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By jayhawk88 (Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 08:41:00 AM EST) (all tags)
Where eInk Wher?

So as you may have seen, Amazon and Barnes and Noble have kicked off a price war on the Kindle and Nook. Now I know, it's all about the Pads these days, but I have to admit that ~$200 for a 3G eReader has set my gadget antennae abuzz. Google Books, especially the collection of classic novels, is immediately attractive to me using something like this, though I'm certainly not opposed to the idea of paying for digital books as well.

Seems like I recall reading diaries from several individuals here about one or perhaps both devices when they were released. Opinions? 

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eReaders | 30 comments (30 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Thanks for the heads up. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 08:54:26 AM EST
The new lower prices make those much more attractive to me. Especially the WIFI only Nook at $150. Though I'd be tempted to get the 3G, I can't imagine I'll ever need to download something when I'm not within range of a WIFI connection. Hmm. My plans to buy an eBook reader may have been bumped up by this development. Or I wait to see how low the prices get before the Christmas rush this year.

The only concern I would have by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 09:20:46 AM EST if Amazon and B&N were to abandon the platform if it becomes clear that we as a society are just going to go ape shit over Tablet/Slate/Pad/Whatever computing. From what I understand the eInk technology still isn't trivial, cost wise, and if no one is giving them Infinity profit margin on digital copies of Catch 22, they may just decide it's not worth their time. But yeah for the price, I'm seriously considering one, for Christmas if not sooner.

Personally I think the 3G would be worth it. Even if it only becomes useful once or twice (on a long drive?), probably worth the extra $50.

What we really need is a device that can go both ways. Some kind of combo screen, that could be all iPad bright and shiny for when we want to surf, but somehow convert itself to eInk quality when we just want to read, but want to do it for a week without charging (or just needlessly burning power). Maybe even a hot-swappable screen that you can change in and out depending on need would be acceptable. Or a front/back type thing, using the gyroscope/accelerometer to determine which way is up?

[ Parent ]
The tablet thing. by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:04:43 AM EST
It's a great concept in some regards, but I have to be honest and say that at some point people are going to realize that reading a book on that type of device is gonna suck just as much as reading a book on a "real" computer screen. EInk is pretty awesome to read on from the little I've seen of it in comparison. No eye strain.

As much as I'd like to see a convertible between the two formats, I don't think it'll actually happen. I would guess in the next couple of years the various competitors will realize the potential to keep these readers alive by cross-branding in some fashion. Part of me wants to hold out for that, but part of me is so sick of lugging a big paper bound thing around that I want to jump on an ereader right now.

$150 = one and a half week's "fun money" in my world. I usually save that up and use it for bigger things, but that's very tempting. I really don't know about 3G. It may be good on a long trip, but on a long trip I'm driving or in a motel with WIFI anyway. Others would probably appreciate it more than me though.

[ Parent ]
That's probably how it will go by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:01:11 AM EST
Google pairs up with Amazon, Apple with B&N, or vice versa, and iDevice/Android both get a bump in available titles while the two book sellers see sales rise, and maybe get their devices subsidized. How does the whole Bookshelf or whatever thing on the App Store work anyway? Does it tie into something for the offerings, or is this just Apple negotiating with publishers to offer them?

[ Parent ]
My limited understanding by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:21:20 AM EST
based purely on talking with folks who've applied to have their books on the the Bookshelf app, is that it's much like iTunes for music. You have to put the title out there, wait for Apple to do whatever it is it does, then get pushed through some random amount of time later. Unless you're a big name, then you get to specify a date you want it pushed through.

Apple may be the one standout in this thing. I just don't see them giving up control in any way, even as a partnership. I do see others teaming up at some point though.

[ Parent ]
If book sellers were smart by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #20 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:37:31 PM EST
They'd latch themselves onto Google now, expand the offerings via Google Books and Android, perhaps even introduce a pay-system into Google Books for certain  titles, and give themselves a new revenue stream not tied to the will of Steve Jobs. Google seems like they'd probably be OK with Amazon/B&N still trying to make a go of it with their respective products/online stores.

