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Old 05-18-2010, 11:47 PM   #1
Trebro
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Over-Obsessing Over E-Reader Decision

Hi All,

This is my first time posting after a lot of time lurking. There's lots of interesting stuff to read on here!

I spent a lot of time (my wife might say too much time!) doing research, mostly on reviews, trying to narrow things down. I'm paralyzed by the variety of readers, the variety of DRM-protected formats, the idea that the e-reader I get now isn't going to be able to read the books I can get in the future, and the thought that a new e-reader might mean losing all my old books.

(Yes, I know you can hack the DRM out and reformat as needed, but I'd prefer my e-reading to be legal--I'm a US resident. I don't need the e-reader police coming and zapping me because I opted to make an epub Stephen King into a mobi.)

As far as what I want out of an e-reading device, I guess my first priority is something that file-wise is going to be there for me in the long haul. I fully expect to upgrade readers just like I upgrade computers and phones, but I want to make sure there's a good chance I can take my e-books with me when I make the device change, at least for awhile.

After that, I'm not as picky. Screen size isn't make or break for me, nor is font size. I don't plan to put MP3s on it, that's what an Ipod is for. The only kind of PDF I'd use would be entirely text, like scanned pages of an English journal. I don't care about a touch screen, unless that screen makes it harder to read.

Limited internet would be nice, maybe to take a break and tweet about what I am reading, check e-mail, or hit up a news site. But it's not a requirement, as my phone can do that, but not, sadly, e-read.

I think I'd like removable storage, or at least know I can store e-books I don't need right now on my reader on my computer or external hard drive.

I go back and forth on note-taking. I kinda want it, but I don't exactly note-up books now. And if I can't export the notes, it's useless to me.

I like the idea of being able to use the library, but if they don't have books I like to read or are tied up all the time, it's not going to see a lot of use.

Price is a consideration, but I'm willing to pay more for a better machine within reason (no $400 reader for me). I'd hate to pay $100 for a Libre and hate it, when I can afford to go up to Kindle2 level.

In terms of what I was thinking, I'm more or less down to a Sony, nook, or Kindle2, but I'm open to other ideas.

I initially hated the nook, but the recent firmware update changed my mind, as it was a lot faster and added the limited internet to make it stack up with the Kindle2 better. But I'm terrified of all the service issues I've been reading about, including this new thing with the cracked buttons.

I almost got a Sony 300, but I don't like that it doesn't have the removable storage. I liked the 600 better, but I thought the touch screen was harder to read on, at least in the store. It also seemed a little slow. However, it does have the card slot (and is on sale at a deep discount this week). I also didn't like what I read about Sony's software.

In terms of the Kindle, I love the bookstore and the company, but the fact that they basically only support their own file type and no one else does worries the hell out of me.

If you've read this far, thank you. That's what I've manged to come up with. I've REALLY spent a lot of time on this, and I feel like it's time to just pick a reader and start reading. Any advice based on what I've said above would be appreciated.

Thanks again,

Rob
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Old 05-19-2010, 01:05 AM   #2
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Hi Rob and welcome to MR.

Well, you certainly have done your research. And yes, I would have to agree with your wife.

I have a PRS600 and I love it. The touch screen isn't too hard to read for me. If it gets a bit bright outside I change the angle a bit.

I chose the PRS600 because it has the storage slot (not that I had to use it yet) and because of the files I can upload. I don't like the Sony software much myself and am now using Calibre to manage my books.

ePub seems to be the future of files so the Sony would be great for that.

I opted against the Kindle for the reasons you have stated and I hate to be locked into one bookstore.

Have you checked out the Pocketbook readers? I am toying with the idea of getting one of them as they seem to be very versatile. Plus you have direct support here on the forum.

As to the future of readers: don't forget that they are after all a consumable. They are not meant to last a lifetime.

Well, good luck in choosing one. Do it soon, you will never look back.
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Old 05-19-2010, 05:55 AM   #3
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If screen size isn't an issue, I'd consider a Pocketbook 360.

5 inches size, very pocketable and easy to handle; it reads 99% of text-PDF's with no flaws, it has a microSD slot for further space and it doesn't add to the boot-up time; it works with folders: you can make as many as you like, and you can just drag-and-drop things like in a run-of-the-mill USB stick.

And to top things off, it seems to be in sale right now.
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:37 AM   #4
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i think you should start at your own side and stop thinking what reader can do what. so try to figure out what size it should have, which formats you like or need etc. personally, i started of with the Sony PRS505. great device, absolutely. even my wife was reading with it. after a couple of month i found the screen a bit to small. now we've got both a Irex DR800SG and i can tell you..... smashing. what a super device is that.
what i'm trying to say; it all comes down on what you wanna do.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:29 AM   #5
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Rob,
I agree w/you and am in the same position. I have found that there is no perfect solution. I had a K2, but sold it when I realized that the libraries were going epub and AMAZON does not support it.

