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Old 07-24-2010, 11:03 PM   #1
Fly_Hyer
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A 6" eInk Reader that just reads - Nook? Kindle? Something Else?

I recently returned a Sony Touch 600 which I just could not get used to. It was like trying to read through a piece of glass. I don't want to see my ugly mug looking back at me when I am reading. And I really don't need the touch screen features. I would much rather have a clear screen to read with rather than the extra layer of touch screen. ymmv.

It was my first experience with a reader and I found it great fun and figured out Calibre quickly and had downloaded some really great free epub books from authors that I have always enjoyed, such as Mark Twain, Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, H.G. Wells, etc.

My question and what I want... I want an eReader that uses eInk, that has a clear sharp 6" (at least) screen, I will be reading only books, and would like a reader that I can add lots of free classics and can use Calibre with so I can pick and add my own covers etc. I would like wifi, 3g is not necessary.

Which of the current crop of readers would that be? (I think I would have liked the Sony 505 but that is no longer in production.)

Thanks in advance for your help! I am ready to buy!
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:29 PM   #2
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Sounds like you want a nook WiFi. And right now Barnes and Noble are offering some of their classics for free.

I would say not a Kindle because it's more expensive, you'll have to convert all your epub books to mobi format in able to use it, and (just personally I think) the keyboard is ugly.
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Old 07-24-2010, 11:54 PM   #3
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Although I'm a Kindle user, I'd have to agree that nook seems to fit your needs.

The Kindle might be over-featured for you, though you already seem comfortable converting stuff with Calibre, which is generally the biggest hurdle re: using public domain books.

For the purposes of buying newer books, Amazon does tend to have the biggest selection and usually offers the most publisher promo freebies, which you may or may not be interested in (they're mostly evangelical Christian fiction and soft-core erotic romance, but occasionally a thriller or historical gets promoted).

However, nook wi-fi is only $149 US, and can also borrow e-books from the library without jumping through extra hoops, assuming yours has any. And apparently you can read almost any e-book from the B&N catalogue for an hour by bringing your nook into their store, and they sometimes offer free coffee and such to B&N eReader users.

You should probably take a look at the thread Nook vs Kobo purely as a reader, for people's impressions of the pros and cons of each device.

I also suggest signing up for a B&N account and getting the free classics they're promoting right now. They're excellent editions with bonus notes and commentary, and they'll be changing the selection every Friday until mid-September. If it turns out the nook's not for you, you can always read them on your computer.

Last edited by ATDrake; 07-24-2010 at 11:59 PM. Reason: B&N Classics promo link.
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:18 AM   #4
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Thanks banjobama and ATDrake for your recommendations. It looks like 2+ for the nook so far.

Both the Kindle and the nook seem like very similar devices to me. My initial reluctance to both of them vs. the Sony was the idea that I could have access to tons of the classics at the 'free' price point with the Sony. I was amazed when I was using the Sony PRS-600 with Calibre at how easy it was to download many of the classics for free and place them on the 600. Are the Kindle and the nook able to do this too? For some reason I have been thinking that they both were more of a 'closed' system but maybe I need to research them more closely. Do they both (nook and Kindle) play nice with Calibre? Only the nook supports epub? I did sign up for the free classics at B&N just in case that is the way I go. Thanks again!
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:36 AM   #5
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You might want to look into a 505 on eBay, or ordering one from the UK (shipping isn't as bad as you might think). I'm kind of notorious around here for my championing of the 505 as the best ebook reader ever built, but it honestly does sound like exactly what you're looking for. Great ergonomics, no wasted space, a very crisp display, and it gets along great with calibre.
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fly_Hyer View Post
Thanks banjobama and ATDrake for your recommendations. It looks like 2+ for the nook so far.

Both the Kindle and the nook seem like very similar devices to me. My initial reluctance to both of them vs. the Sony was the idea that I could have access to tons of the classics at the 'free' price point with the Sony. I was amazed when I was using the Sony PRS-600 with Calibre at how easy it was to download many of the classics for free and place them on the 600. Are the Kindle and the nook able to do this too? For some reason I have been thinking that they both were more of a 'closed' system but maybe I need to research them more closely. Do they both (nook and Kindle) play nice with Calibre? Only the nook supports epub? I did sign up for the free classics at B&N just in case that is the way I go. Thanks again!
The Nook works quite well with Calibre. The Nook also allows you do download public domain books from Project Guttenburg, Google Books, and buy books from The Sony Store, The Kobo/Borders Store, Fictionwise, Smashwords, etc. The nook is in no way a closed system.

