Jump to content

eReaders


Guest Dabeagle

Recommended Posts

Guest Dabeagle

I like eReaders, in principle. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy holding a book, the feel of the pages and even the smell of the paper; but I also realize that change comes to everything (except vending machines) and for certain instances, like travel, eReaders can be quite handy indeed.

Now, my mother bought a Sony eReader with her credit card points a few years back, and I've always liked it. I wasn't sure I liked it at 150.00, but I liked it. It was a metal case so it was sturdy, the screen could be read in multiple lighting situations and it looked an awful lot like a real printed page. Unfortunately with the way these things are set up, I couldn't buy a book and put it on her reader for myself, because the Adobe program ties it to a single account. Now my mother, who just turned 70 on our latest vacation, bought a PanDigital Novel from one of the shop at home TV networks as well because 'it looked like fun'. The PanDigital Novel is a poor man's iPad, and even at less than half the cost, it isn't worth even that. It is slow, its software is buggy and it's incredibly fragile. My first one fell onto a thickly carpeted floor from a height of about two feet, in a rubberized protective case and the screen cracked. This might not have been the death knell for this product except that once the screen cracks, some of the touch screen options fail. For instance if I wanted to change books, or even go back to the home screen I had to power it off and reboot it so that it would end up on the home screen as the commands to do so were on the broken upper part of the screen.

I decided to try and get it replaced through the company (no harm in trying was my thought) and though they originally turned me down, a phone call to customer support told me that if you appealed the decision they would normally replace the unit because they were aware of the fragile screens. So I went through the process and something that was supposed to take 3 weeks stretched, with no communication, to three months before I finally got the replacement unit. The plastic case was scratched when I got it, but I realized that was because rather than repair they had sent me a refurbished unit with new software.

I would turn the page and the unit would try to select words (like highlighting text) and then give options like googling the item or copy/pasting. Sometimes it would turn the page and the screen would go dark with the warning in the middle that 'No Words Were Selected'. If reading online, like at AD or my own site, when scrolling down it would stick and run great gobs of text past you and it constantly re-sized the screen you were reading whether you wanted it to or not. I took it, loaded with three library books and a few that I own and headed to the airport. Now mind you, this thing was still in it's rubberized case and then placed into a very thick leather case which included my laptop in an interior pocket and was checked as carry on, always with me and the little bastard still managed to get its screen cracked again. Even with the screen carefully facing inward to add some protection. Once more none of the upper features work, so if I want to change books, etc I must shut it off and restart it, a tiresome and long process. While looking at possible replacements at Best Buy yesterday the sales clerk noted that they had more returns on the PanDigitals than sales, for which he gave me a serious expression and said 'Wrap your head around that'.

I just ordered a Sony Pocket eReader on eBay which I hope will fulfill my needs in a better fashion, and I'm debating even telling PanDigital what a crappy product they have, I don't see the upside.

Link to comment

Thanks for the heads up on PanDigital. I like my 'Simple Touch' Nook reader a lot and it seems to do everything claimed for it, but I wouldn't risk it outside of my checked luggage going through airport insecurity. I have a hard enough time keeping track of both of my shoes. For airplane reading I fall back on my tried-and-true method of buying used paperback books and tearing off pages as I finish them. Thus I never lose my place and it usually fits my pocket by the time I disembark.

James

Link to comment

Send it back with a letter. Tell 'em keep it.

The iPad, Nook, and Sony eReader are the ones I hear the most about, and generally good things. I've also heard about, but haven't looked up "Kobo."

I got a Kindle (wifi+3g, eInk) last year, when it looked like I might lose all online contact due to budget. I later got an iPad2 for about the same reason. I personally don't care for the older Kindle, but a Kindle Fire, might be fine.

The older Kindle's screen is hard for me to read in all but very bright light, and shining a book light on it doesn't help much because that's not bright. It's a matter of screen contrast and size, and my eyesight.

The iPad2 has been generally great. I use the Kindle for iOS app and I use iBooks and I've tried Stanza. I'll hold off another year or more before upgrading to a newer model. -- I'm hoping my budget will have recovered some by then.

At least one major publisher has gone non-DRM on their ebooks, and that is great. But both Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (Nook) do use DRM on their ebook sales. Independent authors, however, are often going non-DRM, and this is a very good thing. (Indie can be professionally published, award-winning, big-name authors just as much as it can be amateurs or lesser known folks.) I am not sure what Lulu and Smashwords do about DRM. I've been focused on learning epub format, along with...a boatload of other things, mostly personal, getting back to anything resembling a "normal" life. -- I have had good luck with the indie authors' purchases I've made, and from Lulu and Smashwords. Yes, I buy from Amazon's Kindle books and from iBooks. -- I also have gotten several that are *free*, ultimately from Project Gutenberg, but through those sources.

