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Author Topic: eBook readers  (Read 13346 times)
Mark0
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« on: January 08, 2009, 07:40:45 AM »

I had always being interested in this kind of eInk devices, from the first time I read about the "venarable" Sony Librie (around 2004).
So, after much time I got a Cybook for Christmas, thanks of an especially good offer from an UK reseller (thanks also from the favorable GBP / Euro ratio!) and a friend that got one there for me and taken it bake to Italy.

After some days and a couple of book read on it, I can say I'm very satisfied by the device from Bookeen. The readability really is something special: after a very brief time, one just forget he isn't reading a real book.

Still, it's not a device for all kind of reading. Documentations or text in PDF format isn't very suited for this kind of readers with a small screens, for obvious reasons. Also, since the user interface is minimalistic, and the screen refresh is somewhat slow due to the current eInk tech, quick "skimmings" between the pages to locate some specific content isn't very practical.

But for simply reading (e)books / novels, one page after another, it's just perfect. It's portable like a small paperback, even if you are reading a 1500 pages novel. The font size is always the one you prefer & choose. Refresh on page turn isn't an annoyance at all. You can take tens of book with you on vacation in a fraction of the spaces.

Here are some images of the Cybook from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=cybook&w=all

A very nice reasource about eBook readers: http://www.mobileread.com/

Any other eInk users here?

Bye!
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 07:43:38 AM by Mark0 » Logged

ewemoa
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2009, 07:55:14 AM »

Still have an original Sony Librie, but haven't used it much lately.
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Rover
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2009, 12:46:07 PM »

I've used Mobipocket ebook Reader very successfully on my Blackberry and Motorola Q.   I have an 8G micro SD card in my Q that can hold more books than I want.   two cents
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2009, 07:02:34 AM »

What are the obvious problem with reading pdfs on it?

Thanks for pointing that out btw. I was almost close to buying a Kindle for the sole reason as to view pdfs.
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Mark0
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« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2009, 07:19:20 AM »

Basically the majority of PDF are made to be printed on A4 or similar sized paper.

Typical eInk screens on this kind of devices is 6", so you have to resort to zooming out (and then the resolution isn't high enough to read well, and anyway it would be way too small), or display just a small part of the page, and scroll around (and that's not too practical either).

A device like the new Foxit eSlick (witch is the same as the Cybook, but with different software) is a bit more advanced regarding PDF, implementing some sort of reflow. But still it's far from ideal, IMHO. Even more, if the PDF documents are some kind of reference, manuals, etc., instead of a book/novel, jumping around pages & sections isn't very practical either, because of the not instant screen refresh, and the somewhat simplified UI (the Cybook have no search function, for example).

iRex recently introduced some BIG readers, the 1000 serie.
This would probably be perfect for the job, having also a touch screen and a more sophisticated interface. But obviously the price is much higher, and they are less portable.

Bye!
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Paul Keith
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2009, 07:30:45 AM »

I see...

Thanks for the detailed explanation. If you don't mind me asking, what is the best suited way to read pdfs?

I constantly hear they are for printing but I rarely encountered problems with printing with the usual word processor formats so I had always assumed they are more of a viewer format but reading your reply, this doesn't seem to be the case.
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CWuestefeld
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2009, 07:48:12 AM »

I've been using portable devices to read eBooks for many years now. I started way-back-when on a Palm, and have been through a few generations of PocketPC devices. I'm currently using a Dell Axim x51v which, with its VGA display, is absolutely gorgeous to read from. And while these don't have the battery life of your eink device, they're much more flexible.


I despise the way that most ebook readers carry the limitations of pagination into the digital world. Pages are evil. They interrupt the flow, preventing you from smoothly scanning through the whole book. At the end of a page you must remember the first half of the sentence without being able to see the rest of the context, then flip the page to complete it without being able to see the start.

PDF files give you the absolute worst of this world. Since their raison d'etre is to duplicate the look of printed output, and you're displaying on a device that doesn't match the attributes of paper, you're guaranteed to be disappointed in one way or another. When faced with a PDF I usually say "forget it", in the few cases where I can't stand to I'll use a PDF2TXT or PDF2HTML converter to try and get the content out of the file.