Add another vote for the wifi nook!
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:40 AM   #7
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There's plenty of public domain stuff via Project Gutenberg (main source of it all), and the Internet Archive, and you can check the wiki for sources of free ebooks, which many universities and specialty archival projects are putting up online.

Plus places like Manybooks and Feedbooks, not to mention our very own MobileRead members make nicely-formatted versions for many kinds of reader, and all free because they're out of copyright.

There's also Girlebooks which both re-formats classics written by women, and also reviews them at the same time, if you were looking for reading recommendations for perhaps more obscure stuff.

And if you're interested in science fiction/fantasy, the Baen Free Library gives away the first book in many series as a promotion.

Most places have downloads available in multiple formats, and I've gotten a lot of good free reading this way.

Kindle and Nook are both "closed" in so far as the DRM copy-protection applied to any purchases you make from their respective e-book stores go. But the formats they can read are relatively open (Kindle's Mobipocket is not an open standard like ePub is, but many tools can convert to and from it easily enough).

Nook will support ePub out of the box. Kindle does prc/mobi. Both are easy to convert to and from each other as needed and are usually the most popular and readily available (after PDF and HTML) e-book formats available on most websites.

If you've a B&N store or a Target or Borders in your local area, perhaps you might want to visit each and check out their demo displays of nook, Kindle, and Kobo, respectively. Try out each reader, see if there's anything especially appealing/bothersome.
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly_Hyer View Post
Thanks banjobama and ATDrake for your recommendations. It looks like 2+ for the nook so far.

Both the Kindle and the nook seem like very similar devices to me. My initial reluctance to both of them vs. the Sony was the idea that I could have access to tons of the classics at the 'free' price point with the Sony. I was amazed when I was using the Sony PRS-600 with Calibre at how easy it was to download many of the classics for free and place them on the 600. Are the Kindle and the nook able to do this too? For some reason I have been thinking that they both were more of a 'closed' system but maybe I need to research them more closely. Do they both (nook and Kindle) play nice with Calibre? Only the nook supports epub? I did sign up for the free classics at B&N just in case that is the way I go. Thanks again!
If you're interested in the public domain books, you would be fine with either the Nook or the Kindle. Most of those books are available from multiple websites for free in a variety of formats -- one of my favorites is Manybooks.net. I've just gotten a new Kindle 2 because they showed up refurbished at $109.99, which is a pretty amazing price. I'm liking it a lot. I use calibre to manage all of my e-books, and that would work fine for you, too, if you stick to non-DRM books. Calibre plays nice with both of them, although remember with the Nook that your books will show up under "My Documents" and not in your Library when you load thru the USB port. Good luck with whichever you choose!
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:59 AM   #9
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Noah98 and ATDrake,
Got it. It's the purchases from Amazon and B&N that both have their respective DRM applied, but practically speaking either the Kindle or the Nook will let me use Calibre to install and manage (and even convert files) my non DRM files whether that be ePub (Nook) or prc/mobi (Kindle). So between the two it is what I think looks best and feels best.

I visited my local Target store today and while they had a Kindle on display it was running some demo with no way to actually try it out. I will visit my local B&N tomorrow, I know I can try the nook out there.

Worldwalker, I may take a look again at ebay to see what the prices are for new Sony 505's, but the last I checked they seemed quite inflated. Where in the UK can you purchase and have a new one shipped?
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Old 07-25-2010, 12:23 PM   #10
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I may take a look again at ebay to see what the prices are for new Sony 505's, but the last I checked they seemed quite inflated. Where in the UK can you purchase and have a new one shipped?
Yep... thanks to this forum (and several others) due to the overall function, the crispness of the display, the ability to hack and install PRS+, etc., have made the 505 a very popular and much sought after device.

If you are leaning towards the 505 then heres something else to consider. Many threads have been posted how the Sony eInk readers that followed after the 505 were not s crisp (didn't have the same contrast levels) as the 505 ... that is... until they released the PRS300!

I own both the 505 and the 300 and they both have the same excellent display characteristics. The display area is only slightly smaller on the 300.
(3" x 4" versus 3 9/16" x 4 13/16") Also, the 505 is considerably heavier so I find I prefer the smaller size of the 300 when trying to read in bed with one hand. Also, because the 300 is similar in size to a paperback book it can easily be slipped into a pants pocket or purse.



