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Old 12-13-2009, 11:46 AM   #1
pauluscaesar
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Smile Help in choosing my first reader

Hey guys, first post here, I just found this forum a couple of days ago and I have to thank for the great info.
However, I'm still undecided. I've read the comparisons, similar posts and watched video reviews...
My ideal scenario would be a store where you could compare them side to side... I know I'm dreaming... so if you guys could help me a little I'd greatly appreciate it.

- First off, my plan is mainly to read books from my own collection and free sites (gutenberg, feedbooks, etc), and I noticed there are three main ebook formats: epub, mobi and pdf (and lit in some cases). Apart from pdf, are there any real differences between the other three? I mean, regardless of the reader, is any of these better than the next one? This question would help me a lot since many readers support just one of these formats.

- Next, price, around $300 preferably. No need for extra functions or apps (sudoku, browser, video or music player) I have an Ipod Touch for these things. An imbedded dictionary would be essential though.

- Touch or not touch screen? As an avid ipod touch user, my first instinct is to get a touch screen device... but I heard they are not very good for prolonged reading... is that true?

- Refresh rate, I don't know if there is much difference between devices but the faster it jumps pages the better. I get a bit annoyed when things go slower that I expect them to go.

- Lastly, I see 4,8,16 grayscale... the more the better? does it really make a difference? If so, why are they still selling lower ones?

My original plan was to buy a Sony 600 but I've read the issue people have with the screen and then I decided for the nook but I can't seem to find much information on it yet.
Do any of the current devices would do the trick for me? or should I wait for the next generation and stick to reading in my ipod?
Any recommendations or if you could answer a couple of my questions would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance


PS: I forgot to mention that my collection has many self scanned PDF books which I think cannot be reflowed by the devices... any solution to this?

Last edited by pauluscaesar; 12-13-2009 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
- Touch or not touch screen? As an avid ipod touch user, my first instinct is to get a touch screen device... but I heard they are not very good for prolonged reading... is that true?
Yup, they are not as good. Some can't stand it, others don't mind. Guess it's kind of a question of taste.

Quote:
- Refresh rate, I don't know if there is muc difference between devices but the faster it jumps pages the better. I get a bit annoyed when things go slower that I expect them to go.
It's annoying at first, then, you don't feel it any more.

Quote:
PS: I forgot to mention that my collection has many self scanned PDF books which I think cannot be reflowed by the devices... any solution to this?
OCR and conversion to ePub / mobi. Or a large screen reader (ie >=8". )

Pocketbook 901 might be the one for you when it's out, or prs-600, as it does reflow.
Where you read is also to be taken into account, obviously a larger screen means an heavier and bigger reader.

Last edited by EowynCarter; 12-13-2009 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 12-13-2009, 12:07 PM   #3
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Hello pauluscaesar and welcome to mobileread!

Ill try to answer your questions.

1) formats
Every reader reads only one drm format, but multiple non-drm ones. If your files have no drm, chances are you can read them just as well on any reader, or if not, you can easily convert them.

3) touch or not touch screen
This is a matter of personal preference. Readers with dictionary support and search need some kind of keyboard, so they either have a hardware keyboard like the kindle or a virtual one like the sony prs-600. For that, you need a touchscreen. The touchscreen does reduce the contrast a little and adds a little glare, especially in low lighting conditions, but many people (myself included) find that it doesn't adversely affect their prolonged reading at all. I really love the touchscreen functionality and am prepared to part with a little (not much) screen quality.

4) The grayscale level is important only if you want to view images or comics on your reader, I think. You will have no problem with text even on the lowest grayscale.

I like my sony prs-600 a lot, but be advised that it only supports the two english to english dictionaries it has already installed. If you are interested in any other dictionary, maybe it's not for you. Mobipocket supports any dictionary (custom made or commercial) but only a few devices still support it. I don't know about the dictionaries of the kindle or the nook.

About your pfs: why do you think they couldn't be reflowed? Any text based pdf can be reflowed I think, even if not optimally. If your pdfs are not text but images, I would advise to use an ocr software to turn them into text. Smaller file size and more flexibility.

