Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

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ian
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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby ian » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:00 pm UTC

which is the most 'open' ebook (is ebook the general name?)?

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby Zamfir » Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:14 am UTC

ian wrote:which is the most 'open' ebook (is ebook the general name?)?

E-book is more the word for the actual book files, but word use is still not fixed entirely. The things are usually called "E-reader", although that word is sometimes also used for software intended to read ebooks on other devices. Still, "ereader" is the best word I think. E-ink is the stuff the display is made off.

What do you mean by "open"? If you mean installing new features, new fonts, installing a diferent OS, I think BeBooks work Ok. But to be honest, this kind of "open" is not really important. Ereaders are really single-purpose devices, mainly because of battery and screen limitations. They are excellent at replacing books, and not at other things.

If you mean which device reads the most formats? The two main formats are mobi and ePub, if it reads those you are basically OK. But changing from one format to the other is simple and painless, just as changing html or txt or so into them, so I wouldn't bother about this too much. PDF support is more relevant, because you cannot change a PDF to an ebook format with loss of make-up and picture.

And of course there is DRM support. If you can't buy books from your favorite shop, there is little point in the device. So better to check in what format your favorite shops sell. Some, like Amazon, only sell to their own reader. But breaking drm isn't hard, so you shouldn't worry about future-proofing. If the shop goes bust or stops support or something, just break their drm'ed files.

The feel of the device is really much more important than tech specs. Find one with a good contrast screen, a 6-inch screen (some cheaper models are 5 inch), a light weight, a clean look that doesn't distract while reading, and a good placement of the buttons. At the moment, the Kindle is unbeatable in those respects, especially at the price, but I can imagine that you don't want an Amazon device. Some devices offer a touch-screen, which is very pleasant as "next page" button, but does produce a bit more glare in the screen.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby ian » Tue Sep 07, 2010 8:35 am UTC

ah right, from the thread title i presumed 'E-Reader' was an actual brand/model

Yeah I meant the most formats, as wellas not locked down to only using certain websites. The only things I might buy are paper/journal subscriptions. for books I'll buy the physiacl object and see if i can find a pdf or text file somewhere (which is what I do know for computer reading)

I'd have no problem buying a kindle if it was the best option. i think it's likely I wait a bit yet anyway. is it known how far off roughly colour ereaders may be ?

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby Zamfir » Tue Sep 07, 2010 9:20 am UTC

ian wrote:ah right, from the thread title i presumed 'E-Reader' was an actual brand/model

Yeah I meant the most formats, as wellas not locked down to only using certain websites. The only things I might buy are paper/journal subscriptions. for books I'll buy the physiacl object and see if i can find a pdf or text file somewhere (which is what I do know for computer reading)

I'd have no problem buying a kindle if it was the best option. i think it's likely I wait a bit yet anyway. is it known how far off roughly colour ereaders may be ?


I think you are looking for slightly the wrong thing. Standard 6-inch ereaders are not good devices to read PDFs and other fixed-format documents. They are intended to replace books, in particular text-only books. They can do pdfs, but only as extra. Ereaders work great with text-only files, because they can reflow the text to exactly fit the screen. A few pictures are no problem, but it can't guarantee that they appear at the correct place.

PDFs carry their own formatting. That means a small screen can either
- show the entire page or page width, making it small on a 6-inch screen.
-show a part of the page, which works on laptops and phones because you can easily scroll. But an ereader can only refresh a page a few times per second, so you can't scroll smoothly. Its processor power isn't really up to that either.
- Extract the text from the PDF and show it without the encapsulated formatting. This doesn't work well at this moment, although software is improving. Think what happens when you copy PDF text into a word document: pictures are gone, formulas disappear, text blocks are in the wrong order, headers become part of the text, etc.

So to view PDFs you need a screen that is large enough to show the entire page (or at least the width of the page) at close to normal size. Amazon sells a 10-inch reader (the DX) for about 300 dollar, I have heard this one works OK for PDFs. Other firms sell large ereaders too, but for a lot more I think.

If you want a colour ereader, I suggest you buy an iPad. There won't be colour ereaders for less than iPad prices in the coming years, let alone 10-inch readers. LCD is less nice than e-ink when reading normal text, but for all other purposes there is no comparison.


