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Thread: e-book readers (Kindle, etc.)

  1. #1

    Default e-book readers (Kindle, etc.)

    I've been looking around at ebook readers for some odd reason.

    There are two that look interesting, but I'd like the advice of folks who have them first.

    Required Attributes:
    • Must be able to highlight and mark-up (annotate) PDF files.


    Preferred Attributes:
    • Light (for reading in dim lighting conditions);
    • Wireless / WiFi connectivity


    I would like a device that will read PDF files as well as other kinds of files (HTML and text), but PDF will be the primary document type that I can foresee reading on this.

    I've been looking at the Sony PRS-700 and other models, but this really can't compare to someone owning one and reporting on it.

    Any thoughts or advice for me?
    Last edited by h3g3l; 05-Jul-2009 at 12:14.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Darkfinn

    Default

    For the amount of money these things cost... just get a laptop. The newest laptops are small and light and have superb battery life.

    I think for e-book readers to catch on e-books are going to have to get popular first. I do see where it could be a very useful thing for students. Carry all your textbooks in one simple tablet instead of having a 60lb bookbag to lug around. Of course this would spell the end of the college book industry... but I hope it will happen soon.

  4. #4

    Default

    I couldn't necessarily give you a good suggestion, H3g3l -- with my iPhone, I've got access to a pretty large variety of books that I can read right on it. While most of the selections are classics, that helps out enough. Being a lit major, it helps to have a handheld device that has a few hundred different e-books on it in a snap. My leisure reading is done entirely through paper means. What else I want to get, I can usually grab as an audiobook on it.

    Through my friends, though, I've heard that the Kindle is just downright outstanding. Not only can you get the books on it that you want (most publishers are double-publishing e-books now on Amazon, since Kindle use is growing rapidly, and if you can get it in print, you can likely get it electronically), but you can also get newspapers and things on it, too.

    As for if you can do anything regarding PDF files on it, I couldn't be too sure! But I'll do my best to find out!

  5. #5
    secretdl26

    Default

    Unlike others, I have actually frequently used an e-book reader.

    My dad and I recently bought a Kindle 2 (not the larger DX) for my mom.

    As she is way too busy to have time to use it, I have been using it for a few months, and really enjoy it. The screen is extremely easy to read, and has a fairly responsive refresh time. While the experimental features (such as web browsing or listening to mp3s) are not particularly useful, the core features of the Kindle are solid. Browsing for and buying books could not be easier, and the Whispernet connectivity makes it easy to do it anywhere. I also enjoy being able to preview any novels, and previewing them on the Kindle makes it easier for me to decide if I want to buy the book in hard-copy.

    While the Sony may have Wi-fi connectivity and the Google book database, the Kindle 2 cannot be beat for its ease of use.

    One criticism: The battery life is a bit finicky if you leave the wireless on all the time, but if you turn it off and only use the reading function, the battery is fairly long-lasting.

    Does this help?

  6. #6

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by Darkfinn View Post
    For the amount of money these things cost... just get a laptop. The newest laptops are small and light and have superb battery life.

    I think for e-book readers to catch on e-books are going to have to get popular first. I do see where it could be a very useful thing for students. Carry all your textbooks in one simple tablet instead of having a 60lb bookbag to lug around. Of course this would spell the end of the college book industry... but I hope it will happen soon.
    The issue with a laptop is eye strain and fatigue. Just as I'd pack up a bagful of articles to read, I'd like to pack up a virtual bagful on a device with a steady screen. eInk seems just the thing, as there's no flicker, etc. to cause eyestrain above and beyond what one would expect from reading paper.

    I agree with you insofar as the impact this would have on the college book industry, but I suspect publishers are ecstatic about the market as it stands RIGHT NOW. Books published for university use are built to fall apart after about a 2-3 year lifespan. Indeed, if the book industry had as large claws as RIAA, they would outlaw resale of books--just as RIAA is trying to do with used CD sales.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dawes View Post
    I couldn't necessarily give you a good suggestion, H3g3l -- with my iPhone, I've got access to a pretty large variety of books that I can read right on it. While most of the selections are classics, that helps out enough. Being a lit major, it helps to have a handheld device that has a few hundred different e-books on it in a snap. My leisure reading is done entirely through paper means. What else I want to get, I can usually grab as an audiobook on it.

    Through my friends, though, I've heard that the Kindle is just downright outstanding. Not only can you get the books on it that you want (most publishers are double-publishing e-books now on Amazon, since Kindle use is growing rapidly, and if you can get it in print, you can likely get it electronically), but you can also get newspapers and things on it, too.

    As for if you can do anything regarding PDF files on it, I couldn't be too sure! But I'll do my best to find out!
    Didn't know you were a lit major--that's just plain badass. I've been looking around and I think that the Kindle DX does pretty much everything I'd like. It supports PDF, annotation, highlighting, and can even jump on the web (google maps and weather reports are the two big ones for me) via a simple browser. It seems to do what it does and do it well. I like that.

    My other plan (aside from reading research articles on it) is to get rid of most of my physical books and keep just a few--say, 50-100. Every time I move, I move with 1500-2000 pounds of books, and that's getting annoying.

