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Old 01-06-2011, 06:05 PM   #1
inkyness
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Trying to choose e-ink device (Canada)

I'd like to buy an ebook reader, but I've been reading up on them for several days (both on this forum and elsewhere) and I feel pretty lost. If you folks could take a look at my needs and offer a suggestion or two, it would be very appreciated.

Some details:
  • I definitely want e-ink, and I won't be using the reader for anything other than reading books.

  • I live in Canada (Vancouver). I have a US mailing address and credit card, but some stores seem to check your IP address, which I'm not sure how to get around. Given that, does anyone know what my book-buying options will be? Will some titles from BN/Amazon/Sony still be unavailable? Does anyone have examples of this, just to give me an idea of how often it happens?

  • Being able to use ebooks from the library would be pretty nice, but not 100% required.

  • It would be a bonus to have a French-English translation dictionary, since I'm trying to learn French; however, it probably shouldn't be the deciding factor.

  • I don't need 3G and would prefer to use wifi or a cable to transfer books.

Thank you!
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:18 PM   #2
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I am in the same position as you. Live in Vancouver, Canada. Have a Canadian credit card and a US mailing address. Just bought a Nook on Monday.

I haven't technically "bought" a book yet, but was definitely able to register my Nook no problem, and download a free sample of a book from B&N. I don't think it's a problem, and the lady at the counter said B&N allows a Canadian credit card but US address.

I even downloaded a Library book. I found it extremely easy to convert a file from MOBI to EPUB using Calibre.

Those are my thoughts, then again I haven't actually bought a book from B&N per se, but I would think that they wouldn't even allow me to download a sample from them if it was a problem with my Canadian credit card.

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Old 01-06-2011, 06:29 PM   #3
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I am in Canada as well but did not have a us address so I went with a Sony 650. I am really enjoying it. I love the pearl e-ink touch screen.

It is a tough decision. I wavered so much before I got mine but am happy with my decision.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:04 PM   #4
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Just to clarify, I do have a US credit card I can use (though from what you said it sounds like it doesn't matter).

Mcrmama, just wondering - have you noticed any ebooks yet that are available in the US but not here?

The Sony 650 does look nice, and it's one that I was considering; the only negative points would be that it's a bit more pricy than something like the Nook and it's 3G only (which wasn't my preference).

Taya, it's good to hear that your Nook worked fine. I do wish it had the pearl e-ink, but it looks like nothing will be exactly what I want and I may consider getting one anyway.

I'd still love to hear from anyone else who has any advice based on my original post.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:45 PM   #5
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1) For e-ink, your choices are basically Kindle, Nook, Sony, Pocketbook, and maybe a few other niche devices. Kindle 3 and certain of the latest Sony models have the new Pearl e-Ink screen, which is the latest commercially available technology.

2) a VPN IP proxy is your friend. As for bookstore shopping and availability from Canada, I did a really long post in response to another Canadian who recently asked, and things haven't changed, so I'll just link it here instead of copypasting: Canadian grad student choice.

As for specific books that are available in the US and not in Canada, I recall some of the Elizabeth Peters mysteries in particular, and I've seen some other stuff when browsing freebie offers. But what seems to happen more and more often is that books will be available at one price from the US publisher, but a second price from the Canadian publisher.

For example, when you go looking for say, Stieg Larsson's books at Amazon via a link to the US version, you'll get a "This book is not available in Canada" notice, but if you look underneath to "other formats", there should be a link to another Kindle edition from Doubleday Canada or whoever publishes it up here.

3) For library books, an ADE-DRM ePub supporting reader is required, unless you're both comfortable with and willing to learn how to strip DRM and convert (not yet illegal in Canada, despite the best efforts of our current Conservative government; be sure to write your MP to oppose Bill C-32 if you'd like to keep it this way).

That lets the Kindle out, unless you're prepared to do the hoop-jumping. By the way, BC is ranked in the top 10 for library e-book # on MR, and our selection seems to be pretty good.

But I've noticed an increase in unavailability and longer hold wait times since the holidays, when I guess a lot of other people got new e-readers. I hope they learn to set short loan periods and also the trick of returning books early soon (right-click on the little button beside the book in ADE, choose "Return Borrowed Item").

4) Sony's supposed to have 10 built-in multilingual dictionaries; I think Pocketbook's supposed to allow you to add your own dictionaries which you can build yourself from free online dictionary files (but I'm not really familiar with them, so this might not be the case); and I definitely know that the Kindle accepts external dictionaries in a suitable format which you can make yourself and set it as the default for word-lookup when you read.

I've used a free English-French dictionary here on MR (it's somewhere in the Francophone forum) on my Kindle and it popped up French "translations" when I moved the cursor over included words in the English text I was reading.

Finally, I get plenty of free books from B&N with no problems. And I don't even have a Nook.

Hope this helps, and welcome to MobileRead!
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:20 PM   #6
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If you have a US passport then you will be able to gain access to the US store easily enough. If you don't but you have a a US credit card, make sure you open an account using that credit cards address and you should be fine.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by inkyness View Post
Just to clarify, I do have a US credit card I can use (though from what you said it sounds like it doesn't matter).

