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Old 01-31-2012, 07:38 AM   #1
Murre
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Bad time to buy an E-reader? - ePub3

Is it a bad time buying an e-reader since there will be ePub2/ePub3 soon?
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Old 01-31-2012, 10:45 AM   #2
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Currently there are no real dedicated ePUB 3 readers. Some claim they will deliver it soon, but not with an eInk display. Currently only the iBooks app on the iPad claims to support ePUBv3, but considering their trackrecord with ePUBv2 I don't get my hopes up.

As ePUBv3 does not contain (m)any benefits for me, I would still by a reader now if mine breaks.
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Old 01-31-2012, 12:58 PM   #3
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Nah, I'd buy a reader now. I think ePUBv3 support will be somewhat of a chicken/egg scenario, few publishers will switch over until the majority of e-readers support it (no reason to go to the effort until it's really usable), and few e-reader manufacturers will make their current e-readers compatible with ePUBv3 until there's enough publishers using the spec (no need to spend the development money to support a spec that's not used). I don't think it will be until the next versions of e-reader hardware come out that we'll start seeing widespread support for ePUBv3. I doubt the e-reader manufacturers will want to add ePUBv3 capability to their current hardware--why spend development money on a device that will be discontinued in two years at most, plus it gives people a reason to buy a new e-reader when they come out (Buy our new one, it has ePubv3 support!). I don't really see battery life/screens getting much better so they have to have some hook to get you to upgrade.
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Old 01-31-2012, 01:52 PM   #4
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I don't know, man... ePub 3 promises real footnotes, at the bottom of the page (via HTML5). Not this footnote->endnote crap. There's a study somewhere on the internet which showed that 9/10 people read footnotes, while 2/10 will actually bother to go to the back of the book and read the endnote (and come back). I know there's a tag in the current ePub revision that displays them at the bottom, but unfortunately not all devices support it and will completely ignore the text! Unbelievable... At least with ePub 3 it's guaranteed they'll show (on ePub 3 supported devices, obviously).

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Old 01-31-2012, 02:07 PM   #5
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Every year or so since the first e-ink readers came out, there have been major changes in hardware & firmware capabilities. It's *always* a "bad time to buy an ereader" if you care about having access to the newest, greatest options, which will come out in a few months.

If you want stability, read ebooks on a laptop. If you want portability, get whatever your budget can cover that reads the formats you want *now*, and cope with the fact that, a year from now, your device will lack coverage for some of the new bells & whistles.

I grant that "footnotes on the page" is a *terrific* feature. It could greatly change how the academic world works. However, waiting for The Perfect E-Reader is a doomed game.
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Old 01-31-2012, 02:13 PM   #6
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I wish there was one running Android with colour e-Ink. That would essentially make it a tablet with outstanding battery life. If one app doesn't support ePub 8.4 or whatever comes after 3, no biggie, I would just look for another app. Not to mention the fact that Amazon has an app for Android, so you'd essentially have a Kindle (but with ePub support).
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:15 PM   #7
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Lets rephrase a little.
When will they stop selling the new books in ePub 2 (which is the currect format correct?)?
If I get a PRS-T1 now I don't want the situation in one year that I can't get the latest books anymore.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:32 PM   #8
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I doubt they'll stop selling ePub 2 books, any more than they stopped selling ePub 1 books. New books may be made to the new format--but should still be readable on older devices/software, to the limits of the current format. Which is to say, footnotes may disappear or be visible as endnotes.

It's possible the newer ebooks won't be readable on older devices, but I'd expect that transition to take quite some time. Hardware sellers are aware that "you must buy a new device to read next month's books" is a good way to lose long-time customers to the competition. Plenty of people will decide that, if they have to buy a new device anyway, maybe it's time to try a Kindle or Nook.
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Old 01-31-2012, 06:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murre View Post
Lets rephrase a little.
When will they stop selling the new books in ePub 2 (which is the currect format correct?)?
If I get a PRS-T1 now I don't want the situation in one year that I can't get the latest books anymore.
I think there will be a lengthy transitional period (likely measured in years) where both versions will be offered for download after purchase. I don't see it being very likely that there will be a large percentage of e-readers capable of ePUBv3 for at least several years.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:30 AM   #10
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The elephant in the room is portability. If you want portability, then the screen is going to be smaller. All we need on a small screen is footnotes that allow one line of text and the rest footnotes. There is no free lunch for power either. If you want video, it will take up battery power, hence a larger device or more frequent charges.

