E-Book Reader Comparison/Question - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-14-2009, 12:12 PM   #15
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Hmm, interesting. I prefer the Kindle to reading on a computer screen but I haven't tried textbook kind of things. I suspect what you miss on the computer is the sense of seeing the whole thing at once, and that might be a problem with a Kindle textbook reader, too, but I don't know. That's not where the complaints have been.
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Old 11-14-2009, 07:35 PM   #16
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I have a Kindle II -- which has been on loan to my wife so she can try it out -- and love it. Its "e-paper" technology (something that was being developed at Xerox PARC while I was working there on a different project) screen is very readable. Not quite like the page of a book, but much nicer than the first generation Sony reader or any computer screen. It's also great to be able to download a free sample of some interesting-sounding book before I buy it, and nice to be able to get a sample to look at as I'm reading a book review in the paper or listening to a book author and guest on some media show. It's nice to be able to download a book or a current copy of a newspaper or magazine I want to read while out in a bookstore desert (or campground with cell phone service). It's also nice to be able to get a wide range of book titles -- mostly classics and the occasional new book -- for free or very cheap. I downloaded all of Sir Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories for $3 or so. (I could have gotten it for free, but decided to pay extra for better formatting.) Lastly, you can have up to six Kindle readers registered to one account, and they can all share the same library of books you've downloaded. You can even move from one reader to another and Amazon/Kindle will keep track of where you are in the book and ask you if you want to pick up from where you left off on the other reader.

There is also something new in the Kindle universe, a PC/Windows based reader Kindle reader was released (in Beta) this week. (A Mac version due out soon as well.) Also new is the Barnes & Nobel Nook, an e-reader with the exact same e-paper screen and screen size as the original Kindle and Kindle II and shares pretty much all its advantages and disadvantages. The biggest differences between one and the other are that the Nook is slightly thicker, replaces the miniature keyboard under the Kindle's main screen with a nifty iPod/iPhone color touch screen that lets you finger-swish your way through your library or store book catalog, and Barnes & Nobel allow you to "loan" your Nook books to nook-owning friends for 15 days at a time. (I hope this idea catches on at Amazon.)

Thinking about Amazon vs Barnes & Nobel vs Sony readers, I trust the major-bookstore-heritage book buying clout of Amazon and Barnes & Nobel more when it comes to making titles available on their reader more. Sony has not been a major player in the book business before, and has a less than stellar track record of playing nice with others. I don't trust them. Now if Apple or Google come up with a reader (as both are reputed to be doing) . . . hmmmm . . . that would be something to look at.

Back to my Kindle II, there are things the it does not do well, and I assume this applies to the Nook:

First of all, at the rate I usually read the Kindle will last one week between charges, sometimes less, sometimes more. One advantage a conventional book has over the Kindle is I have yet to see a paperback tell me I have to plug it in if I want to keep on reading. The Kindle does this to me once or twice a month, but at least it gives me fair warning, an hour or two's reading time before it shuts down.

Kindle graphics. One of the first titles I read on my Kindle II was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, which has some wonderful pen-and-ink drawings that were completely unrecognizable, and for color pictures, forget it! I tried an anatomy textbook sample that had color illustrations on my Kindle, and found most of the illustrations and figures were equally unreadable. (This problem is mostly resolved in the PC-based reader.)

Footnotes: Footnotes often do not appear at the bottom of the same page they were noted on. They often appear one, two, even three screens later on.

Formatting: Some publishers and authors do a better job of formatting their book for the Kindle than others do. A couple books I've read on the Kindle have had many of the right-most characters clipped off, and some books (including a great a many of the public-domain titles that can be had for cheap or free) are not formatted by chapter or section.

Paging back to find a page: Often times I'll remember reading something 5, 10, 50 or 100 pages ago, the "Wasn't there something odd about Aunt Florence mowing the lawn or clipping the roses earlier on in the book?" when she appears with the lawn mower just after Timmy disappears. In a paper book I'd page back until I was able to zero in on the book section where Aunt Florence was planting tulips, but with the Kindle I can't do that. I have to go back to a chapter heading and scan through page by page. (If I could remember it was tulip-planting I could construct a search, but that might reveal that Aunt Florence plants tulips right after Uncle Richard dies later on, but chances are my memory will be vague enough that I'll go looking for lawn mowing instead and come up with nothing at all.)