My state is growing in the epub library holdings, so I got the PRS 600 since their software connects directly. But I don't care at all for SONY Connect since it takes ages for it to update any notes, highlights, etc. that I may make on my books. I also do not care for the screen.

Calibre is a mystery to me. I try to use it, but seems too complicated for me to figure out how to use to any advantage, and I can't see my notes/highlights on it nor on ADE software.

I had a nook and liked it, but when my hubby forgot to make a credit card payment last month, my default credit card was not valid, so B&N gave me an error message when I tried to read books I had already paid for in the past, and I could not access any of my books until I gave them a new credit card number. I was so angry I put it up for sale the next day and lost about $50, but it was worth the loss. No more B&N books. I must say that I could buy KOBO books and put them on it under My Documents and they read just fine on it, and it worked well with ADE sync. This bad experience has made me fearful of readers with wifi/CDMA connections. What is given can be taken away in a heartbeat.

That leaves the Sony as the choice for me for now. Like Logseman, I have considered the Pocketbook as it is really cute and like it's built-in cover, but am a little nervous about buying an ebook from a foreign company that I may have difficulty getting repaired. RMA's and shipping can be such a bother.

Borders/KOBO looks interesting, but I would like to see a track record/history before I invest in their program. Their books are price appropriate and read well on my iphone and SONY, though.

Bottom line is that I love ebooks where I can increase the font large enough for my old eyes to read without reading glasses. I can read so much faster on an ebook, and that means I can read more books than on the dead-tree versions.

So continue your quest for the holy grail of ereaders, good knight, and let us all know how you fare,
Pei

Last edited by peitsao; 05-19-2010 at 09:31 AM. Reason: corrections
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:36 AM   #6
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Hi Rob, there really isn't one ideal ereader. All seem to have their strengths and weaknesses, plus it's hard to know what your preferences are if you haven't used several readers. I'd say just go for one on your short list.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:13 AM   #7
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I agree, there isn't a perfect e-reader. Personally, I would stay away from the 600 though because the screen is significantly worse than the others you mentioned, and I think the screen is the most important part. I bought a 300 and love it, though I would prefer a 6 inch screen. I really don't think the lack of removable storage is a big deal 'cause you can always the ebooks on your computer. I'm unlikely to need beyond the 300 books that it stores in memory anyway. If you want a device with a larger screen, or more features, I'd probably get the nook, mainly 'cause it annoys me that the amazon kindle doesn't support epub files.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by peitsao View Post
I have considered the Pocketbook as it is really cute and like it's built-in cover, but am a little nervous about buying an ebook from a foreign company that I may have difficulty getting repaired. RMA's and shipping can be such a bother.
As a PocketBook dealer I haven't had a single customer who had any problems with PocketBook 360. But if, God forbid, something happens to a reader, the PocketBook USA service center is located in Kansas and there is a technical support hot line for any questions you might have. 2-years warranty covers practically everything except for technical damage. And happy owners of PocketBook readers on this forum are the best prove that our devices and the company are very reliable

http://pocketbook.reader-ebook.org
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:37 AM   #9
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I'm with SandyBrooks - I love my Sony PRS-300. The amount of books I can fit on it is just fine without the SD card. I had a PRS505 before (plenty of which can be picked up second hand) but I never used the slot.

I think a testament to how good the PRS505 is, IMHO, is that the second hand value of lightly used ones is nearly as much as they were new, as most of the time, they just work!

OK Sony's software leaves a lot to be desired, but you only need to install it to get the USB drivers for ADE to recognise the reader. Then you can just ignore it and use ADE, if you are planning on buying commercial, DRM'd books.

It is certainly a good choice for EPUBs and PDF (text) files - which is what the Overdrive library system is based on (they have some mobi files, but seems to be getting less).
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:33 PM   #10
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I owned a Sony 600 briefly before I decided that I would prefer the Pocketbook 302. I would have to say that while the Sony screen was a bit reflective, it was not unbearable. I learned to use it pretty well in the 2 weeks I had it. The only reason I took it back was it had difficulty with my work PDFs. All my other PDFs were fine. And now that Borders.com has them for $200 they can't be beat.

My Pocketbook 302 is great. The screen is a reflective as the Sony but with a matte protector it's hardly noticeable. I really like the touchscreen of both readers but really think the 302 software makes better use of it. It seemed like the Sony software was ported over from their other models and the touchscreen is just another way of making a menu choice. I know that's not entirely true but it seemed that way.

The Sony has fantastic dictionary support. I miss that since a lot of my non work reading is archaic literature, mostly from the 19th century or early 20 century. A dictionary is handy there. The pocketbook has dictionary support but not nearly as good as the Sony.

You couldn't go wrong with any Sony or Pocketbook reader.

