E-readers forum

General discussion

Why an E-Book reader?

by drbaum1 / December 21, 2009 4:33 AM PST

I've been reading about these things for a while now and I confess I just don't get it. I guess it's the price of the whole experience--at $260 for the Kindle on Amazon, this adds a $5 surcharge to the first fifty or so books you purchase. At $10 per book already, this makes reading the latest bestseller significantly more expensive than it costs to get the paperback at say, Target.

One of the great features of a paperback is that when I'm done, I can toss it to a friend to read. Doesn't seem you can do that with these guys. Also, all of the bits of Wi-Fi, internet and email on the readers seem like "cripple-ware" compared to a smartphone or a laptop.

So, to all of you E-Book enthusiasts--what's the draw? Convince me why one would plunk down the cash for one (and add yet another charger to the forest of little black cubes hogging outlet space in my house)? Thanks

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About the forest.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 21, 2009 4:44 AM PST
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

The kindle charger is not much bigger than a power plug. Your comment has me wondering if you looked at this closely.

The economics of any E-Book reader is one you can do your math and decide. So for you it's not there yet.

We have the Kindle and it's working out great. Books can't read themselves so let's see what you write about that feature.

The comparison to a smartphone or laptop fails on a few areas which makes me wonder if you've tried these devices. I have and smartphones don't run long enough to read a book. And laptops have that plus the display issues that the e-readers address on both counts.

For you? No sale. But here's where the Kindle saved me some time and money. I was looking for a book on a subject so I sent a dozen titles to the kindle in the free previews and was able to leaf through each one at my leisure then decide on the one that had what I wanted. Then I could chose the book or the ebook version.

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A fair reply
by drbaum1 / December 28, 2009 12:50 AM PST
In reply to: About the forest.

Fair enough. You've made some good points. I admit I haven't been drawn enough to these to try one out, so my details are a little fuzzy. The other posts also raise some very valid points, so I can see how, for some, they will be a good choice. I'll keep an open mind.

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Why I would purchase an Ebook reader
by bonstu / December 21, 2009 4:54 AM PST
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

I also struggle with the concept, the same way I struggled with Email, cell phones and carrying a million cards in my wallet for every store imaginable and I think the answer will have to be convenience. I live in a rural area and the closest book store is 17 miles away and they never have "book 2 in the series" that I want and it costs me $25 for the privelege of buying their goods if I want a discount. I don't have any good libraries in the area and the best sellers are checked out and reserved for a year post-publication. Yes, I purchase from Amazon and they deliver fairly quick but sometimes my window of opportunity for reading time is very small. If I had the Kindle, for example, I could download it and be reading in 5 minutes. I travel sometimes and what little spare room I have for books is filled w/half read ones that I end up throwing out at my destination to make room for something else, and with air carriers charging for baggage I hesitate to pack any. I love my Ipod Touch but the screen is too small for comfortable reading but I do have books on that. What will push me over the edge is if someone else buys it for me so I won't have to pay for it!

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by daxa52 / January 8, 2010 7:22 PM PST

I am trying to decide whether I should get Kindle or stick to buying books and using library - I am so close to making the purchase and I have these reasons; I will have the books right there when I need them; I will regain the space I am using right now for my books - still many even though I just donated over 200 last month. Less trees down to make books available and especially in the winter don't have the energy and time to run around shopping and going to the library. I know my favorite Amazon is right there but no more room. OK I am buying it but what I was told by my electronic rescuer to wait because it is still new and give it a chance to "grow up." Should I buy it now? or wait???

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I have the kindle
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 9, 2010 11:04 PM PST
In reply to: Kindle

If it had a touch screen I would say it's grown up. That's my own quibble about it. It does work fine here.

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Works for me (sometimes)
by make_or_break / December 21, 2009 11:57 PM PST
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

I was an early adopter of the Sony PRS-500, freely admitting that I was willing to play guinea pig, if for nothing else than to cut down on the amount of paper I was consuming. The idea of e-media has a lot of appeal to me; simply making printed books seem so wasteful of resources in this day and age despite the fact that pulp-based books can be reused time and again. But my problem was that I (and my wife) tend to re-read books so they really don't get loaned or given out to others, and over the years that's amounted to a LOT of bulk and clutter. Electronic copies stored on a computer OTOH has a far less intrusive effect on our living space.

I like having multiple books in one thin device when I travel. I find that even at home, it's an easy and unobtrusive way to enjoy reading. While I still occasionally buy a hardbound from a favored author, more often than not I'll pick up the digital copy instead, preferring the absolute lack of clutter that comes with the choice.