Hell if book publishers were smart, they'd do the same thing, and overnight make themselves a player in all of this, instead of a "waiting to be made obsolete middleman".

[ Parent ]
They already are by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:55:10 PM EST
The whole tiff with Amazon removing Tor's books for a period recently was a battle between the publishers trying to prevent Amazon from taking over the ebook industry and Amazon, trying to push through end-to-end lockin.

There's a large number of ebook stores...the issue is just that the customers all gravitate to a couple.  THAT is what ties things to the will of Steve Jobs/Jeff Bezos.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
FYI by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #17 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:49:43 AM EST
Any sort of web-browsing on an eInk device is painful, and completely not worth it.  Usually these devices use 3G to go grab stuff for you to read behind the scenes.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
the screen developped for the OLPC could do this. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #26 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:54:47 PM EST

[ Parent ]
ain't got no need for book learn'n by duxup (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 09:33:11 AM EST

I have a Sony PRS 700 by ks1178 (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:09:48 AM EST
And I love it.

I fly or take long distance trains usually at least twice a week, some times more depending on work. So I have a lot of down time for reading, but not the carrying capacity for lugging around a lot of books. Plus being in main land Europe the selection of English books can leave something to be desired.

While I haven't really used a Kindle, and the nook wasn't available when I decided to get an E-Book, I remember part of the reason I chose the Sony one was because it was more open in regards to what formats I could read.

I often go more  than 30 hours of reading time between charges, and have never had a problem in that regard.

Formating of text tends to be pretty good. Occaisionaly when reading a book in .txt format, a page  will be cut off, but all it requires is to zoom in and zoom out and it's fixed. Also sometimes I'll
formating like

But those two problems have only occured in .txt formats, and really isn't abig deal, nor that often that I really recognize it.

The version I have does not connect to the internet in any way, so I  do need to copy over books  with a USB cable. But in general, I just make sure I have 2 or 3 books queued up, and have only once not had something new to read.

I don't have an ereader by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:34:32 AM EST
And here is why:

Device lock-in and heavily DRMed content.  If you buy a Nook, you can only use it at B&N.  Same for Kindle, only at Amazon.

On top of that those FUCKERS charge more than the paperback cost, even on books that have been on the market for some time.  No production and transportation costs, yet they raise the price.  A new book costing more, I understand.  But older books?  Total bullshit.

Fuck that and fuck them.

On top of that, I have a sneaking suspicion that as tablets such as the iPad come down in price, these single-use eReaders are going to be consigned to the dustbin of history, unless they can get the price below $99.00.  To make it worse, those bastards at Apple undermined Amazon's tough stance on pricing, fucking every eBook customer in the process.

Until there are open standards and pricing sanity, I say NO to eReaders.

"Adrenaline dumbs pain" - xth
false by clock (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:49:50 AM EST
nook will read any ePub or PDF.  Kindle will only eat Amazon's soup.  but the nook will do anything with Adobe DRM or anything that has NO DRM.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Which books? by nightflameblue (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:23:02 AM EST
Last I looked ebook editions were solidly two to three bucks less than the hardcopy at either Amazon or B&N. Did this flip-flop in the last couple months?

[ Parent ]
That's not true by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:36:46 AM EST
I mean, it is partially true for the Kindle, but it is NOT true for epub, which all eReaders, including the Nook, the Sony, etc. use.  In edition, ALL readers, even the Kindle, work perfectly fine for any non-DRM'd content.  Probably 75% of what I read on mine is completely non-DRM'd text, some of it purchased from a completely independent store.

This notion that eReaders all use "vendor lockin" is widely held and is also completely bullshit.  Only the Kindle is locked in in any fashion.  No other device restricts you to a single ebook vendor and no device at all (even the Kindle!) prevents you from using non-DRMed content.

See here for details on the DRM schemes that all non-Kindle readers use.

People talk a lot about eInk, but the other big difference between the average eReader and an iPad is size.  Most eReaders are substantially lighter and more transportable than an iPad.

As far as price goes...the front page of the Sony eReader store is selling "The Rule of Nine" for $13.64...this is selling for $14.84 as a hard cover on amazon.  "Ender's Game" is selling on the same place for $5.99...this is selling for $6.99 as a mass market paperback on Amazon.

