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电子书--全新阅读体验

时间:2010-09-01 14:50来源:未知 作者:admin 点击:

步研究显示,拥有电子阅读器的人,其阅读时间和过去相比有所增加。



Radim Malnic

据 营销和研究资源公司(Marketing and Research Resources Inc.)一项针对1200名电子阅读器拥有者的调查显示,同此前阅读传统印刷书籍相比,40%的人阅读时间明显增加;58%的受访者表示他们的阅读时间 没有变化;仅有2%的人表示阅读时间比以前减少。今年五月份开展的此项调查由电子阅读器制造商索尼公司(Sony Corp.)出资,调查的对象是三类电子阅读器的用户:亚马逊公司(Amazon.com Inc.)的Kindle,苹果公司(Apple Inc.)的iPad以及索尼公司的电子阅读器。调查显示,55%的受访者在未来会利用电子阅读器阅读更多的书籍。

尽管电子阅读器仍然是 一个小众产品,刚刚开始从尝鲜者那里向外扩散,但是这种全新的阅读体验着实改变了美国人不爱看书的坏习惯。国家艺术基金会(National Endowment for the Arts)2007年公布的一份研究报告引起了一时的轰动。报告显示,美国人的阅读时间不断减少,约有一半的年轻人(年龄在18至24岁)完全没有阅读兴 趣。

市场研究公司Forrester Research估计,到今年9月底,约有1100万美国人有望拥有至少一个电子阅读器。据美国出版商协会(Association of American Publishers)的数据,与去年同期相比,今年上半年美国电子书的销量增加了183%。

在那些尝鲜者看来,电子书的出现并没有取代他们原有的阅读习惯,只不过增加了一种阅读方式。而据最大的电子书销售商亚马逊公司透露,客户在购买了Kindle之后,购书量是原来的3.3倍。去年,随着Kindle的降价,电子书的销量明显上升。

然 而现在就宣称这股势头能够延续还为时过早:谁也不敢预料当消费者的新鲜劲过去之后,这类产品进入大众市场会有什么样的表现。但由于电子书的便携性很强,消 费者普遍反映他们的阅读时间明显增加。有时在不方便阅读印刷书籍的时候,阅读电子书成了一种替代。比如,在等候就诊时在智能手机上阅读电子书口躺在浴缸泡 澡时用套着防水保护袋的Kindle享受悠闲的阅读时光口或者将索尼阅读器的字体调到最大,在跑步机上边跑边看。而在通勤者看来,电子阅读器已开始赶上黑 莓,成为搭乘火车和巴士时最好的伴侣。

34岁的莱斯利·约翰逊(Leslie Johnson)是纽约州奥尔巴尼(Albany)的一位工程师,自从去年得到一部Kindle之后,她发觉自己的阅读时间明显增加,而阅读的地点也越来 越不固定,有时甚至是在皮艇上。在最近的一次旅行中,她在丈夫钓鱼的时候完全沉浸在一部科幻小说中。她说,“我给我的Kindle套上了防水膜。”

神秘和惊悚作家迈克尔·康纳利(Michael Connelly)则表示,尽管他仍然阅读印刷书籍(他从出版商那里免费得到很多样书),但他的三个电子阅读器(Kindle口索尼和iPad)中已存有大约30本电子书。

“印刷书籍是我永远的挚爱。”康奈利说,但是,“我对新鲜事物也很感兴趣。电子书是有生命力的。”他又补充道:“它有一个独特的优势,一个阅读器就能收纳很多书。我经常旅行,因此我很在意随身携带物品的重量。”

而在上世纪90年代推出的第一代商用电子书则以失败告终。当时的消费者习惯于在计算机上或小小的手机屏幕上阅读电子书。

今 年夏天早些时候,雅各布·尼尔森(Jakob Nielsen)招募了32名志愿者进行了一项实验。尼尔森是硅谷的一名研究员,二十多年来一直致力于人类和技术互动的研究,目前和苹果公司前研究员唐纳 德·诺曼(Donald Norman)共同经营一家名为尼尔森·诺曼集团(Nielsen Norman Group)的研究机构。。在实验中,他要求实验对象在印刷图书口iPad和Kindle三种介质上阅读海明威(Ernest Hemingway)的短篇小说,尼尔森为他们计时。结果发现,同一篇小说,以花在印刷书籍上的时间为基准,测试人员在iPad上所花的时间多了 6.2%,在Kindle上花的时间则多了10.7%。不过从统计学的角度来看,后两者之间的差别不大。尼尔森猜测,阅读速度降低,恐怕和电子阅读器的屏 幕同纸张相比仍然不够清晰有关。

尼尔森说,“同计算机相比,这两种电子设备都带给你一种更为放松的阅读体验。”

