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Old 11-07-2009, 12:36 AM   #1
alice_85
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Definitely out of my league

I started looking for an e-reader thinking there were only a few different models and then I found you guys... Now I am completely lost and could use some assistance.

I am a college student and single mom, however I'm planning to probably fork out for one early next year. Here are a few things I would like:

1) 6" or bigger display
2) ability to get books easily(either through mobile download or fast transfers from comp)
3) if it's possible to get textbooks that would be amazing but I'm majoring in lit so I may be able to use a lot of standard books
4) ability to span multiple formats (if there's one that works with both amazons and b&n/epub that would be amazing

I like the feel of the nook plus they have an much larger book selection to start with than other places I found but again as a college student I'm trying to make it easier on my back.

Any ideas you may have would be amazing and helpful, thank you all so very much!!!
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Old 11-07-2009, 04:01 AM   #2
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Don't be fooled by apparently large book selections, Alice. Some readers are tied to specific stores and formats. So no matter how extensive their collections appear, they are, in fact, limited. Others allow you to download books from a heap of different sources, in a wide range of formats ... and you can shop around for the best deals when you're not downloading classics free.I also think wifi connection is a red herring to most users. You can download books into your PC and/or laptop library using simple and effective software (like calibre) and store thousands of books there rather than overloading your reader with titles, which tends to slow it down. My recommendation to suit your needs would be a Sony PRS-505 (with a wall charger). Good luck. Neil
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:18 AM   #3
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Alright, well I like the idea of not being tied to one site but I'd like to be able to have the ability to use books from them as well. Will I be able to do this with the sony? Not to mention how durable is it? I'm a single mom with a 3yr old that LOVES technology so he's bound to find a way to get his hands on it.

While I know that textbooks are not as easily located out there is there a way to locate textbooks for an e-reader? I am still trying to sift through everything and figure it out but alas I think I am still failing. I will definitely look into the sony a bit more.

Also because I am rather spastic, which ones can I do notes and highlighting as well as dictionary functions with?
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:56 AM   #4
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Welcome!! I just got the Sony 505 (now discontinued) and
I love it. It doesn't seem that I could use ebooks from Amazon
as they are a proprietary file AND must be transferred to a
Kindle. On the other hand I have 15 free books that I have
downloaded just waiting for me to devour.....
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Old 11-07-2009, 08:46 AM   #5
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Hello,
Continue to look at the different readers on this site. I think freedom to buy any book that you want to buy is important. There are vast amount of places on the internet to buy books. Why make your options less by buying a reader that makes buying books from anywhere but at their site difficult. The bottom line is buying the books you want at the best price. My vote goes to Bebook or the new Pocketbook is very, very interesting. Watch their vidio, check things out.
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Old 11-07-2009, 09:31 AM   #6
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Alright, well I like the idea of not being tied to one site but I'd like to be able to have the ability to use books from them as well. Will I be able to do this with the sony? Not to mention how durable is it? I'm a single mom with a 3yr old that LOVES technology so he's bound to find a way to get his hands on it.
Sony devices do accept books from multiple ebookstores as long as the ebook is Adobe's ADE ePub. It is hoped that Sony will eventually update that to include the B&N ePub version as well.

Although not yet released and thus not yet reviewed or tested, the nook might be a good choice. It will (supposedly) read both flavors of ePub as well as eReader DRMed books.

The Astak is similar to the Sony, but Astak's representative has said here that Astak is negotiating with B&N/Fictionwise to include eReader capabilities.

No device can read both Amazon and B&N DRMed books without stripping the DRM first and using calibre to convert the format.

As for your 3-year-old, good luck. All of these devices have fragile screens. Best advice is to buy a manufacturer's extended warranty that covers accidental damage. But that will add a good $70+ to the cost.
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Old 11-07-2009, 09:42 AM   #7
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Please do not buy any reader that is connected to the word soon, eventually, in the future. You can see on the Cybook Gen 3 forums those are very bad words. I also agree with Rhadin. No reader will withstand a 3 year old. They sometimes don't even last with older people. The reader will have to be in the same catigory as Grandma's antique dishes.
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Old 11-07-2009, 10:07 AM   #8
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Hello Alice & welcome to MobileRead.
Quote:
1) 6" or bigger display
The Kindle, Sony 600, and Nook -- to name the most readily available models in the USA -- all have a 6-inch (diagonal) screen. At the default font size on my Kindle, that gives me a page of text approximately 1/2 to 2/3 of what appears on a paperback page. I typically set my font to one size smaller than the default, so I get from 2/3 to 3/4 of a full paperback page. Your tradeoff is font size (readability) and number of page turns.

