Kindle or Sony ebook reader ... or the Nook?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by PatH, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. PatH

    PatH Second Unit

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    Anyone out there have either of these? I've been checking them out (at least the Sony) but have held back due to lack of backlighting (It's not that I need backlighting per se, but rather that the environment I'd be using it in is mostly dark). Now I see that the accessories for either include an attachable booklight. Okay, my question then becomes. does the booklight cover the entire reading area of the page? I've tried booklights of up to 2 LEDs on regular books but they are unsatisfactory. Any input will be appreciated. Thanks!

    PatH
     
  2. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    I ordered a Kindle on the announcement day and received it on Wednesday. So far, I love it. The E-Ink display provides an experience very close to that of reading a real paperback book. But the Sony provides that as well. It's the Kindle's ability to order a new book directly from the device (no matter where you are) and have it available to read within minutes that is, IMO, revolutionary. It's not perfect (it IS a first-gen device), but I think Amazon has something here. Kindle may turn out to be the original 5GB iPod of eReading devices.

    It's my understanding that backlighting is impossible on e-Ink devices like the Kindle (& the Sony Reader), as it's an opaque display. It's just like a book in that regard - if you're in a place where you need light to read a book, you'll need light to read the Kindle.

    I don't have the booklight that Amazon is selling with the Kindle, but they claim it has the light of 6 ordinary LEDs.
     
  3. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Do you get the same amount of text on screen at once that you would in a paperback? The way I hope it is is that you read a page and hit the page turn button like you're flipping a real page. I hate scrolling when I'm reading.
     
  4. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I'm going to be real honest and a total nay-sayer here.. things like "Kindle" etc. diminish the whole reason why I love books, audio books, etc. and why I just can't see it catching.

    I love my audible account, but I treasure nothing more then my literal, in the paper library. There is something comforting about opening up a real book and curling up in a blanket or bookmarking to remember things you liked at the moment.. and years later finding those bookmarks and remembering those moments.

    I applaud amazon for trying something different, but at $400, I can't see any valid reason why I should give up by buying $13 paperbacks when I hop on flight, knowing that paperback and join my library and stay with me, be loaned to my kids, etc. whenever I want.. rather then an expensive item.

    Maybe I'm wrong, maybe Kindle will really catch fire. But count me as one in the crowd who can't see Kindle as truly viable.
     
  5. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    I think something like Kindle could definitely catch on... comparing it to the 1st gen iPod may end up being a very accurate comparison.

    I would be interested in one, except $400 is too much when you have to pay $10 for books (then again it is a 1st gen device)... I'll probably wait for a 2nd or 3rd gen version. I'm not crazy about the keyboard thing... I know it needs something like that, but it would be cool if it could be tucked away when you didn't need it.

    I hope the later gen models rely on more than just Sprint's cell network for wireless. There is no Sprint coverage in Alaska at all, but AT&T wireless is coming in the next month or so.
     
  6. andrew markworthy

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    As a Brit, I'm reading this with great interest as we haven't got these devices yet. I want one for the simple reason that we're running out of room in my house and my office for books [when I moved jobs, one of my stipulations was that my new office had to have a minimum of 500 ft of shelf space - and that doesn't hold all my textbooks by any means; then we start on the novels, the poetry, the general information books, etc, etc]. Much as I love the tactile feel of books, I'd love to be able to ditch the 'routine' ones and replace them with a simple, single electronic book.

    So, given that motivation, would I buy the new ebooks? No - or rather, not yet. There are several key issues that need to be resolved. In particular, the screen size is too small. What we need is a double screen that folds up - well, like a book. It also needs to be a bit bigger so that on the two screens you would see exactly the same text as in a paperback book. There is a very good reason print and book sizes are the way they are - they are optimised for the typical reader. A single page of text in the current format doesn't allow the eye to wander automatically to further in the text. You may not think your eyes do this, but trust me, they do, and they hugely enhance your reading speed and (for want of a better term) processing efficiency.

    I would also not be too keen on pursuing the 'this is lighter than a book' process. We get a reassuring feel from holding a firm, substantial book. Something too flimsy sends the wrong vibes. And, whilst I'm demanding the impossible, the current format will be hopeless for reading a newspaper. One of the pleasures of newspaper reading is to be able to butterfly flit around a page, looking for the news stories that interest you. A set of headlines and links on a page just ain't the same. Oh yes, and we need interactivity - how else can one do the crossword and the sudoku? And with a textbook, we need the ability to make margin notes, highlight text, etc. So a good electronic pen and writing system is a must.