亚马逊公 司的首席执行长杰夫·贝佐斯(Jeff Bezos)在谈及Kindle的设计理念时,说他打算研发一种设备可以让人们长时间地保持阅读兴趣,而不只是一般性的浏览。 他在最近的一次采访中说道,“设计的关键在于让读者忽视阅读器的存在,完全进入作者的世界。对我来说,最糟糕的就是当我沉溺于阅读之际,手中的电子书突然 发出声响。”

电子阅读器的出现似乎缩小了男女之间在阅读量上的差距。据图书产业研究集团(Book Industry Study Group Inc.)发布的一项研究显示,在电子书的购买量上,男性以微弱的优势赢过女性。电子书的消费者中,男性占52%,女性占48%。这刚好和印刷书籍的购买 情况相反:在那个领域,女性的购买量更大。

电子阅读器用户表示,手中的电子书有52%是自己购买的,48%是免费获得的:或是出版商赠送的样书,或是版权已经过期的书籍。

图书馆也扩展了服务,读者可以通过网络借阅电子书。借阅期到了之后,图书会自动锁定,无法阅读。据美国图书馆协会(American Library Association)透露,66%的图书馆提供电子书借阅服务,在2005年,这一数字仅为38%。

Overdrive 公司为1.1万家图书馆提供电子书借阅服务,根据他们的数据,各图书馆最受欢迎的成人小说类电子书是斯泰格·拉尔森(Stieg Larsson)的畅销书《龙纹身的女孩》(The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)。而据最大的网络书店亚马逊公司的数据,拉尔森的书同样排在了电子书畅销榜的榜首。

当然,电子书还是无法再现印刷书籍的某 些阅读体验。比如,想要将手中的电子书借给朋友并不容易,因为书中装有电子锁。不过没有版权保护的免费书籍在网上流传的速度倒是比以前快了很多。开放的出 版和阅读网站Scribd.com表示,网站每月的图书和文件的共享频率高达一千万次左右。

无法显示页码则是困扰电子书的另一个问题。在 虚拟页面上,每页呈现的字数取决于屏幕的大小和字体类型。在有些人看来,页码可能已经过时,但对于那些读书俱乐部的成员或是课堂上的学生来说,页码则是确 保大家步调一致的重要工具。没有页码也意味着你无法跳过某些章节偷看一下故事的结局。多数电子阅读器通过显示百分比进度来取代页码。

当然,科技的进步也带来了一系列在印刷书籍上无法实现的新功能。儿童作家林利口多德(Lynley Dodd)为她的《毛毛狗》(Hairy Maclary)系列儿童读物推出了iPad应用程序。这个程序允许父母或孩子在朗读故事时录音,并允许孩子们给书中的插图上色。

读 者还可以一手握住阅读器,一手翻页。还有一些读者为那种只要按几下按钮就可以变成大开本图书的阅读器而欢呼。像iPad这种带有背光功能的阅读器即便在熄 灯时也能正常使用。而多数在线书店提供的免费试读章节可以让读者心中有数地挑选书籍,不会出现抱了一本400页的大部头回家才发现书中的内容并非心头所爱 的情况。

但是,印刷书籍也有其无法比拟的优势:在飞机起降时,不必像电子书那样必须收起。长居华盛顿州贝灵汉(Bellingham)的 作家杰米·麦肯齐(Jamie McKenzie)在最近一次飞往西雅图(Seattle)的旅程中就感受到了这一点。他说当自己看到邻座的旅伴在飞机准备起飞前不得不关闭Kindle 时,他感到了一丝优越感。

“这家伙可能坐拥万卷书,可是当时能继续读书的是我而不是他。”这位64岁的作家说道。

People who buy e-readers tend to spend more time than ever with their nose in a book, preliminary research shows.

A study of 1,200 e-reader owners by Marketing and Research Resources Inc. found that 40% said they now read more than they did with print books. Of those surveyed, 58% said they read about the same as before while 2% said they read less than before. And 55% of the respondents in the May study, paid for by e-reader maker Sony Corp., thought they'd use the device to read even more books in the future. The study looked at owners of three devices: Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle, Apple Inc.'s iPad and the Sony Reader.

While e-readers are still a niche product just beginning to spread beyond early adopters, these new reading experiences are a big departure from the direction U.S. reading habits have been heading. A 2007 study by the National Endowment for the Arts caused a furor when it reported Americans are spending less time reading books. About half of all Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books for pleasure, it found.

Some 11 million Americans are expected to own at least one digital reading gadget by the end of September, estimates Forrester Research. U.S. e-book sales grew 183% in the first half of this year compared with the year-earlier period, according to the Association of American Publishers.

Among early adopters, e-books aren't replacing their old book habits, but adding to them. Amazon, the biggest seller of e-books, says its customers buy 3.3 times as many books after buying a Kindle, a figure that has accelerated in the past year as prices for the device fell.