Edit: this sounds very negative, but that is the wrong impression. Ereaders are actually excellent at replacing books, nothing like reading on computer screen at all. It's probably better than reading a physical book. But if that's not what you want to do, you'll end up with a disappointing device, and they are still a bit expensive to just buy and try.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby ian » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:30 pm UTC

I should haev been more clear, by pdfs i meant scanned versions of text only books, so im quite happy just selecting text and copying it to a text file, which is what i do now if i want to read it on my phone.

I see ereader journal subscriptions mentioned though, is it mainly text only journals?

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby Zamfir » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:59 pm UTC

ian wrote:I should haev been more clear, by pdfs i meant scanned versions of text only books, so im quite happy just selecting text and copying it to a text file, which is what i do now if i want to read it on my phone.

Reading txt files is not a problem. ButI don't get why you would want to do that? Why not download an ebook version of the book directly?

ian wrote:I see ereader journal subscriptions mentioned though, is it mainly text only journals?


Do you mean scientific journals? A lot of people want an e-reader for those, and they really need a pdf-suited, larger reader. Scientific journals have a lot of text formatting and pictures and formulas and graphs etc.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby El Spark » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:18 pm UTC

I'm really kind of nervous about getting a Kindle because I've heard a few horror stories about Amazon canceling or suspending accounts for trivial things, including a person buying too many books.

Wouldn't that...make your Kindle useless?

I'm not sure of the truth of those claims, but I HAVE heard them a few times.

Outside of that, MAN I want a Kindle.
Check out my short horror story "No One Rents 203," available in Kindle and Nook formats.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby GyRo567 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:04 am UTC

Kindle 3 acquired & awesome. It is most excellent.

Anyway, just thought I'd mention here (B&N had a sale on accessories today) that the Kindle 3 is small enough to fit snuggly into Nook cases, which tend to be a bit cheaper.
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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:31 am UTC

GyRo567 wrote:Kindle 3 acquired & awesome. It is most excellent.

Anyway, just thought I'd mention here (B&N had a sale on accessories today) that the Kindle 3 is small enough to fit snuggly into Nook cases, which tend to be a bit cheaper.

I like making such simple things myself. Bit of fabric, bit of leather, bit of soft stuffing, bit of stiff stuffing, glue, elastic bands.

The kindles do have a nifty hook system to attach to a case, and that is harder make yourself.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby GyRo567 » Sat Sep 11, 2010 6:23 pm UTC

Ordinarily I'd agree (my house is full of such makeshift products---for instance, a turntable hinge replaced by Knex), but among the Nook cases is one that reads as the first page of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Which is something you can also see on the Kindle beneath it.
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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:07 pm UTC

I'm thinking of getting the Sony e-Reader maybe in a few months. Both my parents have one, and they love it. They got theirs through one of those scheme offer sites (complete x number of offers, then sign up for a credit card) in order to get them for free, or a low price.

I had been into Borders a couple of times over the last few months, and saw where you can purchase the Sony e-Reader there, and also download books there. Of course you can do the latter at home as well. May end up doping so in a few months.

I bought a Nintendo DSi XL about a month ago. While browsing Amazon for a few games, imagine my nerdgasm when I saw this. O, happy day. Bought it at GameStop along with a couple of used games. I had just recently finished "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and am now working on "Through the Looking-Glass".

One thing I like about it is you can have it recommend a book for you by taking a short little quiz. Based on your answers, it will give you a list of books that would fit your present mood for a book. The only problem I've seen so far is that the screen on the DS will only show a few sentences at a time, making you turn the page more frequently, and a couple of the books seem abridged, mainly "The Odyssey".
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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby The1exile » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:43 pm UTC

I really want to get a kindle now they're out in the UK, but the internet thing (which looks really cool) is either going to make or break it for me. I hear you can't actually use it to download anything, and it doesn't have apps like flash (so youtubing is out) but they say wikipedia is accessiblle, and email may be possible. What about webcomics? Are public domain books free to download? What's the deal with newspapers? How does the pdf stuff work (for lecture notes), and is there any support for other formats, notably slideshows (powerpoint mostly)? Is the 3G internet going to be worth it? And does anyone more technically wired up know what the limitations are on their web browser?

