refrain from distributing the answers to anyone else and one day later I received an email from someone at Oxford University Press containing a big PDF :-)



  • @TGV said:

    Western Europe's most corrupt country.

    Spain will always thank Italy for existing :heart:.



  • @TGV said:

    It's almost as if you live in Western Europe's most corrupt country.

    Wait, what about Greece? Do we need to have a corrupt-off to determine the winner?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    Wait, what about Greece? Do we need to have a corrupt-off to determine the winner?

    I wouldn't generally describe Greece as Western Europe.



  • Neither are Italy and Spain, for that matter.



  • So "western europe" is Portugal, Ireland and Iceland. Okay.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Wow, your high school students have to buy their own books? In the US, you don't buy your own books until college.

    In Slovenia, you buy schoolbooks from 1st year of elementary school, but they're not really that expensive. You can also lease some of them through the school for a fraction of the price (of course, only those books that aren't supposed to be written in).

    @M_Adams said:

    Although I do enjoy ebooks, I'm a lover of the dead tree versions for visceral reasons: the feel, the smell, the heft, the potential use as a clue bat…
    I don't miss the dead-tree versions a single bit. I've got a 2nd gen 8" eInk reader (by a now defunct company), and it's so much easier to handle than a paper book (and could still be used as a cluebat in emergency).
    @bp_ said:
    Also, all of O'Reilly, Manning and Packt sell their DRM-free digital editions for less than the dead tree version. They even run deep discounts on their catalogue pretty frequently (they're not as deep as Steam's but they're more frequent). I'm just impressed by how much they seem to get it.
    I seem to get an exclusive, time-limited offer for 50% off some or all O'Reilly e-books at least once a month...



  • @ender said:

    In Slovenia, you buy schoolbooks from 1st year of elementary school, but they're not really that expensive. You can also lease some of them through the school for a fraction of the price (of course, only those books that aren't supposed to be written in).

    Same here, though I'd argue on the "not so expensive" bit - while they're nowhere near the level of college books, they still put a bit of a dent in September's budget. The second-hand market of course works as intended, even though publishers keep pulling stupid shit like rearranging the sections so that page numbers no longer match, or cutting three words, changing a cover, calling it a "new edition" and expecting the schools to require the newest ones.

    We don't generally have any required books in college, though (at least my courses don't - law or medical schools generally get some). The only mandatory book was for the English course, and even then we just came to class with e-readers, tablets and laptops and nobody gave a crap.

    @ender said:

    I don't miss the dead-tree versions a single bit. I've got a 2nd gen 8" eInk reader (by a now defunct company), and it's so much easier to handle than a paper book (and could still be used as a cluebat in emergency).

    E-readers are good for books you read start to finish, in order. Reference manuals, course notes and things like that are generally more convenient on paper, since you can easily hold the page with your finger, jump to another section, etc.

    Not saying you can't do that with e-readers, but it's easier with dead trees.

    @ender said:

    I seem to get an exclusive, time-limited offer for 50% off some or all O'Reilly e-books at least once a month...

    The newest one is:

    Save 50% off R ebooks for Talk Like a Pirate Day

    Well, they do have a sense of humor...



  • @Maciejasjmj said:

    Reference manuals, course notes and things like that are generally more convenient on paper, since you can easily hold the page with your finger, jump to another section, etc.

    Not to mention have twice the visible area of even the largest e-readers, and several times that of the more typical sizes.



  • @EvanED said:

    Not to mention have twice the visible area of even the largest e-readers, and several times that of the more typical sizes.

    That, too. It's one of the reasons I've always wanted a Kindle DX, but this thing was so retardedly expensive that it seems like nobody actually used it.

    And I'm still amazed how people still use fonts bigger than the smallest one. Even a few notches up you get your text billboard-sized relative to the viewport, at least on Kindle.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Maciejasjmj said:

    Reference manuals, course notes and things like that are generally more convenient on paper, since you can easily hold the page with your finger, jump to another section, etc.

