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Non-Book Stuff > e-readers vs the real deal

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Steve (bearbomb) so, not sure how everyone sides on this.. I've yet to acquire an e-reader of some sort. My mother is planning on buying a kobo, I had to actually look it up as I know nothing about this new way of reading books. I do read via pdf now and then, especially for smaller sci-fi books, but my library has nearly everything I search for and such a quick turnaround that I can't be bothered.

How does everyone side on this? Is there a 'best' e-reader, if I were to head down this road?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

The only ones I'm familiar with are the Kindle and the iPad.

All I can say is, don't get an iPad. It's terrible for reading.

The Kindle is actually pretty nice and has a great battery life. Don't waste money on the 3g version though, just get the regular wifi one and you're set.


Bradford (RehabSubmarine) | 2 comments I personally have both the Ipad 2 and the Kindle, and have used the nook.

I personally perfer the Kindle when reading, due to it's light weight, long battery life, and access to Amazon's huge store. One of the nicest things about going with the kindle though, is that once you buy a book for the Kindle, it is readable on all devices that has a Kindle app (Mac, PC, Android, iOS), so you can easily read it on any new device you may get in the future.

I got the 3g version and while I use it occasionally, you won't really be surfing the web much with it. You don not have to pay for the service other they paying more for the 3g initially, so it has that plus too.

I've heard some not so great things about the Kobo though, so you might want to do some research on it first.


Steve (bearbomb) no need for 3G on anything, definitely don't want to be paying for a service plan.. how easy are these devices to move existing PDF files onto for reading? I have a lot of recipes etc I would like to pull up in the kitchen on such a reader.


Bradford (RehabSubmarine) | 2 comments Steve wrote: "no need for 3G on anything, definitely don't want to be paying for a service plan.. how easy are these devices to move existing PDF files onto for reading? I have a lot of recipes etc I would like ..."

PDFs are a mixed bag. You can certainly read them on the Kindle, but since the Kindle has a small screen and is black and white, it doesn't display very nicely.

If you primarily are a reader of pdfs, I would recommend an Ipad over all other options. It's expensive ($500 verses $140), but pdfs look fantastic on it.

For the Kindle, getting an ebook on it is as easy as connecting the supplied usb cable (that's also used for charging) to your pc and dragging and dropping files to the kindle. For the Ipad, you also connect via a supplied USB but you have to drag and drop the ebooks into Itunes. Both are pretty simple and work well.


Steve (bearbomb) Drag and drop sounds key.. avoiding the iPad as I've invested enough money in an iPhone :)


message 7: by Rob (last edited Apr 26, 2011 09:28AM) (new)

Rob (Sinon) | 1 comments Steve wrote: "no need for 3G on anything, definitely don't want to be paying for a service plan.. how easy are these devices to move existing PDF files onto for reading? I have a lot of recipes etc I would like ..."

I have the Kindle3 w/ 3g. There is no service plan Amazon foot the bill. The only time you pay is when you send books/documents through Amazon to your device over 3G and you can choose to just send them when you connect to WiFi or via USB. It is surprisingly handy to be able to Google/Wiki search, also reddit is easy to browse using the mobile version of the site.

There is a plethora of programs and tools for converting nearly any format to .mobi and .azw. With any e-reader I would recommend Calibre to manage and convert your books. I am guessing your recipes are computer created and not scans, they would easily convert .mobi. Also standard A4 pdfs are quite readable on the kindle when in landscape mode.


Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) I like my Nook and I can load pdfs easily with Calibre. I don't read many things with graphics though, and those don't usually show up well if embedded within text. I love my Nook though, but to be fair I've not played with the Kindle much and wanted e-inking so the iPad was never really on my list.


Steve (bearbomb) I assume the Nook is tied to B&N somehow?


message 10: by Edward (last edited Apr 27, 2011 08:04AM) (new)

Edward Barboza (edwardbarboza) | 4 comments I wouldn't recommend the iPad for reading, the screen is just too shiny.

About PDFs if they're like scanned textbooks you might have a little more trouble to browse them on a Kindle, but standard text PDFs can be easily converted for a kindle friendly version.

In my case, I only had trouble once and it was with a textbook that was scanned as full page images and not text, besides that I always convert with Calibre and have no trouble at all.


