eReaders :Who has one? Do you like yours? Why or why not? Discuss.

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eReaders :Who has one? Do you like yours? Why or why not? Discuss.

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1KevinCK
Jul 11, 2009, 12:10pm

I have had an amazon kindle for a year and a few months now. I absolutely love it and, to my surprise, do not miss reading from "real" books. It is so easy to read from (and lightweight, which is good when reading what would be 800+ pagers). Also, I love the ability to have my entire library (or almost) wherever I go.

One big plus for me as a grad student is that the kindle allows me to highlight and write in my margins, and also, to see my highlights and markings without scrolling through the entire book - I can see all of them together. Great research tool (as is the feature of being able to search a book for any keyword I choose).

Great tool.

What are your experiences?

2dancingstarfish
Jul 11, 2009, 4:54pm

I actually like the backlit screen, when its dark its easier to read it (unlike books, when it gets dark and you're without a light.. you're screwed) and when its light out, you don't notice it. I thought it'd be awkward and small, but you get used to it super quick, its easy to carry around and of course... you can check your email and everything else on there.

3KevinCK
Jul 11, 2009, 5:04pm

That's cool.

I am the total opposite, though. I think the best thing about the kindle is that the screen is not backlit. I cannot read a computer screen for any huge length of time, and find the eink technology (etch-a-sketch looking) is quite comfortable on the eyes.

Either way, I totally share your enthusiasm for eReaders. I think personally that in the next 15 years, physical books will become virtually obscelete.

4ejj1955
Jul 11, 2009, 5:28pm

For those of you who have a Kindle, how many books do you actually have on it? What's the capacity? Do you ever delete books?

5calwakeel
Jul 11, 2009, 6:15pm

too expensive.

i refuse to contemplate a kindle until they hit $99.99.

might be a few years, and a few generations down, but in the end, the fact that the typographic layouts of books in the kindle has caused a few designer screams makes me a skeptic; that's just me.

6dancingstarfish
Editado: Jul 11, 2009, 8:24pm

yea I think books will still be around for a while. I mean we still have CDs even though we've had mp3s for years. As much as I enjoy the perks for e-reading devices, theres something about paper books that e-readers don't capture.

7KevinCK
Jul 11, 2009, 9:12pm

#4,

I have around 30 on my device at present, and I have "archived" 83. The kindle 2 can hold around 1,000 books and any book one deletes is automatically "archived" on amazon.com, and can be redownloaded for free (highlights and all).

#5,

Yes, the kindle is on the expensive side. I think it is worth it for me because (a) I hate storting too many books, (b) it is one of the most convenient research tools (as a grad student) I have, (c) I can keep my entire library with me, (d) It has a 'voice' feature on it where I can turn any book into an audiobook, and (e) most books are cheaper in kindle version than in paperback or hardcover (and public domain books are free).

As for print books, I simply don't miss them. Books may be around for several more years, but like CD's, they will probably find their sales decrease steadily when ereader prices drop.

8astropi
Editado: Jul 12, 2009, 12:59pm

Not interested. In the same way I'm not interested in I-phones. I think they're all overpriced computers gadgets that companies can use to suck the money out of you. In particular, I know this is true for iphones where you have to pay a lot of money to keep your line active (not to mention the phone costs anywhere from $200-400) and also you pay for applications... bleh! So, do you have to pay for any kindle applications? Can you check your email and browse the web for free? Even if you can, what's the point? People spend too much time on the web as is. I'm happy to have my "regular" books that are nice, elegant, and 100% solar powered!

edit: oh, and for those that think books will eventually be replaced by ereaders, I disagree. I think ereaders will probably become more popular because people like gadgets. Book sales may go down, but books themselves will always be around.

9calwakeel
Jul 12, 2009, 1:34pm

e-book readers biggest issues, imo, center around this notion of "democracy within design". You either give the user just enough tools to get by or you provide them with a gigantic array of type and layout tools for them to "mod" their books.

in either case, the result in the same, ugly layouts on an e-paper screen.

if you think people don't care about aesthetics enough to, at least subconsciously/pragmatically, realize this, you haven't heard about this whole Apple Computer thing (the overpriced, but beautiful object which proves people will pay for beauty (i do)).

10CurrerBell
Editado: Jul 12, 2009, 1:58pm

#4, #7 >> ". . . any book one deletes is automatically "archived" on amazon.com, and can be redownloaded for free (highlights and all)."

CAUTION: The only books that are archived on Amazon.com are those that you've purchased from Amazon. (This includes books that have been "purchased" from Amazon for $0.00, i.e., books that are freebie give-aways but that have been been downloaded from the Amazon site.)

Amazon does not archive books that have been obtained from other sites, e.g., Feedbooks|Mobile, one of my favorite freebie sites.