    Not saying you can't do that with e-readers, but it's easier with dead trees.

    Actually, they're best of all when genuinely online as then you've got much better searching available, and can easily have the document open in multiple places at once. Books are better where you want to learn concepts, not look up particular details of things, as they can think much more about the flow of concepts through the work. Except when dealing with me; I'll often read a book backwards. (Always have done. It doesn't make things easier except with crime novels and other thrillers where I get to find out what happens in the end without the tedious bits in the middle.)



  • @ender said:

    (and could still be used as a cluebat in emergency).

    But you don't get that satisfying combo Thump!Wack! but you do get to take a shopping trip afterwards.

    I guess that's a draw.



  • @M_Adams said:

    But you don't get that satisfying combo Thump!Wack! but you do get to take a shopping trip afterwards.

    Like I said, my reader is a bit older, and fairly sturdy (well, except the screen - apparently some people managed to shatter the glass).




  • sockdevs

    MOAR ARTEFACTS!



  • Don't forget the battery life! The battery life of a dead tree is usually excellent. It can go decades without needing a recharge.



  • @martijntje said:

    Don't forget the battery life! The battery life of a dead tree is usually excellent. It can go decades without needing a recharge.

    And can provide a source of heat if you become stranded on an icy planet.



  • Somehow, however, they're even less water resistant. :(



  • I have tried to buy a couple of Kindle e-books from Amazon. Even if I skip the whole issue with registering a physical reader and binding it with one account, I have learned to stay away from them. Most of the e-books I have (attempted to) read have been horribly edited, if at all, the images and graphs were either missing, misplaced or mangled. The latest book I bought had two whole chapters missing, as well as the last paragraph or page of every other chapter. I returned it and got the dead tree version instead.

    I'd be scared to death if I had to participate a course where the only study material was a commercial DRM:ed e-book. My impression is that the printing houses / booksellers treat e-books at the same time as real book by-products that should require absolutely no effort and as preciouses someone's going to steal if just given the slightest chance.



  • @Nipo said:

    My impression is that the printing houses / booksellers treat e-books at the same time as real book by-products that should require absolutely no effort and as preciouses someone's going to steal if just given the slightest chance.

    Well, it is true...



  • @Nipo said:

    My impression is that the printing houses / booksellers treat e-books at the same time as real book by-products that should require absolutely no effort and as preciouses someone's going to steal if just given the slightest chance.

    The funny thing is that since those apps literally only give you a bunch of images to work on, you can simply screenshot the book one page at a time and find yourself with a much superior, perpetual, faster, easy-to-pirate, DRM-free copy.

    You just need to find a device with enough pixels — or a suitable emulator — to make the text readable.



  • Wouldn't it then be easier to scan a dead tree book instead? I'm pretty sure that by cutting off the pages of a used book and inserting them to an office scanner feeder I'd get a better quality file faster than by screenshotting messed up app screens..



  • @Nipo said:

    Wouldn't it then be easier to scan a dead tree book instead? I'm pretty sure that by cutting off the pages of a used book and inserting them to an office scanner feeder I'd get a better quality file faster than by screenshotting messed up app screens..

    It's a somewhat lower tech solution as it doesn't require owning a suitable office scanner, or getting permission from an office scanner owner. It's much easier to take screenshots and have them uploaded automatically to Dropbox and whatnot; if the UI bothers you, for example, you can easily crop all images at once with a simple batch job. Somewhat like this:

    #!/usr/bin/fish
    # requires the fish shell (because bash's and cmd's syntax is terribad) and imagemagick
    # make test runs on the first page to figure out the correct parameter values
    mkdir -p result
    for file in *.png
      convert $file --crop $width"x"$height"+"$top"+"$left result/$file
    end
    


  • Possible. It does probably depend on the tablet / reader the book is bound to as well as the technical knowledge of the user. I'm aware of the Kindles-for-PCs and I think I saw an Android app emulator somewhere as well, so I assume that most of the e-books can technically be viewed on a computer, despite the publishers' efforts to put a stop to this. However, the first screenshot of the article was taken of a book with 972 pages, each requiring maybe four screenshots (unless the text scales in the screenshot image, which I doubt), which then need to be aligned and joined to be readable. Very probably there are more than one book to study per course, too.

