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Old 03-29-2009, 10:22 PM   #1
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Recomendation for Disabled Veteran

I am a disabled veteran who is looking for the veteran’s administration to purchase an eBook reader for me to use. This would through their Independent Living program. The IL program helps veterans to live as independently as possible. In my case, it is not only hard to use a regular book, but it is very difficult to travel to the library. So the VA would purchase the reader for me: provided they have the funs.

What I am looking for here is your recommendations as to which one would best fit both my and the VA’s requirements. I will start off with the VA requirements.

Price: The VA is not going to pay more than what is in the generally acceptable price range for this type device unless there is a specific feature that my service connected disabling conditions require. For example if most readers will cost $400, they are not going to pay $500.

Warranty: The VA prefers that all devices that are purchased have a warranty of 1 to 3 years, with the longer the better. The warranty preferably should cover damage to the device caused by accidents due to the disabling condition. For example, if I have a seizure while sitting in my power chair and it gets destroyed, they would prefer that the policy cover this. Of course that is not an absolute requirement since they can purchase insurance. Also they prefer warranties that provide for a straight swap of the cheaper devices instead of repair.

Vendor: They require that the vendor be someone that does business with the government or that can do business with the government.

Now onto my requirements:

Text size: In addition to the conditions that are already service connected, the VA will be soon granting service connection for diabetes. My diabetes is not under control and greatly affects my eye sight. As the blood sugar levels fluctuate, the text size that I can see changes. Therefore, the EBook reader will need to have a range of text sizes.

Audio: I need the ability to use audio books and other audio. At times I am not able to read at all, so the ability to use Audio Books is a great help. Same with the ability to listen to music as I read.

Lightweight: I have severe damage to the nerves in my hands. This means that I can not hold up any device for extended periods of time that have any significant weight.

Controls: Again, I have severe nerve damage: so the controls need to be easy to use.

Formats: Having the widest range of formats would be a plus. I have heard of one called Net Library where you can download books as a rental instead of purchasing. I would want the EBook reader to be able to do this since I have limited income. Also, I have a fair number of PDFs and HTML that I have collected in the past: so the ability to handle these are essential.

Audio: I need the ability to use audio books and other audio. At times I am not able to read at all, so the ability to use Audio Books is a great help. Same with the ability to listen to music as I read.

Boot / Battery time: I would like the EBook reader to have as fast as possible boot time. If this is not possible, then have the ability to leave the EBook reader on for extended periods of time so that I am not wasting a lot of time waiting to use the device.

Access to Internet: I would love to be able to access the Internet for things such as Wikipedia and/or blogs. Also newspapers and magazines would be nice. Of course this is not a deal breaker for me, but it would be a nice extra feature if it is available.
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Old 03-29-2009, 10:45 PM   #2
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Hello scveteran, welcome to MobileRead!

It looks like the Kindle 2 would meet nearly all of your needs. The issues/questions would be:

- Your collection of PDF books. The Kindle does not read PDF files. They can be converted for use with the Kindle. If they are mostly text, it the conversion works pretty well. If the PDF has a lot of charts, graphs and tables, you won't be happy with the results.

- The Net Library. It depends on the formats available.

- I would assume Amazon would do business with the government.

- The Kindle 1 has page turn button that are easier to use for people with hand issues but you'd have to buy one used and would not have a warranty (or not much of one left).

Check out the link to the "Kindle Myths and Partial Truths" wiki in my sig for more information on the Kindle.
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Old 03-29-2009, 10:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scveteran View Post
...
Lightweight: I have severe damage to the nerves in my hands. This means that I can not hold up any device for extended periods of time that have any significant weight.
...
The e-ink devices are what I would consider light on weight, but of course this is a relative judgement - I obviously don't know what weight you can bear for extended periods of time. However, there are cheapish products that will hold the device, be it on a table in front of you, or on your reclined chest (eg. if you read in bed), that may help here. The one that I've recently seen in a couple of stores looks like a miniature bean-bag (the "furniture" variety) that you can rest your book on. They have a small, plastic flap you can draw tighter with a draw-string to the bottom of a book/device to hold it firmly. There are undoubtedly other varieties, and this may cover that weight issue, should you consider the devices too weighty.