Mcrmama, just wondering - have you noticed any ebooks yet that are available in the US but not here?

The Sony 650 does look nice, and it's one that I was considering; the only negative points would be that it's a bit more pricy than something like the Nook and it's 3G only (which wasn't my preference).

Taya, it's good to hear that your Nook worked fine. I do wish it had the pearl e-ink, but it looks like nothing will be exactly what I want and I may consider getting one anyway.

I'd still love to hear from anyone else who has any advice based on my original post.
the Sony 650 doesnt have 3G or wireless, tbh it depends on how often you are in an area with wireless access and are actually going to use it.
I have the 650 and I love it, the touch screen is amazing and works great (also has a english/french dictionary). However you dont want to spend that much I have heard good things about the Nook, pocketbook and the Kobo.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:46 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum. I too am in Vancouver. I ended up getting a Kindle W-Fi. The Kindle and the Sonys are the only ones with the Pearl screen, which I think is a significant improvement over the screens on the Kobo, Nook etc, so much so that I'd only go with the Kindle or the Sony.

The Kindle is $139 US plus the taxes, shipping etc. Futureshop currently has the Sony 650 on sale for $207 CA plus tax.

What it comes down to is whether you are comfortable removing DRM from ePubs that you get from the library or ebook retailers like Kobo. If you are, then a Kindle works nicely in conjunction with Calibre, which you use to convert the ePubs to the Kindle's mobi format. If you are not, then go with the Sony because it supports ePubs natively. Just download them into Adobe Desktop Editions, sync with the Sony, and off you go.
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:04 AM   #9
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I can understand wanting wifi. I wanted it too. I finally just took the plunge and like the touchscreen enough that it is worth it. (the touchscreen is kind of addicting, love it) I wanted to be able to get news feeds etc and thought that would be so much easier but since I have set up calibre to do it for me and figured out how to put it in the system tray so that my family won't exit out of it, it really has been quite quick in the morning to plug in and read my news over breakfast. I've also found that I tend to like to add my books to the library to set up metadata etc and most of what I want to do cannot be done via wifi so having to hook up my reader is not so bad. I think at some point I would like a laptop or netbook to run calibre for me to give me that access that is portable when my family wants to use the computer. Perhaps by the time I'm ready to upgrade again, there will be better access via wifi.

I have not noticed any books I've wanted that I couldn't get so far other than those that are just not available (ie things like Harry Potter). The library is pretty good in BC too. It doesn't have everything I want if I am looking for something specific but there is quite a bit there. I have found quite a bit for my oldest son as well.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:28 AM   #10
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Vancouver

I'm in Vancouver as well.
BB on Cambie has the Sony 350 on sale for $179, and the 650 for $219, but it appeared to me the 650 was out of stock.
I ruled out the Kindle simply because I thought it was cheap looking and feeling. Amazon has a ton of titles available, but I really disliked the Kindle.
The page turning buttons felt like crap.....it just seemed so 'low tech'. My hands are too large for the keyboard and there is the problem of the letters wearing off the graphite keys. I guess that's why they can sell them so cheaply, and to me they feel like it.
I liked the basic Nook, but it's surprising how much difference a couple or three ounces makes. I just didn't want to mess around so much to access limited title selection. Still haven't got an answer from B&N on being able to buy on-line from them. I ruled the Nook out for that reason.
I'm now leaning toward a Sony, despite the $$$, and I understand they are the only one that is fully supported by Calibre.

WE
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:08 AM   #11
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I don't need 3G and would prefer to use wifi or a cable to transfer books.
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The Kindle and the Sonys are the only ones with the Pearl screen, which I think is a significant improvement over the screens on the Kobo, Nook etc, so much so that I'd only go with the Kindle or the Sony.

The Kindle is $139 US plus the taxes, shipping etc. Futureshop currently has the Sony 650 on sale for $207 CA plus tax.
inkyness, I agree that if you are going to go eInk, the pearl screen is better than the old vizplex screen.

However, there is a third option. Newegg.ca sells the jetBook Lite, frequently on sale. Last week it was on sale in the US (I don't know about Canada) for $85 including a leather case and an earlight, with free shipping.

The reason it is so inexpensive is because the screen is the reflective TFT, which is the same as a digital watch or a pocket calculator. Crystal clear with pitch black text. Changes pages more quickly than an eInk screen.

The jetBook Lite can use a cable to transfer books, but instead, everyone puts their books on a 2 gig SD card. No need to fool with a cable or use the device's internal memory.

The JBL uses four rechargeable AA flashlight batteries which last me two weeks. So you buy two sets and a charger, and you can have the spare set ready to go when the set you are using runs out. No need to wait four hours to charge the battery like with the Kindle and the Sony.

The JBL works great with public libraries. No need to strip the DRM. The JBL also does not have an internal clock, so your library book does not expire.

We have a jetBook forum here at MobileRead which I recommend you look at to give yourself another option.