    I would likely buy books in PDF format as opposed to Amazon's proprietary (and DRMed) format, as the notion of a book that is bolted to your hand just runs contrary to my view of what a book, and its corresponding information, represents.

  7. #7

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by secretdl26 View Post
    Unlike others, I have actually frequently used an e-book reader.

    My dad and I recently bought a Kindle 2 (not the larger DX) for my mom.

    As she is way too busy to have time to use it, I have been using it for a few months, and really enjoy it. The screen is extremely easy to read, and has a fairly responsive refresh time. While the experimental features (such as web browsing or listening to mp3s) are not particularly useful, the core features of the Kindle are solid. Browsing for and buying books could not be easier, and the Whispernet connectivity makes it easy to do it anywhere. I also enjoy being able to preview any novels, and previewing them on the Kindle makes it easier for me to decide if I want to buy the book in hard-copy.

    While the Sony may have Wi-fi connectivity and the Google book database, the Kindle 2 cannot be beat for its ease of use.

    One criticism: The battery life is a bit finicky if you leave the wireless on all the time, but if you turn it off and only use the reading function, the battery is fairly long-lasting.

    Does this help?
    That helps loads! I've bolded the main bit, and plan on just turning Whispernet off until I need it--I've read reviews that recommend this explicitly.

    I'd forgotten about preview chapters/sections. Yes, I've bought a few books off Amazon based on its preview. Actually ... I've probably bought about 10-20 books that way.

    As far as I can see, the DX is the 2, but with a larger screen and native PDF reading. You point out above what I'm really going for: listening to an mp3 in the background, fine; looking up an address on the web, fine; I just want something that can make my books go away while giving me access to them in a "book-like" form. My perfect eBook reader would actually be a small zippered notebook with 2 eInk "pages" with touch-sensitive ability. This would allow me to annotate-and-read, annotate-and-reference, and so forth. As that'd be a fortune right now, the DX seems the best offering that I can see right now.

    Of course, this assumes that Pixel Qi takes another couple years to come to market, and that the Crunchpad doesn't decide to go with an eInk display.

  8. #8

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by h3g3l View Post
    The issue with a laptop is eye strain and fatigue. Just as I'd pack up a bagful of articles to read, I'd like to pack up a virtual bagful on a device with a steady screen. eInk seems just the thing, as there's no flicker, etc. to cause eyestrain above and beyond what one would expect from reading paper.

    I agree with you insofar as the impact this would have on the college book industry, but I suspect publishers are ecstatic about the market as it stands RIGHT NOW. Books published for university use are built to fall apart after about a 2-3 year lifespan. Indeed, if the book industry had as large claws as RIAA, they would outlaw resale of books--just as RIAA is trying to do with used CD sales.


    Didn't know you were a lit major--that's just plain badass. I've been looking around and I think that the Kindle DX does pretty much everything I'd like. It supports PDF, annotation, highlighting, and can even jump on the web (google maps and weather reports are the two big ones for me) via a simple browser. It seems to do what it does and do it well. I like that.

    My other plan (aside from reading research articles on it) is to get rid of most of my physical books and keep just a few--say, 50-100. Every time I move, I move with 1500-2000 pounds of books, and that's getting annoying.

    I would likely buy books in PDF format as opposed to Amazon's proprietary (and DRMed) format, as the notion of a book that is bolted to your hand just runs contrary to my view of what a book, and its corresponding information, represents.
    Not all people would say that being an American lit major is badass -- most of them would say that it's a waste of four years, but I've never liked the idea of college as a purely profitable decision. If I never use my degree (and the ones I plan to seek afterwards), I wouldn't ever have a complaint. I wanted to get a degree in something I loved, and something that I thought could help shape me as a writer, reader, critic, and wannabe-historian.

    As for the moving pains, I can totally respect that! While I'm attached to my books, I just went through a move into an apartment of my own, and moving them was (and has been, and still is) a fucking pain in the ass. Mounting shelves, reorganizing them, accidentally leaving a wax candle in a hot car ontop of a few of them -- it's not pleasant! If I could get rid of my personal attachment to bound texts, I would!

    I'm with you when it comes to making notations on text, too. Most of my books are marked up in some regard. I constantly read with a pen or pencil in hand to circle points of interest or jot down thoughts. When reading fiction, I'm mentally looking out for editing mistakes, highlighting techniques that I like, etcetera. To be able to do that with an electronic book would be a huge advantage.

    As for what Darkfinn had mentioned earlier: Interestingly enough, the demands for e-books are skyrocketing, at least in a leisurely market. With the economy suffering as it is, publishers are going out of business left and right, because books are expensive to produce through labor, art commission, printing, and so on. Fewer and fewer writers are being freshly published in print. It takes a fraction of the money to produce an e-book-only publication, making the profitable return much more immediate and visible.

    I'm sure the college industry won't change to electronic anytime soon, unfortunately. The overheads on those books are teensy compared to the fucking insane amount that they ask for students for them, so they're still making plenty of cash-bills.

    Once the economy is back in shape, I'm sure physical publishing will boom again, but this is the e-book's moment to shine (at least for general consumer purchases), and having something like a Kindle is an oustanding idea.

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