But the Sony way hasn't been some unbridled bundle of joy. For too long Sony basically neglected their e-book ecosystem. They initially didn't respond well at all to the Kindle threat. Their system floundered as a result, with a dearth of titles in certain categories and inconsistent text quality with the occasional title, particularly older text where the e-book was created from text-recognition scans rather than an available Word or similar word processing text file. The reader itself has quirks. I have to be much more mindful of water (bathroom reading) than I ever was with pulp-based material. Being a first-gen device the PRS-500's e-ink screen has its issues with excessive ghosting. And the device's interface design isn't the best, even though I'm well used to its faults by now.

Some of its buttons are sluggish to respond and were poorly engineered and located (now that's something you DON'T say about most paper-sourced books). And its Li-ion battery is now starting to show its age. Moreover, Sony's recent shift to the e-Pub format has made my old downloads outdated, as well as my reader's original firmware. To Sony's credit, they offer free re-downloads of all of my earlier digital material as well as a free service to reflash my PRS-500 to an updated firmware set...however it means that my reader has to take a trip to Texas for the service (another Sony engineering screw-up for NOT designing the PRS-500 to allow the USER to update their e-readers themselves).

So no, it's not been the proverbial bowl of cherries. But nonetheless I've still gotten serious mileage out of my device, and I have to say that I've benefited greatly from my experience with this little Sony. While I might have reservations answering in the affirmative about whether I'd buy a PRS-500 if I had it to do over again, I'd have no problem saying yes to the concept of an e-reader in general. Fact is, my wife has the newest Kindle now and is equally as enthusiastic as I am about the concept. And since we've rarely if ever shared the same interests in books, it works great for us being on two different systems.

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...because I read.
by glois8 / December 30, 2009 6:45 AM PST
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

I have had a Kindle for two years. I bought it when they were $400, and I have no regrets.

I do save money buying Kindle books over paper books, even including the original price. New best sellers are $10-$12 on Kindle, as opposed to $18-$25 in hard cover. A book that would be $8 in paperback is still about $8, but I found many books that are free. I save money by not driving to the store and not paying for shipping.

It is a huge space saver. I have dozens of books on my Kindle. They aren't taking up any shelf space at all.

I can read one-handed. I don't have to hold the book or hold the pages flat. I can lay my Kindle on a pillow or the table, and only need to keep one hand out to turn the pages. I like to read while I eat dinner, so this is huge. I can cut steak while I read. This seems silly until you've done it.

If the wireless is turned off, it doesn't need charged very often. I probably read three or more hours a day, and I charge it about 4 hours a week.

It feels natural to read it. I rarely have a glare problem with the screen, the screen is comfortable to read, and the font size is adjustable.

I can buy books instantly and the Kindle store selection is fantastic. In two years, I have had only about five books that weren't available on Kindle. Most of those were at the very beginning.

My friend and reading partner also bought a Kindle, so we are able to share. We just trade Kindles. I read the books on hers, she reads the books on mine and then we trade back. I would like to see a sharing feature, but in the meantime we found a workaround.

I still buy and read paper books from time to time, especially text books and cook books. Kindle is not the best format for illustration and reference books, but if you are a heavy novel reader I highly recommend getting an e-book reader.

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Another advantage of having a Kindle
by rockiemo / September 2, 2010 7:55 AM PDT
In reply to: ...because I read.

I am now living in Panama where language is primarily Spanish. I feel fortunate to have a global Kindle and be able to read books in English especially where there are libraries and book stores that have all the literature written in SPANISH!!!! It's a real boon for international travelers who like to have reading entertainment (in English) on hand while they travel to pass time... Also nice to have latest news of goins' on in the US while overses...

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also new to this media
by duffster54 / September 18, 2010 5:05 AM PDT
In reply to: ...because I read.

Aha, you've just hit on my question. I was reading all these posts and was waiting for someone to mention being able to adjust the print size. I'm getting older and the eyesight isn't the same. The one thing I hate about reading books is the reading glasses. I suppose having the Kindle would wipe out that problem. (right?)

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by Michelle12PR / January 2, 2010 6:37 PM PST
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

I have a Sony PRS-505. I love it. Along with my phone & ipod, I use it every day. When you buy an e-book reader, you're paying for convenience. Here's what it does for me:

- I can read while eating because I can lay it down flat.

- I don't have to constantly hold it open. Good for those 1000+ page paperbacks.

- It's more comfortable to read lying down because I can hold it with 1 hand.

- I frequently read multiple books at once. Right now I'm reading 3. I can take them all with me & switch between them easily.

- I'm in the military. When I deploy I barely have room for 1 book in my pack. Now I can carry dozens in 1 slim device.

- I can read every day for over a week with my e-reader on 1 charge. I'm lucky if I can get through the day with my phone.

