Ebooks? Great to curl up with in a coffee shop or on the couch?

Reading at the thames

Thirdly, aside from the voting-with-your-feet side of things, it is just a really nice book to own in print. It is really well made, looks stunning and feels great to curl up with in a coffee shop or on the couch.

So in the last post about Jono Bacon's ebook he wrote a part about why people should still buy the book version. The last part was the quote above. This provided the perfect start for me to talk about the Sony Ebook reader I bought almost a month ago.

I love my ereader it operates very well and hasn't let me down not even once since I got it. Pull it out, switch it on and there you have it. Is this as fast as opening a book to the right page? Maybe not but its not far off. Reading in low light and sunlight is as good as a book and does it pass the coffee shop test. I was in starbucks waiting for someone and was engrossed in the pirates dilemma that I finised chapter 4 in the time it took to finish my slighly bitter grande americano. Anyway the point of this post isnt' to compare the two. Its more a look at the book industry and ebooks.

My friend Miles shot me a troubling smile when he first saw my Ereader. Then he accused me of supporting a unsustainable business model. The problem with ebooks is that they generally cost the same amount as the paper books themselves. This isn't right and I agree. Imagine if digital downloads cost the same as there physical versions. Buy a Film for 7 pounds as a DVD and also download the same for 7 pounds, it doesn't seem right does it. I mean come on it should be cheaper simply because there's no or low manufacturing, packaging or delivery. Worst still is the lack freedom attached to ebooks. So you pay more and can do less. This is a scandal, why would anyone get involved in this?

Well I'm not! Theres a serious problem with Ereaders or Ebook readers if you prefer. Since the Amazon kindle came out its boost the awareness of Ereaders but on the other hand everyone seems to think its the only kind/approach. The Sony Ereader is arguably a very different beast and moves in different circles. You can get involved in the Ebook scandal if you choose but you don't have to. There's plenty of ebooks available without adding to the unsustainable business model. So when is it going to change? Honestly I don't know but my thoughts is that it won't get any better paradoxically till more people buy Ereaders and reject the ebook stores. Like most things the black market will fill the demand till the book publishers get a clue or get the message. The Paradox is even stranger because there's little benefit to most people with ebooks. Yes size and weight but really most people don't care. Look at Ebooks on smartphones like the iphone, android, windows mobile, etc. Its all available now but no ones really going for it. This may change, in the same way music collection balloned over time and people started using there phones. But for most people even the most perfect density or size won't make any difference. Our relationship with books is radically different from other media. I don't quite know why but the scenario of curling up with a ebook still seems quite distant for most people including I'm somewhat sad to say myself.

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Is Intercultural competence needed in online dating?

Intercultural competence is the ability of successful communication with people of other cultures.

I love what the guys at OK Cupid do, they have a very interesting social dating site. But what makes it unique is the tests/quizes and the way it monitors every aspect of what you do across the site. Don't get me wrong I know other sites do this but OK Cupid is very playful about how it does it. Anyway for a while now, OK Cupid has been presenting a fascinating looks the habits, trends and behaviours of its participations via its blog called OkTrends.

I can point you to quite a few interesting trends (How Races and Religions Match in Online Dating) (Online Dating Advice: Exactly What To Say In A First Message) but the latest trend is a bombshell and has massive implications outside of the social grazing field of OKCupid.

The takeaway here is that although race shouldn’t matter in messaging, it does. A lot.

First of all, how do we know that race shouldn’t matter? Are we just making some after-school-special assumption that “true love is colorblind?” No, we’re not: we know race shouldn’t matter to replies because the races all match each other more or less evenly, and reply rate correlates to matching.

Getting down to the meat of the issue, here's the graph of replies when there is a male sender. (by the way the gay table is coming next week)

Reply rate by race for a male sender

So going by the above chart, OK Cupid has come up with these conclusions.

  • Black women are sweethearts. Or just talkative. But either way, they are by far the most likely to reply to your first message. In many cases, their response rate is one and a half times the average, and overall black women reply about a quarter more often.
  • White men get more responses. Whatever it is, white males just get more replies from almost every group. We were careful to preselect our data pool so that physical attractiveness (as measured by our site picture-rating utility) was roughly even across all the race/gender slices. For guys, we did likewise with height.
  • White women prefer white men to the exclusion of everyone else—and Asian and Hispanic women prefer them even more exclusively. These three types of women only respond well to white men. More significantly, these groups’ reply rates to non-whites is terrible. Asian women write back non-white males at 21.9%, Hispanic women at 22.9%, and white women at 23.0%. It’s here where things get interesting, for white women in particular. If you look at the match-by-race table before this one, the “should-look-like” one, you see that white women have an above-average compatibility with almost every group. Yet they only reply well to guys who look like them. There’s more data on this towards the end of the post.

And now if the sender is female…

Reply rate by race for a female sender

And that conclusion from Ok Cupid

  • Men don’t write black women back. Or rather, they write them back far less often than they should. Black women reply the most, yet get by far the fewest replies. Essentially every race—including other blacks—singles them out for the cold shoulder.
  • White guys are shitty, but fairly even-handed about it. The average reply rate of non-white males is 48.1%, while white guys’ is only 40.5%. Basically, they write back about 20% less often. It’s ironic that white guys are worst responders, because as we saw above they get the most replies. That has apparently made them very self-absorbed. It’s interesting that white males do manage to reply to Middle Eastern women. Is there some kind of emergent fetish there? As Middle Easterners are becoming America’s next racial bogeyman, maybe there’s some kind of forbidden fruit thing going on. (Perhaps a reader more up-to-date on his or her Post-Colonial Theory can step in here? Just kidding. Don’t.)

Well what can you say to all that? There's already been 300+ comments to the blog post. Surely we're somewhat beyond this? Maybe my faith in human evolution is somewhat misplaced?

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