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Old 03-03-2008, 10:10 PM   #1
binzer
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Kindle vs Cybook, please help the noob

Hello experts! I am new to the world of e-readers, but I want one so badly that I've become obsessive, and since I'm driving myself crazy I thought I'd ask for help.

First of all let it be mentioned that I'm Canadian, so I'm not interested in fancy shmancy wireless Kindle features. That being said, I'm 99% sure I can purchase a Kindle if I so choose (I have some US buddies who can help me out).

Anyways, I plan to read mostly fiction, and will probably put my e-reader through a lot of abuse since it will be rolling around in my purse with a nintendo DS, watercolor set, and several sketchbooks pretty much every day.

I don't really care about cost (these devices suit me so perfectly that I'd be willing to pay $1000) and so my main concerns are content availability and readability.

I was originally settled on the Cybook, after comparing it with Sony over the last couple days. I just started considering the Kindle today after realizing that it may still be a viable option even without all its features, and I figured it couldn't help to ask for advice since the Kindle and Cybook aren't often compared toe to toe.

It's also worth mentioning that I'm fairly tech saavy and went to university for Computer Science, so I'm not worried about any tricky conversions. I am concerned about the quality of product that results from any conversions though, and I don't want to waste too much time on converting when I could be reading!

The only real advantages I can see to Kindle right now (in my situation) are the search and lookup tools. If the Kindle and Cybook are basically equal in every other respect though, those advantages will probably be enough to win me over.

Wow...this is getting really long. Maybe I'll sum this up for everyone who skipped my babble...

Things I'm interested in comparing:

1. Screen quality (contrast, refresh rate, etc)
2. Usability and durability (interface, buttons, ergonomics, etc)
3. Added features, and how good they are
4. Content availability-fiction (including hassle and quality)
5. Anything else you can think of (seriously, I want to hear everything)


I realize that all of this info is technically available through sources other than this thread, but I would really like some personal opinions on the matter since I'm sure many of you ebook lovers will think of things I haven't.

I've really enjoyed lurking in this community for the last couple days btw. It's rare to see such a nice group of people communicating intelligently on forums, and it's helpful to boot

Last edited by binzer; 03-03-2008 at 11:44 PM. Reason: badd at tipng
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:55 PM   #2
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Oh btw, are these e-readers typically English only? I'm very slowly learning Japanese, and it would be nice to be able to upload a Kanji dictionary or something.

PS I really am sorry for starting ANOTHER thread like this, but most of the device debates I've read have basically come down to personal opinion, and so I want as many opinions as I can get. It's the little things that matter, and it's hard to notice little odd things when you can't physically get your hands on what you're buying.
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Old 03-04-2008, 01:00 AM   #3
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I was in your position a month ago. In fact, very similar position. I'm also from Canada, have NDS, and wanted international characters like chinese/japanese

First of all, let me show you this
http://www.slashgear.com/fujitsu-sho...p#entrycontent

I know for a fact that if you wait long enough, everything you mentioned will eventually be incorporated into the readers.
The question is which e-ink reader are you willing to stick to for the next 1-2 year before these features comes out in next gen e-ink?

In this forum, i see less of a competition between sony reader and amazon kindle than i see with Cybook and amazon kindle.

I believe both Cybook and the Kindle are fine. But one thing I have to mention is that I got a sense of security getting the Kindle because if Rogers allow 3G technology to be used by Amazon (which i believe is a big problem both for iphone and kindle), you can pretty much browse the net literally from anywhere. I also thought whipsernet will not be as useful for me, but after a couple days of using the Kindle, i realized I really don't mind paying that 10 cent to have that pdf ebook transfer wirelessly than plugging in the USB and have it transfer that way.

Personally, I know i won't purchase that many books through their stores from the Kindle, but the fact is that you can browse internet (once they made a deal with Rogers) for free. How great is that for an "added feature"?

When the time comes and you want to trade in for something that can read international characters, which e-ink reader do you think can sell better? Cybook or Amazon Kindle?
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:50 AM   #4
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When the time comes and you want to trade in for something that can read international characters, which e-ink reader do you think can sell better? Cybook or Amazon Kindle?
The Kindle has more "toys", but I think the CyBook is without any shadow of a doubt the better reader and, at the end of the day that is, for me, what matters.