I think there is pretty much going to be a split between smaller devices for casual reading or where space is at a premium and larger devices which have the screen space to display footnotes, and the battery power to display video. You will have to charge the device fairly often, but that is the trade off, for now at least.

So buy according to your need. If you need to read academic papers or image pdfs, then go with a bigger device. If you don't, then choose the more convenient sized smaller devices.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:12 AM   #11
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The elephant in the room is portability. If you want portability, then the screen is going to be smaller. All we need on a small screen is footnotes that allow one line of text and the rest footnotes.
I can deal with a third of the screen dedicated to footnotes, even on a 5" screen. Could deal with either always setting aside that space (in a given book, not for books that don't have them), or setting it aside on pages that have footnotes--and long footnotes could continue between pages, just like they do on some paper publications.

I could deal with endnotes instead, if the software had an easy click-and-back function; I think sorting out footnotes will be easier to program. Non-linear navigability is very limited in ereaders, and that's as much a hardware problem as software.

Quote:
There is no free lunch for power either. If you want video, it will take up battery power, hence a larger device or more frequent charges.
I don't want video. Or rather, I don't want the drain that'd come with video. Color would be nice, but not if it means giving up battery life.

I could switch to a more versatile device if they figured out how to keep at least one of my key features--portability and battery life--without sacrificing ease of use and durability. (Not that eink readers are particularly durable now, but I wouldn't want to deal with anything more fragile.)
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Old 02-01-2012, 01:35 PM   #12
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The elephant in the room is portability. If you want portability, then the screen is going to be smaller. All we need on a small screen is footnotes that allow one line of text and the rest footnotes. There is no free lunch for power either. If you want video, it will take up battery power, hence a larger device or more frequent charges.

I think there is pretty much going to be a split between smaller devices for casual reading or where space is at a premium and larger devices which have the screen space to display footnotes, and the battery power to display video. You will have to charge the device fairly often, but that is the trade off, for now at least.

So buy according to your need. If you need to read academic papers or image pdfs, then go with a bigger device. If you don't, then choose the more convenient sized smaller devices.
Well, I would like to to able to read academic papers but at the same time I want my reader NOW.

What device would you recommend for more academic purpose?
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:59 AM   #13
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No reader for the next few years is likely to fully support epub3, and no doubt each will not fully support it in a different way. So if you want a reader now, don't worry about it. It is like computers. If you wait everything will be better and cheaper, but then you won't have anything in the meantime. Also few documents are being created for epub 3, for lack of devices.

Most ereaders support pdf files, from I can see on the web. I'd think one key for you is how well they navigate back and forth to and from footnotes. My little Sony PRS 300 can jump back and forth, if it is programmed into the document, to and back to a given location. It lacks a back button that allow you to return to where you jumped from. You can remember a page number where you jumped from, but it could be quite annoying.

You are also likely to want a larger device, so you can have illustrations and a fair amount of text, plus footnotes all on one page, like a book.

If you happen to live somewhere you can go to a store, that seems like the best choice where you can look at them and see which is going to work for you.

On the document end, you might want to search around your field of interest and see if you can find documents you might be interested in and see that they are available in pdf. If everything in your field is epub, it could be annoying to have bought a Kindle and have to convert everything to epub from mobi.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:40 PM   #14
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Yeah, Kindle is kinda out of the question since I have a couple of thousand books in ePub.

Most of the academic papers are pure text, and sometimes tables. But nothing fancy.
I might just budge and get a tablet instead, but which one?
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