For my whole ebook experience I've been using a single piece of software, iSilo. It's been ported to pretty much everywhere, so any device you like it should run on. It's a fair reader in all respects, having all the normal features of bookmarks, hyperlinking, etc. But to me, its compelling feature is that it's not bound by page breaks. It allows continuous reading throughout the document. I've got it configured so that it scrolls by 1/2 screen at a time, so I can always see an unbroken sentence (or paragraph, for that matter).
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Dormouse
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2009, 08:26:02 AM »

what is the best suited way to read pdfs?

I constantly hear they are for printing

... paper   smiley
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Mark0
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2009, 08:59:58 AM »

I agree too! smiley

About pages vs stream of text... I think it's a matter of tastes, and probably also depend on the content.
For documentation & references, I too prefer not having to do with pages. Here hi-res palmtop, or an iPhone / iPod Touch can be great.

But for books / novel, I like reading a page after another. For this, an eInk reader is perfect, IMHO. It really recreate the book experience, within a more practical device. The visibility is also great outdoor, in full sunlight.

Bye!
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gwynevans
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2009, 09:29:11 AM »

Any other eInk users here?
I've had my Sony 505 for a bit over a year now, which I got via mail-order from B&H in New York.  I considered the Cybook, but the Sony seemed to be better suited to what I needed (e.g. instant on),  while it's disadvantages compared to the Cybook (no dictionary, no easily changeable fonts) weren't significant to me.
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mcbiz
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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2009, 06:26:07 PM »

Can't wait for the Plastic Logic reader due out later this year.
All about it here - http://www.plasticlogic.com/product.html
All I want is something to read PDFs, .lit, text, html etc.
I don't want sound or movies, just the ability to load my collection of ebooks.
Maybe this is IT.
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Mark0
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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2009, 06:34:18 PM »

Plastic Logic is now targeting an early 2010 release:

Engadget - Plastic Logic e-reader not coming until early 2010
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wyrwolf
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2009, 07:12:46 PM »

AAMOF, I just bought something yesterday.
It's a reconditioned Palm Treo 270 that I got for a reduced, reduced, reduced-to-clear price of $20.00CAN.
I'd love to have something better, but I think it's insane to pay more for a dedicated e-book reader than for a computer.
At home I use my laptop - perfect size for comic books and good for all other differently-sized media. It's more clunky than an e-book reader, but no more so than a hardcover.
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Josh
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2009, 11:03:11 PM »

I highly recommend the Amazon Kindle. That is by far the best investment I have made for my wife I can think of, second to her recent college journey. It is very easy to use, the books are very reasonably priced and with a 4GB SD Card, you can store an infinite amount of books (For all intents and purposes). It has very quick delivery to the kindle via the free whispernet which uses CDMA, GSM and 1XEV networks to transfer data wirelessly and for free.

Highly recommended. I give it 5 cody drumsticks out of a possible 5
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« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2009, 09:54:25 AM »

This is an interesting discussion. I've been wondering if any e-reader has arrived at the point where I should buy one.

For Josh in particular, can the Kindle read anything, or just Amazon's proprietary formula? I would want an e-reader that can read books and documents in almost any form--for example, I want to download books from Google Books and read them on the bus, as well as buy new books from Amazon.

Also, is it so difficult to get crisp black print on a white background? Or is that even a good idea? More thoughts on display, and maybe a few screen shots of actual displays, would be welcome.

Tiesenhausen
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2009, 10:18:02 AM »

Mobipocket Reader is good.Tried it on Sony Z550i. Any other Ebook reader that works on Symbian/Java?

Amazon kindle is in gadget queue. Will check that soon.
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gorinw13
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2009, 09:03:14 AM »

A few weeks ago I purchased "walkbook" ebook reader, second hand, from an auction site.

You can even take digital notes on it by the stylus pen in handwriting.

In all e-book readers, the e-ink technology is specifically produced to give the product a feel as if you are reading a real book.