One of the biggest restrictions (IMHO) of the Kindle is that fact that it has only a single font. Compare that to the CyBook onto which you can load any TrueType or OpenType fonts that you wish, and select any font (in any of 12 different sizes) to read a book with. It also fully supports font families, so that if you load the italic version of a particular font onto the device, then italics get rendered using that proper italic font, rather than merely "sloping" the normal font.

Another major benefit of the Gen3 is its dictionary support. The Kindle has a built-in dictionary, but there are (I believe) no alternatives available. The Gen3 can use any of the 300+ different dictionaries that MobiPocket sell, and supports lookups in multiple dictionaries simultaneously.

The Gen3 also supports more file formats than the Kindle with native supports for HTML, for example. Sure, you can convert files easily enough, but being able to view them natively is a lot more convenient.

Which do I think would re-sell better? The Gen3, without a doubt, to anyone who's done their research and knows which is the better book reader.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:05 AM   #5
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I think the Kindle would resell better due to the "it" factor.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:43 AM   #6
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I think the Kindle would resell better due to the "it" factor.
To people in the US, perhaps, Jon. Virtually nobody outside the US will have heard of either, who isn't "into" eBooks, and most of the touted-"benefits" of the Kindle don't work outside the US (ie for 95% of the people in the world).
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Old 03-04-2008, 10:41 AM   #7
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But the only thing the Cybook can do that the Kindle can't is use DRMed Mobipocket ebooks. Is that enough to jsutify the extra $100 for the Cybook? I doin't think it is, especially when you take into account the fact that the Kindle lets you take notes, has a better audio player, and searches inside files.

P.S. I don't think the Cybook will have a high resale value. Remember, if selling it online you will have to compete with sellers from the US. Here in the US, the Cybook is going for $350 new, while the Europe price is the equivalent of $530. If I was selling one, I would price it at 75% of what I paid for it. That is about $265, which is only half the European retail price of the Cybook.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:37 PM   #8
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It's "swings and roundabouts", Nate. Yes, the Kindle does those things, but the CyBook has better font support, better dictionary support, displays HTML, and has a better case (IMHO). Which of these makes one or the other the better machine is a matter of personal opinion - for me, it's the CyBook; I suspect you feel differently. That's fine - we each have what we consider the better machine.

I'm a bit puzzled by the "$100 more" bit. In the US, the Gen3 costs $350, the Kindle $399. Where do you get the "extra $100 for the CyBook" figure from?
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:44 PM   #9
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I'm a bit puzzled by the "$100 more" bit. In the US, the Gen3 costs $350, the Kindle $399. Where do you get the "extra $100 for the CyBook" figure from?
The OP is in Canada, so I don't think he would get the US price, unless he bought it from NAEB. I think Bookeen would offer him the European price, which is 350 euros. I fed that price through google and got $531.58.
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:48 PM   #10
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OK, thanks. I think the $350 is for the whole of North America, but I could well be wrong about this. The OP could of course buy from NAEB too, as you point out. I don't think one can really differentiate the machines on price; depends where and how you buy it. Don't forget that the €350 price includes the French VAT rate of 19.6% too, which a customer outside the EU wouldn't be charged.
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:27 PM   #11
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I believe the Kindle can support other dictionaries besides the included one. You purchase one, and point it at it. I've read about this, but haven't tried it.
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Old 03-04-2008, 02:54 PM   #12
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Bookeen actually sells the Cybook for $350 Canadian too. It's one of the few companies that doesn't totally screw Canadians over in the book market now that our dollar is about the same. It really annoys me when I go into a bookstore and have to pay 10 dollars more than the US price, although it's not as bad as paying an extra $10k for a car!

The fact that Bookeen doesn't mark up Canadian prices for no reason wins them points, but $50 either way doesn't really matter.

Anyways, it also may be worth noting that I'll probably be moving to the US in about a year (for four years). However, I don't really care a ton about Kindle wireless stuff. Wikipedia searches would be nice I guess, but I honestly don't care if I can instantly buy my books or not and would rather have longer battery life.

I also hate the "it" factor of the Kindle. I would much rather not have the typical reader that everyone's heard of, and I think the Cybook looks a lot better too (the Kindle looks like it's from the 80's). The resell value is a good point, but I tend to be more of a hoarder than a seller. TBH I would probably just give my device to a friend if I got a new one.