And about the refresh rate: Two reasons it's a bit slow. The fists is e-ink limitations, nothing you can do about that, and all e-ink devices have it. The second is processor power. From the three readers I've had I find sony prs-600 is much faster, because it has less lag between the click of the button and the actual start of "page turning". I don't find the actual refresh of the e-ink screen such a waste of time, it really doesn't take much longer than turning a paper page. It's just that we get impatient with electronic devices, expecting everything to be done in a flash

Last edited by omk3; 12-13-2009 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:07 PM   #4
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what reader.

You have asked the 20 million dollar question. The best reader was the rocket, played with mac and windows, but it was too good and the people who originally made it went belly up when they could not make enough money. You see they wanted to keep everyone only buying books from them. Nice but I have yet to find a single book store to supply me all the paper books I want to read and had for years used up to 4 on a regular basis in the US and 2 down under. I read about 3 books a week.

What I have found is that it is so very important that the reader is comfortable to use. Some are only made to be used by right handed people. The Cybook is one such. The new reader sold by fictionwise.com is the same reader but uses eReader instead of Mobipocket as the format. If you are a righty only, want an eInk reader that weighs almost nothing, then the cybook or the new repurposed one sold by fictionwise.com. The Nook appears to be for both lefties and righties and some of the others appear to have the page changer more in the middle and looks like it could be easy to use by both. Also the pressure needed to activate the page turning is important. Just a touch is perfect unless it is too easy and a misplaced touch gets you a page turned when you didn't mean to.

Second most important thing is ease of getting reading material onto the device. Most accept the pdf thingy easily, but just make sure. Most have software to aid in this or have software available to aid in this. It is generally windows only though. If you do like I do and buy your ebooks already encoded then it is usually "buy on computer, drag books to card or reader icon, put card back in book or disengage reader from machine. Or something similar up to and including wifi, bluetooth and phone. Super easy on a mac, never done it on a windows machine. However I am sure you would have no problems getting the material on the reader.

Third, most important to me probably not to you, where you get your commercial ebooks. I won't buy a "you have to buy all your secure ebooks from me because I have the only store that sells them" type of reader. First I have never known a bookstore to have all the books I want to read. Right now I purchase me ebooks from 3 main ebook e-store plus a couple more speciality places outside the US. I love fictionwise.com and do most of my purchases there, however Webscriptions sells its many authors at 5 to 6 bucks an ebook. This leaves out the Sony reader, however nice it is to use. It does include all those that use eReader and Mobipocket, but not in my eyes the Kindle which is a nonsecure mobipocket reader.

Fourth. eInk readers with the glass casing/screen is a bit fragile. You can get insurance, I have one that has been guarded and is now a couple of years old and no problems with it, and I hope to keep it that way. There are a few that now are going to use plastic instead of glass. I believe the nook is one, don't know if this will make it actually more rugged, but I plan on guarding it as I have the cybook.

Now for your last question. How many grays do you need. Really, none, if all you are going to do is read, letters black, page white. It is the graphics and how much clarity you want when you look at them is where the gray scale is required. I could give a toss as to how good the graphics are. I am in it for the black letters.

What might drive you up a wall is the speed of page changing, or lack there of. I have gotten so that I am not slowed down too much on the cybook. It takes a while to train the finger/thumb to hit that key several words before the actual change in needed. Each reader is slightly different. Also different is how they keep your book titles available, how they allow you to navigate around the book and around the reader. I rather liked the Sony way but refuse to be stuck buying from a company store, been there done that, won't do it again. Remember I don't think any eInk machine is a speed demon, especially those in your price area. Some will make more sense to your mind than others. Just the way humans are made.

I have watched the Nook movie and either the man was an idiot or he was trying to make it look difficult. I saw a few short cuts he didn't use to navigate, could be because I am female, but I am voting that he was an idiot. The navigation looked easy to me, but then it may be the straw that broke the camel's back to someone else. I will know in a week or two.

