电子书的时代正在来临

周《纽约时报》有一篇文章,点评了电子书阅读器2008年的发展。

我觉得,事情已经很明显了,电子书的普及比所有人预料的都要快,可能在5年内就要超过纸质书。

下面是报道的译文,以及8款目前市场上的主流阅读器。2009年,我计划买一个。

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1. Eslick

屏幕:6寸

格式:PDF、TXT

价格:230美元(2009年3月上市)

公司:Foxit

网站:http://www.foxitsoftware.com/ebook/

2. iPhone

屏幕:3.5寸

格式:TXT,HTML

价格:300美元

公司:Apple

网站:http://www.apple.com/iphone/

3. Jetbook

屏幕:5寸

格式:TXT,PDF

价格:300美元

公司:ECTACO

网站:http://www.ectaco.com/

4. Kindle

屏幕:6寸

格式:AZW(Kindle format), PRC, MOBI, TXT

价格:359美元

公司:Amazon

网站:http://www.amazon.com/kindle/

5. Sony Reader 700

屏幕:6寸

格式:BBeB (Sony format), TXT, .PDF

价格:400美元

公司:Sony

网站:http://ebookstore.sony.com/reader/

6. iLiad

屏幕:8寸和10寸

格式:TXT,PDF,HTML,CHM(需安装第三方软件)

价格:700美元

公司:iRex

网站:http://www.irextechnologies.com/

7. 易博士 M218B

屏幕:5寸

格式:TXT,HTML,PDF

价格:2200元人民币

公司:广州金蟾

网站:http://www.jcnip.com/

8. 翰林 V3

屏幕:6寸

格式:PDF, DOC, WOL, HTML, TXT, CHM, FB2, DJVU

价格:2200元人民币

公司:天津津科

网站:http://www.jinke.com.cn/

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Turning Page, E-Books Start to Take Hold

Ebook的时代正在来临

原载2008年12月24日《纽约时报》

原文网址:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/technology/24kindle.html

作者:BRAD STONE,MOTOKO RICH

译者:阮一峰


Could book lovers finally be willing to switch from paper to pixels?

书籍爱好者会愿意放弃纸张,转向电子屏幕吗?

For a decade, consumers mostly ignored electronic book devices, which were often hard to use and offered few popular items to read. But this year, in part because of the popularity of Amazon.com's wireless Kindle device, the e-book has started to take hold.

10年来,消费者一直忽略电子阅读器的存在,认为这些设备很难使用,而且不能提供流行读物。但今年,部分因为Amazon的无线阅读设备Kindle的畅销,它开始进入了主流市场。

The $359 Kindle, which is slim, white and about the size of a trade paperback, was introduced a year ago. Although Amazon will not disclose sales figures, the Kindle has at least lived up to its name by creating broad interest in electronic books. Now it is out of stock and unavailable until February. Analysts credit Oprah Winfrey, who praised the Kindle on her show in October, and blame Amazon for poor holiday planning.

kindle阅读器造型纤薄,颜色为白色,售价359美元,大小与一本平装书相同,1年前进入市场。虽然Amazon公司没有公布销售数量,但是这个产品引起了厂商对于电子书阅读器市场的广泛兴趣。 现在它已经脱销,可能要等到明年2月份才有新货上市。分析师将这归功于著名电视节目主持人Oprah Winfrey,10月份她在电视节目中公开赞扬kindle。分析师还批评amazon没有为销售旺季做好准备。

The shortage is providing an opening for Sony, which embarked on an intense publicity campaign for its Reader device during the gift-buying season. The stepped-up competition may represent a coming of age for the entire idea of reading longer texts on a portable digital device.

Kindle的短缺给Sony公司提供了可趁之机。Sony公司为自家的电子书阅读器,启动了针对年底销售旺季的紧密宣传计划。这种激烈的竞争,也许代表了一个在手持设备上阅读长文本的时代的来临。

"The perception is that e-books have been around for 10 years and haven't done anything," said Steve Haber, president of Sony's digital reading division. "But it's happening now. This is really starting to take off."

Sony数字阅读器部门的总裁Steve Haber说,"电子书阅读器的概念大概已经存在10年了,但是发展很有限。事情现在有了变化,这个市场真的开始起飞了。"

Sony's efforts have been overshadowed by Amazon's. But this month it began a promotional blitz in airports, train stations and bookstores, with the ambitious goal of personally demonstrating the Reader to two million people by the end of the year.

