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  1. #1
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    Thoughts about e-readers

    I think that is what the general name for them is called, you know your Kindles, Nooks etc.

    I was wondering if anybody had these. I graduated college about 8 months ago, now I am back into reading again. (I read a 350pg book in 3days.) Since I don't have a ton of room in my place, so I don't want to buy physical books that I may read a few times over the years and that's it. So I figured I would jump into the e-reader world. I have mainly looked at the Kindle Wifi, and Kindle DX. I glanced at the Nook and Sony's. The Nook didn't do anything for me, the Sony reader got a slight interest.

    That leaves the two Kindles, the low end ($139) model, and the DX. The thing that I am snagged on is the size vs weight. The reviews say the DX is unweildy at times. I cannot tell if the 10oz will make me regret the extra cost. The local store only has the $139 on demo, so I cannot do a comparison.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy AndrewCooper's Avatar
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    Hey Ryan,

    First thing I have to say is have a quick read over my thread eReaders versus Traditional Print Books if you haven't definitely made up your mind about buying an eReader. Like I mentioned in the original post from that thread, I was literally just a click away from ordering the Amazon Kindle eReader but then I started that thread, it's a good job too because the next day I was relieved that I didn't order one.

    But certainly if I had a lot of disposable money I would order the Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi, and even then, I'd need even more money I could throw at it for accessories and to also buy all of the books I currently have in paper / hardback as an eBook file. When I DO have a lot of money to invest in going digital with my books I'll be doing so, but I don't see it happening any time this year just yet. I'm still hung up on the fact that not all of the books that I have got, and that are in my Amazon Wishlist are available for purchase as an eBook.

    If by the Kindle DX you mean the 3G + Wi-Fi version then I would say no to it personally. I'd order the Kindle Wi-Fi (the low-end costing version). Aside from that I haven't really had any experience with the Kindle personally, but I have played around with the Sony eReader and if that is anything to go by, then the Kindle will be pretty amazing.

    Andrew Cooper

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    That thread did the opposite than what you intended it to do. People tended to say 1- I like to hold physical books or 2- replacing their collection. I hate holding books, I somehow, unless they are hardcovers, bend covers, which annoys me. I also have a medical condition so "just flipping a few pages" causes more annoyance than most would think.

    I also moved 2400 miles after graduating, so the only physical books I have are the two I bought last weekend. One I definately wouldn't buy a digital copy of, so I donb't have amass collection that will be dead. All my schoolbooks, are at home, 99% of them I would never need again.

    If you view the US Amazon site, you will see that there is a third option, DX, which is Wifi + 3G + 9 inch screen vs 6. So like my OP said it is down to 3 inches of added viewport or a competitor.
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    If you want to be able to download books easily while on the go, I'd definitely go with the DX.

    Of course, if you want something smaller, go with the smaller one. The smaller one is plenty large enough for reading traditional books (my mom has had one for a number of years and loves it), so you won't really run into that kind of limitation.

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    The on the go namely wouldn't be touched, other than maybe checking my e-mail. The overal size while not in use is not an issue. The bag I use while traveling would hold either fine.
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    SitePoint Wizard
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    In that case (assuming cost also isn't a major concern) I'd go with the DX since it is more flexible. You never know when it might come in handy...

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard rguy84's Avatar
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    It isn't a huge concern
    Ryan B | My Blog | Twitter

  8. #8
    Afraid I can't do that Dave Hal9k's Avatar
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    For me the regular Kindle's screen is great for reading novels on, I have downloaded and read a great number from Gutenberg. I have the font-size quite large and I find I can read the Kindle for longer.

    As someone who likes technology, I also like e-ink as an interesting and useful invention. I read some comments on eReaders vs traditional books and it seems many people don't realise that e-ink is a lot different from an LCD screen and doesn't give you eye-strain.

    However I wouldn't recommend the Kindle for reading electronic textbooks with lots of tables and diagrams. Of course some textbooks in PDF may work well with the Kindle DX, but I think most publishers are not yet releasing electronic copies of their books with fluid text formatting in mind.