So, let your fingers do the walking in the computer, find out where you can lay hands on the various readers and go and fondle it. Nothing like actually seeing it and figuring out if you will put up with its foibles, and hopefully they will not drive you up a wall. Plenty of us have more than one reader, see if there are reader users located in your general area and meet somewhere so you can see it in person. Lastly, see who has the best return system and buy, try and return.

I have rb, rockets, cybook, soon a nook, palm devices, iphone, and itouch, all give you the abilities to read your own ebooks. Good luck on your choice, good reading and remember there is always another reader coming on down the line. Everyone has a problem except the rocket unless you count I cannot get secure ebooks for it. Okay it has a little problem, but Baen books doesn't do secure ebooks and does have a stable of authors I love.

So if you can live without an eInk reader and are willing to continue to wait for perfection, try a Rocket or Rb1100. Usually cheap, found on ebay or on yahoo lists for same. They will do all those pdf and other books you are currently fond of. You can read it without an addition of outside lighting and it runs for hours and can store oodles and a half on the rb or even the ebookwise (very cheap on the website nowdays).

lee
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by omk3 View Post
1) formats
Every reader reads only one drm format, but multiple non-drm ones.
Nope - not true. The only restriction (and it's a contractual thing) is that no device can support DRM Mobi and another DRM format. There are no problems with other combinations. Eg, Sony devices read DRM ePub, PDF, and Sony's own "LRX" DRM format. The B&N nook reads both eReader and ePub/PDF DRM.
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Old 12-13-2009, 01:58 PM   #6
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Sorry, you are right of course Harry. I only had the two "main" drm formats in mind, epub and mobipocket... I stand corrected.
However I understand the op only wants to read non-drm files, and my point was that he can use any device for that.
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:25 PM   #7
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Wow, I wasn't expecting that many useful replies. Thanks a lot.
About my first question, I don't anyone has really explained it to me. for the moment I'm not planning on buying many books so DRM is not really my concern yet. I was trying to see if either epub, mobi or lit had any advantages to the other. I see in gutenberg now you can download their books in those 3 formats, and even with pictures? will these work on the devices? or are they jsut meant for the computer?

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Originally Posted by EowynCarter View Post
OCR and conversion to ePub / mobi. Or a large screen reader (ie >=8". )
Quote:
Originally Posted by omk3 View Post
About your pfs: why do you think they couldn't be reflowed? Any text based pdf can be reflowed I think, even if not optimally. If your pdfs are not text but images, I would advise to use an ocr software to turn them into text. Smaller file size and more flexibility.
Cool, any programs I could use? never heard you could do that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by omk3 View Post
And about the refresh rate: Two reasons it's a bit slow. The fists is e-ink limitations, nothing you can do about that, and all e-ink devices have it. The second is processor power. From the three readers I've had I find sony prs-600 is much faster, because it has less lag between the click of the button and the actual start of "page turning". I don't find the actual refresh of the e-ink screen such a waste of time, it really doesn't take much longer than turning a paper page. It's just that we get impatient with electronic devices, expecting everything to be done in a flash
Yeah, I know eInk is not very fast, it's just that in some video reviews I've seen that "lag" that you mention, so a faster processor would do the trick here then?

Leequick1:
Thanks for your insightful post. I'm going to have a look at the devices you mentioned. Like i said, I'm not planning on buying many books yet, so I'm not too strict on the DRM thing
Are you talking about the nook review on youtube? I know, that guy is useless... he thinks he's reviewing an ipod competitor... but some of the things he touched kind of put me off for the nook... When are you getting yours? if you get it before I decide on which one to buy, I'd really appreciate your feedback.
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Old 12-13-2009, 02:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pauluscaesar View Post
About my first question, I don't anyone has really explained it to me. for the moment I'm not planning on buying many books so DRM is not really my concern yet. I was trying to see if either epub, mobi or lit had any advantages to the other.
I didn't answer it because I don't really know a lot about it. There are differences, but other than the support of multiple dictionaries in mobi, I don't think they are important to the casual reader.