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 03-29-2009, 11:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by scveteran View Post

Vendor: They require that the vendor be someone that does business with the government or that can do business with the government.

Lightweight: I have severe damage to the nerves in my hands. This means that I can not hold up any device for extended periods of time that have any significant weight.
I think the Kindle 2 would be perfect for you with the wide range of application and ease of use.

As most ebook reader, I dont know if they are working with the government but I am sure most would like to. But a simple letter to them of your purpose would surely say that they will be glad to help.

You can always place the Kindle in your desk or find ways to read it without you tiring to hold it always.

Good luck on your choice.
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:35 AM   #5
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It does sound like the Kindle 2 would be a good fit for you...it has variable font sizes, is light weight, has the ability to play audio books (including audible.com books). It also has the text-to-speech function, that will read text books to you (unless the publisher has restricted this in teh current book you're reading.)

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Old 03-30-2009, 02:45 AM   #6
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Unfortunately, I don't think that ANY warranty is going to cover a device being damaged if you have a seizure. A warranty covers manufacturing defects, not "user damage".
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:19 AM   #7
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Once you get the reader, make sure to check Baen's Webscriptions: their ebooks are free to disabled readers:
http://www.webscription.net/news.aspx?showarticle=2
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:02 AM   #8
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Unfortunately, I don't think that ANY warranty is going to cover a device being damaged if you have a seizure. A warranty covers manufacturing defects, not "user damage".
There is that "one" drop replacement with K2 available with the extended warranty.

Quote:
Protect your Kindle 2 for two full years -- Adds an additional year and more comprehensive protection than the one-year manufacturer's warranty, including coverage for accidental drops and damage (limited to one incident).
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Old 03-30-2009, 10:20 AM   #9
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I reluctantly agree that the Kindle 2 meets most of your requirements. The Library use will be problematic at this time. The Sony PRS-505 can meet the EPUB format that some libraries use but doesn't meet some of your other requirements as well as the Kindle 2.

Also as Igorsk says, be sure to check out the Baen site. Lots of good SF with a leaning toward military SF but also plenty of other SF & Fantasy. The nice thing about their ebooks (aside from being free for disabled Vets) is that they do not have DRM (Digital Rights Management) and they have formats for both the Sony & the Kindle.

The main advantage of the Kindle is their connectivity. You don't need a computer to buy ebooks - they can be downloaded directly to the Kindle from Amazon (assuming you are in the right wireless telephone area).
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:00 AM   #10
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I originally wasn't going to comment here as it seems the general concenses is that the Kindle 2 would be the best choice and I am not familiar with that device. However, it seems to me that this would be excellent for Amazon in the public relations department. Some kind of deal between Amazon and the Veteran's Administration to provide readers to our disabled veterans would be fantastic. After the negative feelings engendered after the letter to remove Kindlefix, this could go a long way to help their image. At least I know it would as far as I am concerned.

scveteran, thank you for your service. God Bless.
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:10 PM   #11
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Once you get the reader, make sure to check Baen's Webscriptions: their ebooks are free to disabled readers:
http://www.webscription.net/news.aspx?showarticle=2
That is great. Baen books is one of my favorite publishers.

Thank you to everyone who replied with advice.

Last edited by scveteran; 04-04-2009 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 04-04-2009, 06:19 PM   #12
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If you frequently have difficulty with reading visually, you might want to consider an all-audio ebook and audiobook reader instead of a mainly visual device. There are still lots of ebooks that you can read on the computer that you already have instead of on a stand-alone portable ebook reader.

