The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 21, May 24, 2009, Article 18


Roger Siboni writes:
I have been enjoying the Kindle thread amongst the many others and I have to initially say that I am quite torn about it. As I am very involved in the technology industry from a work perspective, I am addicted to the latest, whizziest, toys out there. And yet as a Bibliophile and Grolier Club Member, I cherish "the Book". I guess there is a world where the Kindle and the Book co-exist for at least a while, but I hate to see the book relegated to simply a decorative collectible over time.

And on the subject of technology and the E-Sylum, I found myself in a hotel room in Los Angeles not too long ago with my MacBookAir and no wireless internet. I ended up reading the Sunday night E-Sylum on my iPhone.

Tim L. Shuck writes:
The Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader are fascinating, but for those of us who work daily on full-color computer displays the lack of color on these ebooks has provided a convenient excuse not to spend money on yet another gadget. I understand that those who mainly read books or newspapers on these devices may not need or want color, but I think color is mandatory if we are ever to have those bulky full-color auction catalogs and numismatic books available in digital format.

Digital color catalogs may not be available soon, but apparently the color readers will be. Several websites, among them, have had recent articles about the new Fujitsu Flepia, a color ebook apparently still being tested. From the Wired website: [ ]

"Fujitsuís Flepia, the color e-book last seen in testing at an upscale Tokyo restaurant, is now available to buy. Donít get too excited though ó even if youíre in Japan, where the Flepia is on sale, it will cost you a whopping •99,750, or just over $1000. You get a lot for your money, though. The reader has a an 8" screen which displays 260,000 colors, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (b and g), a mini USB port and, most important of all, a touch screen (although it comes with a stylus so we expect that it is a resistive touch screen, not capacitive like the iPhone.)

This is completed by a soft, on-screen keyboard (just like the Kindle should have) and a battery life of 40 hours (continuos use ó Fujitsu says 2400 page turns). Books are stored on an SD card and can be bought from the online bookstore Papyless.

Curiously, the Flepia seems to be a kind of tablet/e-book hybrid. Along with the book reading software, the device comes loaded with Windows CE 5, meaning support for e-mail, spreadsheets, web browsing and the like. If you view this as a low powered, long life computer instead of a color e-book reader, it starts to look less expensive. The Flepia will start shipping on April 20th."

Second, some thoughts regarding the online Breen Complete Encyclopedia. I am mystified by comments from a few people (exemplified by Susan Headley's statement "Why anybody would want to deprive coin collectors of this wonderful resource is beyond me") that imply the copyright holder to that work should simply give up that ownership. Certainly Escala/ Bowers and Merena could choose that path, but there is no ethical obligation for them to do so.

I own and frequently use the Complete Encyclopedia, but it is a big book. I wouldn't mind having a digital version as well, but this first iteration did not meet my expectations. While researching for a recent description of the Indian Head quarter eagle I wrote for CoinLink I noticed that the designer was in one place listed as "Dela Lyon Pratt", rather than correctly as "Bela Lyon Pratt". There were other text anomalies as well, leading me to believe that the text was scanned, run through word-recognition software, and then not completely proofed (admittedly a big job). I also missed the pagination of the original work but that is perhaps a minor issue.

I don't mean to be overly critical but if this book is to be available digitally there are better ways in my opinion to do so without compromising the original text integrity. Krause has made their Standard Catalog of World Coins available in digital format for a price significantly less than the current asking price of Breen's work; and, beating a familiar drum, it's in pdf, a standard digital format. I would like to see the Complete Encyclopedia available both digitally and in print format, and I would (and did for the print version) pay to own a copy.

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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