First, go to newegg.ca and see what they are selling the JBL for this week.

Prices of eBook readers continue to fall, and I recommend that you not put too much money into your first one. My JBL paid for itself in three months because of all the free books I downloaded from the MobileRead library.

Last edited by GA Russell; 01-07-2011 at 02:21 AM.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:02 AM   #12
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I'm in Vancouver as well.
BB on Cambie has the Sony 350 on sale for $179, and the 650 for $219, but it appeared to me the 650 was out of stock.
I ruled out the Kindle simply because I thought it was cheap looking and feeling. Amazon has a ton of titles available, but I really disliked the Kindle.
The page turning buttons felt like crap.....it just seemed so 'low tech'. My hands are too large for the keyboard and there is the problem of the letters wearing off the graphite keys. I guess that's why they can sell them so cheaply, and to me they feel like it.
I liked the basic Nook, but it's surprising how much difference a couple or three ounces makes. I just didn't want to mess around so much to access limited title selection. Still haven't got an answer from B&N on being able to buy on-line from them. I ruled the Nook out for that reason.
I'm now leaning toward a Sony, despite the $$$, and I understand they are the only one that is fully supported by Calibre.

WE
All of the major e-readers are supported by Calibre.

The look and feel of a device is personal. I would not get a Nook because I don't like the little LCD screen at the bottom of the device. I don't need to see my book covers in color and if I want a touch screen I'll get something with a full touchscreen.

I don't like the cost of the Sony and I don't like touchscreens all that much. Additionally, the book store is crap. I understand that with an EPub device I can shop at many stores but I like having all of my books archived at one location, well 2 if you count my desktop. I would not get a Sony because I like having the 3G/WiFi connectivity. I have ordered books at airports and on buses. I don't want have to worry about having a computer to plug into to download the book that I want.

I liked the Kindle, at the time I was buying I knew of the Kindle and the Sony there was no Nook or Kobo. I liked the 3G connectivity (no WiFi on the K1 or the DXG). I love the bookstore. I love the customer service. It is an easy to use device that lasts. My K1 is still alive and kicking. My Hubby has it right now although he doesn't actually use it. He did ask me to books on it that I thought he would like recently. I love the big screen on the DXG.

So the ergonomics of the device is important but different people have different ideas of what feels right for them.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:32 AM   #13
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Inkyness another option is the Kobo, which you can check out at any Chapters in Vancouver. It's $149 CA. It has the older screen, but it does have wi-fi which allows you to buy directly from the Kobo bookstore. It supports ePub, which allows you to easily borrow books from the VPL.

My wife has the original model Kobo, which is nearly identical to the new one except it's a bit slower and no wi-fi. It's a perfectly fine basic reader, though the Kindle and new Sonys are better. They are selling refurbished ones at Futureshop for $79.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:48 AM   #14
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I think it's important to think about how you like to turn pages and check out each device to see if it works for you. I chose the Kindle for the side page turn buttons. I didn't consider the Nook because they don't easily ship to Canada. I didn't want a touch screen and the blue Kobo button isn't page-turn friendly, imho. I buy eBooks from both Amazon and Kobo and borrow from the library on occasion. I have no problem with removing DRM for personal use. I rarely use the wifi feature. I know you can load other dictionaries into the Kindle but haven't done that myself.
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Old 01-07-2011, 12:51 PM   #15
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a VPN IP proxy is your friend. As for bookstore shopping and availability from Canada, I did a really long post in response to another Canadian who recently asked, and things haven't changed, so I'll just link it here instead of copypasting
Any idea how to set up a VPN IP proxy? A google search came up with some paid services, but it wouldn't be worth paying just to be able to use Google's ebook store. I have a Mac, if that makes any difference.

Great post you linked to!

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If you have a US passport then you will be able to gain access to the US store easily enough. If you don't but you have a a US credit card, make sure you open an account using that credit cards address and you should be fine.
Gain access to Amazon you mean? Or to any ebook store? I do have a US passport (I was born in Seattle) but Google's store, at least, is blocking me because of my location.

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Inkyness another option is the Kobo, which you can check out at any Chapters in Vancouver. It's $149 CA. It has the older screen, but it does have wi-fi which allows you to buy directly from the Kobo bookstore. It supports ePub, which allows you to easily borrow books from the VPL.
I did look at a Kobo in Chapters, actually. It was my first real experience with an e-ink screen and it was what made me interested in getting an ereader.

----

Anyway, thanks SO much to everyone for all the great replies! Even after all of the other research I've done, I feel much more aware of my options after reading this thread.

At the moment I think I'm actually leaning toward the Kindle 3. It's one of the cheaper options, it has the pearl screen, and after doing a bunch of research yesterday I think it should be easy for me to convert epub files (from the library or from other ebook stores).

It's not perfect; I still really wish it used epub (because not all conversions seem to be formatted perfectly, and because of epub's support for embedded fonts - I love all the different fonts in my printed books)... but I think it may be the best option, since each of the other readers seem to have their own drawbacks for me.
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