In short, is it worth the £150 of my holiday backpay I will spend on it? I don't have a smart phone (although lg kc550 is still pretty smart for a non-androidesque device) and if I get a kindle I'm likely to abandon my abiding interest in getting an ipod touch.
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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby jerome_bc » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:54 am UTC

The internet browser is a cool feature, but first and foremost the Kindle is an e-reader, and is not really meant for extensive web browsing of any sort. The screen displays 16 shades of gray and has an horrible refresh rate - which is perfectly fine for reading ebooks since you only need to refresh the screen when you turn pages, but not great for web sites - you mentionned youtube; forget anything that is in any way dynamic. I just tried m.gmail.com and it works okay but I wouldn't use it on a regular basis. I suspect browsing for longer periods of time would eat the battery out since the screen is constantly refreshing. The browser doesn't have flash or anything. It's fine for text-based websites but that's about it. I just tried m.xkcd.com and the images are not displayed for whatever reason. Wikipedia access is nice. When I bought it they all came with 3G but if I had to buy one now I'd probably buy the one without, especially since I'm mostly at home or at uni where there's wifi.

You can download public domain books for free. For me that was an important consideration since I don't like paying for public domain books but I hate reading novels on a LCD. Slideshows are out. I have the Kindle 2 and PDF support is ok as long as your PDF's are text-only and have not too fancy formatting.

It can be worth the money if you're going to use it to read lots of books; that's your call to make. That's what it's made for, and that's what it's good at. However it is nothing like an Ipod Touch. It's really only meant to display text.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby Zamfir » Wed Sep 15, 2010 5:22 am UTC

If you consider an ereader instead of a smart phone or ipod, you are on the wrong track. It's an electric book, that's what it is great at, and nothing else. Also, books for it are not much cheaper than pockets, so you won't save massive money to compensate.

It's not really something you should save for. If you have the cash, you can buy one for the luxury of the light weight, the public domain books and the instant book delivery, not because it brings somethig essential in your life.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby The1exile » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:04 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:If you consider an ereader instead of a smart phone or ipod, you are on the wrong track.

My main concern is that I want an e-reader (public domain books, yay!) but if it just reads books then it has to match the cost of buying paperbacks, and even then only paperbacks that I can't find in the local library (ergo I have to be wanting this enough to read at least 150 books on it). I don't want it to replace the functions of an ipod or smart phone (for which I have a phone) or heavy duty surfing but if it can manage wikipedia, gmail and reading books and lecture notes, it has significantly more worth than if I can only use it to read gothic literature and some pulp fiction.
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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby Zamfir » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:29 pm UTC

The1exile wrote:
Zamfir wrote:If you consider an ereader instead of a smart phone or ipod, you are on the wrong track.

My main concern is that I want an e-reader (public domain books, yay!) but if it just reads books then it has to match the cost of buying paperbacks, and even then only paperbacks that I can't find in the local library (ergo I have to be wanting this enough to read at least 150 books on it). I don't want it to replace the functions of an ipod or smart phone (for which I have a phone) or heavy duty surfing but if it can manage wikipedia, gmail and reading books and lecture notes, it has significantly more worth than if I can only use it to read gothic literature and some pulp fiction.


Here's a review: http://ireaderreview.com/2010/08/25/kindle-3-browser-photos-video/. look especially at the video down below. Remember that there is no mouse, just a D-pad, and refresh rates are low (so when you type or move the cursor you do not see the changes until some time later). I do have a good android phone, so I never use the browser. I might consider using the kindle to read very long articles on the web, that might actually be good. But then you need to switch from phone/computer to ereader, which never happens in practice.

The android phone also means I do not need the 3g version, because my phone can relay 3g though wifi to the kindle. The only advantage for me would be for 3g use abroad. I would say a good smartphone is more useful than an ereader, but of course you need a monthly data plan for that, so it's a different order of money. For some fields, that would be perfect, for other completely seless.

If you already read lots of public domain books, you might actually reach the 150 during the lifetime of the device. Even on my phone, I would already regularly download a book from Gutenberg when I was stuck somewhere and out of reading material.

