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Old 12-28-2010, 12:55 AM   #1
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Ebook reader for a visually impaired geek

Hello everyone. I am legally blind (visually impaired) in both eyes and was born this way. I am also a bit of a geek and I am interested in my first ebook reader. It does not have to be a big name brand or popular model. Here is what I am looking for and also what I do not need:

Under $150 total cost (lower price preferred)
SD card slot
work with Linux
simple easy to use UI
large font size
landscape viewing
simple controls
txt, pdf support

do not need:

wi-fi
3G
built in bookstore

I want to use the SD card and load books from my computer on to the device.
I am not sure what is out there other than the big names such as Kindle, Nook, and Sony. I use my MP3 player for audiobooks, so I am not too interested in text to speech. Thank you for the help.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:11 AM   #2
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It is hard to beat the Kindle WiFi for value. It has the latest Pearl EInk screen, with better contrast then the older Vizplex screens. You may want to add bolder fonts, but the originals and their size options are shown in Can someone compare fonts for me?. These screenshots are actual bitmaps of the screen, but they are likely larger on your PC screen than on the actual device.

The Kindle does not "reflow" PDFs. It does have a landscape PDF viewing mode, but you may be better off converting PDFs consisting of text to MOBI using Calibre. Converting TXT to MOBI with Calibre is also a good idea for the K3.

You should buy a cover for any EInk device, which pushes the K3 over $150 with shipping. It is outstanding value for the money though.

There is no SD card slot, but it has 4 GB built in.

Last edited by wallcraft; 12-28-2010 at 02:13 AM.
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Old 12-28-2010, 02:12 AM   #3
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The new Kindle, the k3, does NOT have a card slot. But you can use usb to directly load books and it does contain 4gigs of internal memory which can hold a slew of books. You can definitely create large fonts in books except apparently you cannot enlarge the menu font. Someone recently mentioned it might have a speech-to-text or something similar which can read menus. It does have landscape mode.

Others can probably provide additional info on the k3 and other units.

Good luck with your selection.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:32 AM   #4
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I'll have to second wallcraft on one point get a reader with pearl screen. That is, kindle 3, or sony prs-600.

One thing, as you mention linux, neither the sony-reader app, nor the kindle for pc app works with wine.
Though you can buy your books somewhere else in the first case, buy books directly with the kindle on the second.
Mmm, I'm not sure if adobe digital edition will be able to use usb with wine to authorize the device and such... Might be a bit of a problem.

Quote:
The Kindle does not "reflow" PDFs. It does have a landscape PDF viewing mode, but you may be better off converting PDFs consisting of text to MOBI using Calibre. Converting TXT to MOBI with Calibre is also a good idea for the K3.
use mobipocket creator. it does a better job than calibre, especially when it comes to pdf !
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:44 AM   #5
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Do not get a K3 to read PDFs. Converted or native, a 6" e-reader just isn't going to do a good job.

And unfortunately, all the larger ones are out of your price range.

And honestly, even on a pearl screen, the contrast of e-ink isn't very good. I'm not sure it's suitable for the visually impaired unless you can distinguish black on light grey (basically it's like newspaper, though not as smudgy)
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Old 12-28-2010, 01:25 PM   #6
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I bought my wife a Kindle 3 for Christmas and she loves it. I have been playing with it as well. You can not change the main menu font size and that stinks. What is the difference between the LCD based units and e-ink? What about a bargin device such as a Libre Pro http://www.borders.com/online/store/..._libre-ereader or this http://www.walmart.com/ip/Ematic-EB1...Black/15250087 or are these a case of you get what you pay for?

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:40 PM   #7
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The Menu can be read using a setting on page two of the settings. Voice guide. Just tried it - interesting. I will tell you what page and read each line using a computer voice. The various menus will be read as will the title of the books. In a book it will tell you what book you are reading and it will tell you the location information and the percentage read.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:15 PM   #8
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Kindle 3, for sure...

Why? "read me" feature (absent on Nook 1st gen and Nook Color) landscape mode, plus really big fonts. Good price as well, about 139.00

You can connect Kindle 3 to Linux and upload books from your computer.
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:35 PM   #9
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Everyone is sure maki9ng a nice case for the Kindle 3, it must be a really nice ebook reader and about the best one out there. So in a nutshell stay away from the made in China $100 options then? I forgot the question that I was going to ask, oh well it will come back to me. OK it came back to me. What is this I hear about getting ebooks from the public library? How does that work, and which ereaders support that?