I have a similar problem on those occasions when I want to flip back and forth between some figure or table in the book I'm reading and the text that discusses it. With a paper book I'll put my finger in the pages where the figure is and flip back and forth, but on my Kindle each page back and forward requires a button push and pause while the page re-paints itself.

Lastly, I very much believe that books are something you share with friends. Even if Amazon starts letting you loan books to friends like the Nook does, buying an eBook limits your book sharing to fellow Kindle (or Nook) owners.

The published author in me has a different bent on the book gifting and eBook concept, and it goes like this:

Since eBook owners can't gift a book to one friend who will eventually gift it the book to another friend or sell it at a used book store, eBook readers will likely lead to more sales of individual books. Yay for writers and book publishers!

Another advantage of eBooks is they don't take up shelf space or book press time and money, so books could conceivably continue generating revenue well after they have (or might have) gone out of print or been pulled from book store shelves. Yay for book writers and publishers!

And going electronic will allow writers to take more control of the publishing process. Just as iTunes has enabled more bands to get their music out in front of fans without having to go through a big record company, electronic books will allow authors to get their books in front of readers without going through a big publisher, too. Given that my take on my book was a paltry $1.50 per book sold, with the remainder of the $22-$30 sales price per copy going to the publisher and retailer, I could learn to love earning $2.50 for every $10 eBook I sell . . . love it even more because more people will buy my book when it's cheaper and can't be gifted to interested friends. Yay for book writers! (Publishers are looking a little less enthused.)
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Old 11-14-2009, 07:43 PM   #17
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Just a reminder- sharing with six readers also means sharing your account info- they have to be on the same credit card. So great for most couples but not so great for sharing with friends.

I have no problem with that part, though, as I don't care if I can share books with friends. At least with the Nook, though, they HAVE to return the book after two weeks.. no more disappearing books.

You also don't have to dust the books in your Kindle! I know it won't always be the Kindle, but I can foresee in the future drastically thinning my library, especially since I plan to move in a few years.

Bobbie
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Old 11-14-2009, 11:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
I have no problem with that part, though, as I don't care if I can share books with friends. At least with the Nook, though, they HAVE to return the book after two weeks.. no more disappearing books.
But that plus is also a minus. You can share your book with that one friend just one time for 15 days. No renewing the loan . . . AND it turns out that the publisher and author have to agree that their book can be shared in the first place. It's not clear how many are willing to do that.
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:42 PM   #19
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Hello Everyone,
I ended up ordering a refurbed Kindle 1 and I absolutely love it. It goes everywhere with me. Although the Kindle 2 is "prettier" and lighter, in terms of functionality mine is quite comparable. It is very easy to increase the font size if my eyes get tired or I don't have as much light as I'd like. I have added a ton of old favorites which I re-read periodically, along with quite a selection of new items, and a lot of reference titles. Amazon's selection is the best for the topics I am interested in. This thing is perfect for camping because of the long battery life and space savings. My husband and I are both voracious readers, and I am probably going to buy him one of these, too. If I add it to my account we can share most of the books and not need to buy duplicates. The prices are also quite good. For anyone who likes to camp and can't live without a stack of books, these things are awesome!
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Old 11-18-2009, 11:35 PM   #20
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I still love mine, too. Did you order a case, Pamela? I got the M-edge Latitude case which zips up and plan to get the booklight that fits it; I haven't yet as I have a birthday and so put it on my wish list since my daughter usually goes there to pick out a gift for me... if she doesn't get it then I'll order one for myself. Anyway the case zips closed so can keep out dust and dog hair when I'm not reading the Kindle. I can see where it would be great to have the Kindle for camping- I have used my iPod touch with the Kindle reader for camping (one advantage there is reading in the dark) but it still creates some eye strain which I don't find I get at all with the Kindle.