DaBeagle, friends I know have either gone to getting purchases for their less tech-savvy (and older) relatives from the friends' accounts, with another account for that older / less techie relative or friend. Then the savvy friend sets up the ereader so he/she can send from his/her account to the older/less savvy relative's account. (For example, through the Amazon Kindle address for that relative.) This improves the chances that both can enjoy a wider range of ebooks.

I have had my iPad take a fall from countertop or headboard height to the floor. (Ouch! Scary.) This has happened twice. Neither time did I detect any damage to the hardware or functionality. I was really surprised. You pay more, but you get a good product. The Kindles are good, though I've heard a few stories, Amazon's return policies are generally excellent. I don't know, but would expect good service from Sony.

No matter what you do now, in one year or more, the market will have changed a great deal. What worries me most is not so much the ereaders and apps and ebooks, as that many publishers are going belly up or are dropping paperbacks or hardbacks, in favor of ebooks, as the industry goes through something like the recording industry did. We can expect that in even one to two years, the entire landscape for books and ebooks will have changed. We can expect some companies will go extinct or be bought up, others will emerge as big players, and...the whole thing is likely to become something way different than expected. I fully expect Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Sony, and maybe Barnes & Noble's Nook (if B&N survives) to gobble up a lot of the publishing market. I also expect indie publishers to become a major part of the scene, which is what happened with audio. Whatever happenes, *all* of us, from those big publishing houses to the authors to the bookstores to ourselves as readers (or authors breaking into ebook publishing) are in for one bumpy, wild ride before it's done. Hang on tight!

Link to comment

"Tearing off..." Merkin, you just gave this poor book lover fits. Uh...if you tape a string to the silly book, you could achieve about the same, tape both ends and it has less chance to come undone. Then when you're done, you can remove the tape and string and donate/resell the book so someone else can enjoy it. Eek, tearing off pages... :wails: -- You'd have to understand, I did desktop publishing and graphic design, proofreading and editing, professionally. Not for a book publisher, but as an independent small business, working for printers and service bureaus and walk-ins. So yes, I'm used to publications getting used and abused, but...well, it's the book lover and academic in me, and the designer. :) Whatever works for you, but...eek! :)

Link to comment

EEEEEK!

'Tried-and-true method'!

I've never heard of such a thing! Are you serious?! A while-you-read desecration method of book destruction? I like to share good books with friends, and there are Internet clubs that allow you to pass on books and get others back, and, well, I often reread a really good book. I'm afraid I have shelves and shelves of books at home, hard cover and paperback, and some I've read several times.

Tearing pages out as you read? I cringe at the thought! To me, books are like old friends.

Hey, were you one of those nasty little boys who'd tear the wings off flies and the legs off ants and then watch in glee as they'd do their best without their original equpment?

:angry:

C

Link to comment

I completely agree that good books are worth keeping. But I am not a book collector, I am a book user. Sure, I've got piles and piles of good books I've amassed over the course of a long lifetime, but my sign of a good book is when I view it edge-on and see that the majority of the pages are folded over at the corner--dogeared--to mark places I want to visit again, and where I would encourage others to stop and have a look. No way to treat a book, you say? I freely admit that such an attitude does go against all we've been taught by an endless row of teachers and librarians. But whyever buy a book in the first place if not to use it up and profit from it? Books are food for the mind, to be chewed and digested, to be consumed in the hope of growing stronger. Books are tools, to be wielded with whatever skill we may acquire to build our own secure shelters from ignorance and incompetence and to advance our own causes. Books are building blocks for the soul.

I like to have long conversations with my books, marking them up with my reactions, filling the margins with the ideas that reading the text has sparked within me. When I return a book to the shelf I am storing a warehouse that I plan to return to, and I intend to use it again and again to replenish my own internal inventory of thought and motivation. I count on a book to serve a continuing usefulness, and if I start to look into a some newly acquired volume and discover it has nothing new or interesting to offer, I discard it quickly and without ceremony. I'll usually pass it on to someone whose mind might be more attuned to its message, because I recognize that everyone is a different reader, and what suits one person's use for a book may not suit another.

However, in keeping with my view that a book is a tool, I buy used paperback books from the paperback exchange down the street solely for use when I travel, and I handle them and treat them as I've described without a moment's worth of guilt or uneasiness. If the book turns out to be a great read, I'll buy a decent new copy of it when I return home. So I can turn down the page corners and mark up the margins and generally use it until it falls apart.

