Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

0909 Buying Electronic Books

访问量:
Complete Transcript

Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 909 – Buying Electronic Books.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 909. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is ESLPod.com. Go there and become a member of ESL Podcast.

This episode is a dialogue between Kindo and Nookie about buying electronic books. Let's get started.

[start of dialog]

Kindo: What’s that?

Nookie: It’s my new e-book reader. I’m just downloading some new books onto it.

Kindo: I haven’t bought one yet. I’m old school. I still prefer a printed book.

Nookie: But if you haven’t tried it yet, how do you know you wouldn’t like it better? This e-book reader can store over 10,000 digital books and it’s easily portable. Imagine trying to carry an entire library from place to place.

Kindo: I don’t usually read 10,000 books all at once and I hear that there are a lot of incompatible formats out there. Each company is trying to edge out the others by establishing their format as the format. I think I’ll just wait until the dust settles.

Nookie: The different formats aren’t that big a deal. You can easily convert a book in one format to another.

Kindo: I like the look of text on a printed page.

Nookie: You mean that faded text on that yellowed page? On an e-book reader, you can adjust the text size, font, and even line spacing.

Kindo: Can I get all of the out-of-print books on my shelves in digital format?

Nookie: Well, I’m not sure.

Kindo: Until I can, I’ll stick to my low-tech books.

[end of dialog]

We begin the dialog with “Kindo” (his real name!) asking “Nookie,” which perhaps is a nickname, “What's that?” Nookie says, “It's my new e-book reader.” An e-book reader is a small electronic device, usually that you can hold in your hands, that has electronic books. Examples would be the Kindle, the Nook, the iPad, using the iBook software – all of these would be current examples of e-book readers, although the iPad is more than an e-book reader. That's what Nookie has.

Hey, maybe Nookie is related to “Nook” and “Kindo” is related to Kindle. Ahh…see, our Dr. Tse is very clever!

Anyway, Nookie says, “I'm just downloading some new books on to it.” “To download” means to transfer information from the Internet to your computer, or your phone, or whatever it is that you have. Nookie is downloading some books onto the new device. Kindo says, “I haven't bought one yet. I'm old school. I still prefer a printed book.” The expression “old school” means old-fashioned, preferring things from a long time ago. This is also a very common expression nowadays, when people are talking about the way they may do things. They may do them the way they used to be done many years ago, or it could be used to describe, as I think was one of the original uses, music. “I like old-school music from the 70’s and the 80’s.”

In our dialog, Kindo is “old school.” He says he prefers a “printed book.” A “printed book” would be a book on physical paper. The idea is that he likes doing things the way we used to do them. Nookie says, “But if you haven't tried it yet, how do you know you won't like it better? This e-book reader can store over 10,000 digital books.” “To store” (store) here, as a verb, means to keep something so that you can use it in the future. For electronics, for computers, “to store” means to have something on your permanent memory in your computer.

“Digital” (digital) refers to electronic information – things that are stored on the hard drive of a computer, for example, things that are stored typically in what is called “binary (binary) code” – with zeros and ones. Nookie says that her e-book reader can store over 10,000 digital books and it's “easily portable.” “To be portable” (portable) means that you can move it from one place to another. You can pick it up and move it to another place without any difficulty. Nookie says, “Imagine” – or try to imagine, try to think about – “trying to carry an entire library from place to place.” Nookie is saying that the e-book reader that she has is like having an entire library in your pocket, an entire library that you can carry from one place to another.

Kindo says, “I don't usually read 10,000 books all at once,” meaning I don't read 10,000 books at the same time. So, Kindo is suggesting here, perhaps, that's not such a big advantage. He also says that there are a lot of “incompatible formats” out there. “To be incompatible” (incompatible) means that you are not able to get along with, or you are not able to use one thing with another. When we talk about physical things, “incompatible” means that you can't use this thing with that thing. “Format” just refers to the way that a certain piece of information, in this case, an electronic book, is created and stored. It's the form that that particular piece of information takes. So, for example, if you have a Kindle e-reader, you use something called .MOBI, or least that's one of the formats that can be used. Microsoft Word is another format. PDF is a format. These are ways of transmitting information.

If you have “incompatible formats,” you have a file, an electronic piece of information, that can't be used with certain things. They're incompatible. They can't be used together. So, Kindo says that “Each company is trying to edge out the others by establishing their format as the format.” “To edge (edge) out” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to try to push someone else out of a competition or to eliminate someone from a certain competition. In this case, it's the competition for consumers. “One company edges out another” is another way of saying one company is more successful than the other. One company is able to be the number one company in that particular area. In this case, we're talking about e-book readers.

Kindo says that “Each company is trying to edge out the others” – the other companies – “by establishing” – or by creating and trying to get other people to follow – “their format as the format,” meaning the only one that people should use. Kindo says, “I think I'll just wait until the dust settles.” “To wait until the dust settles” means that you have a situation where things are changing very quickly and they're going to continue to change, so that it doesn't make any sense for you to try to make a decision now. Just wait until things calm down. Wait until all of the changes are completed and then you can decide what to do. That's what Kindo is recommending. He’s going to wait until the “dust settles,” wait until we know which format of e-books will be the winner in this competition.

