Posted by Anon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Aug 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm
I have a Mac, I have an iPod, I have a iPad, all are very nice in terms of their design and hardware, but Apple is not perfect. iTunes can be very useful to sync all the data between the Mac and the portable devices, but is is a slow, ugly, over-complicated underperforming interface.
Comparing Apple iTunes to Amazon, Amazon has the much better selection, better prices, a better, more random-access web interface, better reviews of items, better selection of items, and much more. As innovative as Apple was with the Mouse and Window system in the 80s? it just does not seem to want to make their systems respond to people. One example is the continuation of the way you can only resize a Mac window from the lower right completely infuriates me every day about how much more effort it is to move and coordinate the mouse than on Window. Windows which I finally decided a few years ago I would not spend any more money on ever.
The experience of reading a book is sadly similar with both companies though. The Apple Reader's interface is flashy and cool, but I don't need the pages to flip while I'm reading, it is a slow annoyance.
On my iPad I use the Kindle client, but each client has its own annoyances. I find the Kindle client very good, almost perfect for reading on the iPad, but interacting with the page, like highlighting or taking notes is annoying. Also missing is the text-to-speech of the real Kindle.
Since I returned my Kindle after its trial period and did not keep it and I am positive that Amazon kept that text-to-speech capability, because some publishers said that legally Amazon did not own the performance rights to books and that "automatic text-to-speech is a performance." What can I say other than the law is an ass.
There are no page numbers in an e-book, often most of the do not have indexes, some, not many, are without a table of contents.
The point is that the e-book experience leaves a lot to be desired, innovative and convenient as it is. I would be sad to see Kepler's or Borders Books go. I love the author events Kepler's has, but they are not well publicized and their chairs are challenging, and sometimes Kepler's is very crowded. When I am there I always try to get something unless I cannot find something.
Borders has no author events that I have ever seen, but I like going there. Borders reminds me of the old Varsity theater that I used to go to when I was a kid. They did mangle the theater up pretty well, but they have a good selection of books and music and listening posts, at least they used to, have not been their lately. One reason is that the restrooms at Borders, at least the men's room, is one of the worst and should be infamous for being dirty, disgusting and malfunctioning in the whole Bay Area. I do not know how they find this acceptable to serve their customers.
The prices of books is high, but I will continue to pay them, but these stores have to offer us something for our money. There is still Books Inc, and they seem to be doing well despite they have the smallest locations and thus selections of anyone, have decent restrooms, and author events as well.
For books there is also the bad service, irritating music, high price at what used to the Tower Records and is now Rasputin Records. I cannot even bring myself to go in there, it is even worse than Tower Records was in terms of staff and loud annoying music, they have no restroom or author events and I think their prices are high even though they sell lots of used stuff.