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Old 05-27-2008, 11:12 PM   #1
MidknytOwl
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Hi. (I apologize in advance if this ends up being lengthy - I tend to do that).

So, here's the deal. I came across the Kindle a couple of months ago when going to Amazon for something because, well, you can't really miss it. Ooh, I wanted one, but $400 is a lot of money that I don't have.

Since then, as I've read more about it (since I'm the kind of nerd that will obsessively research something that I can't get my grubby little paws on), I came across the Sony Reader, which I had no idea existed, and as of this weekend now know about the eBookwise, Cybook, Iliad, and Astak. Ah, long weekends.

I've read a bunch of back posts and such, but I think my situation is a little unique enough to warrant my own post.

The reason I drooled over the Kindle was because I've never heard of eInk or knew there were dedicated readers like that before it. However, it's way too expensive, I think it's hideous (sorry Kindle people), and the rolly side bar thing would not work for me - I have issues with laptops that have the eraser-looking mouse – there’s been bloodshed involved. The only thing specific to the Kindle that I like is the ability to instantly look up a word. Oh, so nice, and one of the things I liked the best. The rest of the connectivity I don’t need. I had resigned myself to waiting for a second generation where the problems I'd read people had would be fixed (and it hopefully would be prettier).

Now that I know there are several options, I don't know what to do. Price is a factor, obviously, but while the eBookwise is a nice price, I worry about eye strain that people talk about. I know that after reading things on my laptop for a while I get a lot of eye floaters (very near-sighted) and I can't stand to read long papers on it - I print them out. I assume it would be kind of the same thing?

What I dream of using this for would be long backpacking trips, and the occasional travel should I get the chance. The idea of having a bunch of books with me without the weight is fabulous. Plus, I'll admit, I just kind of want one.

I've read a lot about the conversion issues and which is better for what, etc. but here's where the unique part comes in: I own no ebooks. I've never even read one, since I though you would have to read them on a PDA and that seemed like a small slice of hell. So my real issue would be which is going to be the best given that? My guilty pleasure is romance novels (I know, I know...), but I like a good non-fiction too. I'm also just graduating college (figured this would be a nice gift to myself ) but am still horribly poor and since I'm doing AmeriCorps likely to be that way for a few more years yet, and would like ebooks either free or as cheap as possible (do libraries offer them?). I looked at some of them and they were the price of new paperbacks, which I think is too expensive and buy used anyway.

What else...I guess I'm also wondering if I should wait for this elusive Astak, but am worried about buying something brand new. I also don't know much about the Cybook and know the Iliad could be the best thing on the planet but that won't happen - I barley paid that much for my laptop. I also probably won't upgrade whatever I end up with for a while, if ever, so I want one that has as little bugs as possible and will be sturdy enough to last. I'm still driving my first car, which is a lovely Geo Metro, and don't have a cell phone or an ipod (or similar), if that gives you an idea.

But hey, it's been six years to get my degree...I deserve this, right?

Thanks for your help, and for listening to the ramblings. Future posts will be shorter, I promise. (I love the smiley collection you have here!)
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:30 AM   #2
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If you are looking to save some money you can try looking on ebay, craigslist, or this forum for a used sony prs-500. It may not be the nicest looking, most capable, or feature packed ebook reader but you should be able to purchase one for around 150 if you shop around. That option is probably your best way to go if you want e-ink and the lowest possible price while still getting a capable reader.

I am not sure if you have had any encounters with a e-ink reader before, if not I encourage you to go and take a look at a sony prs-505 in a local store. The bestbuy's and circuit city's near me tend to always have one on display that you can mess around with and get a feel for how an e-ink display will look, and every time that I have been in those stores I never see anyone messing around with the device. This will allow you to spend as much time as you would like with it. They very first time I saw one I must have messed around with it for about 15-20 minutes in a bestbuy while everyone was waiting to try out the 24" macs lol. I guess people don't really get excited about reading anymore, at least it seems that way where I live. Just keep in mind that the display on the new sony prs-505 is slightly better in quality to the prs-500.

