Vexing electronic text, displays you can flex highlight another Net Notes

Thoughts on electronic publishing; an alternative way to read; and new ultrathin flexible displays fill this edition of reader-contributed Net Notes.

Richard Tompkins suggests combining print and audio versions of books to make purchasing a title more appealing. He writes: "I've occasionally seen some things of interest in a form that could be read on a pixel display, and in every case the price was exorbitant. If an audio version and a text version were combined, it might be more attractive.

"This is the very, very basic fact of reality that the music guys don't get. Charging nearly the price of a live performance for a CD stuffed with trash cuts, just to get one good song, and get it in digital form that costs pennies to produce and distribute doesn't compute to the kids in the market. It's the machinery to play that digital version that costs a lot of money but that hard fact is ignored by the moguls."

Ralph Linder's frustrations are with a pair of devices he's tried to use for portable electronic files, including books. He writes: "The Sony PRS 500 is displaywise, a superior product. The gray-scale pictures are phenomenal. Unfortunately, in spite of what the literature says, it is a disaster if you want to load or import your own .pdf (portable document format) files.

"Many people have tried to do this and quit in absolute frustration. This means you are forced to purchase books from Sony and only Sony. If they don't have it, you are not going to get it."

Linder said he's looking for users of the Palm TX device, which he's also tried to use for portable documents. E-mail me if you have experience with this device and I'll put you in touch with Linder.

DeEtte Greene is an audiobook fan. She writes: "I like to physically read books, but I also like to be able to "read" books on the go. To do this all you need is an MP3 player that has bookmarks."

Greene uses the Zen Micro Photo by Creative. She downloads eAudio books from library sites and also converts books on compact disc into MP3 format and stores them on her computer.

"It's a really cool way to listen in the car or while doing housework, in the park with the grandkids or at a ball game," she said.

Sony Corp. last week announced it has developed a 2.5-inch display that is 0.3 millimeters, or 0.01 inch, thick. The display is bendable when held in a hand, but the company hasn't decided on which commercial products it will be used, a story by The Associated Press said.

A comment on the technology news site TGDaily ( points to an earlier rendition of the razor-thin display: "Nothing new really ... I went to this site like a little over a year ago:

The Polymer Vision site features rollable displays for use in pocketable devices.

This is only the beginning.

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