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Old 03-14-2010, 05:01 AM   #1
timbp
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Display not working (and some basic economic analysis)

Six weeks ago I bought an ECO reader, and it has hardly left my side since.

Yesterday, I picked it up and read the page that was showing, then pressed the button for the next page.

The display went weird. From about halfway down the left edge there is a starburst pattern that includes some of the previous text. Changing the page makes the screen flash black then return exactly as it was before. I have tried turning the reader off, and I have tried the reset button. Neither had any effect. The reader froze up once before, but reset fixed it. This time nothing I try makes any difference.

I have found my receipt and will head back to Dymocks at lunch on Monday for warranty claim.
But I am wondering how many other people have had similar problems?

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I still read paper books I bought 25 years ago; if an e-reader stops working after only 6 weeks, is it really an improvement?

If the average difference in price between paper and electronic editions of novels is $10, then the reader has to last 45 weeks to break even on first reads. (Calculation assumes I read 1 new novel a week.)
I reread many books many times. If rereads cost nothing and new books average $10 less electronically, the reader needs to last 2.5 years before I break even. (Calculations assume I read 1 new novel every 3 weeks, and make up the rest of my reading time with rereads.)
When I bought it, I had hoped it would last 5 years. Instead, I got 6 weeks.

Although I know e-readers are best for text-only works like novels, I also use mine for textbooks. The cost break-even point is more complicated with textbooks as the discount is less in proportion, but the quality is much lower electronically. Roughly, the paper textbooks cost around $200 to $300, and the electronic versions are about $40 less. And the images and tables in the electronic versions are difficult to read.

And DRM matters. What happens if I take my ECO Reader back to Dymock and they give me a new one? Can I put my purchased books on the new reader? If not, for a novel I've lost about $20. But if I have to repurchase a textbook because my reader stopped working, it will be 2021 before the reader pays off (assuming nothing else goes wrong in the next 11 years).

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It's called an ECO Reader. And my calculations refer only to the cost to me. So I guess I should make some allowance for the environmental benefits of using the reader rather than paper books. Unfortunately, I can't think of any right now. As I said, I still reread paper books I bought 25 years ago, but this device stopped working after only 6 weeks. Is it really so unbelievably eco-friendly that 6 weeks use pays for its manufacture and the manufacture of the paper books I would have read in that time?
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Old 03-14-2010, 06:25 AM   #2
pdurrant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbp View Post
Yesterday, I picked it up and read the page that was showing, then pressed the button for the next page.

The display went weird. From about halfway down the left edge there is a starburst pattern that includes some of the previous text. Changing the page makes the screen flash black then return exactly as it was before. I have tried turning the reader off, and I have tried the reset button. Neither had any effect. The reader froze up once before, but reset fixed it. This time nothing I try makes any difference.
That sounds very much like a broken screen. The current eInk screens are made on a glass substrate - this is fragile and easily broken by pressure and especially twisting.

If you post a sharp picture of the screen, it should be possible to tell for sure - the patterns on a broken screen are usually easy to identify, once you've seen one or two.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:04 AM   #3
AlexBell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timbp View Post

It's called an ECO Reader. And my calculations refer only to the cost to me. So I guess I should make some allowance for the environmental benefits of using the reader rather than paper books. Unfortunately, I can't think of any right now. As I said, I still reread paper books I bought 25 years ago, but this device stopped working after only 6 weeks. Is it really so unbelievably eco-friendly that 6 weeks use pays for its manufacture and the manufacture of the paper books I would have read in that time?
I've had my ECO reader for about a year now, and it's still going strong. I have broken the screens on to two Cybooks by inadvertently twisting or bending them. That was because of my carelessness rather than of any fault in the reader.

For what is worth I don't think ebook readers will ever totally replace print books for things like text books or coffee table books or art books or music books. But I wouldn't dream of going back to reading novels or similar books as print books; a well formatted ebook is far better for this purpose.

Regards, Alex
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