One benefit of the electronic reader is that you can increase the font size if you need -- which I do in situations where the lighting is low.

Quote:
2) ability to get books easily(either through mobile download or fast transfers from comp)
If you are comfortable with your computer, then it's a very easy/fast process to transfer a book from your computer to the reader. All readers connect via USB to the computer. Having the wireless -- whether cellular like the Kindle or wi-fi like the Nook -- can be nice in certain situations, but it's not essential. I carried my Kindle with me to Ireland and had no problems purchasing a new book and transferring it to the Kindle via the USB connection. Like Neil, I don't try to carry too many books on the device at one time. The majority of the books I've acquired -- whether purchased from Amazon, Baen, or Fictionwise or free downloads from various sites -- reside on a USB hard drive. Much easier for me to organize and keep track of those I've read, etc.

Quote:
3) if it's possible to get textbooks that would be amazing but I'm majoring in lit so I may be able to use a lot of standard books
I think it depends on the type of textbooks you need. I've purchased two text books for the Kindle. One was for an education course on dealing with kids who live in poverty and the other was for a comparative religion course. I would think that most if not all of your assigned reading in your literature courses would be available in electronic format. For the "classical" literature, you'd probably be able to find free editions at Project Gutenberg or Google books. One challenge might be if the professor required a particular edition of the book -- usually so that you have the editorial commentary or notes. For your texts, you'd just have to search the e-bookstores and see what' available. Many universities post the syllabus for courses and you might look at the courses you're planning on taking in the next couple of terms and search out the texts listed to see if any are available in electronic format. If not currently available, you could send a request to the publisher.

Quote:
4) ability to span multiple formats (if there's one that works with both amazons and b&n/epub that would be amazing
Ummm... that's a challenge when it comes to DRMed (or encrypted) books. The Kindle only supports Amazon's version of encrypted book formats. The Sony supports both Sony's proprietary format and ePub encrypted by Adobe. LOTS of stores sell ePub encrypted by Adobe, so that does open up more opportunities for you. I'm not 100% sure what the Nook supports. Rhadin's comments match what I've seen elsewhere.

Quote:
Also because I am rather spastic, which ones can I do notes and highlighting as well as dictionary functions with?
I've only ever used the Kindle and I do quite a bit of note-taking and highlighting with it. The highlighting is particularly nice to mark quotes that you want to include in a review or a paper. With the Kindle, you just download the "My Notes and Marks" file to your PC and you have all the highlighted text right there to paste into your paper.
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Old 11-07-2009, 10:28 AM   #9
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I am very happy with the note-taking and dictionary functionality on my Kindle. I find it really easy to use.

I'm trying to improve my German vocabulary through reading and it's a great help to have quick lookup of words within a book. There are issues with dictionaries with input languages that are not English though, i.e. German-English or Frensch-English, but they're not necessarily insurmountable: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=60103

The biggest downside to the Kindle IMO is that it can 1) only read mobi or prc files natively, and 2) only use DRM'd books from Amazon - and Amazon is not necessarily the cheapest anymore. Unless you are prepared to de-DRM, and perhaps convert, books you buy in other shops, the Kindle may limit you.

I don't have the Sony 600 (the Touch) but I think it also has note-taking functionality, but I don't know how well it works. It has a dictionary, but I think it's only English-English.
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:26 PM   #10
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I don't have the Sony 600 (the Touch) but I think it also has note-taking functionality, but I don't know how well it works.
It works very well. You can either write free-hand notes (or drawings, or whatever else you want) on the screen with the stylus, or type them with a soft keyboard on the screen.

Quote:
It has a dictionary, but I think it's only English-English.
That's right, it is. It gives you a choice of either a British or an American English dictionary.
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:39 PM   #11
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It works very well. You can either write free-hand notes (or drawings, or whatever else you want) on the screen with the stylus, or type them with a soft keyboard on the screen.
I can only compare to the onscreen keyboards if either ipod touch or a win5 PDA, but compared to the keyboard on the Kindle, the Kindle wins very definitely. I think it may be the immediate, physical feedback; knowing that I touch and press the button. It's quick and easy to take notes.

A bit off-topic, but I was wondering how drawing/writing with the stylus compares to the DR1000? How quick is it?