I owned a Sony Touch Touch (600) for 3 days before I took it back. I was disatisfied with quality of the display. It seems the properties of the screen material in the touch units reduces the contracst levels. (not to mention the annoying reflective properites)

I love my 300. No reflection, great contrast and the firmware upgrade capability. Like the 505... the 300 can be modified (hacked) so you can install the clock feature among other things including changing the default fonts. I updated my 300 last week no problem.

FYI... if you still want to go after the 505 don't forget to check Cragslist. While a reader off Craigslist may not be new... I watched for several months in the cities around mine and eventually snagged a used one in excellent shape for $100.
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Old 07-25-2010, 01:43 PM   #11
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"Both the Kindle and the nook seem like very similar devices to me. My initial reluctance to both of them vs. the Sony was the idea that I could have access to tons of the classics at the 'free' price point with the Sony.'

As others have mentioned, you can get free books from many places. The "free" books that Sony or B&N offer are (mostly) all out of copyright books that are readily available elsewhere.

"I would like wifi, 3g is not necessary."

If all you want to do is read books and you don't want any "advanced" features like touch-screen, I don't exactly understand why wifi would be important. You can buy from any online bookstore or download from free sites (Gutenberg/Baen/Manybooks/etc) with your computer and sideload them to the e-reader via USB.

I suggest you check out the Astak readers. Basic, inexpensive (a bit over $200 US), read a ton of formats, come standard with cover & earbuds, and seem to have a very loyal user base. Oh, and Calibre supports Astak readers so you can still use it, too.
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Old 07-25-2010, 09:24 PM   #12
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Just an update

Thanks for all the great feedback, what a great group of people in this forum!

Had some time with the Nook today at B&N. What a nice clear screen! It is a much easier to read screen than my experience was with the Sony Prs-600. But the screen was the ONLY reason I took that Sony back, I loved everything else about it. I liked the Nook but my least favorite part of it was navigating with the lcd screen at the bottom. That did not seem intuitive to me. I suppose like anything though I could get used to it. Like the idea that its expandable, and that there are firmware updates for it. Seems like a really good unit on the whole to me.

Next stop was Best Buy where I took another look at the Sony pocket edition Prs-300. Great clear screen, just wish it was 6 inches instead of 5. No expansion, but it was easy to navigate for me, alot like the Sony touch 600 in some ways. No wifi either but as gaston pointed out probably not a real deal breaker for me either.

I also checked on Craigslist as Elton Noway suggested and sent off an email regarding a "mint" condition used Sony Prs-505 for $220 in my area. Will see what happens with that.

Thanks again for everyones feedback.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:10 AM   #13
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Craigslist in my area had a Sony prs-505 with light case in excellent condition for $150. Sounds like a great deal considering how much that case used to be.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:33 AM   #14
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If you must have wifi then the Nook wifi is probably the best deal at the moment. I'd also try reading a chapter or two on the Sony PRS-300, I know you think it's small but it's not that much smaller than a 6" screen and the unit will easily fit in a pocket. I personally wouldn't buy the 505 as you're paying the same money for a 2 year old machine as you would for a new machine - I can't see the point. Obviously 505 users love their machines but then every user loves their reader. Not sure why you want wifi but not 3G - with my kindle I can load books, web pages or my email from pretty much anywhere and also for free.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:48 PM   #15
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Early today I purchased a Sony Prs-300. Knowing I would be spending all day at the hospital (my Mom had surgery today, she is doing well!) I thought it would be a perfect time to see if the smaller screen would be doable for me for reading. mike_bike_kite is right, the device itself became transparent as I got lost in the 'book' I was reading. Page turns were quick enough and I was able to really enjoy reading on the 300. I like the 300 a lot and while I would enjoy a bigger screen the small size of the 300 does offer some advantages regarding portability.

I see another problem on the horizon though. After spending a lot of time reading about, thinking about, looking at and trying out various eReaders I find that I think I could also want more than one of these things! For example, take the Sony Prs-300 and also the 505, they have an "industrial" type look and feel to them I think because of the metal housing which I really like. The nook would be nice to have also, it has a bigger clear screen, excellent store and local store here in my town which I could take advantage of with the nook and the local deals. The Kindle 3 is said to be coming out possibly as soon as August?! What will that be like...?! It seems like the perfect marriage of my love for reading and my love for gadgets and technology. Help!
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