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Old 10-04-2012, 04:51 AM   #1
Matriarch
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Help choosing a dedicated "Public Domain" e-reader?

Hi all, first-time poster, and I've been lurking for a few weeks now.

I'm thinking about getting a second e-reader, or changing e-readers altogether. I currently use a non-touch Kindle 4, and I'm extremely happy with it, but for one issue: I'm the sort of person who wants to carry their entire e-book library on their device (it's the same reason that I can't abide an iPod shuffle - too much music!), and since learning about Project Gutenberg only recently, I've managed to develop a calibre library that's just way too large for my Kindle!

I live in Australia, and the "main" contenders (at least in my area) are the Amazon, Kobo and Sony. To my knowledge, both Kobo and Sony design their e-readers with expandable storage, right? So I'm trying to decide between the Kobo Touch or the Sony PRS-T2. (I don't need any of the bells and whistles of the Kobo Glo etc - all I need is a sturdy reader with expandable storage.) So if you'd be able to help me decide where to settle my mammoth collection, I'd really appreciate it.

* How do the collection / shelving capabilities of the T2 and Touch compare with each other, and how do they compare with the Kindle 4?

* How responsive are the page turns, really, with extended use? I've tried out both devices in-store and found that there were a lot of dead touches with the Kobo, but that may have been because they're heavily-used demo units.

* How does the firmware compare for general usability?

* Do I absolutely have to install Kobo Desktop / ADE onto my desktop to use each device, keeping in mind that the devices are for side-loading public domain books only? I'd prefer to work exclusively with calibre.

Thank you for any and all input.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:18 AM   #2
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I am not real familiar with the Kobo, but I've used my neighbors ever so briefly. In that brief period, I can tell you I much prefer the interface of my prs-t1.

I think that since you are using calibre, it will be hard to beat the sony for collection management. the sony will automatically add any books you have marked as a series in calibre into its collections area - and will sort the books properly for the series. I believe there is also an option in cailbre to have sony collections created based on genre and other tags you apply to your books in calibre.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matriarch View Post
* How do the collection / shelving capabilities of the T2 and Touch compare with each other, and how do they compare with the Kindle 4?
The Touch's shelving is rudimentary, at best. It's awkward to use as you have to go into your library to manually add books to the shelves one at a time (rather than, as would be sensible, to create/open the shelf and then single-click your way through your library to add them. It does not recognize calibre categories to automatically shelf imported books, as would also be sensible).

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* How responsive are the page turns, really, with extended use? I've tried out both devices in-store and found that there were a lot of dead touches with the Kobo, but that may have been because they're heavily-used demo units.
The Touch doesn't have a very responsive screen, even under the best of circumstances. Mine's only a bit over a year old (bought new May '11) and it has trouble at times recognizing taps and swipes - and even when new it was a major pain to highlight more than single words. Coming from a Kindle, you *WILL* miss physical page turn buttons. Even on a touchscreen ereader, it is quite inexcusable for there to be no page turn buttons (and for the physical home button to be removed on the new Kobo Glo & Mini :/).

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* Do I absolutely have to install Kobo Desktop / ADE onto my desktop to use each device, keeping in mind that the devices are for side-loading public domain books only? I'd prefer to work exclusively with calibre.
You'll most likely need the desktop software installed and used at least once, if you get a Touch, but not if you get a Glo or Mini. ADE's only needed if you want to grab books from a public library or if you download from a store (including Kobo's store, if you manually download the epub versions rather than their own kepubs).
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foghat View Post
I am not real familiar with the Kobo, but I've used my neighbors ever so briefly. In that brief period, I can tell you I much prefer the interface of my prs-t1.

I think that since you are using calibre, it will be hard to beat the sony for collection management. the sony will automatically add any books you have marked as a series in calibre into its collections area - and will sort the books properly for the series. I believe there is also an option in cailbre to have sony collections created based on genre and other tags you apply to your books in calibre.
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Originally Posted by JD Gumby View Post
The Touch's shelving is rudimentary, at best. It's awkward to use as you have to go into your library to manually add books to the shelves one at a time (rather than, as would be sensible, to create/open the shelf and then single-click your way through your library to add them. It does not recognize calibre categories to automatically shelf imported books, as would also be sensible).

The Touch doesn't have a very responsive screen, even under the best of circumstances. Mine's only a bit over a year old (bought new May '11) and it has trouble at times recognizing taps and swipes - and even when new it was a major pain to highlight more than single words. Coming from a Kindle, you *WILL* miss physical page turn buttons. Even on a touchscreen ereader, it is quite inexcusable for there to be no page turn buttons (and for the physical home button to be removed on the new Kobo Glo & Mini :/).