Nookie says, “The different formats aren't that big a deal.” They’re not that important. “You can easily convert a book in one format to another,” or another format. “To convert” means to change something so that you transform it in some way so as to allow you to use it, in this case, on a different e-reader.

But Kindo says, “I like the look of text” – or printed words – “on a printed page,” on paper page. Nookie says, “You mean that faded text on that yellowed page?” When text, when printed words on a piece of paper, become “faded,” they’re more difficult to see. They’re more difficult to read. Over time, of course, if you have something in the sun or out in the rain and then later you try to read it, it might be more difficult because the text has faded. It is no longer the same easy to see color that it used to be.

“Yellowed” simply means changing in color from, in this case, white paper to slightly yellow paper. You know how you have an old book and you open it up and it might be 50 years old? Sometimes you'll see that the paper has become a different color, like a yellow color. That's where this word “yellowed” comes from, as an adjective – a page that is yellow.

Nookie says, “On an e-book reader, you can adjust the text size, font, and even line spacing.” Nookie is giving the advantages of an e-book reader. She's saying you can adjust the “text size” – that's how big the letters are - “the font” – that's the form of the letter. There are different fonts you can use – and “line spacing.” “Line spacing” is the amount of space between one line of text and another line of text.

Kindo says, “Can I get all of the out-of-print books on my shelves in digital format?” Books that are “out-of-print” are books that are no longer being made, books that you can no longer buy new. “Out-of-print books” are books the companies have stopped printing, have stopped making.

Kindo asked Nookie a good question, whether the books that he owns that are out-of-print are available for an e-reader, are available in electronic format, or as he says, a “digital format.” Nookie says, “Well, I'm not sure.” Kindo says, “Until I can” – meaning until I am able to read all of my old books on an e-book reader” – I'll stick to” – or I will stay with – “my low-tech books.” “Low (low) – tech (tech)” is a term referring to “low technology” – technology that is very old, that is very simple, that has, perhaps been around for a long time. If you think of books, paper books, as a type of technology, then we’re talking about “low-tech,” something that doesn't require electronics or computers or anything like that. The opposite of low-tech would be “hi-tech.” “Hi-tech” would be the most sophisticated, advanced computers and other electronic equipment that are now available.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialog]

Kindo: What’s that?

Nookie: It’s my new e-book reader. I’m just downloading some new books onto it.

Kindo: I haven’t bought one yet. I’m old school. I still prefer a printed book.

Nookie: But if you haven’t tried it yet, how do you know you wouldn’t like it better? This e-book reader can store over 10,000 digital books and it’s easily portable. Imagine trying to carry an entire library from place to place.

Kindo: I don’t usually read 10,000 books all at once and I hear that there are a lot of incompatible formats out there. Each company is trying to edge out the others by establishing their format as the format. I think I’ll just wait until the dust settles.

Nookie: The different formats aren’t that big a deal. You can easily convert a book in one format to another.

Kindo: I like the look of text on a printed page.

Nookie: You mean that faded text on that yellowed page? On an e-book reader, you can adjust the text size, font, and even line spacing.

Kindo: Can I get all of the out-of-print books on my shelves in digital format?

Nookie: Well, I’m not sure.

Kindo: Until I can, I’ll stick to my low-tech books.

[end of dialog]

She edges out all other scriptwriters on the Internet by her wonderful scripts. Thank you, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2013 by the Center for Educational Development.

Web Fiction

“Web fiction” describes a type of literature that is available only online—not “in print” (as a physical book or magazine and not as an ebook. Web fiction is most often published as a “serial” (a story made of many parts, each published at a different time). The individual “installments” (parts of a story) are rarely “compiled into” (put together as a whole) a single publication like an ebook.

A lot of web fiction is “interactive” (involving the participation of others) and readers are invited to contribute to the story. One of the earliest and most popular pieces of web fiction was “The Spot,” which was published online from 1995 to 1997. “The Spot” was an online show with many actors, and some of their “characters” (the roles the actors were portraying) “kept” (regularly wrote in) online diaries. “Fans” (people who liked the story) could give advice to the characters for dealing with certain situations. And sometimes the viewers’ advice helped to “shape” (change the direction of) the “storyline” (plot).

Most of the web fiction serials use more than simple text to “convey” (communicate) their stories. For example, web fiction might use pop-up windows to provide additional information about characters, short video “clips” (excerpts from a longer video), and interactive maps.

Web fiction “spawned” (created; led to the development of) blogs, and web fiction fans continue to “innovate” (do new and creative things). For example, some web fiction serials are now shared via Twitter and Facebook rather than a simple, independent website.

Most authors don’t “make” (earn) much money with web fiction, although some of them use online “tip jars” (requests for donations) and advertising to try to cover the costs of maintaining their series.

