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Old 02-26-2011, 02:03 AM   #1
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Arrow HowToDecide™ Quick Decide Guide™ for E-Book Readers

To explore the space of e-book readers before deciding which to buy, check out:

Which ereader should I buy?

You start with 11 popular ebook reader alternatives (requests for additions of other ereaders are welcome). As you select factors important to you, the list of viable alternatives is automatically narrowed to reflect your factors, and the URL is updated so that you might easily share constrained ereader lists with others.

Some examples: Here are ereaders that work well in direct sunlight; here are ebook readers that support TTS (Text-To-Speech); and here are ereaders that work well in sunlight and support TTS.

I'd love to hear if this helps you with your purchase decision or helps you help others with their purchase decision. If there are other factors or new e-book reader alternatives that you'd like to see added, let me know, and I'll be happy to oblige.

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Old 02-26-2011, 08:22 AM   #2
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Looks interesting with a lot of work gone into it - (for USA only - prices in $ )

[ps If you can see to getting rid of here're in your spiel I, for one, would be grateful]
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:58 AM   #3
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The PocketBook IQ 701 doesnt have working TTS yet but the PocketBook 602, 603, 902 and 903 do. And they are daylight readable.

Also the Onyx Boox 60 A Series and X series have TTS and are daylight readable. Also have wacom stylus for note taking and have handwriting recognition
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:34 PM   #4
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I think this site is shilling for Amazon.

That's why he was Soooooo careful to ignore the MOST prominent feature of the Sony Touch Edition, as well as all the Android based Touch Screen readers like the Pocket Book IQ 701 and B&N Nook Color - A super friendly full screen touch screen interface.

Other important, but 'inconvenient', criteria were also left out. For example, based on the large number of questions on this forum, the ability to check out Library e-books using Overdrive is VERY IMPORTANT to a significant percentage of prospective buyers, but suspiciously (and quite conveniently for Amazon), this important evaluation criteria was left out.

Also, VERY suspiciously, the incredibly popular Sony PRS-650 and PRS-950 do not show up at all.

So I recommend that folks steer clear of this site - it's a JOKE.


Here are some evaluation criteria that those not shilling for Amazon might want to include in the future -



Does the reader have a user friendly GUI interface?

BEST - Daylight readable e-ink with full-screen touch screen

Sony PRS-350, PRS-650, PRS-950


Good - Full screen Touch Screen using conventional TFT LCD with bright LED back-light

Nook Color, Apple IPAD, Pocket Book IQ 701, etc (and most other Android tablets)


Acceptable - Partial touch screen, or touch pad

Original e-ink Nook


Worst - Clunky Primitive 'Alt-Key' type Keyboard interface

All Kindles


How about some criteria to evaluate how well the software works?


Are the built in features that are provided, like the built in MP3 player, well executed or a poorly executed?

Best - Built in MP3 player has full playback controls and has advanced features found on dedicated MP3 players, such as the ability to organize and sort MP3 tracks by Album and Title Tags and Displaying embedded Tag information and cover art.

Sony PRS-650, PRS-950, Nook Color, Pocket Book IQ 701, Android Tablet Devices.


Acceptable - Built in MP3 Player provides full playback controls, but has limited track sorting and management.

Conventional Nook


Worst - MP3 player has extremely limited playback controls and track sorting and management.

All Kindles


And finally -

Does the reader force the user to purchase all mainstream DRM protected titles from a single source, or does it allow them to be borrowed or purchased from other sources?


BEST - Both the e-reader and the supplied PC or Mac software fully support purchasing titles in a standard format from multiple sources, as well as checking out e-book titles electronically from thousands of libraries around the world that support 'Overdrive' services. The Manufacturer's online e-book store also sells to users of other manufactures e-book reader hardware.

Sony PRS-350, PRS-650, PRS-950, Kobo Reader, Google Android Devices.


Good - The e-reader is able to read titles purchased using Adobe ADE from a variety of online sources, and able to read free library titles checked out using Overdrive, but titles purchased through the Manufacturer's online e-book store can not yet be read by users of Adobe ADE compatible e-book reader devices from other manufactures.

B&N Nook and Nook Color


WORST - Mainstream DRM protected e-book titles are ONLY available from the manufactures online e-book store, and that e-book store does not sell e-book titles that can be read on e-book readers from other manufactures. No support for checking out FREE EPUB library books.

All Amazon Kindles

Last edited by delphin; 02-26-2011 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:32 AM   #5
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Looks like a fun tool. Some recommendations:

In your price category you have
$400 and higher ...
$399 to $200 ...
$100 to $199 ...
It would be easier to read if the middle category read "$200 to $399" to be consistent.

