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Old 12-24-2009, 11:48 AM   #1
surrealmind
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Right now, you can have 2 of 3 features?

I've become quite interested in ebook readers the last couple weeks, and it seems to me that one can find any combination of two of the following three features in current readers:
  1. Advanced paper-like screen technology (e-ink or reflective LCD).
  2. Good annotation system--preferably via stylus.
  3. Price under $150.
If you want 2 and 3, you have the functional, but somewhat antiquated, eBookwise. If you want 1 and 3, you have the Ectaco Jetbook and its cousins. If you want 1 and 2, well, I guess there's the expensive IREX iLiad.

Is there any chance we'll see a reader with all three features by summer 2010? Maybe I shouldn't hold my breath. I feel that ebook technology is on the cusp of really taking off but is just not quite there yet (and I don't know if 2010 will be the year).

For those with eBookwise experience, is the $90 deal worth it? By that I mean specifically: is reading non-straining on the LCD screen, are annotations easily accessible on device and on computer, and finally, do you think it will be replaced by a reader in 2010 that boasts better screen technology, higher resolution stylus annotations, and an affordable price tag (a guess, I know, but I feel that some of you have a certain intuition about ebook innovation)? I'm not dying to get a reader yet, I can wait on the market for a while, but if there's no hope of seeing my "big 3" list on the immediate horizon (6-12 months), it might be worth it to play with eBookwise now.

(P.S. The vast majority of my reading is pre-1850, so I'm not overly concerned about DRM issues).
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Old 12-24-2009, 12:40 PM   #2
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Welcome to MR. All kinds of trade-offs depending on your needs.

Lots of information and knowledgeable people here.
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Old 12-24-2009, 05:31 PM   #3
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Whether an eBookwise is worth it is a personal – and flaky – decision. Some people who stare at an LCD computer monitor during the day and at an LCD TV at night find staring at an LCD reading device too much, others don't see the problem. I like reading a self-lighting unit in the dark, others shudder at the thought.

On annotations, forget them. They don't really extract to computer. (I think there's a program here that extracts them, but it's just as pictures. It's definitely not text, not searchable.) Consider them as margin notes in a paper book: bound to it, in your writing, not searchable or exportable.

At $90, if the unit lasts a year, that's two bucks a week, which is less than I pay for magazines I read and recycle-bin. Even less if you're an eBay sort (something I could never be). While ETI Technologies has shown an e-ink prototype on their site, it's been there a long time and I have no faith in them producing it, perhaps because their market is into self-lighting and good ergonomics.

There will no doubt be a half-dozen new readers in 2010, and some will likely meet your requirements, though they'll certainly cost more, maybe much more. A cheap eBookwise lets you play with the general practice of reading ebooks on a portable device, to see in non-theory what it's worth to you. As long as you're willing to do conversions yourself (if picky) or accept rough automated format switches (if not), an eBookwise is probably worth it.
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Old 12-25-2009, 08:55 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses everyone. This forum is a wonderful resource.

Jadon:
Your reply was very helpful. Concerning annotations, will the eBookwise at least list where in the ebook you've made annotations? In other words, is there a function to jump straight to pages with annotations, or do you just have to "flip through" the book to find them (like a regular paperback)? You can tell I'm a complete noobie here.

Whatever the case, I think you may be right about just trying it. $2/week for a year is a good way to contextualize the purchase. EBookwise also has this sort of cult following which makes me think it's pretty solid, so long as you can endure the LCD display. The 64 mb factor still worries me a bit, but one can only read so much about ebook readers before actually trying one out. Knowing my luck, 1 month after I buy the thing, the dream ebook device will come out for $120, but as you say, $100 shipped is not a real big risk in the long run. I kind of feel that ebook readers are in the same place netbooks were about 18 months ago--just about ready to get refined features and a 1/3 price drop. But then I sense that all the neat stuff is still going to cost >$200, and one could wait around forever for the next big technological advancement.

PhillipA82:
Does the little keyboard for the Kindle really work pretty well? And do the annotations sync back seamlessly with the Amazon servers? It really is a tempting device insofar as everything just seems to work well for people without a lot of rigmarole, but being the cheapskate I am, I cannot bring myself to shell out $260 at this point. Probably not a real great chance for a 30% price cut in Q1 2010, either.
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Old 12-26-2009, 12:49 AM   #5
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There's a Find command, which searches for the word you select, or for Markups, which covers both words (or drawings, etc) you've made with the stylus, or for text you've highlighted. And one of the half-dozen shortcut icons is configurable; you can assign one of a dozen or so functions you'd otherwise access via menu to it, and one of those is "go to next markup".