James

Link to comment

So wait a minute. While I think a book is to be cuddled and carressed, not dog-earred and destroyed, I have a more practical question. Here you are on a plane. The in-flight movie is a disaster, a built-for-kids zombie-meets-vampire romance, and the food service ended four years ago. So you disturb your seatmates and get up, retrieve you luggage from where you jammed it into the overhead, crushing someone's suit bag in the process, and dig out your current paperback.

Then, after recrushing the suit some poor slob was planning on wearing to impress the HR puke he'd be interviewing with, you again make your seatmates unbuckle and slide out so as to stand in the aisle while you return to your window seat with your book. Now the fun begins.

You start reading, and tearing, and reading, and tearing, and my question is, where in the blooming blazes do you put all those torn pages? I can imagine a pile of them, should it be a long flight, all over your lap, the lap of the nice lady next to you who wouldn't say shit if she had a mouthful but has sad eyes and a littered lap, on the floor and in the cracks and crevices the belabored flight attendants will have to clean once you've departed, leaving the residues of your escapist literature behind.

Have you no shame, sir?

C

Link to comment
I fall back on my tried-and-true method of buying used paperback books and tearing off pages as I finish them. Thus I never lose my place and it usually fits my pocket by the time I disembark.

I suppose the one thing Merkin's method ensures is that if he likes a book he has to buy it again and again and again... which is good for the author. ;)

Link to comment

You ninny, I have the book with me when I sit down. My hands are not filled with fish tacos and raspberry iced tea or whatever you Californians carry onto airplanes. I sit and read my book. When I reach a place where I want to put the book down in order to, say, buy one of those miniature bottles of scotch from the nice flight attendant, then I will grasp the portion of the book I have already read--perhaps fifty pages, perhaps less--and deftly rip it from its cheap glue binding. These pages I will deposit into the flight attendent's cute plastic bag along with my now empty miniature bottle, plastic glass, napkin, and empty peanut bag.

Link to comment

And, dear sir, what if everyone should make use of the belabored and overloaded flight attendant's services in such a manner? Huh? Then what?

If we assume everyone read and ripped, a peculiar perversion I can't imagine anyone but you actually adopting, but let's assume everyone, beguiled by you as you savage your poor missal, was intoxicated at the sight of it as some people are at any egregious assault on civility -- think Roman citizens watching lions chew on innocent Christians with eager drool pouring from their mouths and their thumbs pointing earthward -- and decided to follow your unholy example. So this poor flight attendant is pushing her liquor-loaded cart up the aisle as the plane is reaching for 35,000 feet, all uphill, and as she passes each row of seats, she gets another load the equivalent of War and Peace stuffed into her trash bag. By row 46, headed toward 45, she's already got her shoulder to the handle and is developing the legs of a linebacker. And of course is waylaid just as she is getting up the momentum needed to move one more row when a voice cries, "Hold on a minute. I just worked from aardvark to eleemosynary in this OED; here are the pages, but don't go away. As they say in the ads, and I overheard from my son’s boyfriend on his last sleepover, there’s more to come."

Could you be more cruel to this kind young lady who supplied your scotch? Oh, wait. This kind older lady of some years who ladled your liquor. This is the age of EOE.

C

Link to comment

Wait, what's that, out on the wing? Aaaahhh!

Fish tacos? Bookmark, you say? I knew there was something fishy about one old textbook. Perhaps that explains it.

I prefer peach tea to raspberry tea.

In my experience, the flight attendant passes you a thimbleful of soda or juice and her plastic bags are used for...well, thankfully, I've never seen that.

If you must insist on tearing out pages, though, perhaps you'd better keep them to use as kindling when you're stuck on that tropical island trying to send an S.O.S. before that one guy starts chasing people and calling them Piggy.

Say, that's right, you can't carry a pocket knife anymore. You'll have some trouble on that tropical island, then. That is rather a plot complication, isn't it?

Link to comment

back on topic....

for those who can handle going to target, they are discontinuing the Sony e-reader. The price right now is $90 and is supposed to drop to the mid $60s tomorrow (Tuesday).

Best Buy dropped the Sony several months ago. Their clearance price was around $45.

Link to comment

For those who have a Kindle or a Kindle app, there's a service called Ereader that offers a daily emailed list of free books on amazon.com. You can subscribe at http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=EreaderNewsToday&loc=en_US. It appears to be U.S. only, but it's left as an exercise for the students to see if altering the last two characters of the URL to UK or CA would make any difference. For those of you outside of the U.S. let me know what happens when you try to subscribe and try to 'buy' a free book.