Geoff (gmunny33) | 9 comments I have a Kindle and so far I love it. This is mostly because I don't have a library nearby, so thanks to Project Gutenberg and Google Books (plus Calibre), I have access to a whole bunch of 19th century novels. I think the Kindle has almost paid for itself in that respect.

I would recommend a Kindle, but I'm not sure how it compares to other e-readers.


Brian Niemeier (BrianNiemeier) | 2 comments This comment should be seen as my personal taste only and not as a recommendation for anyone else. That said, books don't break if dropped, never have to be recharged, and biodegrade quickly if need be.

Plus, you never have to worry about someone erasing all the pages in a softcover without warning after some backroom rights buyout.


Fathermocker | 22 comments Steve wrote: "I assume the Nook is tied to B&N somehow?"

It's not, because you can sideload any epub or PDF file that you have, even if you didn't get them from B&N. Calibre, mentioned above, is like the iTunes of ebook readers, only less bloated and actually useful, providing support for good conversion between different formats.
I highly recommend it, although you should "root" (jailbreak) your nook and install APDFViewer, otherwise viewing PDFs of scanned text becomes impossible. For PDFs with embedded text, the nook does a fine job of reformatting it for the screen.


Steeef | 1 comments Brian wrote: "This comment should be seen as my personal taste only and not as a recommendation for anyone else. That said, books don't break if dropped, never have to be recharged, and biodegrade quickly if nee..."
Those are all good arguments for physical books. You have to weight that against the convenience of carrying something much thinner than most books, but will hold many shelves-worth of physical books.

As for breaking, I've heard plenty of stories about Amazon customer support being generous about replacements. Recharging doesn't need to happen that often, especially if you leave wireless off most of the time. And I usually de-DRM my purchased books (via Calibre plugins) before transferring them to the Kindle, so I don't have to worry about a remote kill switch.


Steve (bearbomb) y'argh, can't decide :D


Vlad | 43 comments Bite the bullet and get one, dude.
I got an off-brand e-ink reader for a family member last Christmas - working out great so far. Used this when shopping, was useful. I don't believe there's a "best" e-reader, depends on what is important to you.
Myself - I'm reading more and more on the iPad lately.


Steve (bearbomb) yowza, now that's a comparison guide.. thanks Vlad.


Chris Chester (ChrisChester) | 3 comments I blog about ereaders on the side, so color me biased, but buying a Kindle reignited my passion for reading. I like to read two or three books at a time (I have a compulsion to pair my fiction with non-fiction), so being able to stick the skinny Kindle in my bag makes it so easy it's hard NOT to breeze through books.

I can't speak for the Nook or Kobo (though the new touch versions of both look sexy), but Amazon actually apologized when I admitted that I broke my Kindle through my own negligence and shipped me a new one that same day. It's hard to beat!

I can understand those who are inescapably tied to the printed page, but I've never heard a single person regret picking up an ereader. That says something, I think.


Laurel (emmalish) | 9 comments I'm late to this party, but wanted to chime in that I've got the Kobo Touch and love it. The thing I really love about an eReader vs a real book, is that it's light enough that I carry it around with me without a second thought. I'm reading more often now simply because I always have my book with me. And if I finish my book on the road? I've got lots more loaded up and ready to start reading.

It's pretty responsive – page turn is quick, but navigating pdfs is a bit slow. Maybe I'm just spoiled by my iPhone though. I wish they'd implement a better way to organize books – multiple bookshelves would be nice. But it's a relatively new reader and they've been pretty good so far about making improvements to their firmware.

Like the Kindle, there are Kobo apps for other devices as well and you can sync your library between your desktop, your eReader and your iPhone (or whatever). And you can transfer 3rd party ePubs via Calibre (or just drag & drop to the desktop if you prefer). My local library even has ePub lending which will work with the Kobo, but their selection so far is pretty poor.

The Kobobooks store has a really good selection – prices are generally around $10.


Steve (bearbomb) Laurel wrote: "I'm late to this party, but wanted to chime in that I've got the Kobo Touch and love it. The thing I really love about an eReader vs a real book, is that it's light enough that I carry it around wi..."

I agree almost 100% about the Kobo - PDF support does suck. I use Calibre to convert to epub, which works great.


