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Would you buy an e-book reader?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / November 28, 2007 7:30 AM PST

Would you buy an e-book reader?

Yes (Why?)
No (Why not?)
Maybe (What are you hung up on? Please explain.)
I already own one. (How do you like it?)

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(NT) Nope...Too many decent freebies to pay for one.
by John.Wilkinson / November 28, 2007 7:34 AM PST
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mostly superfluous
by psychoxl99 / November 28, 2007 12:10 PM PST

So it seems there are 2 competing things that customers are alleged to want here:

1) The convenience of bringing around a lot of books and being able to search through them and download them wirelessly.
2) The look and feel of a paper book.

These eBooks are still just screens, so they don't replicate the "look and feel" of a book regardless of their other features. Plus, as Lee points out, they still remind you that you're in the digital world, which is part of why people prefer paper books (besides the unrivaled ease of marking up paper books and flipping through them).

Meanwhile, if you want the convenience of storing lots of books, searching them, and downloading them.... it's called a laptop. Or, what's similar to Kindle, a Tablet PC.

I just don't see the attraction of these devices. It's also hilarious that they say they can store 200 books as if that's an impressive feat - Kindle has 180 MB of available memory. By that standard, today's laptops can store at least 4,000X as many books on average.

This will be kindle all right... for people's fireplaces on Christmas Day ;).

Honestly I don't see how this isn't a joke. How do companies make such bad products, think that they're good, and still scrape by with a bit of a profit? How did this make the cover of Newsweek? There's no accounting for corporate or public taste I guess.

Anyway, it's stuff like this that leaves markets open waiting to be eaten alive by actually intelligent companies like Apple and Google. This time though, I don't think they'll bother.

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E. Books
by lost forever / November 28, 2007 11:19 PM PST
In reply to: mostly superfluous

I enjoy books on tape, disk. I can do repetitive activities while working.

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Just a thought ...
by nesdave1 / November 29, 2007 10:15 AM PST
In reply to: mostly superfluous

I agree with you on this. But one thought nags me when I hold this up to the light: Cell phones, radios, computers, etc. have been doing this very thing for yesrs, and successfully, I might add. So, where does it end? Do your buds buy one, escallating the value and usefullness through some commonaity or does it hula-hoop its way rapidly out of existence to be replaced by another Mario Bros. knock-off or PS/2/3/P? it's just business. no matter where you go the truth is; this planet is filled with consumers.
But Hey! Everybody's got an opinion.

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e-book readers:what's missing...?
by BicoBull / December 1, 2007 4:57 AM PST
In reply to: mostly superfluous

Would I buy an e-book reader?
Definitely yes.
The real question is: Are there any devices out there that perform this task satisfactorily?
In my opinion: no, there are none?
As evidenced by the raging debates on the matter, some suggest that Iliad or Sony style readers are viable solutions, while others argue that laptops or slates are the better alternatives. A viable e-book reader is neither of the two solutions available today. It seems to me that we are talking of two different market segments, rather than hardware alternatives.

It appears controversial, that in spite of the extensive research on e-books, none of the devices on the market today offer an effective reading device and that current implementations fall short of addressing some basic requirements for a practical reading device. This situation is typical of a technology driven approach, rather than a market driven one. Even though most of the bits and pieces for building such devices are there, a deeper look will probably reveal that the core technology for these devices is not quite there yet.

Whereas most of the e-book screens available today (2007) have a size of 6 to 7 inches they are monochrome e-ink devices, which are fine if you read novels, paperbacks or the like. However if you do a lot of technical or business reading, such as (research) papers, technical books, brochures, magazines, reports, etc?then an A4 screen size (portrait orientation) accommodating a whole page without scrolling (sideways or up and down) is essential. It goes without saying it should have a high resolution color display. A reflective/ passive screen is ok, while a dynamic screen with its own light source might be an option in the future.
Also ideally, it should have a 2 page arrangement similar to the look and feel of a paper book while allowing the display of consecutive or different pages. You should also be able to search, annotate, hyperlink, and look-up text as well as create your own customized texts, by bringing in several sources together to create a ?virtual? hyperdocument . Multimedia capabilities are also a key feature that would illustrate concepts, do interactive training, read aloud, and perform similar chores. The device should be able to give you at least 6 hours of battery operation.
Connectivity and communication with other devices, LAN? s, WAN? s and the Internet are essential components of the system and could well be at the core of a publishing revolution. It will only be a matter of time until the publishing houses come up with innovative ways to publish, distribute, lend and sell e-books.
At this stage one should deliberately avoid letting issues of intellectual property rights, or digital rights management, hamper or interfere with the modeling and construction of such devices. If history is any indication, a look at the music industry has a lesson or two to teach us.
With time, the publishers will be able to adjust to the new paradigms Such issues will be resolved separately after the market for e books matures and reaches critical mass.

