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Old 11-27-2009, 12:54 PM   #1
FA_Q2
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Question Help choosing a reader that fits me!


I am just getting interested in picking up an ereader for me and my wife. I have no idea what I should be getting. Heck, until I stumbled across this site last week I thought the Kindle was the ONLY reader out there and I was waiting for B&N/Google to come up with a little competition.

Here is what I am looking for:

I am a US resident.

I travel out of the country for extended times fairly often but on many of those occasions I may not have ANY access to the internet and if I do have some it will be somewhat limited. I do always travel with my laptop so using the cell phone connection like the kindle is a big plus but not a requirement. It must also be somewhat rugged considering it will travel in my carry on with me an awful lot.

I mainly read science fiction or fantasy.

I currently have quite a few books in adobe format I acquired a while ago and would like them to still be usable.

Size and weight is not much of an issue for me. Anything less than 2lbs is not going to put a big strain on me and be somewhat easy to handle.

I do not have a tight timeframe so I can wait for something to be released like the nook if it is worth the wait. I want something no later than Feb.

I really like the eink look and how it simulates a real book but since I have not used any other devices I cannot compare eye strain. I do not read that often but when I do I will read an entire 400 page novel in two to three days (and I am not a fast reader) so I need something I can stare at for many hours.

I like the not taking concept but only for the novelty of it. It is possible I will use this for classes at a later date but not really looking for that at this point.

Price is a big issue for me. Most books I purchase cost about 6 dollars and I keep hearing that AFTER spending several hundred dollars on the medium I will still need to purchase each book at almost 10 bucks a pop. That seems somewhat excessive since the delivery of such a medium is much cheaper than the paper equivalent. However the portability and access may be worth the investment.

Lastly, I was thinking of purchasing 2 units, one for me and one for my wife, and would greatly prefer that both of us have access to our libraries at the same time. I hear that the kindle can do this but I have some other reservations about that reader I will go into in a minute.

I also really like the ability to look up words or phrases and my wife will REALLY like this feature.

Honestly, after reading these forums the kindle seems to be the reader of choice for many but I have a hard time buying into anything that is completely controlled by a single non open source entity. It is the reason I will never own anything that has an apple logo on it, they practice far too much control over content and devices that you OWN. That kind of control also has a way of snuffing out the small man and creativity in favor of mass market and profits. I believe the best thing that can come out of these devices is the end of major publishers and the rise of self released content where the author receives the money, not the execs. All things considered it seems one of Sony readers may be the best for me but I am not sure if that’s really true or even which one if it is.

Apologies for the really lengthy text. I just want to get all my needs straight so I can get the best device.

in advance

EDIT: WOW my formatting looked like *&^(…… had to church it up a little

Last edited by FA_Q2; 11-27-2009 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Formatting
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:00 PM   #2
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I'd suggest getting something which supports "ePub" books. ePub is an open standard which is supported by pretty much everyone except Amazon.

There are lots of excellent reading devices to choose from. I like the Sony machines myself (see them in any Sony store); they are very solidly built and reliable. Other makes worth looking at are Astak and Bookeen; both have good ePub support.
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Old 11-27-2009, 01:09 PM   #3
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For EInk readers, your controlling requirements are:
  • Adobe ebooks
  • dictionary lookup
This narrows your choices down to: Sony PRS-600 or B&N Nook, or PocketBook.

PocketBook is a bit of a wild card, the PocketBook 360° is the nicest looking 5" device on the market in the US. It supports dictionaries, but not commercial dictionaries, and has only recently been introduced in the US - it is probably best today for "early adopters".

The Nook is an unknown quantity, and is out of stock until January.

The PRS-600 has a touch screen, and the associated screen layer makes it slightly less readable than standard EInk screens. It is a full featured Reader, and therefore a bit expensive.

If you drop the dictionary requirement, there are plenty of other readers that support Adobe (PDF and ePub). See E-book Reader Matrix.
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Old 11-27-2009, 11:05 PM   #4
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I just purchased an Astak Pocket Pro and absolutely love this device. It reads a lot of different formats very well. It would fit your requirements except it doesn't have a dictionary look up, though there is talk of a new firmware update coming out soon that will support this. That's one of the great things about the Astak Pocket Pro, they are always listening to their customers and coming out with new firmware updates to give us more with our device.
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Old 11-28-2009, 03:47 AM   #5
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I just purchased an Astak Pocket Pro and absolutely love this device. It reads a lot of different formats very well.
I must respectfully disagree, Laura. The Pocket Pro reads a lot of different formats, but very few of them "well". ePub and Mobi support are probably the best (and even they lack certain basic features); most of the other formats are supported poorly - have you tried reading a LIT file?