I am legally blind, and even though I have found ways to read ebooks efficiently on my Sony Reader, I still rely heavily on audiobooks. It sounds like you would qualify for service from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. It's not just for blind and mobility impaired people, they also serve people with what they call "organic brain dysfunction," reading problems due to strokes, seizures, brain cancer, or head injuries. I don't know the extent or exact nature of your problems, and I'm not a doctor, but if you have a disability that prevents you from reading standard print books even part of the time, you can get service. You get books on tape in the mail, and over the next couple of years there will be a transition to digital books that will be delivered in the mail on cartridges or download from the website. Your state affiliate library will supply you with the player you need for free (the digital players are not available yet but will be rolled out over the next few years, and veterans have 1st priority when players are available) and the books also come to you and back to the library for free through the mail. You can also purchase a Victor Reader Stream ($349) and get started with the downloadable books right away. The Stream also supports Audible.com books, 3gp, aa, brf, flac, html, mp2, mp3, mpg, ogg, rtf, spx, txt, wav, wma, xml. It does not have a screen so all of the non-audio formats are read using text-to-speech. In addition to NLS services, the Stream can also be used with NFB-Newsline and Bookshare.org files. I have no affiliation with Humanware, but I am a very satisfied Stream user.
http://www.humanware.com (sells the Victor Reader Stream)
https://www.nlstalkingbooks.org/talkingbooksform/ (sign up for NLS services)
http://www.nfbnewsline.org/ (Newsline is sponsored by the NFB but is available to anyone with a print disability. You can also get newspapers via your telephone or email)
http://bookshare.org (Bookshare provides scanned books to people with disabilities under a special provision of copyright law, annual fee is $50 but this can be waived if you volunteer or receive a scholarship)

If you have any further questions I'd be happy to help.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
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If you frequently have difficulty with reading visually, you might want to consider an all-audio ebook and audiobook reader instead of a mainly visual device. There are still lots of ebooks that you can read on the computer that you already have instead of on a stand-alone portable ebook reader.
I agree with Fledchen. Actually, I don't think most digital readers, including the Kindle 2 is good for you because mainly of one thing: SIZE!!! Kindle 2 like most other digital readers only has a screen that when measured on the diagonal is a measely 6". You can buy a laptop with a much larger screen and it would be able to read all of the books these digital readers can. Indeed, you won't be able to use the Kindle bookstore but you would be able to buy many of the books from other digital book websites such as www.booksonboard.com and www.ebooks.com and so forth.

I would say if visual is that difficult for you, go for a much larger screen such as a laptop. You could of course get the Iliad which I think has a screen of about 8 inches x 11 inches but it is very expensive and for that price you can get a laptop.

I say go for a laptop which:
a) has much bigger screen
b) much better audio
c) can basically read all the formats for digital books

[soapbox] Sometimes I do wonder if users of digital readers are just way too enthusiastic to realise that indeed there are scenarios when digital readers do not fit the bill. I think this is one case where the reader DOES NOT fit the bill. If there were inexpensive readers that has screens the size of an A4 or US Letter paper, then fine. But the Iliad costs just as much as a laptop and does less. Not worth it. [/soapbox]

Last edited by thibaulthalpern; 04-05-2009 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:47 AM   #14
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I would say if visual is that difficult for you, go for a much larger screen such as a laptop. You could of course get the Iliad which I think has a screen of about 8 inches x 11 inches but it is very expensive and for that price you can get a laptop.
No, that's incorrect. The iLiad has a screen with an 8" diagonal - only about one third the area of an 8"x11" screen. There are no eBook readers with A4/Letter screens; the largest currently available is the iRex DR1000, which has an A5 screen (ie half the area of A4/Letter). Come to that, there are no Tablet PCs with A4 screens, either; I think they'd just be too big for comfortable use.
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Old 04-05-2009, 06:24 AM   #15
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Unfortunately, I don't think that ANY warranty is going to cover a device being damaged if you have a seizure. A warranty covers manufacturing defects, not "user damage".
Sony has a replacement warranty even if the user is the cause of the damage.
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