Last edited by s1mp13m4n; 12-29-2010 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 12-29-2010, 03:08 PM   #10
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Any of the EPub readers can be used to download library books. That would be the Sony, Nook, Kobo, Pocketbook, and most of the other lesser known e-readers.

Kindle can be made to work with the library but you have to be willing to strip DRM.
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Old 12-29-2010, 03:22 PM   #11
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Hi s1mp13m4n,

I am legally blind, and came here specifically (about 8? months ago) to get that same question answered, http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...33#post1014333
they didn't have that thread with the font size screen shots then...

So I started doing research from a low vision point of view:

http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AS...emY0em00&hl=en

and also to keep track of which ereaders I had looked at, made what might be the largest (kept up to date) list of ereaders, past, present and future:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...en&output=html

I went with Ectaco Jetbook Lite as I had found buried in a youtube video that it went up to a size 32 font (the ectaco site didn't list font sizes, for some reason most companies don't, most only offer the number of font sizes available) At the time the JBL did not allow any of the public library formats, but now they do....

My _only_ regret on getting the Lite was (not having an mp3 player) was not considering its big brother which has an mp3/audio book capability and the memory options to hold an audio book

Low vision/legally blind has come up a few times before:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=90654 has info about low vision specific sites, programs (one example BARD)


http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=98195 how I use my JBL to help me navigate, I called it using my JBL as a gps...

in my initial request in the which should I buy sub forum a few said the Kindle DX and our local library had a one day event letting patrons see and use a DX and K2 I brought my JBL so the "class" had 3 models to compare.. I could see that the main advantage was as the poster who had suggested it mentioned: more words per page at a large enough font that I could see, meaning less page turn button mashing but its heft and price (I don't have an mp3 player for a rea$on) made me glad that I had gone with the JBL

http://www.ectaco.com/eBook-PDA-Dict...-items/?atid=1
http://www.amazon.com/Ectaco-Lite-Jb.../dp/B002Z6B4AC
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Old 12-29-2010, 03:50 PM   #12
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Thank you very much for the very helpful post. May I ask what your vision problem is? I was born with optic atrophy so my optics nerves did not fully form at birth so I have good eyes but a bad patch cable. There is nothing man can do about it as of yet, but heck I am use to it. My numbers are 20/300 left eye and 20/400 right eye and I am very near sited. How do you like the LCD screen over the much loved pearl e-ink? I will have this ereader up to my eyes 6 inches or less away to read it.

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Old 12-29-2010, 06:34 PM   #13
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Cataracts in each eye, extreme myopia, glaucoma and at the last Dr's visit she expressed concerns for the first time about macular degeneration....

20/480 left 20/280 right

might I suggest www.benefitscheckup.org it helps to find any programs/services you might be entitled to

and my listing (again the largest on the net ) of cctv hand held video magnifiers if you might be leaning towards something like that https://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0A...Nmc1emRy&hl=en

Last edited by tomereader; 12-29-2010 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:55 PM   #14
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Thank you my friend for the help. I own a Looky handheld magnifier which the Dept FT blind bought, heck I am using their computer right now. I am concerned about eye strain and clarity of the display for my eyes. I would prefer black background with white text but that can be hard to find in an ereader. I wonder if I would be terr off with a Jetbook or maybe a used 1 year old Kindle DX? I see there is one for sale on the list of Craig in my area. I know folks talk about the turning of the page and how fast the Jetbook is over E-ink, but seriously...I can wait a second for that to happen. I am trying to learn what I can. By the way, I have the BARD player supplied via my local disabilities library and I use it a lot for listening to audiobooks. Thank you so much for the great help.
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:42 PM   #15
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i wish my stated department for the blind had services like that, they offer job training is all I can find

I only found three references to a black background white text:
pandigital novel, ipad, and a refurbished Sony Reader PRS-500 here and at other sites

post 5 and 7 http://www.mobileread.com/forums/arc...p/t-90654.html

post 3 http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...ghlight=invert

Cybook offers "Mobipocket Vision" for the visually impaired
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4148

I find no strain using the JBL, its more of a getting the light just right to avoid glare...

I wish we could use the features of the mobipocket reader on a hand held,

It is my favorite ereader for my pc, having a gold text on black background at a size 48 font I can actually sit in my chair (instead of nose three inches from screen) and I think it had autoscroll so I felt like a character in one of the sci fi books I grew up with and their auto readers

My wish book has a netbook tablet (with the reversible touchscreen top) with an ac adapter that CAN have mobipocket, adobe ADE and overdrive and calibre all in one unit that can be moved from chair, to sofa to bed

Last edited by tomereader; 12-29-2010 at 09:47 PM.
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