Lecture notes is tricky: the larger ereaders would by now be perfect for that, but a 6-inch screen without scrolling is a tad too small to read most pdfs pleasantly. This would only work if your notes are text-only (without pictures or math), because then you can do a pdf-to-txt translation and read them like a book.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby LoganCale » Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:28 am UTC

Just received my Kindle 3 today, and I love it. I've been reading almost exclusively on laptop screens for the past ten years or so, and I'm already ready to switch all my reading to the Kindle.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby shanghaitexan » Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:49 am UTC

i have a sony reader pocket edition and i really like it. haven't tried the kindle or any of the other alternatives to compare it to, but the reader is great for me. i live abroad where it's difficult and expensive to buy english books, so not having to lug books back and forth on international plane rides is nice, as is the ability to buy and read a book whenever i want it instead of having to find a bookstore that carries it. i love the e-ink stuff. mine is also roughly the size of a small paperback, but thinner. i miss the tactile pleasure of real books, but at the same time my reader is actually more comfortable to read cause i don't have to roll over every page or hold my book at an awkward angle when reading in bed. my reader doesn't get on the internet, but honestly, i would never use it for that anyway. i downloaded a bunch of free books from project gutenberg and had no problems adding them to my reader, but have just used the sony reader store for non public domain books. now, if only i had the time to actually READ the books waiting for me on my reader :?

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby derick » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:20 am UTC

Does anyone know whether it's possible to hack books on a Kobo and put them on a Kindle? I bought a Kobo today, but I'm thinking of returning it because it's a smaller company and I can see it going out of business or slowing down its library updates (I live in Canada and we get ours at a different place so, unlike at Borders, yes I can return it) and I don't want to buy a thousand dollars worth of books then not be able to use them if I get a new, non-Kobo device.

Also: they all let you port your books from earlier versions of their own brand, right?! It'd be insane if they didn't.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:07 am UTC

You can read non-drm'ed book on the kindle from any source, and if it doesn't support a format you can easily convert to a supportex format, even in bulk.

So the question is, what drm (if any) do you have on the books you read on the kobo?

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby ian » Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:44 pm UTC

been doing a bit more reading about them and tempted to get a kindle for santa's birthday. the one thing im wondering is to the availability of drm-free ebooks, though im not sure how much i can talk about piracy on here. as stated in a previous post i'll most likely still buy a physical copy of a book and refuse to pay twice, so how easy is it to find ebooks on the internet? is availability consistent if you nkow where to look or rather random and sporadic?

also if someone wqants to try and convince me to get something instead of a kindle, please feel free to. my main reason for it is that i have the kindle app on my android already and the likely long term support for it

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby Czhorat » Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:41 pm UTC

ian wrote:been doing a bit more reading about them and tempted to get a kindle for santa's birthday. the one thing im wondering is to the availability of drm-free ebooks, though im not sure how much i can talk about piracy on here. as stated in a previous post i'll most likely still buy a physical copy of a book and refuse to pay twice, so how easy is it to find ebooks on the internet? is availability consistent if you nkow where to look or rather random and sporadic?

also if someone wqants to try and convince me to get something instead of a kindle, please feel free to. my main reason for it is that i have the kindle app on my android already and the likely long term support for it


I went with the Nook because

1) I find Barnes and Noble's policies regarding relationships with author's and publishers slightly less maddening than Amazon's
2) The ability to handle the DRM in loans from public libraries.

In terms of "free" copies of pirated books, I have a simple way of handling this: I don't steal books. If it's worth reading it's worth either waiting for the libraries one virtual "copy" to be available or paying for as a vote for more books of a similar type by similar authors. I DO understand where you're coming from, ian, in that you've already paid for the book in one format and would also like to have it in another, but the other format is currently being sold as a separate item. It seems to me a bit akin to saying that you bought a nice hardback of your favorite book, so it's OK for you to shoplift a more portable paperback to read on the train. There's lots of legitimately free content being offered for free out there. Take advantage of that, and pay for the things for which creators want monen.

</soapbox>

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby existentialpanda » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:51 am UTC

For me, the perfect combination is Word 2010 and the Sony Reader. The Reader can read pdfs, and it can zoom in and wrap the text, so page size isn't that much of an issue. It can read pretty much everything (ODT and HTML are the only formats I've come across that it can't read) but I've had difficulty with txt and .doc, sometimes the words run off the screen. But all of this is a moot issue for me, because I can just copy the text into Word, make the font bigger if necessary (14- or 16-point is usually good) and then save as a PDF, which works very well.

And since it can read anything you can put into Word (text, at least, images don't always go through), I'm not tied to Amazon. Win win.

It's also very convenient for somebody living out of a tiny dorm room. I have very little shelf space for actual physical books, but I currently have at least 130-odd books within arms reach, not counting textbooks. All but four of those are on my reader.

What I'm saying is, I've had this reader for about three months now and I have no complaints whatever. It's fantastic.

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man seeks ereader, large and durable...

Postby liar.paradox » Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:22 am UTC

I'm looking for a eReader. I have a huge library of books that I can't bring with me when I travel. Most of my reading is technical in nature (although the occasional newspaper is nice). I need a big screen. I'm willing to pay a high price point for the right reader. The Skiff reader looked nice, but it turned into vaporware. iRex had several eReaders (some bigger than the largest Kindle) and they stopped selling their product. ASUS has delayed their release as well. There have been numerous false starts with competing eReaders. The problem is that most manufacturers are afraid to sell anything at a price point above the Kindle. The Kindle and the iPad own their markets.

Are there any eInk eReaders with screens larger than the Kindle DX. Most of what I read is in PDF form. I don't need a color screen. The larger the screen the better. I need high contrast between text and background due to my astigmatism, so I have a preference for eInk. Durability is a huge plus. Price is not an issue. 3G or wifi might be interesting, but it's not essential. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby ian » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:19 am UTC

well i got my kindle and am loving it. can anyone recommend a reading light for it?

Czhorat wrote:
In terms of "free" copies of pirated books, I have a simple way of handling this: I don't steal books. If it's worth reading it's worth either waiting for the libraries one virtual "copy" to be available or paying for as a vote for more books of a similar type by similar authors. I DO understand where you're coming from, ian, in that you've already paid for the book in one format and would also like to have it in another, but the other format is currently being sold as a separate item. It seems to me a bit akin to saying that you bought a nice hardback of your favorite book, so it's OK for you to shoplift a more portable paperback to read on the train. There's lots of legitimately free content being offered for free out there. Take advantage of that, and pay for the things for which creators want monen.

</soapbox>

If I steal a paperback I am costing the manufactuer/bookstore the cost of creating/replacing it. i see it exactly the same as buying a music cd and ripping it to itunes, as opposed to rebuying it on itunes, even though that other format is currently being sold as a separate item.

im not sure libraries here have any kind of digital loans system.

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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:29 pm UTC

Well today I bought the Sony eReader Pocket Edition. Paid about $100 for it at Wal-Mart, and another $25 for the cover. So far I'm loving it. My parents, like I said before, have had theirs for a while. They also have a ton of ebooks on their computers, and since I can network in to their machines, I can copy whatever ebooks I want and put them on my Reader. So far I've got the Harry Potter series, Hitchhiker's Guide series, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Grimm Fairy Tales, Sherlock Holmes stories, and several other books.

In relation to what someone had asked earlier about the most "open" type of reader, before I finally settled on the Sony, I had been doing some research on the 'Net, and found the Kobo and the Barnes and Noble Nook to be almost comparable when it comes to handling most text formats. The only problem I've had so far with mine is it doesn't support .LIT files, and with some PDF files, the text is way too small, even if I try to enlarge it. That could just be from whoever scanned the book in and converted it initially.
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Re: Kindle, Nook, E-Reader and other Ebooks

Postby arnum » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:50 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:If you want a colour ereader, I suggest you buy an iPad. There won't be colour ereaders for less than iPad prices in the coming years, let alone 10-inch readers. LCD is less nice than e-ink when reading normal text, but for all other purposes there is no comparison.

I concur with Zamfir. I have both the iPad and a Kindle and they are both very good at what they do. I don't like reading for lonf perios on my iPad, though I love surfing the net and watching shows on it. On the other hand I can read a novel for hours on the Kindle....horses for courses.


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