Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tell me about E readers and books

My youngest son has asked for a Kindle, electronic reader. He loves to read, as much or more than I do. I have heard about electronic books, but I really know nothing about them. I do like the idea of being able to walk around with several dozen or more books to read in a package the size of a paperback. So tell me what you know about them. Specifiacally, what about Kindle or Sony E reader, or any of the other hardware. Where does one get books? How much are they? Do they have a selection of books for young readers?

Thoughts, opinions, suggestions welcome.

Mr Fixit

*******New question*******
What about the various formats of the books? Epub? PDF? HTML? Others?


Bob said...

The best place to start is, the Kindle is usually on their homepage. The thing holds up to 3500 books and the battery can last for up to a month. I don't know about you, but 3500 books will replace most, if not all, of my library.

There are two different basic Kindles; the cheaper one has Wi-Fi connectivity, and the more expensive one links to a 3G network. You can download e-books using either, as well as shop for books using the wi-fi or 3G.

One way you can experiment with the Kindle is to download Kindle For PC (or Mac, or whatever) and acquire some e-books of your own. Amazon has a huge "Kindle Store" with, in addition to books you can purchase, many thousands of books in public domain that you can download FREE! I have a couple hundred free books downloaded already, and when I purchase my own Kindle in December, they will all be loaded onto it.

I'll let others speak of how they like their Kindles, since I've only given information that is readily available on the Amazon website. Go there, check out the videos, download Kindle For PC, and download some books!

Blue Steel said...

I don't have either, but check out Rick O'Shea over at Bullet Points Blog
He just acquired a Kindle, so he should be able to help you out and get you headed in the right direction.

Sevesteen said...

I have been reading ebooks for at least 5 years on various PDA's, and now my iPod tOuch.

Books are a similar situation to music--there is a combination of paid downloads and free, with the free a mix of legitimate and bootleg sources. iPod now has a native e-reader program, I have been using Stanza for years. Stanza for Ipod/iPhone can read most common ebook formats, Calibre is available for Windows and Linux at least, and can convert between formats, and lets you put books on your iPod via Wifi. Both are free

Amazon has most best sellers for $10. I can't help you with dedicated readers. They appear to have advantages for strictly reading, but I always have my iPod with me--that means I can read a few pages while waiting in line, and I don't have extra gadgets to keep track of. Always having a hundred or so books in a pocket with me is a huge advantage. I may be odd--Although we have several thousand books in the house, I prefer reading on my iPod.

Anonymous said...

I have an old sony prs-500 I bought new. The PC software is buggy and prone to freeze up. Although Sony has hate mongers about it's hidden files, it works. There are loads of free book sites out there, Baen Free Library, Google Books, Munseys, Gutenberg.
The Sony E-reader I have was *free* upgraded in software last year, had to send it off to TX, and a week after it came back, Sony emailed me that the upgrade had a battery drain problem, and sent a free packing and shipping form, and fixed it for free.

There are shareware/free ware programs for managing your free books and news feeds *CALIBRE* for example. But they do not work with DRM protected books purchased on line.

I have no experience with Kindle or E-Nook readers.

Hope this helps.


FrankC said...

For further background, not so much which ebook to buy, try
It's UK biased, but may help.

Rick O' Shea said...

As Blue Steel was kind enough to point out, I've just obtained a Kindle, and have been using it relentlessly for the last several days (which is why, along with Thanksgiving, I've been off the radar lately).

To clarify, my thoughts regarding the Kindle, Nook, etc.. are in the comments of the Kindle test post, in response to a similar question by Lawyer with a Gun.

As much as I like my Kindle, I do think some people might be served better with a more open-format option like a Nook. It depends on personal preferences and your particular needs.
His question regarded his 10-year-old daughter. She'll probably be getting a lot of library books, and for her the ePub support of the Nook might be better.
I'm getting my books either from Amazon or from various free ebook sites on the web. As such, I wouldn't even have considered using the Kindle without the Calibre software to reformat my downloads.

One thing I would like to add, is that after all the fiddling and gadget-lust is over, the devices are very good at their intended function: reading. Halfway through my first book, I realized that the Kindle had "disappeared"; I was absorbed in the book.

Please let me know if you have any particular questions - I'll help as best I can.

Anonymous said...

Another problem with atleast the Sony PRS-500, is that there are some .pdf files that that will flat out not show on the screen. Usually the *free* pdf files, that you get at some various book sites. You can sometimes see them on your computer in the sony software preview, but the reader just won't show them out. There is a lot of the google free books that have this quirk.


Anonymous said...

Someone else spoke of PDA's... good choice. I just bought an APAD on ebay, it is about the same size as a Kindle-type reader, but it is color, has a backlight (you can read in the dark) and it has DROID operating system. Dedicated ebook readers like the Kindle are more expensive and very limited in their capabilities. Yes, the APAD is an IPAD knockoff from China.

Harry Steele

Harry Steele said...

The formats are mostly a non-concern.... I use Mobipocket reader, it converts most all formats I have run across, and it, as most ebook reader programs is free to download.

Anonymous said...

I went with the Ectaco Jetbook-Lite because it is the only one with replaceable batteries. It uses 4 AA alkaline or rechargables. It has a monochrome TFT screen, not e-ink, so it changes pages faster and does not flash between pages. It is less expensive because it does not have wireless capability. Just use your computer and a USB cable to load it with books.

JebTexas said...

Almost all of them must have light to read them... sucks. Get one like the Nook Color (Barnes & nobles) that is back-lit. WiFi is a must, lets you DL books from home. Nook reads all formats, and has 4000 books at 9.99 or less. Also, all the Gutenberg project books are free.

Anonymous said...

here between 2 households, we have 3 different units
1) the Kobo e-reader
2-a Kindle
3- I pad

First of all both the kindle and the Kobo reader do their jobs well although as was mentioned they need external light.

The IPad has built in light and is as readable as the others.

That being said, I prefer overall the Kobo ereader, because it's better? nope but because it's self contained and does the job at the lowest price.

One thing I have against both the Kindle and the IPad is that both of them do support big brother reaching out and Zapping content that you have bought or downloaded without your control.

As for content all have advantages and disadvantages.