    My personal hunch is that within two generations we will get the dual screen paperback and electronic pen. I think it'll take four generations to get a decent newspaper simulation. And then - oh boy, are we in for a cultural change. I don't think many people have thought through the possibilities that electronic books and newspapers open up. But consider the following couple of ideas:

    (1) how long will traditional printing last once ebooks become widespread? I would give news-stands, bookshops et al at best thirty years.

    (2) how long will writing on paper last? Personal letters are disappearing now we have emails, and really the only places in which people use handwriting on a regular basis are schools and to a lesser extent colleges/universities. I would guess that for many adults, the sole times they use a pen and paper are writing the shopping list and signing for something. Once we have ebooks, how much longer before kids learn to write on electronic notepads? And then, given the ever-improving handwriting recognition programs, it's a short step from there to writing movements being automatically converted into standard print. Handwriting as we know it could disappear in two generations.
     
  7. Craig S

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    Kindle has 6 text sizes. The smallest size is about equivalent to a paperback page. For those of us whose eyes are getting older, however, the larger text sizes are a blessing.

    You can switch among the text sizes at any time. I use different sizes depending on whether I'm using Kindle on a table, or holding it in a chair, and on whether I wearing my contacts or my glasses.

    And yes, you have a (large) page turn button you click when you are ready to advance (of course there's a page back button as well). I'm pretty sure the E-Ink technology doesn't even support scrolling.
     
  8. Craig S

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    The price is getting a lot of criticism from folks on the Amazon forums who have apparently never bought consumer electronics before. As you point out, it's a first-gen, early-adopter price. This is no different from the first $1000 CD & DVD players, digicams, & more recently the $600 iPhone.

    It's important to note that the $9.99 book price is for current best-sellers, and is a high-end. Most books I have looked at are cheaper than that. For example, I'm interested in reading the Navajo mysteries by Tony Hillerman. The entire series is available for Kindle at $5.99 a pop. This is one dollar cheaper than the paperbacks. Now, like Chris I love collecting books, but like Andrew I'm pretty much out of room. This is where Kindle will be very handy.

    I've seen book prices as low as $1.50 for classics like the works of Dickens, Austen, etc. Of course, you can also download these for free from Project Gutenberg - Kindle reads plain text files directly. Or you can convert them to Kindle format using free tools from mobipocket.com, or using Amazon's e-mail service (which is also free if you just have them e-mailed back to you instead of directly to the Kindle). So you could read exclusively classics from PG and never pay a cent for content on the Kindle.

    The keyboard is used for searching in the store, and for note-taking. However, while you're reading it's just there taking up space. I fully expect that in future models this will be refined - you may have a hideaway KB as you mentioned, or a choice of a "reader-only" model with no KB. A touch-screen a la the iPhone might be the ultimate solution, but it's my understanding that the E-Ink technology is not there yet.

    I was a little surprised they used the USA-only EV-DO (CDMA) network at first. But after thinking about it, I think this was a deliberate decision by Amazon to limit the initial base of Kindle to the US just to make it easier for them to evaluate how it's performing, and to have closer control over the network. I have no doubt that if Kindle's successful, future versions will use GSM or WiFi, making them truly international devices.
     
  9. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Thanks. I've never liked scrolling ebooks, which is one reason I rarely read them.
     
  10. PatH

    PatH Second Unit

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    But still, no one's answered the question as to whether an attached book light will cover the entire page. Thanks! PatH
     
  11. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    It seems to me that electronic book readers will discourage sharing of books. I'm assuming that when I buy a book, it is attached to that kindle and can't be transferred to another. To share the book, I would have to loan out the kindle.

    From the video on Amazon, it would also appear that the kindle owner is dependent on Amazon to back up his purchased books. There was no mention you could put the books on your pc.

    This is an interesting idea, but this is an early adopter price. The kindle might be a big hit or a flop. I do believe there is no avoiding change and that electronic books will become common one day.
     
  12. Craig S

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    Funny, one of the big complaints from folks who haven't actually looked at the Amazon video is that they felt they would be SOL if the Kindle broke - that they would lose all their purchased media. Not true - Amazon keeps a record of everything you buy and you can re-download it at any time to any Kindle attached to your account. This is a GOOD thing - many wish the iTunes Store had the same feature.