BTW, my wife says the same thing about me. I started looking in November for a reader and didn't buy until April. I spent less time shopping for my last car.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:36 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by peitsao View Post
I had a nook and liked it, but when my hubby forgot to make a credit card payment last month, my default credit card was not valid, so B&N gave me an error message when I tried to read books I had already paid for in the past, and I could not access any of my books until I gave them a new credit card number. I was so angry I put it up for sale the next day and lost about $50, but it was worth the loss. No more B&N books. I must say that I could buy KOBO books and put them on it under My Documents and they read just fine on it, and it worked well with ADE sync. This bad experience has made me fearful of readers with wifi/CDMA connections. What is given can be taken away in a heartbeat.
This is why you should always backup your books. Never trust an online site with the only copy of your books.
This kind of thing can happen at any bookstore when they lose contracts with publishers or wholesalers.
At a moment lot of people cannot download books because of the whole agency 5 debacle.
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Old 05-19-2010, 03:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
My Pocketbook 302 is great. The screen is a reflective as the Sony but with a matte protector it's hardly noticeable. I really like the touchscreen of both readers but really think the 302 software makes better use of it.
Jim,
Can you read Sony epubs on the 302? I like the touch screen capability, but don't like the loss of clarity on the 600. If the 302 is sharper for reading, and I can save my notes on the books I mark up to the desktop, I'd consider the 302.
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Old 05-19-2010, 04:44 PM   #13
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I zero'ed in on this as being the key part of your post:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trebro View Post
I almost got a Sony 300, but I don't like that it doesn't have the removable storage. I liked the 600 better, but I thought the touch screen was harder to read on, at least in the store. It also seemed a little slow. However, it does have the card slot (and is on sale at a deep discount this week). I also didn't like what I read about Sony's software.

In terms of the Kindle, I love the bookstore and the company, but the fact that they basically only support their own file type and no one else does worries the hell out of me.
This is what it comes down to:

Get a used PRS-505 (but like new or good condition) off of eBay for ~$200 and enjoy the great hardware and UI, but be prepared to do some manual loading (no wireless store) and tinkering with books to get them to look their best. You'll want to use Calibre software to get the most out of it.

Or get a Kindle 2 and go for the ultimate ease of use and convenience, but pay a little more.

Given your expressed desire not to have to deal with removing DRM, I think the Kindle is probably your easiest choice. You can get just about everything off the Kindle Store with very little effort, including a bunch of free classics.

If you are concerned about the portability of the Kindle format, you could always reconsider your aversion to removing DRM down the road if the need arises.
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Old 05-19-2010, 07:34 PM   #14
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I am an early adapter to ereaders and I have had 2. The first was a Cybook (Bookeen) that became ill and need to go in for service (to France) the week I was going on vacation. I replaced it with Sony 505. I actually like them both. The reality is most the readers are similar.

Owning an ereader is analogous to owning a computer. Some people would never consider not having a back-up or modifying the settings to suit them while others use it straight out the box. You need to know what type of person you are. Considering the amount of research you do, I suspect you will want things organized.

Here is what I have learned over the past couple of years……..

Remove the DRM from the books you have legally purchased. Why?
  1. Because there is still not a universal format. Until that happens, if your reader dies or needs service, then you want the freedom to be able to read your books on any device. This was actually what convinced me - when my Cybook died I was not able to read ANY of the books I purchased on my Sony.
  2. You will be surprised at how quickly your library will grow. It is much easier to begin to organize your library from day one rather than later.
  3. Murphy’s law – your reader will only die or become ill right before your vacation or LONG plane ride.

To organize your library (no matter what reader you buy) use Calibre – it is not hard. You literally drag and drop your book into the library. Compared to the Sony library this is amazing!
  1. Support is unparalleled not only from the developers but the community here. Head over to the Calibre forums.
  2. Organizes the Library for you, easy search options and will send books to your reader.
  3. This also ensures you have a back up of your books since it copies your books when it adds them. You also have additional saving options.
  4. If you are willing to invest a little time you can install a plug in to take care of issue #1 as you drop your books into the library. You are in the fortunate position of choosing which format you will purchase your books in. Google apprentice alf to learn
  5. Will convert your book into almost any format – for all major readers. This is a huge issue as readers evolve and change. Your library will always functional regardless of what reader you or anyone in family has.
  6. Allows you to download recipes for online reading materials (newspapers, magazines, etc) that you subscribe to.

BTW - I never use my SD cards as the unit has more than enough space. I typically carry about 100 books on it at a time. Any more and it is a pain to find what you want.

Good Luck!

Last edited by Debby; 05-19-2010 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 05-20-2010, 07:39 AM   #15
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Debby,

I have tried to use the DRM removal programs with no luck since it looks like a foreign language and I have no idea how to use them. I guess you all are tech. wizards, but I am not and would need someone to guide me through the process. I can't seem to get Calibre to work to my advantage either as I use the notation/highlighting function on the PRS 600 and when I try to save my markups on Calibre, they disappear. It's all very frustrating for a non-geek like me.
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