You'll most likely need the desktop software installed and used at least once, if you get a Touch, but not if you get a Glo or Mini. ADE's only needed if you want to grab books from a public library or if you download from a store (including Kobo's store, if you manually download the epub versions rather than their own kepubs).
Thank you both for taking the time to answer my questions - I really appreciate it. At this stage, it looks as though I'll be getting a Sony PRS-T2 rather than a Kobo Touch. I think that the extra cost of the Sony is worth it for calibre integration, which by far looks to be my favourite feature, according to the explanation here.

Can I trouble you both and ask another question? I've only seen the PRS-T2 online, as local stores are only stocking the PRS-T1 (and at PRS-T2 pricing!). As a result, I know that although the buttons are in an awkward position compared to the Kindle 4, I find the buttons very comfortable to push while turning pages. The PRS-T2 buttons look quite different, and they look a little too small to comfortably turn pages with - is that so, or do you find that they're actually easily used as page-turners after all?

Additionally, I've seen firmware complaints here and there for the PRS-T2. Does Sony have a good track record for straightening out fluffy firmware within a reasonable time-frame, or would I be better off purchasing a PRS-T1 with the already well-established firmware? I'm looking to add a few thousand books to a microSD card, so fluffy firmware might see a serious decline in the reader's functionality.
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matriarch View Post
At this stage, it looks as though I'll be getting a Sony PRS-T2 rather than a Kobo Touch. I think that the extra cost of the Sony is worth it for calibre integration, which by far looks to be my favourite feature, according to the explanation here.
I just tested the manual upgrade to 2.1.4 on my Kobo Touch to trial the new Calibre ability to create/manage shelves, and I was quite impressed by it. I'm not sure of the extent of Calibre/Sony integration, but there's definitely a lot of Calibre progress for the KT. (It made me go make a little donation!)
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:17 AM   #6
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Any reader that indexes the metadata of books to group them into collections, shelves or whatever, will slow down considerably when you load 1000s of books on them. That applies to Kobo, Sony and Kindle. That is simply because indexing takes time.

If you also want good performance you might want to consider one of the brands that use a simple folder structure, e.g. PocketBook or Onyx. A bit more difficult to buy where you live, but not impossible. Integration with Calibre is very good in those situations; you can let Calibre build the folder structure for you.

As to the pros and cons of tags vs. folders, we've discussed those elsewhere in these forums. A little searching might help you. In the end, it's a matter of personal preference, but I thought I should at least mention this performance issue to you.

I'm also the kind of person who carries his entire library around, and that is one of the main reasons why I did not go for the 'major' brands.

Last edited by Zetmolm; 10-06-2012 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by meeera View Post
I just tested the manual upgrade to 2.1.4 on my Kobo Touch to trial the new Calibre ability to create/manage shelves, and I was quite impressed by it. I'm not sure of the extent of Calibre/Sony integration, but there's definitely a lot of Calibre progress for the KT. (It made me go make a little donation!)
That's very good to hear - thank you for putting the good word in for Kobo's updated firmware and calibre's updated Kobo-compatibility!

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Originally Posted by Zetmolm View Post
Any reader that indexes the metadata of books to group them into collections, shelves or whatever, will slow down considerably when you load 1000s of books on them. That applies to Kobo, Sony and Kindle. That is simply because indexing takes time.
Oh, darn! I haven't yet noticed any distinct slow-down on my Kindle, but I am ensuring that I leave a fair amount of empty space on it so that I don't crash it. I understand that PRS+ enables the Sony to index books using a different method, which prevents the Sony devices from slowing down considerably?

Quote:
If you also want good performance you might want to consider one of the brands that use a simple folder structure, e.g. PocketBook or Onyx. A bit more difficult to buy where you live, but not impossible. Integration with Calibre is very good in those situations; you can let Calibre build the folder structure for you.
I feel more comfortable staying with tried, tested and trusted brands, especially due to the high prices of more unknown brands - Sony's apparently excellent Calibre integration and the ability to use PRS+ (as well as being able to buy the Kobo and the Sony in a brick-and-mortar store and get a retailer warranty) makes me more comfortable with a 'big spend'.

Quote:
As to the pros and cons of tags vs. folders, we've discussed those elsewhere in these forums. A little searching might help you. In the end, it's a matter of personal preference, but I thought I should at least mention this performance issue to you.
I'm not sure of the difference between the two, as I've never heard it being brought up before - but if it creates performance issues, I'll definitely go and have a look now. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!
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Old 10-08-2012, 01:12 AM   #8
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Sony PRS-T2 is really popular in Europe. If you haven't done so, maybe you should have a look at the new PocketBook eInk readers, too.

I've seen both in a store, and the PocketBook reader looked really good. But they don't have special accessories for this PocketBook device.

I think Kobo is nice because it's so popular in Canada and France. From what I've read, Sony or PocketBook might be a better choice. But I'm not really sure about this, I haven't seen a Kobo myself yet.
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