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Old 12-15-2009, 02:35 PM   #1
outoftownnews
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Recommendations for US visiting Asia?

Hello,

I've searched a bit but haven't found a thread with my answer. If I've missed it please link and I will check it out.

I am a current US resident planning to spend the next few years in South Korea and Japan for a mix of business and leisure. I was attracted (naively) to the idea of buying a reader in the US and downloading English books in Asia. I will return to the states periodically but not nearly often enough to refresh my book list.

Does anyone have experience doing this and/or have suggestions for an appropriate ereader? Things that I do not care about are price (of the device), size, and wireless downloading. Even carrying the largest ereader and downloading only with a computer link is much preferred to carting around boxes of books. I do care about having a screen that isn't impossible to read due to glare. I am somewhat opposed to the Kindle due to proprietary format but let me know if this is my best option.

I read a mixture of classic and contemporary fiction. US based news would be a bonus but not required.

Most international threads that I've found deal with people in UK, Canada, or Australia seeking to buy/use an ereader in their home country.

Thank you for your time.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:55 PM   #2
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Jetbook!

Doesn't do wireless downloads, but supports quite large SD cards for storage.
The US based news should even be doable if you save as HTML or .txt file and load onto the book.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:18 PM   #3
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Depends on what kind of books you read. I have the Sony but still buy a lot on Amazon's US website (via the Iphone) and convert the files. Files for the Kindle PC App cannot be converted yet (just a matter of time, of course), so if you have no iphone and want access to Amazon's store then you have to get a Kindle. If you don't buy from Amazon then get a reader that supports DRMed EPub, that would be the easiest choice. Yes, Amazon envisions the Kindle as a closed system, but with a little effort you can convert files bought elsewhere to make them readable on the Kindle.

To avoid having any problems buying books on US websites (they are much cheaper, offer more choices and lots of freebies) keep your US credit card and billing address.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:54 PM   #4
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I'll be brave and toss out the idea of a netbook.

You'll be able to read PDFs using Adobe, text documents with whatever wordprocessor it comes with and ebooks in many different formats. Books, free and purchased are a few clicks away. You'll get reasonable battery life, the ability to take notes or write a journal and print things out.

For me, the drawbacks are that it's dang hard to hold onto one while lying on your side in bed or riding on the train or...

Can you tell I want one for Christmas?

Michael
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 250 Coupe View Post
I'll be brave and toss out the idea of a netbook.

You'll be able to read PDFs using Adobe, text documents with whatever wordprocessor it comes with and ebooks in many different formats. Books, free and purchased are a few clicks away. You'll get reasonable battery life, the ability to take notes or write a journal and print things out.

For me, the drawbacks are that it's dang hard to hold onto one while lying on your side in bed or riding on the train or...

Can you tell I want one for Christmas?

Michael
Fine if you can live with the heat the device generates, the short battery life, the form factor, and the screen. I would even prefer a phone to a computer screen for reading (I sometimes use my phone when the reader is not available), but in the end --- give me my e-ink reader!
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Old 12-16-2009, 06:47 PM   #6
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I'm in Japan and just imported a Kindle (though it hasn't arrived yet). I considered the sony but as I couldn't see it in person I was a bit worried about the glare. I decided on the kindle partly because of its easy importing and partly because it gave me access to Amazons web store (I have no iPhone). I don't plan on being tied to Amazons web store (it amazing what you can find out on this site). Another reason I got the Kindle was because I was concerned about availability of English .epub (some stores will lock you out). I think its doable if a bit limiting. Thats what my decision process was, but I don't know how thats going to turn out yet.

I will note though that I was really unkeen on the idea of the Kindle, I wanted anything but initially. In the end I decided that I would not be tied down to one store. I did some tests and decided that didn't have to be the case.

Oh, and if you wait till you get to South Korea you could always get a iriver story and load up on books before you go.
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:05 PM   #7
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Hi. I'm in a similar situation, ie American in Japan. I had my parents bring me a Kindle earlier this year. That was before it went "international". If you are interested in the Kindle, then I can whole-heartedly recommend it. I can't download wirelessly, but it's very simple to buy from Amazon's website, download the file to a computer, then upload to the Kindle. I've also had no problems upgrading firmware. Charging the battery is no problem, and Japan uses the same prong as the US, so you don't even need an adapter. You just need to make sure you've got a credit card back home that Amazon can use.

Similar to Juanito, I had a hard time deciding which reader to buy. I nearly bought a Sony, but the Kindle had all the features I wanted (search function, ability to make notes) and Amazon's wide selection of e-books and low pricing won me over. If Kindle isn't your thing, then I think any reader will fit your needs, given that most books are bought online based on credit cards. The only possible advantage to the new international Kindle is that it allows for wireless downloading, but then I believe they slap on an extra $2 per book for this convenience. I would recommend getting one before you come though. I can't speak for South Korea, but here in Japan readers have not caught on. Some people read on their cell phones, but that's not much better than reading on a computer.
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Old 12-20-2009, 06:40 PM   #8
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As an American living in Japan and traveling all over East Asia, I've learned to love my Sony 505!

