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So, who's getting a Kindle? (and other ebook readers)


Carlucci
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$400 seems really steep. I realize it basically includes the wireless service in that price, but still. The Sony e-readers are much nicer even though they don't have the wireless service built in.

 

I guess I don't see the need for on-demand reading material so much, its not hard to just buy a bunch of magazines and books in the morning from your machine and download the daily paper automatically while docked. You could still have a ton of books loaded on the machine for variety. For me, my iPhone fills the gap of always having something on hand to read, whether blogs, news sites, etc.

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We have one at the office. It's pretty cool. If you're a big-time reader, it's akin to an iPod... similar price for similar benefit.
How are PDFs on it? First buzz was that it worked through the email service, then when people started reporting on the launch yesterday it was all crying about the lack of PDF (which is also not listed as supported in the manual). But then here Amazon says it works and is experimental. I want something that can handle things like this in some readable fashion, and apparently the Sony Reader interface for PDFs was terrible.

 

I would have overnighted one yesterday if the PDF rendering worked well and they had actually mentioned it or demonstrated it. Lure me in with something that can read technical reports and non-DRM PDF's I've already purchased, and I'd probably buy some of your ebooks as well, Bezos.

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Heh, thanks to this thread I just ordered one of the new Sony thingies (a PRS-505). Did a little reading at MobileRead.com and it seemed like the one for me. I'm looking forward to using it on my train rides.

 

I didn't even know electronic ink devices were actually available already, heh :)

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Hardware-wise, the Sony is nicer. Service and content-wise (with EVDO and the free books) the Amazon device is better.

 

Those are my initial impressions so far. The Sony requires synching to a computer. The Amazon one doesn't. Amazon has better content deals. If you're in it for the content, go Amazon. If you're big on the sexy hardware, go with the Sony - it's much prettier, and feels nicer in the hands.

 

Oh, and the e-ink is beautiful. Looks like a laser print.

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Get that price down to $25 and offer a color model and I'm all over it.

 

Books are nice and cheap.

 

I'm with you on that. Also I get a sense of accomplishment when I look at my small library of books I've read; I really love buying new books and seeing how they wear as I read them. I don't know, I'm weird that way, but they do develop a nice patina. I understand that the Kindle and Sony products save trees and stuff, but it seems to take away the "detachment" that reading a good book has. Plus, I don't wanna get screwed outta finishing my latest romance novel cause the batteries die. >:o

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It looks like a neat device, and no futzing around with a PC or Wi-Fi...I assume it's using the same cellphone towers for networking as the cellphone companies?

 

A review here mentions a few caveats:

http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2007/11/19/amazon-kindle-ebook-1.html

 

Worse, the $400 premium just to get the Kindle reader isn't the last fee you'll pay. I'm not talking about paying for eBooks from Amazon, which are priced typically at $10 or less, but for the additional fees tacked onto the data—the words—that are pushed down to the Kindle automatically. Subscribing to a blog via the Kindle service costs $2 a month. Newspapers run around $15 a month. All for information currently available for free via the web and RSS syndication, not from copyright violators, but straight from the publishers themselves. (Boing Boing is also available via Kindle's blog service. We are also available on the web.)

 

The reason, I suspect, for the nickel and diming from Amazon is the always-on EVDO connection. While some of the cost that must be paid to the wireless carrier are surely cooked into the initial price of the Kindle, the costs tacked on to content subscriptions are an attempt to recoup charges Amazon will incur from Sprint over the life of an active device.

...

(You can access the web using the surprisingly okay "Basic Web" browser that ships with every Kindle and enjoy all the web sites you care to read, no subscription cost, no per-minute fees. But you can't cache all those stories for reading later—you'll have to read them live via the EVDO radio. You can, however, download books, which means there's a great wealth of already extant books to be downloaded for free, provided they're in a format Kindle understands.)

 

I agree with a review on Amazon from Eclectic Homeschool Mom:

 

* Pricing Structure - I am a cheapskate in general and frequently buy my books from thrift stores, library sales and used book stores. I have several issues with the pricing and hopefully, the market will correct some of these issues. I can't share the books that I purchase and there isn't really a "used" market for ebooks. I must admit though, that the longer I used the Kindle, the more I was able to justify the book prices in relation to the convenience of having them on my device. For things like textbooks and other books where I want a "real" copy of the book, I would like to see a purchase option that includes a Kindle version for almost nothing if I am purchasing the title in book form. Also, I would like Amazon to offer me nearly free Kindle copies of all the books that I have already purchased in the past - and the list is long! I also wish the entry point was cheaper since I am spending so much on content.

 

I'd be all over a device like this if I could buy a book from Amazon, and pay an extra dollar or two for an e-download. Even despite the fact the files are DRMed (which I detest). And as a bonus Amazon would be getting extra book purchases that I might have picked up at Barnes and Noble.

 

I just can't see paying near-full price for a digital download on a proprietary system. A hardcover book is a safe investment - a lot of my hardcover books will still be in great shape and readable 30 years from now.

 

There needs to be more incentive for avid book readers to make major inroads with ebooks.

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  • 2 weeks later...
People are already working around some of Kindle's DRM. You can now buy encrypted Mobi format e-books from other sites (besides Amazon) and get them onto your Kindle. That blog mentions Fictionwise, though, and they added native Kindle support to their site just yesterday, hehe. I think there are other big Mobi format sellers, though.

 

That's hot. Thanks.

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  • 3 months later...

Hmmm... electronic ink displays are simply fantastic. I've had a lot of people on my commuter train ask me what the thing is, and when I let them play with it they look at it up close and they're always amazed and ask where you get 'em, how much, etc. Simply a pleasure to read on, with enough light. I think the contrast is fine, but if you put it next to a real book and see how white real paper is and how black real ink is, you can see they've got a ways to go.

 

The eBook market is ugly. Everyone seems to have their own format, DRM all over the place. You can easily get around some of it, of course, and libprs500 makes owning a Sony device infinitely better.

 

The 505 isn't perfect. You simply do not want to embed custom fonts, or else it'll take many minutes to format a single book, and the delay between page flips will be noticably longer. I have no problem with the default fonts, but I would use others if they worked better. There are also times when, after adding a few books, the thing goes into "Formatting..." mode for a few minutes and then suddenly reboots (which takes ~50 seconds), and then formats some more. Not really a big issue, since once you figure things out you can convert and format whatever you want and throw it on easily enough, but at first when I was experimenting with font sizes and margins, etc, it was slow and painful.

 

These days, though, I simply flip it on and enjoy the reading. And I love having all my reading on one device! At one point I was reading three books at once. I'd pick between two on the train depending on my mood and I read another in bed a little each night. The idea of paper books seems almost silly now :)

 

Oh, and when I bought a drum set recently I found a bunch of websites on tuning and maintaining drums. Threw them all on the thing. Would have take hundreds of pages to print. So handy :)

 

In a couple of years, after the tech improves a bit, I'll definitely get one with a touch screen that you can write on.

 

EDIT: Also, love the look and feel of the 505, and the case it comes with. I've been paying attention to all the other devices and there's still nothing else I'd chose. I don't really count the Kindle since the wireless doesn't work in Canada, though. libprs500 makes the 505 perfect for me.

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Hmm. I know the tech is far from mature (libprs500 seems much better than the garbage Sony wants people to use), but I read so damn much that I might be okay with being an early adopter.

 

If you don't touch margins, fonts, etc., how much work does it take to convert, say, a prc or lit file to lrf? I've got all kinds of ebook content floating around, but I'll be damned if I'll re-purchase it instead of converting it.

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I"m loving my Kindle, more for the wireless than anything else. Whenever I'm about to go on a last-minute trip (which is alarmingly often), I grab a book from the Amazon store in the airport. I've never read so much since getting mine, as in the past I couldn't be bothered to go book shopping in the traditional manner.

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Hmm. I know the tech is far from mature (libprs500 seems much better than the garbage Sony wants people to use), but I read so damn much that I might be okay with being an early adopter.

 

If you don't touch margins, fonts, etc., how much work does it take to convert, say, a prc or lit file to lrf? I've got all kinds of ebook content floating around, but I'll be damned if I'll re-purchase it instead of converting it.

 

If you don't touch anything you just point libprs500 to the file to add it to it's library and hit convert. LITs take a matter of seconds to convert and transfer to the device in a blink. I've never done PRC, but it says it supports it. Actually, this snip from the FAQ is interesting...

 

What are the best formats to convert to LRF?

 

In order of decreasing preference: LIT, MOBI, HTML, PRC, RTF, TXT, PDF

 

I've had minor formatting issues with HTML with older versions, so I'm a little surprised to see it high on the list. But maybe that's all fixed now, seems there's a new version every time I go to use it. You could use libprs500's lrfviewer to try some PRCs and preview things right now.

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