...those are just the first two I checked at random.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Word by ks1178 (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:09:23 PM EST
The other thing i forgot to mention was the size. While it's bigger than a trade paperback, it's small enough to fit in any of my coat pockets or cargo pants pockets.

The other nice thing is the ability to change font size. So if i'm. Eating at a restraunt alone I can set the font a size larger and set it on the table and read while I eat.

[ Parent ]
Wrong. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #24 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:46:30 PM EST
Nook is Android based, and reads epubs from Gutenberg just fine.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
Also, that pricing notion is whacked by notafurry (2.00 / 0) #28 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 08:32:49 PM EST
From BN, and considering the fiction I've looked at (science fiction and history, some modern literature novels) the model looks like this -

New release hardcover: $24-$27. Digital edition: $10-$14.

9-12 months later is the first-edition trade paperback, for $14-$16. Digital edition price drops to $7-$10.

9-12 months after that you get mass-market paperbacks for $8. Digital edition drops to $5-$7.

The price difference is highest for new books, but the older books still cost less than the paperback editions. Not considering the price for free books from Google or Gutenburg.

[ Parent ]
Yeah by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #29 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 09:13:27 PM EST
Note that the argument between Amazon and the publishers was that Amazon wants to start charging the paperback price ($7-$10) the day the hardcover comes out, while publishers don't want that as it cannibalizes hardcover sales.

[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
i live for my nook by clock (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:46:41 AM EST
as the father of a bookmark stealing toddler, i can't live without it.  and once you read one-handed (HA!) you can't go back.  i actually get pissy when a book isn't available digitally.

if you are a big magazine/newspaper reader then it's not for you.  they just haven't figured that out yet.  it'll get there, but it isn't there today.  magazines are readable and stuff, but it just doesn't feel right.

calibre + project gutenberg = coolness

i say go for it.  i have read more this year so far than i did all of last year.  A++ would buy again.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

If I were to read a People magazine today by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:57:40 AM EST
I'd have probably read more than I have all of the past year. It's pathetic, and frankly one of the major reasons I want one as well.

Magazines to me are kind of done. They're just too much like the web to survive long term.

[ Parent ]
agreed. by clock (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:59:58 AM EST
give it a whirl in the store.  it's a pretty slick device.  and it's pretty kid resistant.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Well... by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:46:56 AM EST
I work for one of the manufactures, so take this with a grain of salt, but...

My main advice is to look at anything but a Kindle.  The other ones are fairly comparable, and have their pluses and minuses.  The issue with the Kindle is that it looks you into the Amazon store, so that books you buy for it from Amazon won't work on any other device, and you won't be able to buy ebooks from most other ebook stores (like as the Kindle doesn't support the epub format.

The other questions are: do you need instant access to a store, or are you fine with tethering it to a computer?  Do you want a touch screen for notes?

I have the Sony "Daily Edition", which has a larger screen, wifi and touchscreen.   I have mixed feelings about the touch screen as it slightly darkens the screen.  It does seem to have better note taking abilities than the Kindle.  (You can write cursive notes without causing screen refreshes for instance.)  The wifi is mostly good for impulse buys.  You can get newspaper delivery for it, but I never bother.  If I leave the wifi off, I can easily read a novel or two on a single charge, which is nice.  The huge advantage for me over every competing device.  (iPads.  Netbooks.)  is size.  Mine is smaller than a trade paperback and only slightly heavier.

The biggest criticisms of the Nook I've heard are in the software, and when I last looked at one, right after launch, this was definitely an issue.  Presumably, they are updating this as time goes by.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

I have heard tell by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:18:33 PM EST
...that launch Nook was all kinds of horrible-sauce, made better by subsequent firmware updates. Basically B&N launched a beta product just to get their name out there with Amazon.

[ Parent ]
it's MUCH better by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:13:30 PM EST
than it was when my MIL got hers (she got one of the first shipped ones).

when i was looking into this stuff in Feb, i noticed no performance difference in the Sonys or the Nook.

