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Some initial reflections on using an ebook reader

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A lot of what mouser said is how I feel about reading books on my old Pocket PC. It's great for novels, but not too good for looking up stuff in reference books. There can be some issues with formatting in older and poorly made PDF files, which I spoke about here.

If you can find an internet service provider that still offers service for pocket pcs (you'll need to buy the specific modem they tell you to), or you really don't need an internet connection for surfing the web, or you can be content to only having wifi access with a card that's sold separately, buying a used pocket pc might make sense, since it's cheaper than a smart phone or a dedicated ebook reader. A lot of people went and got themselves smart phones or ebook readers and decided they don't want or need their old pocket pc any more and are selling them dirt cheap.

So if you haven't bit the bullet and went the smart phone route and never bought an ebook reader and you want a cheaper device to see if you'd even like this kind of stuff, that's the way I'd go. It's a good stepping stone. Yes, the screen is smaller than an ebook reader, but not as small as most phones. You can install games and other software on it, there is plenty of freeware available, and it comes with a handful of useful apps, pre-installed (calculator, PIM, todo list, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Paint, Windows Media Player, MS Reader).

Some warnings: Make sure the one you buy isn't so old that it requires an older version of ActiveSync, because the older versions will not run on Vista/Win7. (I would recommend a more recent iPaq if you can get one)

Some of them you can upgrade the OS, some of them you can't. Research the model you are thinking of buying very thoroughly (and the OS it runs).

Stay away from any that have an SH3's harder to get software that runs on that.

I prefer .lit format for ebooks, when I can get them, but if I have no other choice but plain text (as with most of the books offered through Project Gutenberg) then I convert the .txt files to .lit with the free version of ReaderWorks.

too pricey!
$200-$300 just to read a book. Can spend that on a notebook and adjust the font! Oh! I just did and it seem the notebook does a whole lot more for less money. Soz peeps, just another hyper gadget.

-nimrodsicl (August 15, 2010, 03:33 AM)
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You're really paying for the convenience of a small unit that is less bulky than a laptop. But yeah, they are extravagant for a lot of people.

I don't really have much use for one as I read almost exclusively reference material.

I have enjoyed reading the posts. Recently I checked out ebooks and moved from being a sceptic to enthusiast. I was able to pick up a new Benq device on ebay. It's brilliant; reads in several formats eg .txt, .pdf, .epub, .html; reads image (b&w only) and music files; wireless connection - to name just a few of its charms. An avid reader, I've just finished my fourth book on it and have installed about 30 books taking up less than 10% of the memory. A mini SD card allows further expansion.

My advice to anyone contemplating an ebook is to check out what's available. There are advantages to having an ebook not tied to a particular seller eg Kindle, Nook. There are ebooks (admittedly expensive) that allow for annotation and highlighting. Choose a 6" rather than a 5" inch screen. There is a large corpus of free ebooks available on the net. There is a free software application, 'Stanza' which enables format conversion eg .html to .txt.

I've been using my old HP PDA as an ebook reader for about 8 years.  The small screen means I've got thousands of pages to read instead of hundreds, but the portability is worth it.
I have about 45 books on it right now and when I'm done, I'll wipe them (they're already in my Calibre catalog) and write new ones on the PDA; again from my computer's Calibre catalog.  I'm now saving up for a Nook (shouldn't take more than 3 years), as I believe that is the best e-reader for the bucks.  A Nook is not locked from loading books from your computer or other sources than Barnes & Noble.  The Kindle is locked in Amazon, and although the have a good booklist, I can get free books from many other places.

I advise everyone who has an e-reader to back up the books on their computer and use a good computer catalog to keep track of what will eventually be a lot of books and stories.

I had been using my iPhone for my book reader using Stanza and eReader (from B&N) - I have the apps from Amazon, Borders, and Apple installed, but hadn't bought any books from them.  Now I'm using my tc1100 for reading, and loving the larger space... on there, I use eReader (from B&N) and the FictionWise reader, though I have Calibre and Stanza loaded.  I can also read PDFs easier now.  I'm still thinking about getting a WiFi nook, but I'm not sure about that.

I advise everyone who has an e-reader to back up the books on their computer and use a good computer catalog to keep track of what will eventually be a lot of books and stories.
-AndeT1 (August 16, 2010, 08:26 AM)
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+1.  I'm thinking about doing a NANY entry for cataloging all sorts of electronic reading material- it's been something I've needed for a while.  There are so many ways to read things that it's hard to keep track of them.


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