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Old 07-15-2010, 05:58 PM   #1
greeneggs
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E-reader for Academic Reading

I'm looking for an e-reader for reading journal articles and scanned pdfs both with and without OCR. Virtually all of the documents are pdfs (without DRM), although there's a few that are doc/docx and djvu as well as a few other types here and there. In case it matters, there's going to be charts, tables, and equations in virtually everything I read. The main reason I want it is because I don't particularly like reading for long stretches of time on my laptop but I also don't like printing off so much paper. I'm willing to spend probably around $400.

My main question is whether to wait a few months or just buy something now. I'm willing to wait a bit for substantial price drops (>$100) or better technology; but by January at the latest I want to pull the trigger on something unless there's some sort of amazing advances just around the corner.

Here are the things that are very important to me:
Large screen
E-ink or something that isn't like looking at a laptop screen
Way to organize my collection on the device so I can easily find things
Handles pdfs very well
Zoom
Easy page navigation/can skip around quickly


Not necessary but positives:
Handles doc/docx and djvu. So the more file types supported the better
Expandable storage through SD card
Ability to use links and bookmarks in pdfs
Color would be a small plus, but E-ink/better readability trumps it easily
Easy to hold and fairly light
Able to make notes, annotations, and bookmark spots
If it works from the onset / i.e. don't need to convert files or install apps
A backlight that could be turned on and off (if there is such a thing)

Things I don't care much about:
Being able to do things other than read on it
wireless or 3g
text to speech
access to book stores; I don't plan on using it for casual reading
aesthetics of the device

I had been thinking about the Kindle DX Graphite as it seems like a pretty good deal with the price drop and it has a new screen and zoom. The zoom isn't exactly what I'd like since it would be nice to be able to target the area myself and have it zoom to fit; but it's zoom should still be good enough. The main thing keeping me from pulling the trigger is I worry about it's ability to read and navigate efficiently in pdfs. Also I'm not sure if it's navigation is the best.

Do people think these fears are unfounded and the Kindle DXG is the best option for me; or should I perhaps wait for the pocketbook 901, a sony reader with the new e-ink screen, or something else?

Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old 07-15-2010, 08:36 PM   #2
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If you can wait till January, I would suggest not to rush with the Kindle. I've heard opinions that it has very basic PDF support and also by the end of the year there should be a bigger choice of devices matching your criterias.
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Old 07-18-2010, 12:04 AM   #3
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no table of contents on the kindle pdf, forget about trying to navigate a decent sized textbook. really, forget it I have tried.
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Old 07-18-2010, 03:02 AM   #4
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I have a Kindle DX and most 'busy' pdf's are still pretty so-so in my opinion. Also, I have not seen a good pdf table of contents that works. I think that if you want to properly view pdf's on a portable device you really need an i-pad, laptop, or netbook pc. Maybe this will change/improve in the future.

Last edited by ThomasC; 07-18-2010 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:07 AM   #5
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I'm in pretty much the same situation as you, accept that I also want decent web browsing abilities.

I wouldn't recommend an e-ink only device like the Kindle DX. They tend to be very slow and therefore more suited for reading novels than academic papers.

The Entourage Edge seems interesting (dual E-ink/LCD screen), but the price point is still too high (539$ excl shipping). In half a year it might be more affordable though.

There's also much ado about the new Pixel Qi screens, which look very interesting, but no device is out yet. I'd at least wait till september for more news on this front.
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Old 07-18-2010, 07:55 AM   #6
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eink or no eink it doesn't matter if you're at work unless you work under direct sunlight. The fact is that up to now there's just one thing that can cope with all those kinky pdf needs... the iPad.

I plan to buy one and then I'll set up my laptop at the lab so that it can share the internet and I can use the ipad there (no need for the SD card). On top of that, I think it would be useful for quick discussions of powerpoint presentations instead of taking your laptop around. I just hate that it hasn't been released in Belgium yet.The edge sounds cool but I've heard that it's quite a brick. And I've been warned not to get the KindleDX (good screen but really awful pdf support... at least for business/academic ones).

Meh... but don't mind me. Perhaps I'm a little cranky that not a single company has been able to sell a reasonably priced ebook reader for big academic/reference pdf files >_>

GJMS
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:10 AM   #7
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IPAD!
I have sony 505 and netbooks,etc. I do not have the IPAD, but if I was gonna do pdf's and scans of books , I would look at IPAD. It has 8-10 hour battery life, it's bigger than the 5-6 inch eink readers and there a many things you can do with it related to academic stuff with apps/wifi/g3 that you might say you don't need, but dictionary, online links, and reading in dark places the IPAD would shine.
And if you are up to 400 dollars to get something, IPAD over kindle dx for me.
With this stuff you may say you don't like having other stuff you can do on a 400-500 device but trust me, you will change your mind after a few months.
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:30 AM   #8
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For that price I'd go with a net book. It will do more than an iPad. As it is now the iPad is dumb. It will not communicate with other devices other than it's host without some form of software preparation in the host. It does not read documents from SD cards other than photographs, it only reads them, it will not write to SD.
A good part in study is getting material in and out of a device away from home. It is difficult to do with the iPad. You could jail break it but then there are consequences you have to deal with.

If you find a way to use the iPad though, it's the best PDF reader around.
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Old 07-18-2010, 06:54 PM   #9
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The iPad is the best for all kinds of PDFs. I can read anything on the iPad. Extraordinary performance and speed with technical PDFs. The disadvantages of the iPad are its weight and the LCD screen (for those who prefer eInk). Another disadvantage of the iPad is that it does so many things that it will take some of your attention off reading for sure. Another great choice is the Entourage eDGe. With the dual display combination, LCD and eInk, you can read any PDF book either in both eInk and color. My technical PDFs display great on the eDGe. The disadvantages of the eDGe are its weight (it is heavy and clumsy) and the price tag (over $500 US).