Glossary
e-book reader – a small electronic device that can be held in one’s hands and that displays the content of books electronically on a screen

* How can I clean the fingerprints off of this e-book reader so that the text is easier to see?

to download – to transfer information from the Internet to a computer or a memory stick

* Does your bank let you download account statements from 10 years ago?

old school – old-fashioned, preferring older technology over new technology, liking the way things were done a long time ago

* Alberto has very old school manners, but they’re charming.

printed – with text or images displayed on a physical piece of paper, not electronically

* Should we buy printed business cards, even though all our contact information is at the bottom of our email messages?

to store – to keep something for future use, not deleting it or throwing it away

* The weather is getting warmer, so it’s time to store our winter clothes and boots in the basement.

digital – electronic and stored on a computer or memory stick, not physically printed

* We have thousands of digital photos, but we hardly ever look at them. We should print out the best ones and put them in a photo album.

portable – easily moved from one to another, not too big or heavy

* Modern smart phones are more like portable computers than simple telephones.

incompatible format – for the way a computer file is encoded (stored) to not be able to work together on two devices or technologies

* We can’t open these files because they’re in an incompatible format with this computer.

to edge out – to compete against someone and win; to push someone else out of a competition or out of a leading position

* Patents help inventors edge out people who want to copy their great ideas.

the dust settles – a description of the point in time when things calm down and a situation becomes more stable, no longer changing very quickly

* Clara is really upset with her boyfriend right now, but I think she’ll forgive him once the dust settles.

to convert – to transform something from one type to another

* Could you please convert this photograph from color to black-and-white?

text – written words

* The text in the manual was confused and difficult to understand.

faded – with faint colors that are not as bright as they once were and that are more difficult to see, usually because they have been exposed to bright sunlight for a long period of time

* How do museums prevent important artwork from becoming faded?

yellowed – having changed in color from white to a slightly yellow color, usually as a result of aging or exposure to cigarette smoke

* Karina’s teeth are yellowed, probably because she drinks so much coffee.

text size – the size of letters on a screen or on a piece of paper, especially when generated by a computer

* How can you read such a tiny text size without a magnifying glass?

font – the style of letters generated by a computer, such as Times New Roman, Arial, and Courier

* A font like Comic Sans looks playful, but it is more difficult to read than traditional fonts like Times New Roman.

line spacing – the distance between each line of text in a document

* Editors prefer for manuscripts to have a lot of line spacing so that they have room to write down their comments and edits.

out-of-print – no longer being produced or sold by a publisher, making it more difficult to find a copy of something

* There’s a used bookstore downtown that specializes in finding copies of out-of-print books.

low-tech – with simple, unsophisticated technology; not new or cutting-edge

* Why would I want a robot to clean my floors when I could just use a low-tech broom?

Comprehension Questions
1. Why does Nookie think e-book readers are a good option?
a) Because they’re easy to carry around.
b) Because they’re inexpensive.
c) Because they’re easy to use.

2. Someone who doesn’t see well might want to change:
a) The text size.
b) The font.
c) The line spacing.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to store

The verb “to store,” in this podcast, means to keep something for future use, not deleting it or throwing it away: “The company owns several warehouses where it stores products until retailers need them.” The phrase “in store for (someone)” means about to happen to someone, especially when talking about a problem that one deserves: “If he keeps talking to Heather that way, he has a nasty surprise in store for him!” The phrase “to set store by (something)” means to think that something is important: “Liam sets too much store by how much money he makes, and not enough by how much time he spends with his family.” Finally, the phrase “to go to the store” means to shop in a grocery store: “On your way home from work, could you please go to the store and pick up some eggs?”

faded

In this podcast, the word “faded” means with faint, muted colors that are not as bright as they once were and that are more difficult to see, usually because they have been exposed to bright sunlight for a long period of time: “The part of the couch right in front of the window has become a little faded.” The phrase “to fade away” means to slowly disappear: “The early success of their business is beginning to fade away.” The phrase “to fade away” can also mean to become sick or to approach death: “Ingrid is so thin, if she doesn’t start eating more soon I’m afraid she’ll fade away!” When talking about music or other types of sound, “to fade (in/out)” means to become louder/quieter or stronger/softer: “I love the way the guitar fades out at the end of that song.”

Culture Note
to store

The verb “to store,” in this podcast, means to keep something for future use, not deleting it or throwing it away: “The company owns several warehouses where it stores products until retailers need them.” The phrase “in store for (someone)” means about to happen to someone, especially when talking about a problem that one deserves: “If he keeps talking to Heather that way, he has a nasty surprise in store for him!” The phrase “to set store by (something)” means to think that something is important: “Liam sets too much store by how much money he makes, and not enough by how much time he spends with his family.” Finally, the phrase “to go to the store” means to shop in a grocery store: “On your way home from work, could you please go to the store and pick up some eggs?”

faded

In this podcast, the word “faded” means with faint, muted colors that are not as bright as they once were and that are more difficult to see, usually because they have been exposed to bright sunlight for a long period of time: “The part of the couch right in front of the window has become a little faded.” The phrase “to fade away” means to slowly disappear: “The early success of their business is beginning to fade away.” The phrase “to fade away” can also mean to become sick or to approach death: “Ingrid is so thin, if she doesn’t start eating more soon I’m afraid she’ll fade away!” When talking about music or other types of sound, “to fade (in/out)” means to become louder/quieter or stronger/softer: “I love the way the guitar fades out at the end of that song.”

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - a