Skip to comments.An e-reader skeptic converted - Commentary: The battle of the e-readers is just beginning
Posted on 08/15/2010 10:15:27 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
The trend was confirmed by Apple Inc.'s iPad, but I need to be more adept at spotting the trend when it is beginning and in the wild.
I missed the signals, twice. You look to the public-at-large to spot trends, not to pundits.
Two examples come to mind. First, I was on a flight to Michigan around the time of the first Kindle announcement and was roaming the aisle of the jet when I saw one of the flight attendants reading off of an e-reader, which turned out to be the Sony device.
I asked her how she liked it and had to listen to endless raves. She loved to read. The reader had a ton of her books and she could picks and choose what she wanted based on her mood. It worked great. It was lightweight. She went on and on.
Then I find a friend of mine -- who is not even much of a reader -- with a Kindle. All he could do was talk about how great it was.
This sort of public review should not be ignored. These are not tech geeks who buy everything and think anything with a transistor in it is God's gift to mankind. These are real people.
So the e-reader is here to stay in one form or another.
(Excerpt) Read more at marketwatch.com ...
To keep up on electronic reading, go to mobileread and Teleread.
Discussions can get pretty heated.
Thanks for the tip.
Is Sony gonna do anything in this game?
I regularly download books that are beyond their copyright dates, which you can get off the web for free. I have quite a collection that I carry on my thumbdrive and my laptop hard drive.
I don’t like to do serious reading on a laptop, though, so I typically print a few pages at a time and read them that way.
I’d like to find an e-reader that was more comfortable than my laptop, that I could transfer files to (including word files, pdf files, and so on). I want to back up my files on my computer and maybe on a thumb drive.
That seems to be a problem with certain e-readers. The Apple apparently doesn’t have a drive port (true?). Amazon apparently limits you to their protocol. But if I find the right thing I’m in.
I am think the Sony has some capability to work with a laptop and Windows.
I am thinking the Sony has some capability to work with a laptop and Windows.
I use the Kindle and B&N e-reader on my iphone and have ordered a new Kindle. Must be popular as there is a wait for it! Never thought I’d prefer these to paper books!
The Kindle is EASILY the most versatile. First, there’s the WhisperNet cellular connection (it’s free) that lets you buy any of a bazillion books from almost anywhere in about a minute. Then there’s the fact that Amazon provides free Kindle apps for iPhone, Blackberry, PC, and Mac, all of which beautifully access your Kindle library. Finally, it’s uber-easy to transfer DOC/PDF/etc. to your Kindle; just email the file to your Kindle email address as an attachment, and it shows up on your Kindle almost instantly.
I’m a big reader who strongly resisted e-readers because I’ve always loved the feel and smell of books, but a couple days with a Kindle converted me into an enthusiastic user. I strongly recommend it.
Sony is trying to get back into the game, it is the Sony Touch and Pocket products that are sold through Borders.
Apparently there is an update to the product line coming soon:
A few Kindle-related links that may be helpful to you. It’s actually pretty flexible in converting formats.
Comparison of e-book readers:
Free Book Collections:
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We’ve just ordered a Kindle and can’t wait to get it. I’m a moderate reader and more into junk fiction but my husband is an AVID reader. I’m looking forward to him going nuts with the stacks and piles of texts available to him.
Of course there will be books that he needs/wants hard copies of but soon I’ll be smiling instead of cringing when he walks through the door with armfuls of virtual books. :)
Is this Kindle for you or your husband?
I’ve been thinking of buying a 2nd one for him, since we can’t both read one device at the same time.
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It’s a his and hers gift for now. I’m an early bird and he’s a night owl so we’ll see how it works out and if we do like the device. I have a sneaking suspicion that it’ll primarily be a his Kindle tho. :)
If we do like it I can see getting a second so that we can have separate accounts for “sharing” books with family and friends who have similar interests.
The iPad has several apps which you can use to read books in various formats. More importantly, you can load books (including Gutenberg Project books) wirelessly to the iPad from your computer.
When they are waterproof and sufficiently shock resistant to use in a bathtub or sauna, I’ll be interested.
I would love to be able to convert several books that I have as PDFs into Kindle format. I have the Kindle app on my iPad. However, I note that in the Wikipedia article about Kindle that the conversion service is only available for owners of Kindle hardware.
I’ve heard of people putting a Kindle in a ziplock bag and reading it in the tub. You can work the controls and read the screen with no difficulty, and there’s no way it can get wet.
What a great idea! I’ve been seriously thinking about getting one. The first day at the pool at the beginning of summer, I was sitting on the edge of the pool and dropped my book into the water. In that split second, realized that I would not be a good candidate for an ebook!
Your solution sounds like it would help a klutz like me!
The iPad goes beyond being _an_ ebook reader. It becomes all of them.
Turn it into a Kindle for free.
Turn it into a Nook for free.
Run Stanza, or any of many other reader software.
Full price or discounted or free, there are way more book sources available on the iPad than you imagine. All wireless.
The iPad goes beyond the need for USB and other media. Physical is passé.
Set up email on it and email the books to yourself. In the next release of the OS (a couple months) a PDF attached to an email will be automatically added to your library. Likewise Word files.
Install the Dropbox app on both iPad and desktop. You get a special folder: anything you put in it appears on your iPad - instant and wireless.
And again, multiple ebook readers will run on the iPad, all getting books wirelessly and without physical media.
BTW: on a tangent, look into portableapps.com asap.
Can you surf the entire web on a Kindle or do are you limited to their choice of sites like Wikipedia?
Sony looks to have wifi readers soon.
They are already in every Walmart.
Neglected to point out that sharp is getting into the game...with a solar powered model (probably no wireless connection) supposedly hitting in the fourth quarter.
Given the low power consumption of ereaders, someone should have done this before.
What I see as really attractive, though, are the potential commercial and educational benefits.
From the commercial world, anyone who works in a field where important information changes relatively frequently could benefit from having "books" that are updated (possibly via subscription fee) as data changes. Doctors can always have an up-to-date version of the Physician's Desk Reference in the palm of their hand. Software developers and computer technicians can have reference books that aren't out of date practically by the time they come out of the box. And so on.
For education, specifically at the college level, one of the main cost factors for textbooks is the high price of "short run" printing. Going all-electronic can reduce the costs tremenously. Also, students can carry all of their "books" around easily (including books from previous courses, for reference). The likewise can gain the benefits of having their books be made up-to-date as changes are made.
And, I should have added, get the college students used to e-readers for their textbooks, and they’ll be the launching point for widespread adoption for regular commercial use.
If you are looking for an e-reader don’t look at the iPad first. You’ll be spoiled.
That’s what happened to us.
For pure reading only probably the Kindle or Nook is better...
But the versatility of the iPad sold me. Got one a few weeks ago.
I got the cheapie, wi-fi & 16 gigs. Love it .
They read many formats, B&N, Amazon, Borders, etc. so you’re not limited as to where you get the book.
And I go online and use it as a laptop.
Bought my first book, Atlas Shrugged. It’s a keeper.
My biggest problem w/ the whole concept is there are few books I want to read twice.
If the book stores would rent them at a reduced price, say $5 for 30 days.
But wait! Our library has started doing just that, free.
The selection is very limited, best sellers right now and limited copies .
Depending on the book, 1 week or 3 week checkout. At the end of that period the book goes away.
Everything done from your home computer.
We just rejoined the library, and I still have to finish Atlas.. before I try it out.
Apparently at least some of the teachers unions are fighting ereaders for textbooks.
May have something to do w/ royalties. Most of the textbooks are written by teachers/professors.
Royalties could go to zilch.
The ereader idea seems logical though. Logic is foreign in education.