It's too early to tell the reading lift will sustain after the novelty of the gadgets wears off, and the devices go mass market. But because e-book gadgets are portable, people report they're reading more and at times when a book isn't normally an option: on a smartphone in the doctor's waiting room; through a Ziploc-bag-clad Kindle in a hot tub, or on a treadmill with a Sony Reader's fonts set to jumbo. Among commuters, e-readers are starting to catch up with BlackBerrys as the preferred companions on trains and buses.

Since getting her Kindle last year, Leslie Johnson has been reading more often and in more places -- like on a kayak. On a recent trip, the 34-year-old engineer from Albany, N.Y., settled into a science-fiction novel while her husband fished. 'I put it in a waterproof cover,' she says.

Mystery and thriller author Michael Connelly says he has about 30 e-books on his Kindle, Sony Reader and iPad, though he also still reads print books because he gets so many samples from his publisher.

'I will never stop loving the printed book,' Mr. Connelly says. Yet, 'I am very interested in this world. E-books are here to stay.' He adds, 'There is the advantage of being able to carry multiple things. I travel a lot -- believe me, I notice the weight.'

The first consumer e-books, which were released in the 1990s, failed to catch on among consumers who were stuck reading them on computers or tiny cellphone screens.

Earlier this summer, Jakob Nielsen, a Silicon Valley researcher who has studied how people interact with technology for more than two decades, recruited 32 volunteers and asked them to read short stories by Ernest Hemingway in print, on an iPad and the Kindle. Mr. Nielsen timed how long it took them to read a story on each device. Compared with print, iPad readers were 6.2% slower and Kindle readers were 10.7% slower, though the difference between the iPad and Kindle results wasn't statistically significant. Mr. Nielsen suspects the slowdown is caused by the screen technology in the devices, which is still less sharp than print.

'Both devices give you a more relaxed feeling as opposed to a computer,' said Mr. Nielsen, who runs research firm Nielsen Norman Group along with former Apple researcher Donald Norman.

In creating the Kindle, Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive, says he set out to develop technology that could encourage long-form reading, instead of just snippets.

'Everything is about getting the device to disappear so that you can enter the author's world,' he said in a recent interview. 'A nightmare scenario for me would be if this device would ever beep at me while I'm reading.'

E-readers also appear to be narrowing the gap in how men and women read. A study, released this month by the Book Industry Study Group Inc. found that men are bigger consumers of e-books than women by a narrow margin. Among e-book buyers, 52% were men compared with 48% for women -- a reversal of print books, where women buy more.

E-reader users also say that 52% of their e-books were ones they purchased, while 48% of their e-books were free because they were sample giveaways or out-of-copyright.

Libraries are expanding services that let patrons virtually 'check out' an e-book through the Internet, with e-book files that automatically lock down after the end of the loan period. According to the American Library Association, 66% of libraries offered e-book loans, up from just 38% in 2005.
The most checked-out adult fiction e-book at libraries is Stieg Larsson's bestseller, 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,' according to Overdrive, a company that provides e-book loans for more than 11,000 libraries. The same is true at Amazon, the largest e-bookstore online, where Mr. Larsson also tops e-book bestseller lists.

There are some aspects of reading a print book that e-readers still haven't been able to re-create. Digital locks on e-books make it harder to lend a book to a friend, though free works are being shared much more rapidly online than ever before. Scribd.com, a social publishing and reading website, is used to share books and documents about 10 million times each month, the company says.
Page numbers are a problem for e-books, since the number of words on a virtual page depends on the size of the screen and type. Pages may be antiquated, but they're very helpful for making sure reading-club participants or students in a classroom are all on the same page. No page numbers also means there's no skipping ahead to sneak a peek at a page near the end of a book. Most e-readers have tried to replace page numbers by showing the percentage of the book read.

Technology has brought a range of features to books that wouldn't be possible in print. Children's author Lynley Dodd sells a title from her 'Hairy Maclary' series as an app for the iPad. It lets parents or kids record themselves reading the book aloud, and a paint function lets kids color the original drawings themselves.

With an e-reader, readers can hold and turn pages with just one hand. Some readers hail how the devices can become large-type books with the click of a few buttons -- and back-lit devices like the iPad work in bed even when the lights are off. Free sample chapters, common on most online stores, make it easier to try out -- and potentially give up on -- books before committing to a 400-page tome.

But paper pages do have one benefit that electronic devices don't have: They don't need to be put away during takeoff and landing on airplanes. On a recent trip to Seattle, 64-year-old Jamie McKenzie, a Bellingham, Wash.-based writer, said he felt a sense of superiority when his seatmate was asked to turn off his Kindle to prepare for takeoff.

'That guy may have had access to 10,000 books, but I was the one who was able to keep reading,' he says.

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