    For me it's easier - and cheaper - to find an office scanner than a trained monkey or a sweatshop kid.



  • @Nipo said:

    However, the first screenshot of the article was taken of a book with 972 pages, each requiring maybe four screenshots (unless the text scales in the screenshot image, which I doubt), which then need to be aligned and joined to be readable. Very probably there are more than one book to study per course, too.

    For me it's easier - and cheaper - to find an office scanner than a trained monkey or a sweatshop kid.

    I don't see the need for four screenshots: you just need to own one of those phones with 1440p or higher resolution and you're probably going to be fine. The screenshot of the tablet app up there was 800p, for comparison.

    Also, don't forget that:

    • we're talking about books for people aged 13-19
    • each class has 20-30 students
    • this particular book in the screenshot is good for 3 years

    300 pages × 9 classes ÷ 25 students × 5 seconds per screenshot = 9 minutes.
    (although this assumes all students care and have a high-res enough phone.)

    Or just google for some other poor soul who's gone through this trouble for you already.

    If the objective was deterring privacy, well, this is a terribly self-defeating proposition.



  • As far as Textbook writing goes, Cracked already did an article on it. Here it is for you guys: 6 Disturbing Things I Learned Writing Your Textbooks



  • @bp_ said:

    bash's and cmd's syntax is terribad

    mkdir -p result
    for file in *.png
    do convert $file --crop $width"x"$height"+"$top"+"$left result/$file
    done
    

    Intolerawful.

    convert "$file" --crop ${width}x$height+$top+$left "result/$file"
    

    Incomprehensibabble.



  • A must read if only for

    Gremany. You know: where gremlins live.



  • @Nipo said:

    I have tried to buy a couple of Kindle e-books from Amazon. Even if I skip the whole issue with registering a physical reader and binding it with one account, I have learned to stay away from them. Most of the e-books I have (attempted to) read have been horribly edited, if at all, the images and graphs were either missing, misplaced or mangled. The latest book I bought had two whole chapters missing, as well as the last paragraph or page of every other chapter. I returned it and got the dead tree version instead.

    I'd be scared to death if I had to participate a course where the only study material was a commercial DRM:ed e-book. My impression is that the printing houses / booksellers treat e-books at the same time as real book by-products that should require absolutely no effort and as preciouses someone's going to steal if just given the slightest chance.

    That's not a problem of ebooks. That's a publishing/editing problem which wouldn't be any different if it was in dead tree form.

    Or do you think that those ebooks of yours only cost 49 cents for no reason at all?



  • Actually the whole point of the article / OP was that the publishing/editing of e-books is lousy, so I disagree. It is a problem of e-books.

    I mainly read free Amazon books, Runeberg content and other content I haven't needed to pay for on my Kindle. The free Amazon books have had spelling errors and poor language, which is of course quite understandable. Runeberg books and other non-commercial content has usually been fine, though.

    The only book I actually paid money for was a $ 9.75 e-book that I returned and later bought in paper format for £ 3.00. (Edit: The dead tree book was fine.) The prices have changed since, but even now the Kindle e-book is more expensive than the paper one. My review of the mess is here:

    Of course I can't say anything of how common this kind of negligence is, because I stopped buying e-books. There was a rumor that if you return too many items to Amazon, they might freeze / delete your account, effectively emptying the to the account bound Kindle reader of all purchased content. It sounded like a hassle.



  • I have yet to run into severe editing problems with non-cheap ebooks. And I have about 200 on my Kindle.
    Not to mention that you can usually read the first 5% of the ebook as a preview.

    You get what you pay for. Again, that's not a problem of the medium.



  • In "Surely You're Joking...", Richard Feynman wrote about his experience with the textbook mafia. It seems like things haven't changed in the last fifty years.


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