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Old 07-28-2008, 03:22 PM   #1
Dru
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Question Another fence sitter (non-Kindle)

Hi,

I've been lurking for a while, trying to track conversations, and re-educate myself about the ebook reader space. I think I'm about ready to commit to one of the solutions, but I'd like to ask some questions based off my reading of the comparison matrix and notes here in the forum. I know I'm missing some thing to tip me one way or another.
  • I'm mainly interested in a 'read-only' device. (I don't need the Julienne fries or puree function)
  • I'm not interested in the Kindle from an aesthetics perspective nor feature-set.
  • I'm interested in having the freedom/ability to change fonts (monspace, sizes, kerning, etc.)
  • My main use would be for reading novels/short stories, contemporary genre fiction with some technical reading (usually not .pdf)
  • Dual life: Mac at home, Wintel at Work. Support and tools for both available? (CLI fine if it achieves the same result)
  • Text types: .txt, .html, .rtf, few .pdf (text only, not graphical)
  • Don't care one bit about music or running other applications.

Questions:
  • How do the current sizes compare to a mass-market paperback in terms of text display (for 5/6" units)
  • Best support from a device-shifting perspective (new unit, newer desktop/laptop for reader, etc. )
  • Are the covers really a good idea, and where do people get them (who has a good selection of cover types)
  • Is there a major difference between 4 and 8 grey scales?
  • Confirmation: you can't get the Kindle version etext without a Kindle PID right? even if reader can read Mobi-format
  • Largest selection outside of amazon for genre fiction and technical publications (where to BUY)
  • Does anyone have a video or picture of Side by Side 505 & Cybook Gen 3 (seem to be front runners)
  • Support Pro/Cons for devices, Other Pro/Cons might be a deal breaker I'm not thinking of.
  • Best place to buy unit for U.S. mainland, and is it cost effective to bundle it or not

After all that, is there something major I'm missing?

This is a really great forum, it's kept me coming back enough that I'm actually planning on taking the dive this time.
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:18 PM   #2
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I can't help you since I'm a happy Kindle owner but I can confirm that you cannot purchase Kindle books from Amazon without a registered Kindle. Purchased books can only be read on Kindles registered to that account (up to 6 Kindles at a time per book). Using someone else's PID won't do you any good (no PID information is requested for purchases).

Good luck in your search.
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Old 07-29-2008, 02:36 AM   #3
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Thanks daffy4u! I was pretty sure, just wanted to make 100%. I'd love to see Amazon offer other ebook formats, ah well.

I realize I have a lot of questions, but I just hate buyers remorse.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:26 AM   #4
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I have a CyBook Gen3 myself. It will work equally well with Mac and Windows (it just mounts as a USB device), has excellent conversion tools available for both platforms, support multiple fonts, etc. I've had mine since it was released last November and would recommend it whole-heartedly. It supports the extremely popular MobiPocket book format which is about as "future proof" as you can get, being supported on multiple devices, with dozens of different bookstores selling Mobi books.
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
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[*]Does anyone have a video or picture of Side by Side 505 & Cybook Gen 3 (seem to be front runners)
See the wiki for a comparision if not side-by-side pics - http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Sony_vs_Cybook but as far as pics go, note they're got the same displays.

(It's not been updated to add the Sony V1.1 features of ePub & reflowable PDF support though. Reflowable PDF is still really only useful for text-based PDFs, as images/tables won't show up (well?) when reflowed.)

Last edited by gwynevans; 07-29-2008 at 10:53 AM.
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:44 AM   #6
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I think for the Money (if you live in the U.S.) the Sony PRS 505 is a really good reader without the bells and Whistles. I agree with Harry that the Cybook is very good also however it is a hundred dollars more than the Sony with almost the exact same features minus the Epub and Adobe pdf support. Now Keep in mind I was on the fence also until the recent firmware release for the Sony.

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Old 07-29-2008, 12:54 PM   #7
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Dru -- I'm sad that you have eliminated the Kindle from your list. I have one and love it very much. I'm planning on acquiring a Sony 505 -- primarily for the experience. I'm sure I will enjoy reading books on it as much as I enjoy reading on my Kindle. The big difference is that I can pick up sample chapters of books that I'm considering buying for the Kindle. I don't believe that the Sony Store offers samples. The Whispernet connection for the Kindle is nice, but not essential.

Part of your planning should consider the book formats and sources. Most current release books are encumbered with DRM (digital rights management) encryption that locks them to a particular device (or devices). Both the Kindle and Sony reader use proprietary DRM formats which means you are locked into one store -- amazon.com for the Kindle and the Sony Store for the PRS 505. (Well, that was true until this week's Sony upgrade that gave it the ability to read some books in ePub format. That may open up more stores to the Sony user.) Other book readers such as the Cybook, on the other hand, use MobiPocket DRM, and there are several on-line store that sell books in this format. (Harlequin Romance even has their own eBook store!)

I have resigned myself that no one makes the perfect device. I just bought what worked for me. And so, I've have the delight of reading on my Kindle since February.