Having that stated, no 6" display will adequately display technical PDFs for academics. You need a larger display for them. The Kindle DX Graphite is not a bad choice but it cannot be compared to the iPad or eDGe. Simply no comparison. At $380 US, it is still too much for what it is. You can get a netbook for much less than that which is "infinitely" more powerful.

Like you, I am interested in a basic eInk reader for PDF (has to be at least as large as the Kindle DX) to be used primarily for technical books and articles in PDFs. I am fine with both the iPad and eDGe for now but I would like something lighter and easier to carry that I can take anywhere. Nothing like what I want is available yet. Therefore, I have my money on hold until the new devices come out later this year or early next year. In my opinion, $180 - $200 US is a reasonable price for a dedicated eInk reader (9" or larger) and $100 - $150 is a reasonable price for a 6" - 7" dedicated eInk reader. I believe the prices will get there after the new devices come out. I think the best decision now is wait and not spend the money on the existing readers such as the Kindle DX for academic reading.
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Old 07-18-2010, 08:16 PM   #10
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There are rumors of a 7 inch iPad. Please do not spread...


... the Apple sauce.
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:23 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the input; I guess I'll wait at least a few months and see what comes. I'm still not sure on the ipad or edge, but I'll check them out again and also maybe keep an eye out for other slate computers.

Thanks again, I really appreciate it.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greeneggs View Post
Thanks for all the input; I guess I'll wait at least a few months and see what comes. I'm still not sure on the ipad or edge, but I'll check them out again and also maybe keep an eye out for other slate computers.

Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

Personally, would try buying a 6 inch ebook reader. For example. the Sony 600, The Onyx boox 60 or the Bebook Neo.... The read PDFs.... fairly well.... I have to read many acedemic papers in PDF format. I ALWAYS run them through http://pdftransformer.abbyy.com/ and make the pdf a Searchable pdf or an Html file. Then you can read most PDFs or the transformed text more easily...
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yvanleterrible
There are rumors of a 7 inch iPad. Please do not spread...


... the Apple sauce.
I'm not interested in something that small. I think for that there is one Arcos tablet or something like that. But it's waaaay too small for technical pdfs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hidari View Post
Personally, would try buying a 6 inch ebook reader. For example. the Sony 600, The Onyx boox 60 or the Bebook Neo.... The read PDFs.... fairly well.... I have to read many acedemic papers in PDF format. I ALWAYS run them through http://pdftransformer.abbyy.com/ and make the pdf a Searchable pdf or an Html file. Then you can read most PDFs or the transformed text more easily...
Are you on crack?! The guy said he wanted to read technical pdfs! That means tables and figures... a 6 inch ebook is absolutely terrible for that! no matter what techonology you can't fit that much info on 6" of screen. It is impossible! And no.. please don't post dismembered pdfs on a prs 600. I have too much technical/reference pdfs to run them through a dismemberment software.

GJMS
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Old 07-19-2010, 02:14 PM   #14
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I also agree that for technical books and manuals in PDF, a screen larger than 6" is a requirement. This includes almost all types of engineering and scientific publications including magazines. I really wanted to be able to use 6" devices for this purpose but there is no way I can get used to that. Most of the technical PDFs are virtually unreadable on the 6" device, not in any comfortable fashion.
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Old 07-19-2010, 06:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greeneggs View Post
I'm looking for an e-reader for reading journal articles and scanned pdfs both with and without OCR. Virtually all of the documents are pdfs (without DRM), although there's a few that are doc/docx and djvu as well as a few other types here and there. In case it matters, there's going to be charts, tables, and equations in virtually everything I read. The main reason I want it is because I don't particularly like reading for long stretches of time on my laptop but I also don't like printing off so much paper. I'm willing to spend probably around $400.

My main question is whether to wait a few months or just buy something now. I'm willing to wait a bit for substantial price drops (>$100) or better technology; but by January at the latest I want to pull the trigger on something unless there's some sort of amazing advances just around the corner.

Here are the things that are very important to me:
Large screen
E-ink or something that isn't like looking at a laptop screen
Way to organize my collection on the device so I can easily find things
Handles pdfs very well
Zoom
Easy page navigation/can skip around quickly


Not necessary but positives:
Handles doc/docx and djvu. So the more file types supported the better
Expandable storage through SD card
Ability to use links and bookmarks in pdfs
Color would be a small plus, but E-ink/better readability trumps it easily
Easy to hold and fairly light
Able to make notes, annotations, and bookmark spots
If it works from the onset / i.e. don't need to convert files or install apps
A backlight that could be turned on and off (if there is such a thing)

Things I don't care much about:
Being able to do things other than read on it
wireless or 3g
text to speech
access to book stores; I don't plan on using it for casual reading
aesthetics of the device

I had been thinking about the Kindle DX Graphite as it seems like a pretty good deal with the price drop and it has a new screen and zoom. The zoom isn't exactly what I'd like since it would be nice to be able to target the area myself and have it zoom to fit; but it's zoom should still be good enough. The main thing keeping me from pulling the trigger is I worry about it's ability to read and navigate efficiently in pdfs. Also I'm not sure if it's navigation is the best.

Do people think these fears are unfounded and the Kindle DXG is the best option for me; or should I perhaps wait for the pocketbook 901, a sony reader with the new e-ink screen, or something else?

Thank you in advance for your help.
i have used half a dozen different readers, and my main apppliation is for academic PDF's. I can tell you , hands down, the ipad is the very best for pdf reading and annoting. I have used the Kindle DX, Sony 505, Sony 600, Irex iliad and irex dr100 and none of them are even close to the the very enjoyable experience of the ipad for reading letter size pdf's
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