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Originally Posted by pauluscaesar View Post
I see in gutenberg now you can download their books in those 3 formats, and even with pictures? will these work on the devices? or are they jsut meant for the computer?
You can download any book you want from gutenberg or from here, in the format that is supported by your device, and it will work just fine, pictures or not.

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Cool, any programs I could use? never heard you could do that.
I have heard abbyy finereader is quite good, but it is commercial. You can try googling "ocr freeware" to look for free options.

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Originally Posted by pauluscaesar View Post
Yeah, I know eInk is not very fast, it's just that in some video reviews I've seen that "lag" that you mention, so a faster processor would do the trick here then?
Yes, my prs-600 is quite fast. With my other two devices, I press the next page button and have time to read a small paragraph before the page changes. With my 600 I have often had to go back a page to read what I had missed when I was still used to the 505 rhythm. Now I only press the button when I'm on the last word.
I'm not sure if there are other devices out there that are as fast.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:17 PM   #9
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Jetbook, can be found on sale for under 200$ 150 for a jetbook lite (4 x AA batterys instead of built in rechargeable Li-ion battery)

Does a multitude of formats, .TXT, .PDF, .FB2, .JPG, .EPUB, .MOBI, .PRC and .RTF

Its quick, page turns are almost instant.
Long battery life, 20 + hours.

Its ideal for someone who wants to load their own books they've found from whatever sites. No so much for someone who wants to be able to buy the latest whatever.

Its has a 5" screen, and a very large assortment of font sizes.

I've had mine for over 6 months, its well built, tough even.
No touch screen, but easy to operate with well designed menus.
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:58 PM   #10
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Paul, you mentioned the necessity of a dictionary. I believe that the Ectaco jetBook recommend by GhostHawk excels in that regard.
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Old 12-13-2009, 07:26 PM   #11
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Jetbook, can be found on sale for under 200$ 150 for a jetbook lite (4 x AA batterys instead of built in rechargeable Li-ion battery)
Hey, that one looks interesting, super fast and reads almost any format. I read it is a TFT transflective LCD (no idea what it exactly means but seems to be a LCD without any back light). Is it good for prolonged reading? I have "sensitive" eyes and cannot read for too long in my computer.
Do you where I could get my hands on it and play with it for a bit?
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Old 12-13-2009, 07:54 PM   #12
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Do you where I could get my hands on it and play with it for a bit?
Paulus, if you are in the US, you should find the jetBook at your local Bed, Bath & Beyond store.

SuperValu supermarkets also carry it. Their store names include Jewel-Osco and Albertson's.

PS - These stores I've mentioned carry the jetBook. I don't know who carries the jetBook Lite.
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:14 PM   #13
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Paula I don't know if this will help, I used to have trouble reading for more than 3-4 hours a day. Eyestrain, headaches, etc. Since I switched to the Jetbook I often find myself reading for up to 10-12 hours if the book is good. With no eyestrain, no headaches, and I'm doing it on less light than I used to use. I used to use a 3 way incandescant bulb 50/100/150s on high. Now I'm using a mini flourescent 100watt equivilant. (something like 33 watts actual)
The light is cool, very white, non glare. So I for one am extremely happy with the Jetbook screen. It is also very good in a lot of light, direct sunlight etc.
There is no backlight, so its not like reading on the computer, etc.

For Hands on what GA Russell said nailed it.
To buy you can probably save yourself some $$ by watching for sales at places like newegg, mwave, or possibly amazon.

I know my wife got so jealous of my Jetbook that we had to get her one.
As for me, I'm hooked for life, I'll never go back to paper.



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Originally Posted by pauluscaesar View Post
Hey, that one looks interesting, super fast and reads almost any format. I read it is a TFT transflective LCD (no idea what it exactly means but seems to be a LCD without any back light). Is it good for prolonged reading? I have "sensitive" eyes and cannot read for too long in my computer.
Do you where I could get my hands on it and play with it for a bit?
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