My point is, archiving only occurs of books that have originally been acquired through Amazon. Since a lot of graduate students may be using sites like Feedbooks|Mobile to acquire freebie public-domain books, you should be aware that deletion of these books makes them disappear altogether. I'm not sure what effect this might have on annotations that you've made to such books.

And I'd be careful about storing thesis- or dissertation-critical material on Amazon! (Well, duh, does this even require mentioning?) I love Kindle's annotation capabilities, but I'd be sure to have some kind of hard-copy back-up for anything that's of more than transitory (a few weeks or so) value.

Also, on the K1, there's a feature that allows you to turn off Amazon archiving of your annotations (so that annotations are preserved only on your Kindle), presumably to satisfy those of us with privacy concerns. I'm not sure if this feature exists on post-K1 versions, but if it does, then be sure that you've got annotation-archiving turned on before you rely on any archiving by Amazon.

11karhne
Jul 12, 2009, 2:28pm

I have a Sony PRS 505 (in blue, in case you're wondering) and capacity is not really an issue, since it accepts SD cards and Pro Duo (actually at the same time) and you can swap them in and out, so there's no re-downloading.

I chose the base model because I decided the fancy, touch-screen version was not worth the pain and suffering (more glare, and I'm not a big fan of touch screens, anyway.) I bought it when they started offering public domain books for free, and it has already paid for itself. While I am reading public-domain books this way, I have not switched for more recent books. They have not dropped below remaindered books, and I'm fairly flexible about what, exactly, I'm reading.

The problems that I have noticed that may be of great interest to the grad-students of the universe are
1.) It does really odd things to footnotes. Scan page one, scan page two, and format as convenient, and the footnotes wind up more or less randomly scattered into an undifferentiated block of text. In two different places.
2.) It does the same with parallel translations (In my case, usually Latin on one side, and English on the other) and depending on where they've split words, that can be confusing, especially after the fourth or fifth hour of study. Always unpleasant to be looking up a word that may not exist in either language.
3.) Non Latin alphabets wind up rendered as pictures (scans of the page) and take a lot of time and memory.

My own project--400+ pages, all Latin Alphabet--is also very easy to export to the reader, and it saves me having to haul the pages around in a box. I happen to appreciate the fact that I am the only one involved in this project.

12KevinCK
Jul 12, 2009, 3:36pm

Wow! I have been curious about the sony ereader. Thanks for the post.

#9:

I am not sure why you call the layout "ugly." It is quite the same layout as a regular book (with the obvious exception that instead of pages, there are locations), and that the text is left-justified rather than lef-and-right-justified.

Have you ever read a book with e-ink technology? If not, I assure you that it is every bit as comfortable as reading paper. (The color of the e-ink screen is about the same color as the mass-market paperback page in a medium gray.)

Like you, I am not impressed by apple's flashiness, and I don't buy a lot of technology based on its aesthetic beauty. I know some people do, but I like my kindle for its functionality.

#10:

Very insightful comments! You are right that one should always stores copies of any stuff you may want to hold onto. There is always a chance that it could be lost somewhere, but this is always the case (even with hardcopies).

And, yes, amazon does not backup stuff not gotten from them. But most of the books you can get for free elsewhere, you can also get for free from amazon (and if you can't, you can save them to your desktop in whatever format you downloaded them in.)

I am not sure about the 'disable the archiving' feature. I have never really had the urge to stop archiving my material, but it is something to look into.

13CurrerBell
Jul 12, 2009, 7:35pm

#12> "And, yes, amazon does not backup stuff not gotten from them. But most of the books you can get for free elsewhere, you can also get for free from amazon (and if you can't, you can save them to your desktop in whatever format you downloaded them in.)"

If I've gotten, say, Adam Bede from Feedbooks|Mobile, there's really no need to save it to my desktop in the event I delete it from my Kindle. I can always get it again from Feedbooks|Mobile or from some other source.

BUT!!! if I've gotten Adam Bede from Feedbooks|Mobile, substantially annotated it, and then deleted it from my Kindle, I'm not sure that my annotations are going to be backed up on Amazon. That's the caution I was trying to make, a caution regarding annotations.

14KevinCK
Jul 13, 2009, 9:44am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

15KevinCK
Jul 13, 2009, 9:44am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

16KevinCK
Jul 13, 2009, 9:47am

#13,

I think #12's point is correct. If you buy or download a book from an outsdie source, I do not think it is archived on your amazon "kindle page." You may want to go to your kindle page and verify that it is archived there. None of the books I've bought elsewhere are archived on my kindle page.

But, as I said, that is no problem because books gotten elsewhere are usually gotten not in azw format, but in pdf or word format, which means that they can be saved to the desktop.

FYI: You can also save azw to your desktop and download them to your kindle from the desktop (rather than from amzon). The only thing you can't do with azw files from the desktop is open them and read them; the kindle is the only thing that can do that.

But long story short: one can also "archive" one's kindle books on the desktop if one prefers.