PDA's or other devices are different and does not give the feeling like you are reading a book. I have a PDA but the e-book reader is in a very different category. In the e-ink technology, the screen has no light like the PDA's or computers and it is like a page of a book. In the dark you see nothing unless you use booklight and under the sun or room light it is like a paper, pages written on it as ink and more clear. In the PDA's you can not read under the sun.

So, one, and most apparent difference is the e-ink technology. Other products like PDA or similar computers are harder to read because of the screen technology, when compared to standard books or e-book readers. Another difference that the e-ink technology makes is the battery consumption. Once the page is displayed on the screen, it stays there forever --- no battery consumption while you read that page until you turn the page. So a battery can discharge only after tens of thousands of page turns. The technology is different, as the name implies: e-ink.

The one I use allows you to convert any document to the format recognized by the reader. You can reformat change, repaginate or do anything and convert by the conversion software that comes with the product. Screen is almost near to the size of a standard book.

I am totally satisfied with it and nowadays despite being a frugal person, I can tell that I am totally satisfied with the investment I made by purchasing this product and can strongly recommend anyone to use e-ink based readers.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2009, 09:05:40 AM by gorinw13 » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2009, 09:35:20 AM »

In the e-ink technology, the screen has no light like the PDA's or computers and it is like a page of a book. In the dark you see nothing unless you use booklight and under the sun or room light it is like a paper, pages written on it as ink and more clear. In the PDA's you can not read under the sun.

I disagree with your assertion that PDAs can't be read in the sun. My Dell Axim x51v does just fine on the beach in Cancun.

While the normal viewing case doesn't require lighting the way a PDA does, and allows eInk devices to have phenomenal battery life, I can't understand why lighting isn't built in (but off by default). It seems just another case of trying to perfectly imitate paper, including its shortcomings.

The thing is, my single biggest use of ebooks is in bed, reading in the dark so my wife isn't disturbed. The feature you describe clearly interferes with that.

(And it reminds me yet again of my whining about the artificial imposition of page boundaries.)

Other products like PDA or similar computers are harder to read because of the screen technology, when compared to standard books or e-book readers. Another difference that the e-ink technology makes is the battery consumption.

The batter life is really a compelling feature, but I don't find that eInk's image is superior to my PDA. It's certainly different, but in an apples-and-oranges way. The text on my device is incredibly clear, what with ClearType and VGA resolution. I'd venture to state that the text is smoother and clearer than some real ink, like newspapers on cheap paper.
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Mark0
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« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2009, 10:20:56 AM »

Now, in a bit less than a month, I'm at my 9th book read on the Cybook.
I can surely say that I'm not missing the "real paper book feeling"; reading on this thing have been/is just great!
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« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2009, 10:43:49 AM »

I just dont quite understand the price though - just bought an hp mininote 2133 computer for less than the cheapest ebook readers

I am waiting till the dpi is higher or the price lower, and then I will jump in and never look back
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« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2009, 12:14:54 PM »

I just use my WM phone with Mobipocket... I have too many books in the format to look at anything else, though since CyBook uses mobipocket format I might try it... been tempted to take the plunge more than once.

My current direction will involve another WM device most likely though.  I've been looking at the HTC Fuze.  For the same price as the cybook, I can get a device that has the capacity to hold more and that I can carry everywhere...

I tried the rocket ebook before when this tech was in its infancy, and the dedicated reader device just didn't work for me in the long run.
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Mark0
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« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2009, 04:19:16 PM »

I think it's the eInk display that make most of the difference: both in price, at the moment, and in feeling.
Best thing to do is to actually have a look & try one eInk device somewhere (shop, friends, etc.) and see if it may be worth.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2009, 04:54:57 PM »

Oh i found one : Wattpad.com supports many devices.  thumbs up
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« Reply #23 on: February 06, 2009, 05:41:24 AM »

Oh i found one : Wattpad.com supports many devices.  thumbs up
I've been using iSilo for years, on Palm, PocketPC and Windows. It claims to support Symbian and a pile of others.
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Mark0
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« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2009, 05:43:11 AM »

A very nice article by John Siracusa: Ars Technica - The once and future e-book: on reading in the digital age

« Last Edit: February 06, 2009, 12:03:01 PM by mouser » Logged

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