  9. #9
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    One thing I'd be interested to know is whether or not a .html file could be loaded onto a Kindle and opened up. I don't mean via the web, but as a file transferred to the Kindle and saved on it. I assume not, but just wanting to know its full capabilities. I assume it can open epubs?

    EDIT: Hmm, should have Googled that first. Seems you can do this to an extent. On Kindle 1, you have to save the file as a .txt, but on 2, it seems you can open the .html file itself. Still haven't determined what sort of a browser it uses, though.

    EDIT 2: It seems to be a webkit-based browser, but not very sophisticated.
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  10. #10
    Afraid I can't do that Dave Hal9k's Avatar
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    The webkit browser on the Kindle is good enough for checking emails. Unfortunately it does seem to crash sometimes on pages which require a lot of javascript.

    You can't save and open HTML files at this point. I have Calibre installed, which does a really good job at converting HTML to MOBI. Though I mostly just take advantage of the ebook-convert python program (which is a dependency of Calibre on Ubuntu) so I can quickly convert from the command line.

    Code:
    ebook-convert Erster\+Teil\:\+1813-1842.html teil1.mobi --authors="Richard Wagner" --title="Mein Leben - Erster Teil"
    The Kindle cannot open epubs. Because of DRM I also don't buy many books from Amazon. It's a bit like the bad days of MP3 DRM.

  11. #11
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hal9k View Post
    The webkit browser on the Kindle is good enough for checking emails. Unfortunately it does seem to crash sometimes on pages which require a lot of javascript.
    Wow, good to know. I was wondering about JS.

    You can't save and open HTML files at this point.
    That's a shame, but I guess you could keep opening it as an email attachment?

    I have Calibre installed ...
    Do you mean on the Kindle, or your desktop? I just started to play with that today.

    The Kindle cannot open epubs. Because of DRM I also don't buy many books from Amazon. It's a bit like the bad days of MP3 DRM.
    Yes, that's all a bummer. I'm pleased you can at least open text files and pdfs on it. There are lots of texts on Project Gutenburg that could be used on Kindle, I suppose.

    Thanks for your post, Hal9k. Very interesting info.
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  12. #12
    Afraid I can't do that Dave Hal9k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    Wow, good to know. I was wondering about JS.


    That's a shame, but I guess you could keep opening it as an email attachment?
    The Kindle doesn't support multiple page browsing. The Kindle however does 'save' the last page you visited, which you can read by loading the web browser, which can work offline with that page.

    Another way to save a webpage is to email the Amazon conversion tool (yourname@free.kindle.com) which converts it and either sends it to you through wireless or 3G.

    Do you mean on the Kindle, or your desktop? I just started to play with that today.
    Calibre is a desktop program, which includes tools you can use from the command line if you want.

    Yes, that's all a bummer. I'm pleased you can at least open text files and pdfs on it. There are lots of texts on Project Gutenburg that could be used on Kindle, I suppose.

    Thanks for your post, Hal9k. Very interesting info.
    There is a Oxford and American dictionary included in the Kindle, which I use fairly frequently. It is especially useful for looking up proper names for characters from mythology.

    Using various tools you can also get foreign language dictionaries from other websites, such as Mobipocket working on the Kindle. German speakers are also lucky as the entire range of fantastic PONS dictionaries are available. E-Readers will probably kill off those expensive single-function translator devices.