虽然Sony在Amazon面前黯然失色,但是这个月,它开始在机场、火车站和书店大肆进行广告促销。Sony的目标是到今年年底向200万人出售电子阅读器。

The company's latest model, the Reader 700, is a $400 device with a reading light and a touch screen that allows users to annotate what they are reading. Mr. Haber said Sony's sales had tripled this holiday season over last, in part because the device is now available in the Target, Borders and Sam's Club chains. He said Sony had sold more than 300,000 devices since the debut of the original Reader in 2006.

该公司最新的型号是Reader 700,价格400美元,配备背光和触摸屏,允许使用者在阅读时做笔记。Steve Haber说,Sony本季的销售量是去年的3倍,部分原因是这个设备如今在美国的主要书店中都有出售。他说,自从2006年,Sony开始发售这个产品的第一个型号以来,已经累计出售了30多万台。

It is difficult to quantify the success of the Kindle, since Amazon will not disclose how many it has sold and analysts' estimates vary widely. Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex Group, a book market research company, said he believed Amazon had sold as many as 260,000 units through the beginning of October, before Ms. Winfrey's endorsement. Others say the number could be as high as a million.

目前,外界不知道Kindle的销售量是多少,Amazon对此保密。分析师的估计差别很大。有人相信,在10月份Oprah Winfrey开始推荐之前,已经卖出了26万台。其他人则说,数字可能高达100万。

Many Kindle buyers appear to be outside the usual gadget-hound demographic. Almost as many women as men are buying it, Mr. Hildick-Smith said, and the device is most popular among 55- to 64-year-olds.

许多Kindle的买家,看上去不属于传统的电子产品爱好者。购买者中,男女比例几乎相等。有分析师称,该设备在55-64岁人群中最流行。

So far, publishers like HarperCollins, Random House and Simon & Schuster say that sales of e-books for any device -- including simple laptop downloads -- constitute less than 1 percent of total book sales. But there are signs of momentum. The publishers say sales of e-books have tripled or quadrupled in the last year.

目前,美国主要的各大出版公司说,电子书籍的销售量(包括所有平台)不足总销售量的1%。但是,有强烈的上升迹象。去年一年电子书的销售量翻了3~4倍。

Amazon's Kindle version of "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" by David Wroblewski, a best seller recommended by Ms. Winfrey's book club, now represents 20 percent of total Amazon sales of the book, according to Brian Murray, chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide.

Oprah Winfrey在节目中推荐的"The Story of Edgar Sawtelle"一书,是电子书的销售冠军。有人透露,占到Amazon电子书总销售量的20%。

The Kindle version of the book, which can be downloaded by the device itself through its wireless modem, costs $9.99 in the Amazon Kindle store. The Reader version costs $11.99 from Sony's e-book library, accessible from an Internet-connected computer.

该书可以通过无线网络,直接下载到Kindle上,价格是9.99美元。该书在Sony阅读器上的版本,售价是11.99美元,并且需要通过PC传输到阅读器上。

Even authors who were once wary of selling their work in bits and bytes are coming around. After some initial hesitation, authors like Danielle Steel and John Grisham are soon expected to add their titles to the e-book catalog, their agents say.

许多作者也注意到了这个趋势。在初期的观望之后,很多人都开始同意,将自己的作品做成电子版,在网上出售。

"E-books will become the go-to-first format for an ever-expanding group of readers who are newly discovering how much they enjoy reading books on a screen," said Markus Dohle, chief executive of Random House, the world's largest publisher of consumer books.

"许多人最近才发现,在屏幕上读书也是一件很享受的事。他们的人数正在不断增长。电子书将成为他们的首选。"世界最大的普通书籍出版商----兰登书屋的首席执行长Markus Dohle说。

Nobody knows how much consumer habits will shift. Some of the most committed bibliophiles maintain an almost fetishistic devotion to the physical book. But the technology may have more appeal for particular kinds of people, like those who are the heaviest readers.

没有人知道,多少人会改变自己的阅读习惯。一些最热诚的藏书家,对于实体书籍,有着一种近于迷信的热爱。但是技术的发展,对于另一些人的吸引力正变得越来越大。

At Harlequin Enterprises, the Toronto-based publisher of bodice-ripping romances, Malle Vallik, director for digital content and interactivity, said she expected sales of digital versions of the company's books someday to match or potentially outstrip sales in print.

加拿大的一家爱情小说出版商认为,电子版的销售量总有一天会超过印刷版。

Harlequin, which publishes 120 books a month, makes all of its new titles available digitally, and has even started publishing digital-only short stories that it sells for $2.99 each, including an erotica collection called Spice Briefs.

该出版商每月出版120个品种,现在所有品种都有电子版。并且,一些短篇小说只有电子版出售,每篇的售价是2.99美元。

Perhaps the most overlooked boost to e-books this year -- and a challenge to some of the standard thinking about them -- came from Apple's do-it-all gadget, the iPhone.