Personally I'd always recommend going with a device which reads a small number of formats well, rather than a large number badly.
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:05 AM   #6
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I must respectfully disagree, Laura. The Pocket Pro reads a lot of different formats, but very few of them "well". ePub and Mobi support are probably the best (and even they lack certain basic features); most of the other formats are supported poorly - have you tried reading a LIT file?

Personally I'd always recommend going with a device which reads a small number of formats well, rather than a large number badly.
So far I've tried PDF, epub, mobi, txt, rar, zip and lit. The only complaint I have so far about any of those I've tested is lit. It can't read that worth crap. But I mainly want it for epub, mobi, pdf, and txt and so far I have found no problems with those formats.
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:10 AM   #7
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Yes, it works well enough for ePub and Mobi, certainly. My main complaint about it is the lack of a "back" function - if you click on a hyperlink to read an endnote, there's absolutely no way to get back to where you were! That's a real pain in the rear end!
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Old 11-28-2009, 04:16 AM   #8
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I haven't encountered that but yes, I can see that would be a pain!
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Old 11-29-2009, 02:34 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input so far.

I looked into the readers mentioned above and it does seem the 600 may be the best bet. The astric pro mentioned is not much of a savings over the 600, 20 to 30 dollars does not really matter in the 200 range. I am somewhat unhappy about spending 200 dollars on a reader in general though as I will not be able to purchase a pair of them at the moment but all the cheaper models I looked at take a rather large hit in the functionality department and are still scratching the 200 mark.

I could drop the dictionary requirement and I have looked at the matrix. The problem is, the matrix does not really tell me anything as a layman. It does look like the prices of all the readers in the 5 and 6 inch categories are priced close enough that price is not a factor anyway so I don’t see a reason to give up the dictionary unless there is a reader that you guys think is head and shoulders above the others. Unfortunately all those juicy readers in the lager category are insane expensive (at least for me ).

One thing I would like cleared up: does the touch screen really make that big of a difference in image quality? I noticed the HanLin eBook has most of the same functionality of the Sony without the touch screen and at the same price point. It even had a few extra formats that it supports. What are your opinions on this book or is the screen effect negligible?

Also, in your guys’ opinion, is the eink defiantly the way to go. Like I said earlier, I was looking into those because I liked the look of the screen. Without any experience with other ereader devices, I do not want to discount the myriad of other readers to soon, particularly because a backlit screen would be very helpful.

Lastly, will I be able to share a DRM book between two devices I own? I imagine that I cannot although I heard the kindle can accomplish this. As I said before, I would like to be able to share my library with my wife while I am away.

Last edited by FA_Q2; 11-29-2009 at 02:38 PM. Reason: Forgot to add the DRM Q
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Old 11-29-2009, 03:35 PM   #10
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I do not have personal experience with anything other than the Sony 500 and 505 (I have a friend who had a 500 and decided to upgrade to the 505). The difference in the screen with the touch screen overlay is a mixed bag as far as people reviewing the 600. For many it is a deal breaker but there are also many that say that the difference is more than made up for by the additional features afforded in the 600. I have not seen anyone who does not se any difference however.

Battery life and lack of eye strain are the primary reasons to go with e-ink. My own opinion is that it is definitely the way to go if you are looking for a device to be a dedicated reader.

In pretty much all of the DRM schemes I am familiar with either there is a password required to open the file or multiple devices can be registered to the same account; so generally, sharing ebooks with your wife should not be a problem.
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:03 PM   #11
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FA_Q2, the jetBook is a 5" epaper device with a dictionary.

The epaper devices are less expensive than the eInk devices, so because price is important to you I suggest that you look into the jetBook, the jetBook Lite and the Aluratek Libre Pro.
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Old 11-29-2009, 04:17 PM   #12
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Lastly, will I be able to share a DRM book between two devices I own?
Yes. Adobe DRM is keyed to your AdobeID, and so as long as you and your wife share an ID you are allowed 6 devices between you. One must be a Windows PC or a Mac. Note that some ebooks include additional restrictions (e.g. some only work on a PC), but this is rare.
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Old 11-30-2009, 04:26 AM   #13
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I have a 600, and I find the touch screen very readable. When I compared to the (non-touch) Sony 300 and Elonex in the shop, I was aware of a little extra reflection, but it wasn't enough to change my mind, and it hasn't caused me any particular problem.

The touch screen makes the user interface much more intuitive to me, which is much more important than the fact than a little extra reflectivity. Apart from cost (which I think is still too high) what put me off buying a reader until recently was that I don't want anything to get in the way of reading the book - and the 600 is the first I've seen that meets that particular mark.
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