    But if you want a local backup, you can do so. The Kindle comes with a USB cable. Hook it up to your PC (or Mac) and the Kindle appears just like any USB storage device. No special software needed - just drag & drop files to & from the Kindle. You can easily back up your Kindle content on your PC (I just did this). You also use this method to copy Audible books, MP3s, and your own non-DRMd reading material to the Kindle. I just did this with Dickens' "Bleak House" obtained from Project Gutenberg. Works great.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I would "test drive" an ebook reader before buying. I've played with a recent Sony reader at a bookstore and found it too slow to be enjoyably useful. A recent review I read of the new Sony also noted that the page-turn took about 2 seconds, which seems unbearably long to my tastes. (If I'm off base here, correct me.)

    Now, if there were a full-color system with quick response, and magazine subscription options (think Newsweek), that would be quite interesting to me. [​IMG]

    That's not very reassuring: I have books on my bookshelf, but the stores I bought them from no longer exist. Perhaps I'm too pack-ratty, but I like the sight of books on shelves. I enjoy rereading books I've had for nearly 30 years. I'm dubious of an ebook will be readable in 30 years. I'm skeptical of any claim that Amazon will be around in 30 years.
     
  14. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I drop a book on the floor, no biggie. I drop a kindle on the floor, here comes the anger and tears. It's a neat idea, but not $400 neat. For it to catch on, you need to get it down to double-digits, and I suspect in time the price will fall.
     
  15. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    I agree. This has got to be cheap enough so I won't cry if I break it, cheap enough so that I might buy it on impulse. The money to be made should come from selling the content. However, I do understand they want this to be a limited roll out and thus the steep price.
     
  16. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Ah, I did not know that. With "free" public domain titles the Kindle/Reader starts to make much more sense. When you can only read $10 eBooks its a bad product, a new eBook should cost pennies, since there is no cost to publish beyond server fees. (a quick search will turn up dozens of titles that cost significantly more in e-form).
     
  17. Craig S

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    Did you miss my following paragraph where I described how you can back up your Kindle content to your own computer?? The point is you're covered both ways.

    I love the sight of books on shelves too. What I'm not liking right now is the sight of books stacked everywhere in my house because I am out of shelf space - and I have no room to install new ones. The Kindle is clearly not a solution for everyone, but I'm hoping it will work for me as a tool to manage my collection - ideally the "keepers" will stay on the shelves, the "read once" titles will be Kindle.

    I won't claim to know that Amazon will be around in 30 years, but if ANY current e-tailer will last that long, surely it will be Amazon.
     
  18. Craig S

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    Again, the E-Ink technology's not there yet (color). I'm sure it will come in time.

    And Kindle DOES have magazine (& newspaper) subscriptions. For example, you can get Time for $1.50 a month. However, it's not a digital representation of the magazine (like, say, the Zinio service). You get all the text content of the mag in a book-like format. Obviously, this will not satisfy many people. Kindle as it stands now is a reasonable solution for material that is solely or primarily text - novels, biographies, etc. It's just not there for heavily graphical material.
     
  19. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Sorry, but this is a specious argument. If you really buy into this, then you would own NO handheld electonic gadgets. Digicams, camcorders, cell phones, MP3 players, game players - you drop 'em, they can break. Shit happens - you break your toys and you deal with it. Replace 'em if they're important to you, move on otherwise. At least with Kindle Amazon has all your content purchases on their server ready to fill up your replacement Kindle... [​IMG]

    Oh, and as far as "drop a book on the floor, no biggie"... I dropped a book of mine a few months ago. A nice, heavy guide to England full of beautiful color photography. 20 years old and (of course) no longer available. Accidentally knocked it off of my bar (about 3.5 feet) onto carpet. Unfortunately, it landed on the edge and the spine ripped badly. The "anger and tears" definitely came. [​IMG]

    Funny thing is, I suspect my Kindle would survive the same fall nicely, at least based on Amazon's drop tests (see the video on the Amazon Kindle page), and on the fact that I keep my Kindle in its protective cover.
     
  20. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    No doubt. Again, this is no new concept to readers of this forum, many of whom happily shelled out $1000 for their first DVD player. But DVD didn't take off with the masses until the price hit one-fifth of that. $79-$99 sounds about right as a "magic price point" for an eBook reader.
     

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