Ebooks are small, by and large. In IMP format, a 250-page paperback without illustrations translates into a half-megabyte file. Even with a cover and three interior illustrations, a 520-page hardcover is under two megs. So while you won't fit your entire library in the device, you can reasonably expect to fit fifty books, which will probably get you through a long weekend away from a computer to reload.
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:20 PM   #6
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Re Ebookwise

The great thing about the ebookwise, is that if you pay the $15 for the librarian, you can load all your ebooks onto a computer and download to your device without using the internet. I went on a 7 week cruise and with my supply of plus minus 600 books I was fine. The librarian also lets you convert a lot of formats - not pdf - to the ebookwise format. Reading when your partner wants to sleep is fantastic - 15 hour battery life even after 3 solid years. If you are clumsy like me, it is super sturdy - I have dropped mine a lot!!! Good luck.
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Old 12-30-2009, 01:22 PM   #7
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The eBookWise is a very good value for money device, but my only concern is that it really doesn't give an "experience" which is in any way comparable with that of modern eInk devices. If the original poster's goal is to do that, then this wouldn't be a good choice.

If he's just after a cheap reader then yes, it's a very good idea.
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:47 PM   #8
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Thank you everyone for the responses. I decided to go with the eBookwise and I'm very happy with the purchase. I'm particularly impressed with the three ways of marking up texts--the highlighter, the pen, and the 'dog-ear' bookmarks. The dog-ear was a particular surprise; I'm currently using this feature to mark where new characters are introduced in novels. It's very handy when trying to keep track of a large cast.

While the screen is far from e-ink (I did see a Sony in Target, and boy, that text does look nice), the experience of reading on an eBookwise is fantastic. The ease of reading and annotating from any position, sitting, standing, or lying, is such a relief after years of fighting the spine (heh, both the book spine and my own). The find word feature is great too, and I can see how the flip-between-books button could be handy in conjunction with a blank 'notes' book.

I imagine that the dictionary would be just as slick as all the other tools, but I somehow managed to delete it from my online bookshelf. Especially irking was the fact that I had just been researching the dictionary feature and knew from this forum that accidental deletion was a danger. When I finally decided I wanted to try the dictionary, I started to download it but suddenly realized that I had better check if I had enough free space left, and thus clicked cancel. I then clicked on the circle next to the dictionary in order to see how much space the dictionary would take up, and next thing I know, it's gone, not stored locally, no longer on my online bookshelf, just gone. <Sigh>. We'll see if tech support can come through; if not, I imagine using the hidden "refurbish" option, and re-registering the device under a new username will bring it back. My only worry is that I don't know if this will delete my library or not.
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surrealmind View Post
Does the little keyboard for the Kindle really work pretty well? And do the annotations sync back seamlessly with the Amazon servers? It really is a tempting device insofar as everything just seems to work well for people without a lot of rigmarole, but being the cheapskate I am, I cannot bring myself to shell out $260 at this point. Probably not a real great chance for a 30% price cut in Q1 2010, either.
Syncing only works with content purchased (or downloaded in the case of freebies) from the Amazon Kindle store. Sync will work across all Kindle reading devices (Kindle, Kindle for PC, Kindle for iPHine/iPod Touch and online at Amazon). You can also transfer those notes to a computer (they are stored in "My Clippings.txt" on the Kindle).

You can purchase a refurbished Kindle 2 for $219. It included the 30 day trial (minus shipping if returned) and 1 year warranty.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:46 PM   #10
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I found a solution for the eBookwise disappearing dictionary problem, if anyone is interested! (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=68172).

Quote:
Syncing only works with content purchased (or downloaded in the case of freebies) from the Amazon Kindle store. Sync will work across all Kindle reading devices (Kindle, Kindle for PC, Kindle for iPHine/iPod Touch and online at Amazon). You can also transfer those notes to a computer (they are stored in "My Clippings.txt" on the Kindle).
Thank you daffy4u, this is useful knowledge. I wish you could extract notes from the eBookwise as easily as you can from the Kindle, that's neat. That is unfortunate about not being able to sync non-Kindle Store books, however. I guess I wasn't even sure you could put non-Kindle Store books on the device. Otherwise, the Kindle sounds great for writing papers and articles since you could easily reference all your notes using the Kindle for PC application. Although I'm still not convinced I would like typing out my notes on a little keyboard.

So in short, the Kindle would be perfect if it came down a third of the price, incorporated extractable handwriting/stylus notes, and allowed you to sync any public domain texts (with notes) that you put on the device. Right now, the eBookwise is a really good fit for me. I hope these folks give us another generation of e-readers.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by rgtrys View Post
The great thing about the ebookwise, is that if you pay the $15 for the librarian, you can load all your ebooks onto a computer and download to your device without using the internet. I went on a 7 week cruise and with my supply of plus minus 600 books I was fine. The librarian also lets you convert a lot of formats - not pdf - to the ebookwise format. Reading when your partner wants to sleep is fantastic - 15 hour battery life even after 3 solid years. If you are clumsy like me, it is super sturdy - I have dropped mine a lot!!! Good luck.
Actually I believe that librarian program is now free?

Amy
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