It would be nice to see the other Sony readers on here, as well as a choice category for touchscreens.

I find the wording of this category "Does the ereader support ebooks on PCs, Macs, cell phones, and tablets?" confusing, but that could just be me. Do you mean ebooks formatted for the device, ebook software by the makers of the device, or something else?

Lastly, I'm glad you use citations for the more subjective criteria, I think that's a great idea.

Overall, the format you have given it is quite nice.
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Old 02-27-2011, 01:36 AM   #6
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Hi GeoffC, thanks for your feedback:
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffC View Post
Looks interesting with a lot of work gone into it - (for USA only - prices in $ )

[ps If you can see to getting rid of here're in your spiel I, for one, would be grateful]
USA prices in $: I don't think I can address this in a general way immediately, but I would like to greatly improve the flexibility of the pricing and where-to-buy functionality in the future.

"Here're": Sorry, fixed.

Hi Dulin's Books, thanks for the feedback:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dulin's Books View Post
The PocketBook IQ 701 doesnt have working TTS yet but the PocketBook 602, 603, 902 and 903 do. And they are daylight readable.

Also the Onyx Boox 60 A Series and X series have TTS and are daylight readable. Also have wacom stylus for note taking and have handwriting recognition
The PocketBook IQ is listed as having TTS but with a "con" note that it is coming soon. I agree that this is misleading and have changed it to not having TTS with a "pro" note that it's coming soon.

I will add the 602, 603, 902, 903, and Onyx Boox 60 A Series and X series as TTS capable and daylight readable when I add coverage of those ereaders. Thank you for the corrections and additions.

Hi delphin, I appreciate the feedback and the time your reply must have taken -- just wish it came with more constructive intent:
Quote:
Originally Posted by delphin View Post
I think this site is shilling for Amazon.
HowToDecide is just getting started. I'm sorry that your favorite ereader was not among the first 11 that I chose to include, but I did ask for requests for additions. The PRS-650 is a fine ereader, and I should add coverage for it soon, I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delphin View Post
That's why he was Soooooo careful to ignore the MOST prominent feature of the Sony Touch Edition, as well as all the Android based Touch Screen readers like the Pocket Book IQ 701 and B&N Nook Color - A super friendly full screen touch screen interface.
I agree that there should be a factor for touch screen input. I will add that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delphin View Post
Other important, but 'inconvient', criteria were also left out. For example, based on the large number of questions on this forum, the ability to check out Library e-books using Overdrive is VERY IMPORTANT to a significant percentage of prospective buyers, but suspiciously (and quite conveniently for Amazon), this important evaluation criteria was left out.
But there is, in fact, a factor for that: Does the ereader support ebook borrowing from libraries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by delphin View Post
Also, VERY suspiciously, the incredibly popular Sony PRS-650 and PRS-950 do not show up at all.
I will make it a priority to add coverage for the Sony PRS-650 and PRS-950. No slight intended -- just a result of my design decision to publish early, get feedback, and iterate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delphin View Post
So I recommend that folks steer clear of this site - it's a JOKE.
A bit harsh, and contrary to what I've heard from others elsewhere, but I'll take that as a challenge to try to win you around via improvement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delphin View Post
Does the reader have a user friendly GUI interface?

BEST - Daylight readable e-ink with full-screen touch screen

Sony PRS-350, PRS-650, PRS-950

Good - Full screen Touch Screen using conventional TFT LCD with bright LED back-light

Nook Color, Apple IPAD, Pocket Book IQ 701, etc (and most other Android tablets)

Acceptable - Partial touch screen, or touch pad

Original e-ink Nook

Worst - Clunky Primitive 'Alt-Key' type Keyboard interface

All Kindles
These concerns will be addressed by adding coverage of the Sony PRS-650 and PRS-950 ereaders and adding a factor for touch-screens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delphin View Post
Are the built in features that are provided, like the built in MP3 player, well executed or a poorly executed?
I can add a factor for MP3 player quality. This is admittedly not one that I anticipated would be a priority for ereader users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by delphin View Post
Does the reader force the user to purchase all mainstream DRM protected titles from a single source, or does it allow them to be borrowed or purchased from other sources?

BEST - Both the e-reader and the supplied PC or Mac software fully support purchasing titles in a standard format from multiple sources, as well as checking out e-book titles electronically from thousands of libraries around the world that support 'Overdrive' services. The Manufacturer's online e-book store also sells to users of other manufactures e-book reader hardware.