- There's no way in hell I'm reading an entire novel on a phone. That's crazier than spending $300 on an e-book reader.

- It's a hell of a lot easier taking it out & using it on a packed airplane/bus than a laptop. Plus, how long before that laptop battery dies? I seem to never be around an available outlet.

- The latest hardcover novels are $30-$35. The latest E-books are $9.99.

- Does your public library have what you want to read? Mine sure as hell don't.

E-book readers may not appeal to everyone, but they fit my tastes and circumstances perfectly.

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I think they're a good idea
by damasta55r / January 8, 2010 5:35 AM PST
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

however I will not buy one till they have color screens.

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Kindle is best thing I ever bought
by Fred1293 / January 8, 2010 1:39 PM PST

I agree with most of the praise about the Kindle by Amazon, however, the advantage for my older eyes is the non-glare screen and adjustable font. I am a voracious reader but found it more and more difficult to adjust to standard print with any comfort. Large print books are still somewhat rare, so Kindle has been a life saver for me. Additionally, amazon will sent a generous sample of the book to browse before buying. On the newer models many authors have allowed a new "read-to-me" feature that makes the Kindle truly portable and personal. A mini-earphone jack completes the package or you can listen through the built in stereo speakers. There is no wireless fee, books and magazines are delivered almost instantly,there is a built in dictionary, basic web search,Wikipedia... and no trees are lost. I think it's right up there with sliced bread!

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I'm collecting a library of eBooks
by Erick144 / January 9, 2010 8:46 AM PST
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

I've had my Nook for two days and I'm finding I enjoy reading in bed more that I did with a paper book. The nook is easy to hold and turn the pages. And when I'm done with a book I don't have to give it away.

But what the Nook has jump started for me is creating my eBook collection. There are many books I want to have and keep for reference but don't have the shelf space. While it is true you don't need an eReader to collect eBooks I like being able to see how they look on the Nook after I down load them. I'm collecting eBooks for the long term and want to still have access if I decide to go "off the grid". I have an extra battery and I like that the Nook lasts a week with one charge - unlike my smart phone or computer. I will be able to keep my Nook charged up with a solar panel.

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multimedia world
by rjbrock / January 19, 2010 2:28 AM PST
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

Great questions and I enjoyed the responses. I feel the same way you do drbaum1, however I completely understand convenience. My issue is the device, not the concept. It would be ideal to combine a Laptop/Notebook, PDA, E-Reader, and for the gamers, a PSP...all in one. If I could only have/afford 1 device, it's a PDA. I think it's only a matter of time before the PDA/iPhones of the world take over, OR perhaps these E-Readers improve. I just can't see myself dropping the cash for another device that's limited to a few things. I read books on my iPhone (not a big fan of the phone by the way, but I like the big screen). Yes, the battery stinks and it's small, but it works ok for now. I read a book on a flight from DC to Denver that drained about 70% of my battery...yikes! The flip side is it charges quick.

The new readers coming out this year will definitely improve the e-reader's experience, but again, I need it all in one device.

My last comment is about the trees. I would rather see 10 million books in a landfill than 10 million computers. If we all do our part, paper books and magazines are far better for the environment than computers. In fact the majority of novels are already printed on heavily recycled paper. In addition, most conservation org's will tell you that there are more trees now than ever before.

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get it, now?
by porsche10x / January 24, 2010 3:36 AM PST
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

Disclaimer: I don't own one.

Compare an e-book reader to a paperback:

one e-book reader does the same thing as your entire library of every paperback book you've ever owned in the physical space of, well, one paperback book.

Compare an e-book reader to a phone, laptop, or similar device:

Phone: too small.

Laptop: too big.

Any other device that's not too big or too small:

The e-book display technology is much closer to paper (I would say that this is actually the e-book's defining characteristic). Reading on one is much easier on the eyes, virtually eliminating fatigue associated with many other display types. Most e-books do not consume any power except for turning pages, making battery life seem almost infinite.

Is it a mini-laptop, PDA, smartphone, etc.? No.
Could it be? Maybe.
Is it worth it? For some.

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E-Book reader?
by rayallen100 / April 19, 2010 11:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

Our Gemstar/Rocket eBooks are designed for the RCA REB 1100. These eBook reading devices come with their own eBook reading software.

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Besides Economics
by samuelsampson / July 22, 2010 1:51 AM PDT
In reply to: E-Book reader?

Not everything is economics because if it was nobody would buy an iphone. There's tons of free ebooks for the kindle you can sample any book you want to and it offers convenience and an experience like no other. It's not to replace books if you see a cheap paperback in target you can buy it too. You can also still visit your library as well.