17epivet
Jul 15, 2009, 11:31am

Everyone's talking about books, but what about pdf's (i.e., journal articles)? Are they easy to read/annotate? How do graphics and tables come out? I'm interested just to have my lit review (being a science person, all the articles are pdf'ed) with me on the bus without killing a forest.

18CurrerBell
Editado: Jul 15, 2009, 3:38pm

#17> You might want to take a look at the Kindle-DX, which supposedly has native support for PDF files, which K1 and K2 do not have. (For PDFs, K1 and K2 would require that PDF files be converted to AZW or MOBI format, and the conversion isn't always that successful.)

Personally, I have very little interest in PDFs. (I want the convenience of the Brontes, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, etc., on a portable device with search capabilities and that will let me annotate my texts without marking valuable treeware editions.)

Given my lack of interest in PDFs, Kindle-DX definitely wouldn't be for me because I don't like this device's larger size, which won't fit as conveniently into my pocketbook. If you can go with the larger size, though, you might want to take a look at the DX. Here's one on-line review I've found, and bear in mind that Amazon has a very generous, no-questions-asked thirty-day return policy so you might want to try it out.

On the other hand, K-DX has an awfully hefty price tag, especially now that K2 has been price-reduced to under $300.

19KevinCK
Jul 15, 2009, 8:19pm

#17,

PDF files are not hard to annotate, highlight, etc on the kindle. They show up and are displayed as any other file. I am sorry to say that tables are iffy. Sometimes, the formatting translates well and sometimes it does not. AS CurrerBell said, the Kindle DX is very much designed for and geared to those (businesspeople, students) who may be dealing with many PDF and business documents. It has a larger screen that can handle tables quite well. It also handles regular books as well as the regular kindle.

20ChrisClogston
Jul 16, 2009, 4:54pm

I bought a Kindle2 and really liked it -- liked the screen and the lightness of the device. I love books and like the feel of a book, so I was prepared to hate an eReader, but that hasn't been the case. I'm a non-traditional grad student (over 50) and I really like the ability to change the font size on the fly. Even with glasses, my eyes do not do well reading from a computer screen for any length of time.

When the KindleDX was available I bought that one and love the larger screen. I also really like the native PDF reader built-in as a lot of my periodical refs for my dissertation are in PDF format.

I archive all of my ebooks/PDFs on an external hard drive.

The biggest downside of the Kindle(s) are the price(s).

21Phlox72
Jul 18, 2009, 1:56pm

Saw a reference to the Cybook here, and upon visiting the website and reading up on it I got all excited. It seemed perfect. But when I read the faqs I realised that it is not backlit, so cannot be read in the dark. No sitting in bed at night with the lights off and reading? How disappointing!

I believe I would like the Kindle but it's content is not yet available in my country. Bummer.

22KevinCK
Jul 18, 2009, 4:13pm

Reading at night would be an advantage of a backlit screen, but backlighting makes it like reading a computer screen. The e-ink technology used by most current e-readers makes the book read like...a book. The screen really looks like a page that way.

23daschaich
Jul 21, 2009, 4:11pm

I expect I'll get one in some years' time, when they're cheaper, more common, and play better with (sciency) pdfs. I'll also try to go with something without this issue. I don't really buy that article's doomsaying ("How Amazon's remote deletion of e-books from the Kindle paves the way for book-banning's digital future"), but I am a free software fanatic, and this rubs me the wrong way.

I read from a screen all day and have no problem with it, though I can't imagine reading a screen -- backlit or not -- without lots of ambient light.

24Phlox72
Jul 21, 2009, 5:54pm

Hmm I really don't like the idea of anyone being able to delete content from my ereader at their discretion. Suppose I hadn't read the book yet - having it unceremoniously deleted would really annoy me. I didn't realise that is the contract you agree to when you buy a Kindle. Given that consideration, I'm not sure I'd want one. I think i'll be better off buying and keeping the physical books I want, with absolutely no interference from anybody.

25Sniv
Ago 4, 2009, 12:11am

Came across this article: Kindle's DRM Rears Its Ugly Head. Have any of you kindle users come across this problem? Do you know if amazon is addressing it right now?

26charl08
Ago 6, 2009, 12:26pm

Can I ask about book availability?

I work with academic texts that are often only available in academic libraries (or out of my reach for £20, £30, £40 per copy) - are 'books' downloaded cheaper / easy to order? Or am I limited to the out of copyright classics and recent bestsellers?

27ejj1955
Ago 6, 2009, 12:34pm

If you search for a title on Amazon, it will list Kindle editions along with hardcover and paperback editions in the search results. They can be less expensive than paper editions.

28latinandgreek
Nov 1, 2009, 9:38am

I have a Sony PRS-505 and it is a godsend. I wish I had had one while I was doing my bachelors degree - it would have saved me a lot of money, and would have made studying much more convenient.