Sony PRS-350, PRS-650, PRS-950, Kobo Reader, Google Android Devices.

Good - The e-reader is able to read titles purchased using Adobe ADE from a variety of online sources, and able to read free library titles checked out using Overdrive, but titles purchased through the Manufacturer's online e-book store can not yet be read by users of Adobe ADE compatible e-book reader devices from other manufactures.

B&N Nook and Nook Color

WORST - Mainstream DRM protected e-book titles are ONLY available from the manufactures online e-book store, and that e-book store does not sell e-book titles that can be read on e-book readers from other manufactures. No support for checking out FREE EPUB library books.

All Amazon Kindles
As I mentioned, there is already a factor for borrowing from libraries that covers (and mentions) OverDrive's services. A separate factor might be needed to cover the rest of your suggestion...

Perhaps: "From where may ebooks be purchased for the ereader," with possible values of the major sellers of ebooks? Suggestions for the major ebook sellers list (or further refinement of the factors themselves) are welcome.

In the meantime, I will work to add the Sony PRS-650 and PRS-950 alternatives (across all factors) and add a new factor regarding touch screen input. I'll post when those changes are completed.

Thank you for the feedback, delphin, and I hope to have a chance to win you over in the future.
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Old 02-27-2011, 02:10 AM   #7
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Hi natasha_fawn, thanks for your reply:
Quote:
Originally Posted by natasha_fawn View Post
Looks like a fun tool. Some recommendations:

In your price category you have
$400 and higher ...
$399 to $200 ...
$100 to $199 ...
It would be easier to read if the middle category read "$200 to $399" to be consistent.
You're right. Fixed. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by natasha_fawn View Post
It would be nice to see the other Sony readers on here, as well as a choice category for touchscreens.
Agreed. Will do soon. Thanks for going easy on me on the omission.

Quote:
Originally Posted by natasha_fawn View Post
I find the wording of this category "Does the ereader support ebooks on PCs, Macs, cell phones, and tablets?" confusing, but that could just be me. Do you mean ebooks formatted for the device, ebook software by the makers of the device, or something else?
Hmm, probably not just you... What I was trying to say was if you buy an ebook in its common format for the ereader, would you also be able to read the ebook on your PC, Mac, cell phone, or tablet computer.

How about this: "Do ebooks purchased for the ereader also work on PCs, Macs, cell phones, and tablets?"

Beyond wording, I almost wonder whether there's such a high proliferation of software for these extra devices to enable reading of ebooks that maybe the factor should be retired for lack of differentiating ability. Thoughts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by natasha_fawn View Post
Lastly, I'm glad you use citations for the more subjective criteria, I think that's a great idea.
Thanks. I like to give credit properly. Also, when I'm researching a purchase, I like to keep links to persuasively subjective posts on factors important to me in case I have to revisit to re-read the supporting argument in light of new information I encounter later. Hopefully others will find similar use of the references.

Quote:
Originally Posted by natasha_fawn View Post
Overall, the format you have given it is quite nice.
I appreciate the compliment tonight.
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Old 02-27-2011, 04:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughes View Post
Hi GeoffC


A bit harsh, and contrary to what I've heard from others elsewhere, but I'll take that as a challenge to try to win you around via improvement.

. . .

In the meantime, I will work to add the Sony PRS-650 and PRS-950 alternatives (across all factors) and add a new factor regarding touch screen input. I'll post when those changes are completed.

Thank you for the feedback, delphin, and I hope to have a chance to win you over in the future.
Sorry for the harsh response. I see that you now do have a category for Overdrive library services, and are adding a lot of new information.

I agree that having a single point objective comparison site would have a lot of value.

This is not an easy job though because there are so many nuances.

I would suggest is that you use at least a 5 point weighting system for your site.

For expressing preferences about features -

5 MUST HAVE
4 DESIRABLE TO HAVE
3 NEUTRAL (no preference, or don't care either way)
2 NOT DESIRABLE
1 MUST NOT HAVE

This gives you a MUST HAVE and MUST NOT HAVE set of conditions to define features that the buyer considers either essential or to be 'show stoppers' plus levels to express mild like, mild dislike, and don't care.


For relative ratings of capabilities or performance -

5 EXCELLENT (best in class)
4 VERY GOOD
3 AVERAGE
2 BELOW AVERAGE
1 UNUSABLE


Just a thought -


Some folks do use the MP3 player feature for background music while reading though, so the fact that the Kindle has such poor MP3 support should be at factored in somewhere.