Alexandria - Egypt.

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kindle a fireplace?
by sarasvatia / December 3, 2007 1:39 AM PST
In reply to: mostly superfluous

You will need kindling (noun), i.e., easily combustible small sticks or twigs to kindle (verb), i.e., light your Christmas fireplace.

As for your arguments: if the price for the Amazon or Sony e-reader were reasonable (about $100), ditto the downloads (about $5 a pop), I would buy one tout de suite. Why? Because it's small, light and more convenient to read from than my Macbook. Additionally, there are the ecological benefits of saving millions of trees from the chainsaws, and landfills from contaminating aquifers by rotting glossy magazines. Not least of all, consider the millions of gallons of fuel used to transport and process timber thru delivery of the final product to your local bookstore. All these are additional points for lowering the price.

I agree with your points re the ability to mark pages and memory. I'm sure the subsequent e-reader 'editions' will soon include these and more.

The Kindle in its form as a new noun, was designed to inspire people to read, learn, dream and be curious. Attributes that are critical for any society with hopes for an ever better and exciting future.

I expect the Kindle's "first edition" is being snatched up by people who read a lot for pleasure, and by students who have just been offered relief from having to carry heavy backpacks.

The incurious non-readers, and those with limited disposable income, the Kindle's target, or so I hope, will buy if/when the price elevates the purchase to an impulse buy. What a concept!

Happy Hannukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa!

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e-book reading devices
by FrankS / November 28, 2007 1:31 PM PST

i already have an e reader it's called apalm tungsten t5 i love it i also have it loaded with games and photos i'm in the process of investing a palm TX very similer to the t5 except it has WiFi check them out and give us a run down on the pros and cons yours

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Palm T|X
by c|net Reader / December 4, 2007 1:50 AM PST
In reply to: e-book reading devices

I've been using my TX for a couple of years now as an e-book reader. I use Plucker to convert and display the content. I've used various PalmDoc readers, too. For my purposes, having books with me that I can read on the go is terrific. I can read while in line at a store, while in the "library," etc. Because of using my TX, I've read a great many classic books I otherwise wouldn't have purchased, much less have carried everywhere to have the time to read them.

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No I wouldn't
by Themisive / November 29, 2007 11:33 PM PST

Maybe they are the way forward, I don't know, but I have found from experience (usually bad) that ANYTHING that is electronic in nature - a good example is the computer O/S - is not really good enough to start with, and they usually have to have at least one revision, sometimes more, before they are anything like reliable enough.

This is one of the reasons I will not accept ANY alpha or beta test versions on my computer, the O/S will normally stand programmes that are thoroughly tested, but to ask (as did Microsoft recently) the whole of the world's population to test Vista, that shows either that they are lazy or need feedback. Normally at best this can lead to O/S instabilities and crashes. Not only that but those who did get the beta version of Vista had to pay for it!

Whilst I agree that the system is fairly well self-contained, it will not be free of problems for some time to come, so I have no plans to buy one - I'd rather read some of my personal library of books!

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by FrankS / November 30, 2007 11:20 PM PST

precisely what freebees are we talking here do you mind elaborating

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re: freebeeies????
by CathWren / December 3, 2007 2:15 AM PST
In reply to: freebeeies????????

If you already have a pda, there are several readers available. I'm not sure if all are free but Mobipocket, Palm eReader, and MS Reader are free. Mobi and the Palm reader also have desktop versions. My Palm TX will take a 4 gig card but I use only a 1 gig. That still holds a heck of a lot more than 200 books.

I have over 1,000 ebooks and have paid an average of 6.50 - 7 dollars for the ones that I had to buy. I find the cost for an ebook that is available in paperback to be a couple of dollars less than the dead tree version. Books that are still in hardback are a real bargain at about half the cost of the dead tree version. Project Gutenberg offers thousands of free classics and they now have some that are sound files. There are more and more ebookstores out there and you can often buy direct from the publisher.

My TX also does more than just let me read books. My calendar, contacts and tasks are kept there. I also have a half dozen or so databases and lists in various formats. I can compose, read and edit Word and Excel files and view PowerPoint presentations. I carry a lot of pictures too. With wi-fi or bluetooth I can surf the web and check email. With PocketTunes I can listen to MP3s. And let us not forget games.