As far as the ebooks go, if you like to read older literature, you can download until your heart's content from the Project Gutenberg website or the ManyBooks website. They both offer free e-books and ManyBooks even allows you do download the books in your choice of one of many different file formats so that it is ready to be transfered to your reading device of choice without needing any conversion.

What ever you choose just make sure that it allows itself to "disappear" and lets you focus on the main reason why you have such a device, and that is the books themselves. One of the main reasons that I never even thought of ebooks as a good alternative to traditional dead-tree books was because I go not even stomach the thought of having to read a novel on my laptop or a PDA, but since my discovery of e-ink my opinion of them(ebooks) has changed completely.

Good Luck
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:45 AM   #3
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Hi Ya...

Good post, couple of things. You certainly have strong opinions about the Kindle. The real nice thing about the Kindle is the 30 day money back... I think that is about the only device you will get this on. You might get 7 days with a Sony if you buy it locally at borders but check on that.

So, I would say, try the Kindle out. It looked awkward to me until I owned one too. It is alot smaller that you think because all the pics you see of it are so blown up. The big page turn buttons while easy to push... are easy to push pretty much no matter how you hold the thing... So, they are actually a good thing.

The wireless, you say you don't "need" it .... but the first time you realize you can look something up on Wikipedia with it the cool factor kicks in.

Face it, as you say you don't "need" the thing. As you say, you have the advantage of not have any inventory so that doesn't limit your choice.

I say, get a Kindle and try it. Don't buy any Kindle books (if you can)... but download some free ones with Wispernet from Feedbooks. If you don't like it, send it back... it will only cost you about $10 in shipping to return it.

All that said, I think the Sony is a great device too. I can't comment on the Astak Mentors and LiteBooks because, well they are still demoware.

BOb
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Old 05-28-2008, 01:48 AM   #4
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Hello MidknytOwl, I think you'll be happy with a Kindle
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:00 AM   #5
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I love my Kindle. That said, if the OP doesn't care about the connectivity (the big selling point for me) don't bother with it.
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Old 05-28-2008, 03:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidknytOwl View Post
The only thing specific to the Kindle that I like is the ability to instantly look up a word. Oh, so nice, and one of the things I liked the best.
That's not specific to the Kindle. All devices which support MobiPocket have dictionary support - CyBook, iLiad, any Palm/Pocket PC, etc etc.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:19 AM   #7
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no touch screen = no money from me...especially not 400-bones. That is one of the things which has stopped me from buying a Kindle. ANd I am with the OP an that danged pointer-stick mouse thing...there was bloodshed when I came into contact with one...felt like my new laptop was made in 1986.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:21 AM   #8
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You want to get fingerprints all over the screen? Hardware buttons - IMHO - work far better than a touch screen for a bookreader!
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Old 05-28-2008, 07:21 AM   #9
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You want to get fingerprints all over the screen? Hardware buttons - IMHO - work far better than a touch screen for a bookreader!
I totally agree with you on this point, touch screens are great but I don't think that they would serve such a great purpose on a bookreader. I have a cell phone that has a touch screen and indoors(and also due to the backlight masking some of them) you do not see all the finger marks on the screen yet when I use the device outside or even near a window on a sunny day it becomes evident just how dirty the screen gets from usage.

I would think that the problem would be even more evident without a backlight to mask some of those marks. Also, I am not sure how well the illiad works with the touchscreen, but I would think because of the limitations of e-ink technology that the responsiveness would not be anywhere near an LCD touchscreen device.
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:04 PM   #10
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I love my Kindle. That said, if the OP doesn't care about the connectivity (the big selling point for me) don't bother with it.
Sure, but it also one of those things that you don't realize how much you like it, until you have it and try it. Sort of like the first time I experienced a DVR.

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Old 05-28-2008, 02:16 PM   #11
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I keep banging the drum for my eBookwise EB-1150, but it's great, not kidding.

