e Readers

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Gaear, Sep 23, 2014.

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  1. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    I suppose I'm late to this party, but I'm thinking of jumping into the e-Reader pot finally and I'm looking for input from those with experience with them.

    I gather that the main players are Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes and Noble (Nook). What I'm looking for is a basic reader that just handles books, not a tablet, and not a reader that browses the internet, plays movies or music, has flashing strobe lights or makes sandwiches. I'm guessing that the brand with the most longevity will be Amazon/Kindle, as brick and mortar book stores are in a precarious state and Amazon will eventually own and run the world anyway. So that's making me think Kindle. I understand that a new basic model will be released in October that features things like a touchscreen for turning pages (instead of buttons) and has a pretty large hard drive. Price point is $79 with ads (Seriously? Yay.) and $99 without. (I love buying ads - it makes me feel like I'm doing my part.)

    Some things I'm curious about:

    1. Are readers intrusive to privacy? I'm not paranoid but I'm also just not principally crazy about the notion of Amazon huddling over the news that I've read 50 Shades twice, or that I'm a terrorist risk because I downloaded two Tom Clancy novels. Do they pay close attention to your purchases? I take it all your stuff is stored in the cloud for easy retrieval (and likewise easy monitoring).
    2. Is this technology here to stay, or will I be forced to upgrade to some other format, either practically or literally, in 2019? I don't really want to re-buy books any more than I want to re-buy movies on blue ray or that sort of thing.

    An example of this 'monitoring' culture I dislike is Amazon's video service. I downloaded and watched some random episode of some random show from them several years ago and forgot about it, then bought another random episode of a random show recently and was a bit surprised to see my old show in my 'library' with data about when I last watched it and crap like that. Again, I'm not paranoid and I don't think they're actually up to anything nefarious but I just wonder what business it is of theirs and why they even care, and I wish that our association could begin and end with the purchase, just like if I bought a rock of crack cocaine from them with cash on the street corner. On the practical side, I know the data is used to pitch other "shows you might like" to you. I suppose some measure of that is unavoidable in this day and age, but it still bothers me on a fundamental level and makes me not want to play ball. But I also like the practicality of having a book collection on a hard drive. I'm not one of those people who needs an actual room full of books. (I guess I'll be screwed when the zombie apocalypse comes.)

    Anybody got any input/advice?
     
  2. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    Personally I was looking into options and then opted for a PocketBook Pro - it's independent from the major stores (which has its upsides and downsides, I guess), what's good about it is that it supports all the various DRM-free formats that you can only imagine (and the bigger, 9"+ ones do a pretty good job with PDFs, too) and can also read DRMed PDFs. They're quite durable (I haven't killed my 6" or my 9" PocketBook yet even though I've been actively using both for nearly 3 years), take a long time to discharge (I can read them for about 2-3 weeks very actively without worrying about needing to recharge), their screens are quite good (especially if you make sure to get a newer one with e-Ink Pearl). So yeah, I'm quite happy with them. As for security, they are quite independent so they don't bug you with crap like "buy from this particular store" or "we're going to collect information about what you're reading". They can also be used effectively with no Internet connectivity whatsoever.

    I have little experience with the other readers, but what I can say is that the majority of them (outside of the two you named and outside of PocketBook) in my area are cheap imitation stuff that will probably not take long to kill. I'd say that if you need an e-Reader integrated with a famous bookstore with a big name on it, go for Amazon (at least I've heard from many of my friends that Amazon's Kindle is a very good e-Reader). Not sure about Barnes and Noble - simply because I have no experience with it and I haven't heard much about it. Not sure about their formats either - all we know is that they're proprietary. Whether they'll stay or not is up to the companies who maintain them (and their not-always-predictable policies).

    If you need a quality reader that supports a lot (over 20 IIRC) of free/open *and* proprietary formats, including, but not limited to djvu, pdf, rtf, fb2 and other popular formats, and potentially you want less "big store shenanigans" such as collecting data about you, then I'd recommend PocketBook (at least over many, many other models that I've seen and heard of). Just make sure you get an e-Ink Pearl one and do *not* go for that experimental color e-Ink model because it's expensive and it sucks for what it is. You can be sure that the formats it's compatible with (namely, djvu, pdf, rtf, fb2) are here to stay for a very very long time, and many e-Readers will continue to support them because a huge bulk of sold and freely available material online is in these formats. The downside here is that PocketBook readers may not be compatible with the proprietary formats from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, at least without upgrading them with some custom firmware (not sure about the latter, once again - haven't tried it / didn't have a necessity to).

    Just my $0.02. :) Hope it helps!

    - Agetian
     
  3. sirchet

    sirchet Force for Goodness Moderator Supporter

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    I have been using the kindle app on my iPad for a few years now and I love it. It does track your reading, but I've found that helpful in this case. When I'm done with the book it shows me other books from the same author, or similar topics if I choose for it to.
     
  4. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Thanks, guys!
     
  5. nitewolf

    nitewolf Packleader

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    I don't actually own a physical Kindle anymore. I have been using the PC app on my Dell tablet for over a year now. I can't actually even look at a physical book anymore! :) I love it. I also tend to buy books at 1 am when i finish the last one! OK, that can be a double edged sword there!

    Anyway, I think you are right that Amazon will own the world one day, might as well jump on the bandwagon now and get a Kindle!
     
  6. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Thanks nitewolf. Good to see you around again. :)
     
  7. gazra_1971

    gazra_1971 Knights of Legend

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    About 2 or 3 years ago, when I read an article in a computer magazine of a comparison of all of the major-brand e-readers/tablets, the conclusion of the article was that the Amazon Kindle displayed text at a far superior image quality than any of the other devices, and that the Amazon Kindle was in a league of its own purely for e-reading.
     
  8. sirchet

    sirchet Force for Goodness Moderator Supporter

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    I have an Amazon kindle and it is very nice and easy to use, but the kindle app allows me to read books on a larger screen and still take advantage of the kindle readability.

    Btw, I think the app is free. :)
     
  9. gazra_1971

    gazra_1971 Knights of Legend

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    In the latest (2014 October) issue of Australian PC & Tech Authority magazine, there is a round-up of compact tablets (including the iPad, Samsung Galaxy, and Amazon Kindle). Their conclusion is that the Nexus 7 is the best compact tablet.

    I know that this doesn't meet Gaear's original brief about the best e-reader based on people's actual experience with them, but I thought that I would disclose this information just in case anybody found it useful.
     
  10. tomthefighter

    tomthefighter Errr......

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    Re: e Readers kindle and Calibre app

    I've run into an issue where in the kindle pc app won't open books if the app is "out of date".

    I've also run into problems trying to send ( via e-mail ) non-amazon books to it. Uploading via usb cable no prob. though.

    I've also run across http://calibre-ebook.com/ which is a nice free app for managing & reading ebooks on your pc.

    Tomthesometimesbookwormfighter
     
  11. gazra_1971

    gazra_1971 Knights of Legend

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    In the latest (2014 December) issue of Australian PC & Tech Authority magazine, there is a round-up of premium tablets (including the Samsung Galaxy and Amazon Kindle). Their conclusion is that the Apple iPad Air is the best premium tablet.
     
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