10/21/10

Which E-Reader?


The time has arrived, or it will in a few weeks. It's a big wedding anniversary coming up and Rona's going to buy me an e-reader. Or, I should say, I'll pick one and order it. But I'm torn. Originally, I just thought I'd get a Kindle. Why not? Every literary agent apparently has a broken one they're replacing or maybe they've just bought one for the first time.

Me and Amazon go back a long way. Back when they were simply the earth's largest bookstore, I was a devoted customer. Jeff Bezos and I are such bosom buddies that I actually have an Amazon travel mug-- a good one, too. I never even paid for it - they just sent it to me one day a long while back to go with some refrigerator magnet. Just for being me. Ho Ho Ho. I still have it.

So, there I was all pumped up about it's wireless capabilities, it's built in 3G access, when I uncovered the fact that I could not borrow e-books from my public library in a format the Kindle could handle. Yep. No library books for the Kindle, which supports a MOBI based proprietary format as well as PDF and some others. The rest of the world supports the open ePub format, which is how most libraries offer electronic media managed through Digital Rights Management (DRM).

So then, I began to wonder if I should consider the Nook, from Barnes & Noble. The Nook does support the ePub format, but then I can't buy books for it from Amazon, which, as far as I can tell, only offers media in its propriety format. You can get ePub from B&N, Borders, wherever. And now apparently B&N has reached an agreement to sell the Nook at Walmart as well as its own stores in advance of the holiday shopping season.

I've been staring at review after recent review, and these two e-readers always ride the top of the charts, with the Kindle generally on top, but not by much. There's also the Sony eReader, Kobo (becoming the house brand of Borders if you ask me), Velocity Micro and others. And of course don't forget the iPad, but that's not really a dedicated eReader. For books and such, I'd rather have E-Ink display, which is incredibly easy on the eye, as opposed to the brilliant iPad display.

I am so confused. I'm leaning toward the Nook, but I don't know if my ePub concern is particularly valid. Everyone keeps buying Kindles! (or getting replacement Kindles). Does anyone have any recommendations? Ideas? Predispositions? Biases?

7 comments:

karen wester newton said...

I blog on the subject a fair amount:

http://karen-w-newton.livejournal.com/tag/ereaders

You might also like this new site that compares ebook prices:
http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/10/leatherbound-48-hour-webapp-compares-e-book-prices-across-formats/

The MobileRead forums have a nice comparison chart fir e-ink eReaders; they are also a good place to look for info and see what kinds of questions and problems people have for specific devices:

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_Reader_Matrix

Good luck!

John Rea-Hedrick said...

I'm a big fan of my Sony Reader. I've had mine for almost a year now and wouldn't trade it for any other eReader. I intend to keep it even when I get my hands on an iPad, someday. *sigh* The Sony Reader supports more formats than the Kindle or Nook, like epub, rtf, doc, txt, and unlike the others I CAN and DO check out titles from my local library on it. LOVE that!

I also LOVE the touch screen, a feature not found on the Kindle or Nook. It comes with a stylus you can use to take notes or draw pictures. Writer, Heather Petty, made a great video of her using her Sony Reader for manuscript edits --> http://heatherwpetty.livejournal.com/182924.html

The Reader also has an SD card slot so I can carry up to 2GB of books on it without having to sync it to my PC if don't want to. I keep a few photos and some .mp3 of classical music on my card for those times I'm reading in a noisy place.

Unlike most, I appreciate that my Sony Reader isn't wireless. I don't have to contend with as many on-line distractions (such as impulse buying books) which I would always know are just a click away.

I could say more, but I suppose I've said plenty already.

I hope this helps!

Jay said...

Thanks, Karen, I'll definitely check it out.

Hey John - I have heard pretty good things about the Sony, still I'm kind of partial to the wireless - such a nerd am I. I thought they were coming out w/ a wireless version?

John Rea-Hedrick said...

You're right. Sony does have a wireless version called the Daily Edition. It's got a 7" display, rather than the 6" on my PRS-600. It's a bit more money (another reason for my not getting that one at the time), but it supports both Wi-Fi and 3G. You can also subscribe to newspapers and magazines for a fee and have them delivered to you automatically. I read a little of setting up RSS feeds for reading blogs, but don't know much about how well that works. You can find out more about both at sonystyle.com.

Good luck!

Matt said...

Don't check iPad off your list so soon. Sure, it might not be a dedicated e-reader, but it has free apps for iBooks, Kindle, Nook, B&N, Kobo and a whole lot I probably don't know about. I've read way more books on my iPad than I used to before I had it. It may cost a bit more, but it does hundreds of thousands more things.

Jay said...

I played with a friend's iPad and it was definitely too cool for school. Still. 500 bucks!

Medeia Sharif said...

I love my Kindle, but I do admit it's not versatile since it's incompatible with books purchased elsewhere. Also, it doesn't support library ebooks.