不过,今年电子书市场最被忽视的潮流,和对传统思维最大的挑战,来自Apple公司的万能小玩意----iPhone。

Several e-book-reading programs have been created for the device, and at least two of them, Stanza from LexCycle and the eReader from Fictionwise, have been downloaded more than 600,000 times. Another company, Scroll Motion, announced this week that it would begin selling e-books for the iPhone from major publishers like Simon & Schuster, Random House and Penguin.

已经有一些专门针对iPhone的电子书阅读程序,发布出来了。其中的Stanza和eReader的下载量,超过了60万次。Scroll Motion公司则宣布,本周起将提供主要出版商新书的iPhone版本。

All of these companies say they are now tailoring their software for other kinds of smartphones, including BlackBerrys.

所有这些公司都说,他们的软件可以为任何品牌的智能电话定制,包括黑莓。

Publishers say these iPhone applications are already starting to generate nearly as many digital book sales as the Sony Reader, though they still trail sales of books in the Kindle format.

出版商说,书籍的iPhone版同Sony Reader版的销售,已经几乎相同。虽然,两者都还远远落后于Kindle版。

Meanwhile, the quest to build the perfect e-book reader continues. Amazon and Sony are expected to introduce new versions of their readers in 2009. Adherents expect the new Kindle will have a sleeker design and a better microprocessor, allowing snappier page-turning.

与此同时,制造更完美的电子书阅读器的尝试,还在不断进行。2009年,Amazon和Sony都会发布各自阅读器的新版本。支持者预期,新版Kindle将变得更薄,处理器的主频将更高,翻页速度将更快。

Mr. Haber of Sony said future versions of the Reader will have wireless capability, a feature that has helped make the Kindle so appealing. This means that the device does not have to be plugged into a computer to download books, newspapers and magazines.

Sony公司阅读器的下一个版本,可能会配备无线上网。正是这个功能,使得Kindle变得很吸引人。有了它,阅读器不用连在电脑,也能下载书籍、报纸和杂志。

Other competitors are on the way. Investors have put more than $200 million into Plastic Logic, a company in Mountain View, Calif. The company says that next year it will begin testing a flexible 8.5-by-11-inch reading device that is thinner and lighter than existing ones. Plastic Logic plans to begin selling it in 2010.

其他的厂商也在追赶中。投资者已经给加州的Plastic Logic公司投入了2亿美元。该公司说,明年将开始试验一种8.5*11英寸、可弯曲的阅读设备。它比现有设备更薄更亮。Plastic Logic计划在2010年销售该产品。

Along the same lines, Polymer Vision, based in the Netherlands, demonstrated a device the size of a BlackBerry that has a five-inch rolled-up screen that can be unfurled for reading. There are also less ambitious but cheaper readers on the market or expected soon, including the eSlick Reader from Foxit Software, arriving next month at an introductory price of $230.

荷兰的Polymer Vision公司,也宣布了类似的可卷曲的阅读设备,屏幕为5英寸左右。另一些公司则准备提供更便宜的产品,Foxit软件公司将在2009年发售Eslick阅读器,价格为230美元。

E Ink, the company in Cambridge, Mass., that has developed the screen technology for many of these companies, says it is testing color screens and hopes to introduce them by 2010.

E Ink公司开发的电子墨水屏幕,正在被上述这些公司使用。该公司说,正在试验彩色屏幕,希望2010年前投入市场。

Many book lovers are quite happy with today's devices. MaryAnn van Hengel, 51, a graphic designer in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., once railed against e-readers at a meeting of her book club. But she embraced the Kindle her husband gave her this fall shortly after Ms. Winfrey endorsed it.

许多书籍爱好者,很喜欢现在的这些设备。51岁的纽约图形设计师MaryAnn van Hengel,一度非常反感在电子屏幕上读书。但是,今年秋天,丈夫送给她一台Kindle后,她开始改变看法了。

Ms. Van Hengel now has several books on the device, including a Nora Roberts novel and Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals." She said the Kindle had spurred her to buy more books than she normally would in print.

她说,Kindle使得她去购买更多的书。如果读印刷版,她不会买那么多书。

"I may be shy bringing the Kindle to the book club because so many of the women were so against the technology, and I said I was too," Ms. Van Hengel said. "And here I am in love with it."

"当我参加读书聚会时,我会不好意思将Kindle拿出来。因为其他女性对新技术很反感。我说我以前也是这样,"Van Hengel夫人说。"但是,现在我爱上了新技术。"

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