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hello and wellcome
by geodododo / July 30, 2010 2:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

hello i see your letter e- books is the best thing to read now you find information semply and all explane is possiple photo drew even video and i find very good site of ebooks and i like to share it with you it is
it has free e-books and have many books very important to you as person
with my best wishes

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I am aging...
by 4Denise / August 6, 2010 10:31 AM PDT
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

My eyes aren't as good as they used to be (and they never were very good to begin with) and I have arthritis. Most books are okay, but holding up a heavy book is really hard after awhile, and it can leave my hands and wrists aching. I like textbooks, so this is a problem. The Kindle allows me to adjust the size of the text and it is light and easy to read. Furthermore, I am a bookworm and I always have been. The idea of being able to carry hundreds of books with me in my purse is enough to excite me.

There is one thing that eBook readers can do that no print media will ever be able to do: add free books. There are thousands of them out there. You could conceivably fill a Kindle with nothing but free books and have years of reading material available.

I still love my books. In this area, people who come into my living room say it looks like a library, and my home library is very modest. Even so, I would prefer to read on my Kindle. It was a good investment for me. The prices on the Kindle have gone down, by the way. I wouldn't recommend buying something that you don't genuinely want, but don't be surprised if you eventually want an e-reader. Situations will change for everyone, given enough time.


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My opinion changed
by Dan Filice / August 26, 2010 4:55 PM PDT
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

I have an E-Book but it's not a traditional E-Book reader, it's an iPad. It's color, it turns pages like a book, when I turn the iPad hoizontal the book has a left-right page just like a real book, I can highlight and change the text and bookmark pages, and the book software has a library that looks like a bookshelf with all the books on the shelves. I didn't think I would like reading books on the iPad, but it's fun. I still like a physical book, but I can download a book in a pinch if I need something to read. Yes, the iPad is expensive, but it's more than an E-book reader. Oh one more thing: With many books to browse, I'll probably read more. In fact I'm reading a book called "Steak, One Mans Search For The Perfect Steak" that is fun to read, and I know I'd never read it if I didn't find it in the E-Books.

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Why an E-Book reader?
by jsrefinance99 / September 18, 2010 10:30 PM PDT
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

Last night was Pepcom's Holiday Spectacular, and one not-yet-released gadget PCMag got to play with was the Literati, a new ebook reader backed and licensed by the Sharper Image.

The Literati, available in October in white and black, has a seven-inch color LCD that takes up about 70 percent of the device's face?the rest is its QWERTY keyboard. I'm wary of those LCD screens, because the E ink technology is one of the best features of dedicated ebook readers?E ink is easy on the eyes, and makes the reading experience pleasant in any light. The Literati's screen read fairly well during my time with it?though I wasn't in particularly bright light at the time.

The Literati doesn't do anything other than read books. There's no browser, no games, nothing?all extra features were scrapped in favor of a simple way to read books. In the few minutes I got to spend with the device, I liked the interface ? there are four tabs on the top of the home screen (for books you're currently reading, the store, and the like), and otherwise, the whole interface is about the reading experience. The 800-by-400 screen isn't a touch enabled?the Literati uses Forward/Backward buttons and a directional pad, much like the Amazon Kindle, for all its navigation.

You can load your own PDFs or ePubs on the Literati, or buy books via the Kobo bookstore. Having Kobo's bookstore is a nice touch, since the store features plenty of picture-heavy titles like magazines and story books that look great in color. The Literati is Wi-Fi-enabled, so you'll be able to buy and download books on the go. Each Literati will come pre-loaded with 25 books (mostly public-domain classics), and a coupon to get 125 more just like them.

According to the company, the Literati will be sold at more stores than any other ebook reader? more than 7,000 including the likes of Macy's, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Kohl's. The suggested price is $159, but it will likely be discounted for the holiday rush.

Keep an eye our for a full review of the Literati on PCMag.com in the coming weeks.

Mortgage Refinance Rates

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Should I or Shouldn't I?
by njvincent / November 27, 2010 1:43 AM PST
In reply to: Why an E-Book reader?

I am confused. I'm not sure I understand how ebooks work. Do they work on wireless connections and what about cost of books. I read a lot of used paperbacks which range in age from one month to ten years old. Can you get these on ebooks or Kindle, or whatever, and how expensive are they. I will admit that not having all of the books I read sitting around is a good idea, but I can trade in some and get new ones, but they are not all available in a series. Is this process of ebooks or Kindle for Nook going to be way more expensive for me?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 27, 2010 2:30 AM PST

In your case you should go to the store and get the answers you ask from the sellers. If they won't answer, you don't want their product.

I will also write that you are likely to spend less on USED PAPERBACKS than on ebooks. Why not take the cheap exit?

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