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Old 11-19-2009, 11:04 PM   #21
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Actually, I did NOT buy a case. I modded a couple of odds and ends I had at the house first, to test out types of cases. I tried the case that came with it. I looked at a lot of different ones online and narrowed it down to a couple of choices. But after using it for awhile, I found that I prefer holding it without a case. Then I realized that the Kindle fits perfectly in a padded pocket in my netbook computer case. Now my netbook and Kindle travel with me everywhere, each secure in its own padded pocket. The case leaves just enough room for power cables. (I do quite a bit of reading and research related to my work, and I used to cart around a backpack with assorted books and my laptop. This setup works much better, and of course, it will be great for camping next summer.)
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:45 PM   #22
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Barnes & Nobel stores now have Nooks at their Customer Assistance Kiosks for customers to look at. I dropped by and gave one a test drive today.

Some of the reviews I've read this week suggest the Nook is more of a "work in progress" than finished product. I have to agree: I think it's a product that shows promise, but not one I would buy (or give as a gift) in its current form.

Here's what I liked:
  • The screen. It's identical to the one on the Kindle, which means it's very comfortable to read.
  • The size and form factor. The Nook is physically smaller than my Kindle 2. Somewhat thicker, but not quite as tall or wide, and it has a pleasant heft to it.
  • The page forward/back buttons were comfortably located and easy to use, easier than my Kindle 2.
  • The little touch-sensitive color screen under the reading window looks cool.
  • Overall, I liked the physical layout of the Nook better than that of my Kindle 2.
Alas, those are about the only nice things I have to say about the Nook. The touch screen, while really cool looking, has an absolutely awful user interface that is not intuitive or easy to use. How difficult to use is it? I tried to download a trial sample of Sir Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. With a little direction from the people at the Barnes & Nobel assistance kiosk I got to the Barnes & Nobel catalog, keyed in "Conan Doyle," and found a collection of Sherlock Holmes books that looked interesting. Then I asked the Nook to download a free sample. That part of the experience was OK, but once the sample was downloaded neither I nor the Barnes & Nobel kiosk people could figure out how to read the sample I just downloaded.

The whole user interface is like that, reasonably easy to use in some places, then so difficult in others you find yourself wondering if you've become a character in a Twilight Zone episode. I may not like the Kindle 2's little push-button joystick control and think the menu system could be better laid out, but when I first sat down to use my Kindle I was happily reading a book within a couple minutes. After a fifteen minutes of frustration I and even after some help from the Barnes & Nobel kiosk people -- their resident Nook experts -- I decided that $260 was too much to spend on a Christmas gift for my worst enemies.

Having said that, I do think the Nook has promise. Its physical package is very, very nice, and all those things I was just griping about are software problems. So, if Barnes & Nobel spends the time and money necessary to develop better software that's easy to use, the Nook could be a real winner by Christmas next year.

If the Nook does get better software next year and turns into a real winner for Christmas 2010 . . . Well, sorry. My worst enemies still won't get one.
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:15 PM   #23
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Peter,
I was able to get my hands on a demo model of the Nook a couple of days ago, and I agree with your assessment. It definitely needs some tweaking in the software department. Besides having an incredibly NON-intuitive interface, the virtual keyboard has TINY spaces for the keys. My big fingers were hitting two at once.

I also took another look at the Sony Touch Reader, which has a really slick user interface, but I still feel like their ebook store is a train wreck. It seems hard to use and hard to find stuff, compared to Amazon. I'm still leaning toward adding a Kindle 2 to the mix so my husband and I each have a reader of our own for next summer. My Kindle 1 is still going nearly everywhere with me. I use the heck out of it.
Happy Holidays to you and everyone else on the forum,
Pamela
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:58 PM   #24
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The new Sony Touch reader's major failing is it doesn't have the option of connecting via a cell phone network. A limitation like that might be OK for people who know they'll have access to WiFi every day, but for camper/traveler types the ability to download books, magazines, and newspapers from almost anywhere our cell phones get a signal is invaluable.

When I first saw thew Nook's tiny touch-screen keyboard I wasn't sure how well it would work for me, but I found the "keyboard" was tight but usable. My fingers are, however, not ham-fisted types. Someone with meaty fingers might have more difficulty.

The Kindle also has a tiny keyboard. Not quite as tight as the Nook's, but still very compact and not something I find easy to use. Fortunately I only use it when I'm searching for books; it'd be a real pain to use if I liked to do extensive annotations in my readings. (A Kindle option I do not use.)
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