CON:
Low tech and doesn't do anything much beyond text, no fancy graphics or anything

PRO:
  1. Inexpensive at $139, on sale now for $129
  2. Backlit for reading in bed
  3. Will display pretty much anything, even pdf, if you do a few small tweaks to the book
  4. Has a nice handgrip which makes it very comfortable to hold
  5. Fictionwise (parent company) has fantastic customer service. When mine broke in March, they sent me a whole new one for free, no questions asked.

All of the e-devices have their pros and cons, so just close your eyes, pick one, and start enjoying the literature. It's the words that matter, not the medium.

Happy Reading!

Last edited by DixieGal; 05-28-2008 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:34 PM   #12
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The roller thingie is more like a scroll wheel than the ThinkPad eraser mouse thingie. While I'm a huge fan of the Kindle, if money is tight it might be worth waiting a bit. If you want native Mobipocket support then if Astak follows through on its LiteBook on the 5" reader and manages to hit the $159 price projection, that might work well for you.

I'm not sure what formats are most common for romance novels. You may want to check that out before making a hardware decision. As for library ebooks, some libraries do have them. My local library uses a service called Overdrive. They have ebooks in DRM-ed .mobi and .pdf. Sadly there are a lot more titles in .pdf. The books time out after 3 weeks. (Hopefully if Astak does .mobi support, they'll be mindful of this when it comes to clock settings. The original release of the Cybook Gen3 wasn't, but I think that's resolved now. ) The selection isn't great, at least at my library. You may want to check out your local public library's website and see what they offer.
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Old 05-28-2008, 03:35 PM   #13
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If we are being optimistic, for ~$200 (or less) in July a 5" Astak Mentor will have eReader and Adobe Digital Editions vs a 5" Astak LiteBook with MobiPocket. The Adobe DE support is still uncertain, but it would give access to those Adobe library ebooks. So, presumably, would a Sony PRS-505 with the expected Adobe DE upgrade.
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Old 05-28-2008, 03:45 PM   #14
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The wireless, you say you don't "need" it .... but the first time you realize you can look something up on Wikipedia with it the cool factor kicks in.

Face it, as you say you don't "need" the thing.
Touche. But I meant more I don't think I would use it and it's not a real selling point for me. I have a tendency to impulse buy on cheaper things anyway, so I don't know if I want to have the ability to buy a book on demand when I should be looking for cheaper prices or possibly finding it free (or changing my mind when the impulse passes). Besides, I spend too much time on my computer randomly looking up stuff and checking my email like a crack addict, so it would probably be better for me if I didn't have to ability to lose several hours on wikipedia on yet another device. (Or -cough- places like here -cough-)

I'm kind of gravitating towards a Sony. It's the only one I've really come across where people don't seem to have many complaints and is the cheapest eInk. I've looked a little more at the Cybook since it would provide the dictionary option I like with the Kindle and uses mobi which I'm seeing come up a lot as a good format, but then there are posts in that forum on it just crashing and such, which makes me really nervous. Although now the Kindle is about $10 less than it if you count the shipping, so who knows?

While waiting for the Astak sounds good as well, I'm also nervous about buying something brand new with no history. (Kindle is kind of falling into this as well). At least the others have been around a while, even if in previous incarnations.

Hmm...am I sounding like I have some nervous condition? It's just a large chunk of change and I want to make sure that I am happy and not cursing myself several months down the road when something better comes along or prices randomly drop. Plus then I'll be a little stuck because I will have some ebooks already and be tied down a bit, if I'm following what people are saying right.

Argh.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:11 PM   #15
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Hmm...am I sounding like I have some nervous condition? It's just a large chunk of change and I want to make sure that I am happy and not cursing myself several months down the road when something better comes along or prices randomly drop.
I don't blame you for doing your research. The Sony is a great device. The main reason I replaced mine with the Kindle was due to content and price thereoff. I felt the Kindle had more available content at a better price. Also, I wouldn't need to do any conversions as I had to for the Sony and I didn't need a computer nearby if I wanted a new book.

The biggest issue I have with the Kindle is the ebable issue... where if I wanted to by a less expensive unit for my 11 year old, like the Astak, none of the Kindle books would work on it. Then again, she and I don't read alot of the same books.

BOb


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