To answer a few of the questions you asked:

* How do the current sizes compare to a mass-market paperback in terms of text display (for 5/6" units)
All three -- Kindle, Sony, and Cybook -- are about the size of a trade paperback, but thinnner.
* Best support from a device-shifting perspective (new unit, newer desktop/laptop for reader, etc. )
For non-DRM content, all three are fine. Software exists to convert from one format to another. I've been told that in the USA it is illegal to circumvent the DRM, so if you get a new device, you'll have to go back to the store where you originally bought the book and register your new device and then download the books again. Your risk here is that the store might not be around at the time you buy your new device or that the store isn't selling those older books in the format your new device uses.
* Are the covers really a good idea, and where do people get them (who has a good selection of cover types)
I use the original cover that came with my Kindle. It works just fine to protect the Kindle while it's in my backpack. Alternate covers abound -- check out various threads in the forum.
* Is there a major difference between 4 and 8 grey scales?
For reading text, no. For illustrations, maybe. It really depends on whether the book creator explicitly created the images in 4-shade or 8-shade formats or let the automated processing handle it.
* Confirmation: you can't get the Kindle version etext without a Kindle PID right? even if reader can read Mobi-format
You cannot buy books from Amazon.com in Kindle format unless you have a Kindle registered with them. Amazon.com does not sell regular MobiPocket format eBooks -- with or without DRM. Some sites that sell MobiPocket books will accept the PID from the Kindle -- others don't.
* Largest selection outside of amazon for genre fiction and technical publications (where to BUY)
See the MobileRead Wiki for information on book stores.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:22 PM   #8
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yeah, that's why I'm on the fence. The simplicity of the Cybook is appealing, so is the font-freedom. The price and ease of order are a plus for the 505.

I've got more .mobi/.html format material, there doesn't seem to be as many stores offering bebb/.lrf material. Is that a correct observation?

The ePub /reflow PDF is a nice tickmark.

I'm still concerned that about the levels of greyscale. Is there a big difference between the Cybook and 505 in terms of contrast and readability?

Thanks for all the input so far!
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:29 PM   #9
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Elsi, thanks for the run-down! Wow.

Thanks for the details on shades and the pointer of the wiki resource.

Part of the appeal is in trying to check for good deals, but with one store, that kind of goes out the door. Hrm.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
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The big difference is that I can pick up sample chapters of books that I'm considering buying for the Kindle. I don't believe that the Sony Store offers samples.
The Sony store offers excerpts of some books on the website. From what I've seen, they're quite short, about as much as I would tend to read standing in the bookstore browsing. For me, that's not enough. I often ended up with books I didn't like enough to finish before. With the Kindle, I get a fairly large sample (usually a whole chapter) and I can read it on my device whenever I please. Then if I like it, I can have the rest of the book in seconds. When I hear about a book I might like, I just go get the sample. I'll figure out if I really want it later. I've sampled a lot of books that I didn't buy. Without the sample, I would've bought them and not finished them. Money wasted.
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Old 07-29-2008, 03:39 PM   #11
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The Sony store offers excerpts of some books on the website. From what I've seen, they're quite short, about as much as I would tend to read standing in the bookstore browsing. For me, that's not enough. I often ended up with books I didn't like enough to finish before. With the Kindle, I get a fairly large sample (usually a whole chapter) and I can read it on my device whenever I please. Then if I like it, I can have the rest of the book in seconds. When I hear about a book I might like, I just go get the sample. I'll figure out if I really want it later. I've sampled a lot of books that I didn't buy. Without the sample, I would've bought them and not finished them. Money wasted.
I do the same thing. And, when you get to the end of the sample, there are links to order right now or "save for later". The "save for later" acts as your wishlist for Kindle books. Unfortunately, your friends and family can't see them and order them for you as gifts. So you have to ask for gift certificates if you want to someone to be able to give you Kindle books.
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Old 07-29-2008, 04:17 PM   #12
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I tend to buy by author, back blurb, or preview in the bookstore, so the store preview isn't a biggie for me. Non-monopolies interest me more. Breadth of selection from multiple sources... look at what happened with the Yahoo music store.

To be fair, it doesn't seem like with any of the readers, friends and family can give you a DRM'd ebook.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:34 PM   #13
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Dru,
I think either Cybook or Sony are good choices. In fact regardless of which you decide to purchase I'm sure you'll be content with either solution.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru View Post
I've got more .mobi/.html format material, there doesn't seem to be as many stores offering bebb/.lrf material. Is that a correct observation?
Mobi currently has the market with lots of vendor support. It's also a great format with excellent support such as mobi readers and creators for the PC. I read off of my Smartphone and annotation/bookmarks are sync between the two devices.

The SONY has a FANTASTIC opensource program called Calibre that does a great job converting MOBI/LIT/HTML/ to LRF.

However ePub is starting to get a lot of steam. Especially now that SONY has released a firmware patch on the PRS-505 to work with ePub, vendors are scrambling to get ePub version of their books out.

The two eBook vendors most will recommend on this site will most lilkey be fictionwise and BooksonBoard. Both sell Mobi and both are moving to get ePub formats of their books.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru View Post
The ePub /reflow PDF is a nice tickmark.
I'm not to impressed with the reflow. What is impressive is that SONY is the only eInk device that can read secure ePub and PDF on the market today.

For me that is huge since the a good number of books I'm interested are only available as secure PDFs.

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Old 07-29-2008, 06:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru View Post
I tend to buy by author, back blurb, or preview in the bookstore, so the store preview isn't a biggie for me. Non-monopolies interest me more. Breadth of selection from multiple sources... look at what happened with the Yahoo music store.
The difference is, Amazon *is* a book store (if not *the* book store). Yahoo just jumped on the music bandwagon.
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:01 PM   #15
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Hanlin V3 is very powerful in format/language supporting, and it has the highest
performance-price ratio. I have compared the devices of each model, V3 is my final choice!
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