But again, it's complicated and anything but black and white . . .

Listening to free MP3 Library Audio Books on the Amazon Kindle is nearly impossible (basically UNUSABLE) because it lacks quick random access, so if you nod off, or have to answer the phone, and forget to pause, it's almost impossible of find your place -> BAD

Kindle is also very poor as a MP3 music player while reading because it lacks track selection and playback controls for background audio playback. -> BAD

But Kindle can play Audibles proprietary protected audio format so you can easily buy audio books from Audible -> GOOD

The Sony PRS-650 and PRS-950 have really nice built in MP3 playback support for both musical albums and audio books in MP3 format -> GOOD

But the Sony's audio player only works with unprotected MP3s, and has no support for "Audible's" protected content. -> BAD


And I would be the first to admit that some of the other stuff I mentioned is also anything but black and white -

For example, I complained that Amazon ties you into a single source -> BAD

But on the other hand, Amazon, as single source, offers some of the lowest pricing and best availability -> GOOD.


So these things are very hard to quantify, unless you can come up with a way for users to assign weights to all these things, so they don't end up surprised that the device that is recommended to them lacks some feature or has some defect that they thought was really important.

Good luck.
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:15 AM   #9
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Hi delphin, I appreciate your reply:
Quote:
Originally Posted by delphin View Post
Sorry for the harsh response. I see that you now do have a category for Overdrive library services, and are adding a lot of new information.

I agree that having a single point objective comparison site would have a lot of value.

This is not an easy job though because there are so many nuances.

I would suggest is that you use at least a 5 point weighting system for your site.

For expressing preferences about features -

5 MUST HAVE
4 DESIRABLE TO HAVE
3 NEUTRAL (no preference, or don't care either way)
2 NOT DESIRABLE
1 MUST NOT HAVE

This gives you a MUST HAVE and MUST NOT HAVE set of conditions to define features that the buyer considers either essential or to be 'show stoppers' plus levels to express mild like, mild dislike, and don't care.
No problem. Critism beats being ignored, and I learned some things from your post.

You're definitely getting into key design issues here (and also when you mention weight assignments later in your message). Good and helpful insights. You can indeed expect to see expressions of degree (weights) in the future.

Right now, the system precisely implements three of your preference codes:

5 MUST HAVE: This is the checked box (marked "want").
3 NEUTRAL: This is the unset/open box (marked "unset").
1 MUST NOT HAVE: This is the x'ed box (marked "not want").

This preference system is so quick that it supports rapid exploration. I'll want the expressions of degree to be easy and quick too.

Supporting a "4 DESIRABLE TO HAVE" and a "2 NOT DESIRABLE TO HAVE" ahead of supporting full weight assignment? Interesting idea.

Thanks for the illustration via a factor for ereader MP3 quality player. That shows the nuances well. The guide currently use pros-and-cons lists within factors to express nuances for other factors.

I'll try tomorrow to publish updates with the promised touch-screen factor and initiate coverage of the PRS-650 and PRS-950 ereader alternatives.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:50 AM   #10
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One common question that is asked, and you may be able to answer in your lists, is the range of font size each device is capable of, perhaps with 3 visual examples at minimum/mid/largest size.
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Old 02-28-2011, 04:52 AM   #11
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The nook color doesn't show up anywhere in the reading experience category. Why is that?

Also you list as a con for the kindle that screen rotation is manual, yet you do not list that as a con for the sony pocket.
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Old 02-28-2011, 05:16 AM   #12
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Accelerometers (ie auto screen rotation) are one of those "love 'em or hate 'em" features. I find them to be very useful, but some people dislike them intensely. Whether an accelerometer is a pro or a con depends entirely which camp you fall into, so it would be as well to give the user the choice of specifying whether or not they like them.
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:08 PM   #13
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The Nook does NOT have the eInk pearl screen last I checked... Could have been updated, but I doubt it.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:10 PM   #14
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factor for touch screens added

I've added a factor for touch screens:

E-book readers with finger touch screens
E-book readers with stylus touch screens
E-book readers with separate touch screens
E-book readers with no touch screens

Thanks to natasha_fawn and delphin for the good suggestion.
Note: PRS-650 and PRS-950 will appear in the finger and stylus lists after updates slated for later today.
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Old 02-28-2011, 02:12 PM   #15
HarryT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by well69 View Post
The Nook does NOT have the eInk pearl screen last I checked... Could have been updated, but I doubt it.
That's correct. Only the Kindle 3, Kindle DX, and Sony 350, 650 and 950 currently have Pearl screens.
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