One thing that's important to me is page turning. When I get into a book I tend to foolishly put the rest of my life aside and read for very long periods of time, so I don't want anything that gets tiring, or is too noisy. I know the Cybook button is a bit stiff and awkward at first, but gets better over time. How does the Kindle button compare?

In pictures I've seen the Cybook pages looks whiter than the Kindle's. Is that actually the case, or is it just the individual photos that make it seem that way?

Also, I was looking at the Cybook FAQ last night, and it said that they support foreign characters if you dl the correct fonts. Any confirmation on how well this works? I'm also curious on opinions about pdf reading, assuming I custom format my pdfs.

As you can probably tell, I am leaning towards the Cybook, but the one thing I reeeeeally wish it had was some sort of text search. Do you think there's any chance of that ever happening? It seems tricky without a built-in keyboard, but it's something I would use a lot.

Thanks so much for your help so far guys!

Last edited by binzer; 03-04-2008 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 03-04-2008, 06:43 PM   #13
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Well if you're willing to spend $1,000 I'd suggest buying both, writing a review and then selling the loser. Just kidding.

Things you're interested in comparing:

1. Screen quality (contrast, refresh rate, etc)
They use the same E-Ink Vizplex display from the same supplier (PVI) so this is a wash. I suspect that the difference you're seeing is a result of the white case on the Kindle vs the black case on the Cybook. I haven't actually compared them side by side though. If the pictures of the Cybook had embolden fonts enabled it would compare differently as well.

2. Usability and durability (interface, buttons, ergonomics, etc)
I'm happy with the buttons on the Cybook. I would probably give the edge to the Kindle but it's a personal preference. Durability is hard to answer because neither has been out long enough. I have read complaints about accidentally turning the page on the Kindle and this isn't a problem on the Cybook.

3. Added features, and how good they are
The downloadable fonts and embolden feature are benefits to the Cybook. The dictionary lookup works fine for my needs. The keyboard and wireless access are the big benefits for the Kindle.

4. Content availability-fiction (including hassle and quality)
Finding content hasn't been a problem with the Cybook and I like the ability to purchase from multiple online book stores and shop on price. I personally prefer that Bookeen and iRex have created ebook readers without their own book store and voted with my wallet on this one. I haven't found an instance where Amazon has had an ebook that I wanted to read that wasn't available from other ebook retailers.

5. Anything else you can think of (seriously, I want to hear everything)
Since the Kindle isn't available in Canada I'm not sure if Amazon would honor the warranty directly. You'd probably have to go through your USA friends or a USA supplier. Probably not a concern if you're moving to the states anyway but something I'd personally investigate before purchasing. Hopefully Amazon will announce in Canada and this will be a non issue.


End of the day I think you'd be very happy with either one.
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Old 03-04-2008, 08:11 PM   #14
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One thing that's important to me is page turning. When I get into a book I tend to foolishly put the rest of my life aside and read for very long periods of time, so I don't want anything that gets tiring, or is too noisy. I know the Cybook button is a bit stiff and awkward at first, but gets better over time. How does the Kindle button compare?

.... text search. Do you think there's any chance of that ever happening? It seems tricky without a built-in keyboard, but it's something I would use a lot.
The Kindle's search is very nice!! If it hasn't found what you want when it shows you the results on your Kindle, it offers to check on the web too (Amazon or Wikipedia, at least).

Page turning: now that I'm used to them, I really like the huge buttons on the Kindle. I hold it in either hand, with my thumb on the frame inside of the buttons -- in my right hand, my thumb is straddling that mirror'ed led scroll bar; in my left hand, my thumb is above the keyboard. Then I can click the page turn button with the side of my right thumb, or a spare finger, ditto on the left hand. It turns very nicely.

My Kindle arrived 2/1 -- so far I've read 32 books (a few were short stories).

It would be ideal if you could VISIT somebody who had one or the other device. Anybody live near you? Travelling near Chicago anytime soon?
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:27 PM   #15
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Well folks, I think I've decided on the Cybook. I came to the realization that I'm an extremely lazy person, and getting a Kindle will cause more hassle for me (since I'm Canadian) and will probably also take me longer to get.

While I'm living in the US I may very well buy a new reader and donate my Cybook to my brother or bf, but until then a Cybook should suit me just fine.

Anyways, thanks for the help! It was very helpful help, and I'm sure I'll be asking for more of it once I get my device
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