    The search function on the Kindle is very fast and is especially handy looking up the names of characters. This is probably true of most E-Readers. The search results can be flipped through and a click of the 'back' button takes you to the point where you were reading. The 'back' button also allows you to read the place in the book where the character first appeared, then easily jump back to the search results, then back to where you were first reading.
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  13. #13
    SitePoint Enthusiast Ryo-ohki's Avatar
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    The Kindle is overrated. It costs too much for something that just reads ebooks. The nook color would be ok if you rooted it so you can get to the android marketplace (as it is nothing but an android tablet with all but the ebook app gutted from it). Kindles do have great battery life though, got to give them that much. My recommendation is to get a cheap android tablet (there are some out there with at least 800Mhz processor for around 150 bucks if you know where to look) and install the barnes & nobles app to it. I am pretty sure amazon had an app for android as well. I would go that route instead of getting a Kindle or the nook color as they would be more expensive. There is also downloading ebooks on your laptop or desktop you know.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryo-ohki View Post
    The Kindle is overrated. It costs too much for something that just reads ebooks. The nook color would be ok if you rooted it so you can get to the android marketplace (as it is nothing but an android tablet with all but the ebook app gutted from it). Kindles do have great battery life though, got to give them that much. My recommendation is to get a cheap android tablet (there are some out there with at least 800Mhz processor for around 150 bucks if you know where to look) and install the barnes & nobles app to it. I am pretty sure amazon had an app for android as well. I would go that route instead of getting a Kindle or the nook color as they would be more expensive. There is also downloading ebooks on your laptop or desktop you know.
    I heartily agree with this.
    I'd even go so far as to say that
    - the Amazon TOS prohibiting putting a Kindle Edition onto another Kindle (which they finally lightened up on 5 months ago. After 5-6 years and millions of complaints. That speaks volumes about their real service philosophy to me)
    - its proprietary format BS
    - no .epub support
    actually push the Kindle well into my "incredibly pathetic for no real reason" category. Which is a shame, it's a rocking bit of hardware.
    Actually as soon as I hear the words proprietary format, I immediately convert it to "unnecessary attempt at a cash grab and eventual failure". The cornerstone of false economies and why tech is the new snake oil by and large. But I digress.

    Yep, an Android tablet is definitely a better, although more expensive option. You can get KoboReader, Nook, Kindle (and Angry Birds) for Android. Unfortunately you can't get an e-ink tablet I know of. E-ink does actually provide a much, much better reading experience. Making a rooted Nook an option to seriously consider, but e-ink is not great for anything but reading.
    Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

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    Just thought I'd wipe the dust off this thread

    I bought a Kindle Touch (wireless) last week and am very happy with it. I don't need the 3G connectivity.

    I like the eInk technology as it makes reading very easy. I've downloaded and installed the free Calibre desktop application and it works great converting other eBook formats to the Kindle format. So Kindle's proprietary book format is not an issue for me.

    To upload converted books to my Kindle I just connect the Kindle to my PC with a usb cable (comes with the Kindle) just like any other USB device and then drag the converted eBook file icon from the Calibre library folder to the Documents folder on my Kindle. When I "eject" the Kindle from my PC (like you would eject any other usb device) the new eBook automatically appears on my Kindle's Home screen. There is no need to reload or refresh anything on the Kindle for it see the uploaded new eBook.

    I've registered my Kindle on Amazon and when I buy a book on Amazon it is immediately and quickly downloaded directly to my Kindle via my home wireless network connection.

    The only downside (but it's not a deal breaker for me) is that some images' content (depending on their content) on some pages might be a bit hard to see clearly, even after you enlarge the image.

    So in summary, a Kindle might not be everyone's cup of tea but it's definitely worth at least looking at and playing with if you are looking for an eReader.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Know the question is about e-readers, thought I should share, mom has the kindle fire and her bf has (forget which kindle e-reader). She's had the fire for about 2 months and he is ready to swap his 6 month old reader. Something to be aware of.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Jeff Mott's Avatar
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    Personally, I was underwhelmed by the Kindle. I actually use my iPad largely as an e-reader.
    "First make it work. Then make it better."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mott View Post
    Personally, I was underwhelmed by the Kindle. I actually use my iPad largely as an e-reader.
    A lot of people do as well. But as long as you aware that you can't compare a Kindle to the iPad as it's a bit like comparing the camera in smartphones to a DSLR camera.


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