Not all of these programs are free. Nor are they all as full-featured as using a dedicated piece of hardware. I'll admit, the Kindle has a lot more going for it than I originally thought but not enough to make me spend the money when what I already have does what I want.


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EBooks have been around and usable for years
by frankrabourn / December 3, 2007 11:01 PM PST
In reply to: re: freebeeies????

CathWren has it right. I have been reading electronic books for years. She mentions Project Gutenburg which is a good source. A great source for SciFi books is They have a free library and a very extensive book collection for about $5 each (all the books can be previewed). New releases are available early. The books are available in several formats for reading on your computer, PDA, etc. I typically read them on my computer, but I keep several downloaded to my PDA.

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Places to get ebooks
by CathWren / December 4, 2007 6:26 AM PST

Frank, quite right.

I started reading ebooks from Now I also get books from Fictionwise which offers several formats (and where membership gets me extra discounts), (all free) and mobipocket. I know there are many other outlets. Being restricted to buying one format from one place is just too monopolistic for me.


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by anna.shams / March 7, 2009 2:51 PM PST
In reply to: Places to get ebooks

If you are looking for ebook, you can have a look at

You can find a variety of quality ebooks over there. You can find awesome ebooks on recipes, humour, magic, business, photography, sports, and many more..

This is one of my favourite site for buying ebook. Not recognised yet but truely deserves a look.

With free ebooks, the matter is that the content is not good & also it comes with lots of advertisements.

Hence I prefer buying ebooks.

A completely great ebook store..

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by anna.shams / March 7, 2009 2:32 PM PST

If you are looking for ebook, you can have a look at

You can find a variety of quality ebooks over there. You can find awesome eboos on recipes, humour, magic, business, photography, sports, and many more..

This is one of my favourite site for buying ebook. Not recognised yet but truely deserves a look.

With free ebooks, the matter is that the content is not good & also it comes with lots of advertisements.

Hence I prefer buying ebooks.

A completely great ebook store..

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Already Own One .... sort of
by EscapePod / November 28, 2007 10:33 AM PST

Certainly mine is not as fancy as those from Amazon or SONY, however, my Dell Pocket PC with the MS Reader works well enough for now.

I can bookmark, annotate, switch between novels/dictionary/reference/tech manuals, etc. Meanwhile, I can also use Pocket editions of Word, Excel, Streets & Trips (maps), photos, videos.

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that's a very expensive toy
by mittens / November 28, 2007 10:35 AM PST

you can pay anywhere from 69 cents at a book sale to full price (up to or possibly over) $30 for a book that still smells new. Or get it free from the library. That's a LOT of books for the price of an ebook, plus you have to buy the book online, as well.

I read constantly, often with three books going at once in various places in the house, and always one in my purse. It's the feel of the book, the smell, the texture, the (oh forgive me for this) experience of the book itself, as much as the words inside.

I think the reason ebooks have failed in the past is just that. All it is, is a different kind of computer product, and if it gets zapped by an over zealous guard with a wand at the courthouse, or the terminal, you've lost everything.

And cynic that I am, does it occur to anyone that golly, Christmas is juuuust around the corner...?

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by ARDT123 / November 28, 2007 10:38 AM PST

Aside from the exhorbitant cost of the hardware, and the cost of downloads are way
high considering used books from amazon are readly available and with great titles
and high quality printing of illustrations and text. But really cost is the bottom line.

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Amazon the publisher??
by mittens / November 28, 2007 11:09 AM PST
In reply to: E-book

Amazon does not print books, nor do they publish them. what you see from them are the same copies that are also sold in retail stores.

The other misconception is that those 'used books' are used. What they are is part of a deal between the publisher and amazon. the Publisher prints an 'overrun' of the latest book by, say, Stephen King, and Amazon then advertises the book with its "new' price--and directly under that is the "used' price for book that hasn't been on the market a week.
The publisher gets the money, the author gets no royalties from the used books, even if they have never been sold until then.
<<rant over. as you were. smoke if you got em>>

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Great speculations, mostly wrong.
by gafisher / November 30, 2007 7:37 PM PST
In reply to: Amazon the publisher??

The "used" books offered on Amazon are almost exclusively being sold by individuals or businesses unrelated to Amazon except for marketing on Amazon's pages, in an arrangement very similar to eBay. I've purchased MANY used books through Amazon, and I can assure you, the vast majority are indeed "used" books.

As for "publishing," Amazon does not print or publish traditional books but *does* publish most (if not all) of the Kindle editions they sell.