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That's right, it is. It gives you a choice of either a British or an American English dictionary.
That's what I thought. Well, Kindle dictionaries out-of-the-box isn't that much better. I think you can only get French- or Spanish-English default dictionaries.
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:47 PM   #12
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I can only compare to the onscreen keyboards if either ipod touch or a win5 PDA, but compared to the keyboard on the Kindle, the Kindle wins very definitely. I think it may be the immediate, physical feedback; knowing that I touch and press the button. It's quick and easy to take notes.
Oh, I completely agree; when it comes to typing text, the Kindle's keyboard wins hands-down. What I use my 600 for, though, is "marking up" errors while proof-reading books, and for that, the stylus is a clear winner - it's so easy to underline or circle words, scribble notes in the margin, and so on. If I was actually writing notes, though, then I'd certainly prefer the Kindle.

Quote:
A bit off-topic, but I was wondering how drawing/writing with the stylus compares to the DR1000? How quick is it?
It's definitely slower than the iRex, and not quite as accurate, but it works OK. The Wacom touch screen on the iRex is a lot more accurate than the Sony's touch screen - it's easy to get "pixel-accuracy" on the iRex, whereas when you write on the Sony, you never really know, within a couple of mm, where the writing will appear. For what I use it for, though, it's certainly good enough.
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Old 11-07-2009, 12:54 PM   #13
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Oh, I completely agree; when it comes to typing text, the Kindle's keyboard wins hands-down. What I use my 600 for, though, is "marking up" errors while proof-reading books, and for that, the stylus is a clear winner - it's so easy to underline or circle words, scribble notes in the margin, and so on. If I was actually writing notes, though, then I'd certainly prefer the Kindle.

It's definitely slower than the iRex, and not quite as accurate, but it works OK. The Wacom touch screen on the iRex is a lot more accurate than the Sony's touch screen - it's easy to get "pixel-accuracy" on the iRex, whereas when you write on the Sony, you never really know, within a couple of mm, where the writing will appear. For what I use it for, though, it's certainly good enough.
Thanks, Harry. It's nice to have my impression confirmed - and it's interesting that we got differences between two different types of note-taking emphasised.
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Old 11-07-2009, 06:05 PM   #14
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Sony devices do accept books from multiple ebookstores as long as the ebook is Adobe's ADE ePub. It is hoped that Sony will eventually update that to include the B&N ePub version as well.

No device can read both Amazon and B&N DRMed books without stripping the DRM first and using calibre to convert the format.
Ok so, can I just start by saying; YOU ALL ROCK SO MUCH THANK YOU!!!!!

Ok now onto my point. I'm not opposed to getting and learning the software for converting. If I decided to do that how difficult would it be and would it be something I being a fairly computer oriented person would be able to grasp.

You have all been so helpful! Oh so based on the fragility of readers you are probably hinting that I'm going to want a cover for it as well correct? Oh you know what I forgot to ask, does the Sony have an expandable memory capability??
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Old 11-07-2009, 07:57 PM   #15
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If you are considering textbooks on your device. Depending on your area of study, most of the current readers might be more problematic than they are worth at this microsecond in time.

I would offer that the suggestion to really read the site for a while, keep asking good questions like this...and since you have to wait anyway, keep an eye on what happens around the time of the January CES Convention in Las Vegas. Most device makers are holding onto info about readers until then. Also, this should be a year where we see a few larger format (bigger display panel) device, not all of which use eink type panels. There are pro's and con's to eink vs. other display panel technology. Do not let anyone sell you on a given display tech, decide for yourself what works best for you. Things like battery life and will, for the time being, go toward eink type displays. However eink can lose on contrast and readability in low light conditions. Likely sunlight readability will mostly go to eink...but, there are newer LCD type displays which will lend themselves to use in direct sunlight and provide color now, something eink cannot currently do. These devices are what I call "tweener" device, neither ebook only devices, but also not full slate/tablet PC's. My money is that this class of reader will be far better for students.

One last thing to consider is if you are hoping to use the device for textbooks, formats the reader supports, can you obtain the book in a format your reader supports and will that format display well enough for study purposes? Small <= 8" devices are not as large as you might imagine. Remember an 8"x11" piece of paper has a diagonal measument of ~14".

Look for info about the Kindle DX academic testing sites. Amazon tested their Kindle DX at a few universities/colleges and there seems to be a far amount of feeback in the area of trying to study using an ereading device vs. traditional textbooks. And from what I have gleened, there is a big difference in many areas of study.

It's good ya decided to look around NOW not when you need the device...and also it's a wonderful time to jump in feet first as many new devices will be coming out over the next few months. Ultimately once you aquaint yourself with the features of most typical eink based devices as well as those closer to a PDA-tablet hybrid it will come down to budget and what you can and cannot live without...

And yeah, most readers are still pretty fragile. If you go with a larger format reader look for the newer (as yet unreleased) flexible display panels. These will be due out in early 2010.
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