My daughter is in grad school and she can't use her reader for textbooks. She adores it for regular reading, though.
I don't think that's correct. For example, the Kindle can (according to Amazon):
By using the QWERTY keyboard, you can add annotations to text, just like you might write in the margins of a book. And because it is digital, you can edit, delete, and export your notes. You can highlight and clip key passages and bookmark pages for future use. You'll never need to bookmark your last place in the book, because Kindle remembers for you and always opens to the last page you read.
Apple claims that with iBooks/iPad:
If you read something especially interesting or inspiring, use the Bookmarking feature to highlight the text and make notes perfect for students.
I just tested the latter on my iPhone, and it does work, although it'll take a little practice to get used to the controls. Probably a lot easier on the larger screen of the iPad.
I guess I'll have to look into it further. I have a Sony and DD has a Kindle. I thought I remembered her saying she couldn't underline or highlight text for studying.
Maybe she doesn't know that it will do that.
Thanks for the info!
I haven’t tried to surf the web on my Kindle.
No problem. The little yellow box off to the side is a note attached to the same text. You can do either, both, or neither, it seems.
To be fair, I didn’t know this was possible myself until I looked it up, but it seemed silly not to include the functionality, given that the devices have internal storage. I’ve used a similar reader in the past on my desktop (Zinio), and I could at least add notes, if not necessarily highlight text (though I didn;t try the latter).
The iPad is a bit big and expensive just for an e-reader. Being designed exactly for it, the Kindle does better. Personally, I think a touch-screen Kindle, removing the keyboard (how often do you type and read?) would be the best. The Kindle only understands the Amazon format and PDF for books.
The iPad will read your files and synch to your computer, and do a ton of other things a Kindle can't. You can also get non-Apple e-reader software from the iTunes Store if you don't want to use Apple. The iPad's dock connector has USB in it, so you can buy an adapter to plug in an SD card.
One warning: With a book you know you can keep it forever, no matter what, nobody's taking it from you. Amazon has shown it can and will revoke your purchases if desired, and there's nothing you can do about it. You will of course get your money back, but the idea that they can and will remotely wipe a book from my system is disturbing. This may be true for any protected-format e-books.
I won't buy an e-reader until the price of e-books drops. Precipitously :)
A decent reader these days will have note taking and highlighting built in. Above that I’d like to see voice notes — select your text and talk to have it saved as an mp3 (or AAC or whatever) and hooked to that bit of text. Get a ToC of your comments, showing chapter, page and a text excerpt, touch to listen. Extra credit if the system automatically runs speech recognition and saves and indexes the text for later searching.
I've seen that. I've also seen a textbook written by family of the head of a department and, presto, it becomes the required textbook for that course. They could charge whatever they wanted because they had a captive audience.
The forthcoming tablets based on the Android OS (a good thing, sorry google haters) should have its voice recognition technology built in to actually transcribe your voice notes to text if you want.
Personally I am holding off as long as I can stand it before buying anything in this category. I think the eReaders will drop as low as $99 by Christmas and the tablets that also have eInk screens are just around the corner.
The suspense is terrible. I hope it lasts.
If only you could get the patent on that!
She must have about 60 books on the Kindle now. I have the Kindle app for the Mac on my laptop and the iTouch app. The great thing is that they'll all sync up. If I read up to Chapter 32 on the laptop and fire up the iTouch to read in bed... the iTouch will go straight to Ch. 32!
Kindle has some free word games available for download, too.
I probably could. Patents are one reason I write stuff like that. This way if someone else ever decides to patent stuff that I think is obvious, then that posting would be "prior art" to kill the patent.
Mine's the best, and that's that.
I bought a Kindle for my son when he was on a recent deployment overseas on a ship. He did/does nothing but rave about how great it is. We are both avid readers and I am thinking about getting the Kindle for myself now. My son loved it. He had access to so many different venues of reading. Just my 2 cents...
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