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Free e-books
by akira2 / November 28, 2007 12:01 PM PST
In reply to: E-book

Sony gives you 100 classic titles (of your choice?) for free upon registering the e-book reader.

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Free ebooks
by falec_illmore / November 28, 2007 1:06 PM PST
In reply to: Free e-books

You don't have to rely on Sony for free clsssics; thousands of titles are available completely free at Project gutenberg is dedicated to transcription and distribution of all texts which are no longer under copyright, so if it's classics you want, you should check it out.

As for an ebook reader, I agree with the others who say it's too many devices. I have about 200 books on my phone, as well as music and powerpoints for school. The type may be too small for some, but I read from my phone daily and love it. Why would I buy an ebook reader for nearly what my phone cost and be limited to one function?

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Ebooks on your phone!
by rory_davies / November 29, 2007 2:14 AM PST
In reply to: Free ebooks

I always have my Nokia E65 with me, it connects to the Internet via WiFi, 3G and a USB to my PC for ease of loading data. I can read all kinds of books on it. This is the future: books on your phone - it is tidy and doesn't spoil the cut of your suit!

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Getting away from the PC
by Klepper / November 30, 2007 11:46 PM PST
In reply to: Free ebooks

There are other free ebook providers beyond Project Gutenberg, but where do you read these texts out of copyright? Chained to a PC screen?
When I read, I want to do it at my ease, as I please, and possibly away from any phones. Give me rope, don't fence me in!

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Bigger screen, battery life
by csmith75 / December 4, 2007 1:06 AM PST
In reply to: Free ebooks

I used to read books on my Treo 750 all the time. But I kept wishing for a bigger screen and didn't want to sacrifice battery life on a device that I depended on as a phone, so I switched to my old Dell Axim x50. But the battery life was a little hokey on that and the screen was still too small.

I bought an eBookwise reader for my mother for this xmas and tried it out and loved it. I immediately loaded it with a book that I had been reading on my PDA and finished it that day (it was taking forever to finish on my PDA, guess the reading experience on the bigger device was more enjoyable). I just ordered a Sony Reader PRS 505 and can't wait for it to arrive.

It would be great to have one device to do everything, but something always suffers, in this case battery life and screen size. Thus the reason, why I have a phone, an iPod, and now an ereader. I have no problems carrying these devices either because they all do what they're supposed to do in a reliable way (with the exception of the Treo 750 occasionally).

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I listen to books.
by SINBAD / November 28, 2007 10:50 AM PST

I would have no interest to buy an e-book reader as it is much too costly. Also I use my eyes too much already and really need to rest them. That is why I borrow books on CD from the library and copy them to my Ipod. This way I can be doing something more constructive while listening. I have no extra time to read for enjoyment. I have tried reading books but find I do not have the time to sit and read one through. If I start one then it could be weeks before I get back to it and by that time I have forgotten all that I have previously read.

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Why I would NOT buy and e-book reader
by David W. Davidson / November 28, 2007 10:50 AM PST

No, I would not buy an ebook reader. For me the issue is convenience, and that translates into the fewer devices the better. I don't want separate music players, cell phones, pdas, GPS devices, etc., and I certainly don't want a separate ebook reader. I'm very happy carrying around one smartphone that does all of these things quite well. Why in the world would anyone want to carry around 8 or 10 separate electronic devices???

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E-Book Reader
by Zortop1 / November 28, 2007 10:53 AM PST

Yes I will buy one when I have saved enough money. An absolute necessity for travelling. I will no longer out of reading matter in a foreign country where you can't read the language. An added bonus - my luggage won't weigh so much.

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Sounds good, But
by Bietka / November 29, 2007 12:54 AM PST
In reply to: E-Book Reader

I have always loved to reed. Now that I'm older and have a vision problem I now need LARGE PRINT. Barnes & Noble selection instore is next to nothing. Most stores don't carry large print book. I don't like ordering books I don't know about or am not sure about, online. The Library is great, but I have problems with transportation (can't drive due to vision).
The E-Book idea might be my answer, but it is too expensive. Also, will miss the idea of brousing through book first, etc. Time will tell on how it works. Think I'll wait and see

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Audio books
by SINBAD / December 3, 2007 11:54 AM PST
In reply to: Sounds good, But

You have a problem similar to mine with the eyesight. I bought an Ipod mini and borrow books on CD from the library and listen to them on my Ipod. Great for traveling. I loaded up about 6 books for a trip I made which took 2 weeks. Now that I can listen to books I have gone through more in 2 months than I previously did by trying to read them.

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