It's very easy to get what ever books you wish over the Internet at great prices (or for free.) Just as easy to manage or store them on your computer, loading what you think you'll want to read in the immediate future. I usually keep between 150-200 book in my reader at all times, deleting from the reader (keeping back-ups on the computer) and adding as I discover new treasures. I tried keeping even more books (and music) in the memory cards, but decided that I really didn't need the have them with me.

The Sony charges very well with all International electrical currents using a PSP portable charger, and the Japanese wall outlet uses the same two-blade plug as used in the US. The plug for different Asian countries can be a bit different but you can purchase plug adapters for $2-$3 each in all international airports. The PSP charger can handle 100-240v so you don't need a voltage adapter. I get about two weeks worth of reading from a 3-4 hour charge. (You can also charge a Sony using the USB port on your computer.

It's a wise choice to use an e-book reader in Japan. There are very few bookstores that carry used English language books, and new ones here are very expensive. As JetSetter said, do purchase which ever reader you decide upon BEFORE you come to Japan. I've never seen any local folk using them, nor have I seen the for sale, even in the huge electronics area of Osaka.

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Old 12-21-2009, 05:14 AM   #9
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If you intend to read mostly Japanese and Korean, you may not find much value in an ebook reader. Trying to use mine for Chinese has just been an exercise in frustration and disappointment (not difficult to get/make books, but almost impossible to make/get good quality text). On the upside, Japanese and Hangul are pretty simple (visually) compared to Chinese, so they generally display better (I've had OK luck with Japanese in Adobe fonts on my 505).

Nowadays it's pretty much just flip a coin or roll some dice or go to ask Mr. Miyagi and get whatever strikes your fancy and is big enough to display what you want. They're not all that different, and if you're a stickler for visual quality, none will satisfy, so you may as well focus on functions and speed and feel and all that other good stuff that's important to everyone but proud, self-proclaimed ebook readers who own devices "for reading".

Netbook with Pixel Qi, rather than a tablet, would be my choice, but they're not out yet. I'm gonna wait for Mirasol or Liquavista to elbow into the epaper market, and see what happens after this stagnant e-ink phase (not just the e-ink, but the rubbish device designs, specs, and software as a whole being cookie-cutter cloned thoughtlessly and seemingly without end). Perhaps something cool will happen, perhaps not.

For now, the PRS-505 is alright if you don't care about ergonomics or speed and just want something that works reasonably well and shows simple text/html pages and will view decently-made PDF books if you are willing to spend the time. The JetBook is a cooler device in some ways, but tragically underpowered and a bit small and taking design inspiration from 1980s VCRs. Kindle and Nook are okay if you like the services. PocketBook 360 could be a fair 5" option.

None are too bad really, so it's not like getting any one in particular is going to be a horrible horrible mistake, though some people complain about certain readers being buggy...that may cause some ire.
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:12 AM   #10
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The original poster stated that he wished to download English books. Most of the e-readers seem to do OK with that.

I find fiction pdf's work well on my Sony, but not technical ones, nor magazines. Fortunately, I don't read any technical books (unless I'm trying to fix my motorcycle or computer,) and for magazines I prefer color any way so no probs. LRF and epub are perfect, lit's and htm's convert easily with Calibre, and txt and doc's 'usually' come out OK. ABCAmber works well for converting PalmPilot formats so most fields are covered.

For reading Japanese, most of my Japanese books are in hiragana and katakana but as they are written for 6 year olds, I can't get them in e-form...
Sho ga nai....

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Old 12-21-2009, 07:42 AM   #11
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Yeah for English books, they're all fairly similar. I won't read any books in epub or LRF, but they're conveniently had and converted easily enough in other cases for those who have sufficiently low standards (a good thing in the current market, but hopefully there are enough snobs to raise the bar slowly over time).

I know the original poster said they'd get English books, but I figured I could toss out the local language thing...though that was more of an optimistic hope, rather than the more depressing reality regarding English speakers in Asia.
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Old 12-25-2009, 04:16 PM   #12
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Thank you for all of the replies. I will research more about the Sony and Kindle options knowing that both will "work".

Maintaining bank accounts / credit in dollars is definitely planned and not just for buying ebooks. I will buy the device before leaving.
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Old 12-25-2009, 07:30 PM   #13
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Thank you for all of the replies. I will research more about the Sony and Kindle options knowing that both will "work".

Maintaining bank accounts / credit in dollars is definitely planned and not just for buying ebooks. I will buy the device before leaving.
You might find it advantageous to maintain a US mailing address as well. Many companies (including Amazon) will not ship goods to Japan. Having a reliable re-mailing service (MailBoxes,Etc., Pac-N-Ship, The UPS Store, or family and friends) may come in very handy during your stay in Japan. It's often cheaper to have a re-mailer forward your goods via your preferred way than having the Order company ship via UPS or FedEx. It certainly saves on international customs! That's a 'certainty' with UPS and FedEx but only a 'hit or miss' with USPS!

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