View Full Version : A very confused newbie to book readers!

11-23-2007, 07:11 AM
Hi everyone! You may or may not have seen my hello message, but from my info over there <- you may have figured out that I've been using my PSP as a simple little eReader for awhile now, with html files as my ebooks.

As you can imagine, I don't read much.

But before I became so trapped in the digital age, I used to! When I was less sick, less inclined to spend hours at my computer, and more able to trek out to the library, I could borrow a book and enjoy it!

But now I want a dedicated device for ebooks. Many of my favorite books are not in the large font format I need to read with. I have myopia and my perscription has been getting stronger every day. I'm 25 and I may end up needing bifocals. I'm very very scared I do and have been avoiding my eye doctor, which I probably shouldn't do. :oops2:

So my needs in an ebook reader are as follows. I am so confused by terms like cybook and sony reader, and 500 505, 404 error, pdf, lit, mobi, kindle (preeeeettty kindle) argh! So I'll break down here what I need, and maybe people can point out which devices meet my requirements. :O

First: I'm in Canada, but I'm not afraid of ebay. :o

Formats at the very: PDF, or RTF or possibly html? (I'll get to ebook specific format questions later in my post)
Bookmarks, not just for pages but maybe even inline?
Works with PC and Mac (might be getting an iBook for the New Years to replace my Win2k clunker :D)
USB transfer
Accepts at least 500MB storage like an SD card or onboard. I have about 300+MB of eBooks I've been collecting for the past four years. :whip: Somebody really needs to :stop: me. :unafraid:
FONT RESIZING ******A necessary evil
Price: inexpensive if possible, I'll be buying second hand off ebay if I can't find a reader locally. Under $500CAN lets say? :)

So give me the low-down, which ones meet my needs?

A question about proprietary formats. Which format is the most mainstream in terms of ebook reading. .mobi? If so can I convert pdfs and other formats to that to read them? How does it differ from say, a pdf which has pages that you can flip? What about images and book covers, how do they work? I've been trapped with simple text html for awhile and no real image covers because they take up my memstick space. :|

So, give me the verdict, what ones meet mah needs? :smash:

(any excuse to use these awesome smileys! :D)

11-23-2007, 12:08 PM
Hmm, 65 views and no responses. Guess I've asked an old question.

Sad thing is, I think I already have fallen in love with the iLiad. The most expensive one available with the worst battery power. XD People say its the best too in the threads I've seen. So much for my Macbook savings. I may just get a used iBook and then the iLiad, which will cost more than the darn computer, with its black and white colors and all. :(

Or go with a cybook. Or a HanLin. Not the sony Reader though. Nope.

11-23-2007, 12:29 PM
Please be patient. There are people who will give you their opinions here, no doubt! I could give you my opinion but it would be:

3. There may not be a single correct solution that fulfills all your needs. You've listed several things that are most easily dealt with using a laptop, though it is expensive, difficult to read for some because of the backlighting, and too heavy and bulky for many.
2. If you want a smaller device, you probably can't use a Sony or Amazon device in Canada, at least not yet since these are only sold and supported in the US. An Iliad is a large screen device that might do most of what you want.
1. Stop fooling around thinking about ebooks and take care of something you can't live without. Twenty-five is too young to have severe eye problems and you want to make sure that this is not the result of something even more serious. Go see an opthalmologist next week. Just do it. :)

11-23-2007, 04:02 PM
Thank you vivaldirules. :) Im actually glad for an honest opinion.

Now I can't get my eye doctor out of my head! I'm a hypocodriac so now I'm probably going to go down to the doctor tomorrow to make an appointment, no worries. Even though my annual appointment is due for sometime in December anyways...

Thankfully I live in Ontario, yay free healthcare! >:)

Back on topic though. I think I do like the iLiad, even though it is a higher priced one. I also am looking at the HanLin readers as well, in terms of ergonomics I just like these two devices from face value so far already.

I could really see myself using an ebook reader for everything from just reading large font format versions of my ebooks to things that I've written myself (the iliads touch screen writing thing is perfect for proof reading mistakes I maybe didn't catch in my word processor!)

Because I'm looking at an LCD all day otherwise its very hard on the eyes. (there's that eyestrain thing again, heh!) And getting dragged into playing solitaire because splunking feeds for interesting stuff becomes boring after awhile. lol.

Thanks and sorry about the downer self-defeatest tone of my posts. I shall be brief, or try to be, from now on, and not drag personal stuff into my posts. I get called out on that alot. :o

11-25-2007, 12:25 PM
A question about proprietary formats. Which format is the most mainstream in terms of ebook reading. .mobi? If so can I convert pdfs and other formats to that to read them? How does it differ from say, a pdf which has pages that you can flip? What about images and book covers, how do they work? I've been trapped with simple text html for awhile and no real image covers because they take up my memstick space. All e-book formats are more similar to HTML than PDF, in that they "reflow" the text based on the screen size and the font size chosen. One advantage of this is that there is no need for a separate large print version - just change the font size (some devices put a limit on the maximum font size though).

I suggest you try MobiPocket Reader ( and FBReader ( under Windows on your e-books and see how you like them. Note that the only e-ink device with FBReader is the iLiad, and you should experiment with the settings under "Options" before deciding if you like it. The MobiPocket Reader is available on the iLiad and the Cybook, but note that the Windows version has more options than the iLiad and Cybook versions (which are different, but both read MOBI and PRC files with and without DRM). FBReader also reads MOBI and PRC without DRM, and I prefer it to the MobiPocket Reader on the iLiad.

FBreader supports many e-book formats, including several with images. It reads single-file HTML (with images) directly, but if you have multi-file HTML then you need to convert it to an OEB book by adding a .opf file. I think Windows MobiPocket Reader converts HTML (or OEB) to MOBI, and on other devices only MOBI/PRC is supported (but I'm not entirely sure). The CyBook does have (single-file?) HTML support. MOBI includes images, but GIFs can be small (on the screen) because images must be less than 64KB each. If you create the MOBI files yourself then you can use JPEGs instead for larger images.

If you have non-encrypted PDF's then MobiPocket Reader will import them and try to convert them to MOBI, but that often does not work well. They can be read on the iLiad using its PDF reader (ipdf), and the 8" screen does make this possible for A4 or letter pages - but not if your eyesight is below average.

11-25-2007, 02:00 PM
If I was in your situation I would probably buy a second-hand Sony Reader.
I have a gut feeling that in the near future there will be quite a lot of Sony Readers for sale. :D
With the PRS505 or PRS500 you get the best value for your money IMHO. Especially if you are not afraid to convert your reading material.

Whatever reader you buy you will still need to convert files.

Forget PDF files, espacially if you have bad eyesight.
The best thing you can do with pdf is to extract text and convert it into whatever format your reader will accept.
PDF is optimized for preserving printing layout, so even with the most keen eyesight the vast majority of pdf documents out there are barely legible on a screen that has 120x90mm
Go ahead and print out A4 pdf file on papers that have 90x120mm (that is the size of an e-ink screen (unless you want to invest in Illiad)). Use dot matrix printer. Now try to read the result. Bad, ain't it?