Laurel (emmalish) | 9 comments I tried converting one of my pdfs to epub, but it was a technical manual with callouts and images with captions, and it came through kinda weird – images breaking over pages, things like that. Granted that was an older version of calibre... hmmm, maybe I should try that again...


Denae (whimsicalmeerkat) if it has a lot of images and stuff it may not work regardless of version


Laurel (emmalish) | 9 comments Denae wrote: "if it has a lot of images and stuff it may not work regardless of version"

Yeah, that's what I was afraid of. I end up reading pdfs on my iPhone instead and just zooming way in. Awkward, but still faster than the Kobo.


Amy | 1 comments Late to this party, but I read so much more in college now that I invested in a Kindle. It is my favorite device that I've purchased in a very long time.

I've found that Calibre works really well to convert PDFs, like some of you have mentioned. There will be issues with certain letters being completely wrong, and initial caps at the beginning of chapters seem to throw Calibre for a loop. Although, the newer versions of Calibre seem to work a lot better than they used to.


Fathermocker | 22 comments I agree, Calibre keeps getting better. They release a new version weekly.


Carlos (cdwillis) I played with a kobo e-reader last year before my local Borders shut down and I wasn't impressed. I have the first edition Nook and I like it quite a bit. I picked it over the Kindle because it supports epub formatted books and it's easy to side load content.

When Barnes and Noble released the new Nook Simple Touch they dropped the Nook 1st Edition price to $89. I haven't had a chance to try out the Simple Touch, but I've heard good things. The cheapest Kindle now has ads displayed as screensavers when wi-fi is on, so I'd personally avoid that.


Fathermocker | 22 comments I have a 1st edition Nook as well, but I'm going to change to a Kindle Keyboard 3G with ads, which doesn't bother me. I like my nook, but the worldwide 3g web browsing and the fact that it's much faster won me over.


Laurel (emmalish) | 9 comments Charles wrote: "I played with a kobo e-reader last year before my local Borders shut down and I wasn't impressed."
The Kobo Touch came out earlier this year and is a HUGE improvement over the last gen.


Daisy Griffin (Teele777) | 1 comments On any Kindle with wi fi you don't even have to drag/drop files. Just email your kindle email address, but at the end make it @free.kindle.com instead of @kindle.com. Then it will automatically download when you are in wi fi range and it's free.


Chris Chester (ChrisChester) | 3 comments Daisy wrote: "On any Kindle with wi fi you don't even have to drag/drop files. Just email your kindle email address, but at the end make it @free.kindle.com instead of @kindle.com. Then it will automatically d..."

Emailing to @kindle.com is free as well.


Fathermocker | 22 comments Not really: there are charges for wireless delivery using 3G. Source: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/0...


Chris Chester (ChrisChester) | 3 comments I've never been charged sending to @kindle.com, and I've been sending stuff to my Kindle via 3G for years now. Hell, now it even archives stuff and saves your place with Kindlenet.

I suppose it's possible that they're waiting until my charges aggregate to more than $5 or something, but I haven't come across it yet, and I used the service just this weekend to send a .mobi book.


Fathermocker | 22 comments I guess I should have said that they charge for converting files. At least that's what the blogs say.


Jack (attackofjack) I have an offbrand eReader with no internet, colour, or really anything except eBook-reading. I love it so much, and it was really cheap. Besides, for all the special features most eReaders offer today, I have a laptop.


Cory | 1 comments I love my super simple Kobo Wi-fi. Sure it doesn't do great for fancy .PDF's of manuals and such. However for a simple novel its great. I love how light it is and I am sold on e-ink. It doesn't bother my eyes the way reading to long on a back lit screen does. I added the nice super light weight Nook book light for reading in the dark. I like that the Kobo only reads and doesn't have any other fancy features. For me that stuff it just a distraction. I am happy with the .epub format. I now carry around over 1500 (and growing) books wherever I go. For a cheap, simple, solid no frills reader I recommend the kobo. Also I dropped my first one and broke the screen and they replaced it no questions asked.


Miklos | 5 comments i have a nook color and am fairly happy with it


Miklos | 5 comments e readers have largely evolved into tablets so if youre looking for something that doesnt read like a computer screen, an older gen nook or kindle. otherwise nooks are good tablets with some cons (their app store and browser is both limited and bad). if youre willing to do without, the navigation and ease of use is worth it.


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