[ Parent ]
nook by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:49:01 AM EST
if the WiFi nook had been available when I got mine, I'd be a happier camper.  still, i'm INSANELY happy with having an eReader - I've read more books in the last 4 months than I've read in the last 4 years combined (and I was on strict bed rest for 5 weeks at one point). 

eInk is brilliant.  I can read it for hours and my eyes are happy.  the same isn't true on computer/iPod touch/etc screens.

one of my big selling points for the not Kindle was the ability to check eBooks out of my library.  unfortunately, they haven't carried a single title that I want to read.  maybe if I read NY Times bestsellers I'd get more use out of that feature.  still, it is available to me and i'm sure things will catch up one day as publishers put more things in electronic format.

originally I wanted a Sony, as i liked the price point better.  clock talked me into the nook so we could share an account (Sony Readers are not compatible with 100% of B&N books).  of course, there are maybe 10 books on the whole planet we are both interested in reading, so in retrospect that was a silly reason to drink his kool-aid.

the month of June has been "Stacky spends $0 on books month" and I haven't even had to struggle to find stuff to read (I just finished book #3 for the month last night).  between the free books B&N puts out (I'm expanding my horizons!) and the massive amounts of free literature out there, I could easily spend $0 on my reading for the rest of this year.

finally, it's really convenient to just pop my nook in my purse when I have a dr appointment, swimming lessons, long afternoons at my parents' house, etc.  more convenient than a book - the device itself is smaller.

the only improvement I'd like to see is to have an application that links to my Google Reader account.  then I could have a single device for ALL my reading (viewing photos on the small color touch-screen wouldn't bother me).

Kindle is just too closed for my taste.  You'll probably be happy with any of the open devices. 

oh! by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:54:31 AM EST
another nook thing - mine came with a bad battery.  i had to recharge it ~5 times to get through a 400 page novel.  i took it into a B&N store and told them the problem, and they swapped out the battery on the spot no questions asked.  it's been fine since then.

after one of the software updates, my MIL's nook went nuts.  again, she took it into the store and they replaced it on the spot.

nice customer service is just so hard to come by these days, i wanted to point it out.  i'm sure other mfgrs have great policies, but i wouldn't know where to go (offhandedly) if i had the battery problem on another device.

[ Parent ]
If you want 3g and google books by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #25 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:51:31 PM EST
get a Nook. Be aware that the LCD screen is unreadable in bright sunlight, which impacts navigation in the device, though the e-ink is very readable. Handles being on the beach quite well.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

I just got a nook by notafurry (2.00 / 0) #27 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 08:28:14 PM EST
Father's Day and Birthday present from the wife and kids. (I'm sure the 3 and 2 year olds had a lot of input into the decision-making process.)

I started out not liking the nook; I played with both the Kindle and the nook around the time the nook came out and gave the Kindle big thumbs up over the nook. But that was mostly software; by the time I got mine, the nook was the hands-down winner. I've looked at the third-party options and none of them turn my crank.

So, as an experiment, I decided to play with getting Kindle books on a nook and vice versa.

Amazon to nook: took five minutes of googling. DeDRMer and calibre handled most books, excluding only a few Topaz-formatted books. Solving the Topaz problem took an extra 45 minutes, mostly because I chased down the wrong blind alley at first.

BN to Kindle: tougher, but still doable. The DeDRMer tools actually include a script to go in reverse, but it just wasn't as simple. The problem wasn't the BN format or anything - that was easy. It was getting books onto the Kindle and recognized and displayed properly. I did manage it, but it's a bit of a pain. I won't be doing it again, it was an interesting experiment and having done it I am closing the book on the process.

Oh, and I wouldn't worry about the devices going away. One, neither BN nor Amazon are interested in making money on the devices; they want to sell the books, and the devices are great ways to do that. Look at it this way, I'd bought a dozen books from Amazon using Kindle software on my computer and iPhone, and never considered BN books, but now that I have a nook I've already purchased a few books from them just because it was convenient.

Yeah by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #30 Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 09:16:57 PM EST
A lot of the vendors have realized that the button to the store on the device is far, far more useful than vendor lockin schemes.  That's why my company abandoned its proprietary format for epub a couple years back.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
eReaders | 30 comments (30 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback