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Old 06-07-2010, 01:06 PM   #1
MaggieScratch
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In your opinion, what is the best NON-CONNECTED ebook reader?

I ask this because I wrote a series of articles on ebooks for an organization newsletter. (It's a literary society, so books are a pretty big deal; it's also an older population and one with a tendency toward Ludditeness and an aversion to technology in general.) I invited responses and questions, and received an e-mail from a woman who said she wanted a Kindle (which term she was using as a general catchall for "ebook reader", as in "Kleenex" or "Xerox") but she did not shop online, so where might she be able to purchase one?

I wrote back and asked, if she does not shop online, how did she intend to purchase ebooks? And informed her that for the Kindle and other connected devices, one must have an online account connected to a credit card. I am not sure if her objection to shopping online was a general moral one or if she did not have a credit card or was unwilling to use it for online purchases for fear of having her info stolen, etc.

I also asked if she planned to use the reader only for free texts from Gutenberg, etc. (a reasonable question for this population), in which case she was probably better off getting a reader such as the Sony Reader which was not connected, and which she could purchase for cash at Target.

Unfortunately she hasn't written back so I don't know what she really wanted; but it got me wondering. If she wrote back to me and agreed that an unconnected device was the best for her, and online buying/brick and mortar buying was an issue that could be worked out somehow, what was the best device to recommend for an obvious neophyte who is only interested in free public domain works?

The Sony Readers are nice, but other readers such as the Astak or Bookeen devices are better values in that they come with more "in the box." You don't have to pay extra for a cover, charger, etc. I wonder, though, if these devices are the easiest to use for the neophyte. I don't mind recommending devices, but I have no desire to support them for strangers.

Since she is starting from scratch with ebooks, format flexibility is not that important. She can just acquire ePub from the beginning and be all set (one hopes).

The Koboreader is nice, and soon will be available at Borders (I am pretty sure she is in the U.S.) presumably for cash, and I don't think will necessarily require an account; is this the case? Is it a good device for sideloading freebies? Is it still too buggy for the neophyte? What about the Aluratek device, which will also soon be available at Borders? It's cheap, if nothing else. Is it easy to use for someone completely new to ebooks and a little bit afraid of the fancy thinkin' box?
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:13 PM   #2
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What do you mean by "sideloading"?

My intention, when I bought my 505, was to use it entirely for free ebooks -- as I put it, "so I can read Project Gutenberg in bed." It's wonderful for that. I have ended up buying ebooks for it as well, but not from the Sony store; from Baen, O'Reilly, BVC, and a few other random places. My recommendation to everyone is Sony+calibre. But ... I'm also very much a techie, so I don't know how that will fly with your correspondent.

I've always found it baffling that people who have mastered complex and intricate things such as being able to hold a conversation with another person find it difficult to use a piece of technology that is not only built to be used easily, but comes with instructions!
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:20 PM   #3
AnemicOak
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Well if she truly want a Kindle (as in the actual device and not a catch all term) she can get one at Target now.

Otherwise Borders will, soon, be selling around ten different devices in special area of their stores so it might be a good place for her to go looking.


To my way of thinking the knowledge level for all of the dedicated reading devices is about the same. Although with the Kindle & Nook it's a bit more streamlined if buying books from them as you don't have to sideload anything.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:03 PM   #4
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Don't forget about the Pocketbook360. Its a very versatile ereader that almost does everything and does it very well. No wireless or 3G, side-loading only (as in downloading the ebooks to your computer and loading the ereader from there).
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:26 PM   #5
luqmaninbmore
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I second the PB360. It's the best ebook reader I've ever owned and I have owned eleven dedicated devices. When I get a new one there is a period of infatuation but I always come back to the 360.

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Old 06-07-2010, 08:44 PM   #6
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For older readers the size of the screen and the maximum supported text size are going to be a concern so "best standalone" is going to depend on size:

At five inches, there is no better standalone reader than the PB360 for anybody that cares about:
1- Hardware ergonomics
2- User control/customizability
3- Firmware stability (version 14.2)

At 6 inches there are more contenders, mostly the ones the OP listed, plus the PB301 and 302.

At 9+ inches there is nothing worthy yet (beyond the Kindle DX, bearing in mind all Kindles *can* be sideloaded via USB) but there is a Pocketbook 901 due in sept that looks very promising. (The Pocketbook line shares a software architecture so all existing models share the bulk of their features.)

Things should be a bit more interesting in the second half of the year once we see more large format eink readers.
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