You have to buy the books with your One-Click account, but the price of each is $0.00. Now, these are indie books. Don't expcect to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo or Hunger Games or anything from a popular author. I like science fiction and mysteries for light reading, and I've picked a lot of very good mystery stories and a couple good science fiction stories.

Hey, they're free, and you might find a little gem. If you don't, and you get somehting you don't like, just select "Remove from Device" and sent it to the cloud.

Colin :icon_geek:

Link to comment
Guest Dabeagle

I just ordered a Sony pocket from eBay but if the larger ones are being discontinued and heavily discounted, I may grab one. Thanks for the heads up! In the meantime, this is what I wrote to PanDigital as I do not expect the unit to be replaced - it already was once, with a refurbished unit.

Good Morning,

In my previous contacts with PanDigital Customer Service I have had the case #'s 255247, 24161, 213756 and 214161. I was in receipt of the replacement unit and loaded it with library books to take with me on vacation.

I can't begin to tell you how disappointing this unit has been, but I'll start with the software bugs. When reading a book the page turn feature will often allow some process to highlight text and offer to google it or copy, etc, when all you were doing was turning the page. It will frequently, under the same circumstances, darken the screen to highlight the message that 'No Text was Selected'. When reading online, using your finger to move down the page would frequently cause the machine to scroll downward rapidly over great gobs of text so that you had to scroll upward trying to find your place. In addition, whicle reading online, it would frequently and with no apparent reason re-size the text.

The last straw, however, is the construction. I know your company is aware of the fragility of the screen, and after my past issue I knew it too. So when I took it on vacation I put it in a thick leather case, facing the inside to further protect the screen and took it as a carry on luggage so that it would be in my possession at all times. Even with all my precautions and the rubberized case surrounding it, the screen cracked yet again.

I'd really like to like your product as a much more reasonable and affordable iPad type alternative, but I cannot. This little device has left me frustrated and wanting nothing more than to light it on fire in the street as warning to all passerby that it is not to be trusted. I went to Best Buy yesterday looking for a new reader and when I chanced upon your products on the shelf I was told by the staff that your product is 'returned more frequently than it sells'.

I hope this feedback is taken to heart and allows you to build a better product at some point.

Sincerely,

Link to comment
For those of you outside of the U.S. let me know what happens when you try to subscribe and try to 'buy' a free book.

I changed the URL to UK and signed up for the feed without a problem. Thanks! :smile:

Balls. :angry: I got the email without a problem, but getting the $0.00 ebooks is not doable without a U.S. address and a way of masking my U.K. I.P. So, it's lovely to see stuff I'd like to read and sad I can't. Chocolate teapots spring to mind: pointless. Thanks for the idea though, Colin. It was worth a try. :smile:

Link to comment

First off, about the page tearing thing. I just... I mean.... I have to say..... Well, I can't..... You actually.......

Oh, never mind. I can't bear to continue. Sob.

As for e-readers, I have a Nook Color. It's wonderful. But it's wonderful because the very first thing I did with it when I bought it was erase the proprietary OS and put standard Android on it. Now, it's a useful, very capable tablet computer and a great e-reader to boot. Actually, a better e-reader than the original Nook. Because not only do I have the B&N Nook app on it, I also have the Amazon Kindle app, the Google Reader app, the Zinio app, and another e-reader app that I forget the name of. All the book reading you could possibly want, plus all the handy features of a tablet computer.

Link to comment

Gee, did you have to root your Nook Color to be able to install the standard Android OS? What version of standard Android software did you install, 3.2 or 4.0? Where did you find it to download?

Colin :icon_geek:

Link to comment

Gee, did you have to root your Nook Color to be able to install the standard Android OS? What version of standard Android software did you install, 3.2 or 4.0? Where did you find it to download?

Colin :icon_geek:

You don't have to root it, believe it or not. The Nook Color is a bit unique, because it's designed to boot from an operating system on an SD card first. So, if you have a properly formatted SD card with Android on it, you can happily keep your original OS on your Nook, and run Android by inserting the correct SD card and powering it up. But, it's awfully slow that way, so once you're up and running from your SD card, it's a simple matter to install your custom bootloader, and then use this to install your custom OS natively. I currently have Gingerbread on it (CyanogenMod 7) but will upgrade it to Ice Cream Sandwich as soon as it's stable (probably CyanogenMod 9). You can find lots of information about how to do all this at xda-developers.com, just go to the Nook Color area and then to the Android Development subsection. Cyanogenmod.com has the rom that I currently use, and it's generally accepted as the most stable and powerful.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...