Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Should I Buy an Ebook Reader This Year?

The nook, an electronic reader from Barnes and Noble, was announced on Tuesday. It is not likely another ebook reader will be released before the end of the year. Therefore it is safe to start contemplating whether it is worth buying an ebook reader this year. Author and reader Kay Sisk sent me this awesome comparison chart of current ebook readers.

There are three basic choices for the dedicated reading market:

  • Amazon Kindle:   Kindle 2 and Kindle Dx
  • Sony Reader: Pocket, Touch, Daily Edition
  • Barnes & Noble: nook & iRex

KINDLE

Pros of the Kindle:

B0015T963C.01.LZZZZZZZThere are two flavors of the Kindle:

  • Kindle 2, available internationally, 6″ screen for $259.00.
  • Kindle DX, available in US only, 9.7″ screen for $489.00.

The Kindle allows for continuous access to your ebook purchase and the Amazon digital bookstore via 3G network from AT&T.   You are allowed to hook up to 6 devices to your account.   I have my iPhone and my husband’s iPhone devices registered to my account. If you are particularly trusting, you can share an account with up to   5 other readers. Anyone with a device registered to the account, however, may charge to that account.

Kindle’s refresh rate is fast (how fast the pages “turn” electronically)   and your annotations, notes, and last place read will be synched across the registered reading devices.   I.e., if you had an iPhone and a Kindle, the notes that you took on each would be synced, as well as the last place that you read the same book.

Amazon will be releasing a desktop application for both the PC and the Mac allowing synching with those devices as well.

Cons of the Kindle:

The only place you can buy secure ebooks for the Kindle is through the Amazon digital bookstore.   (Books that are DRM free like His Lordship’s Mistress by Joan Wolf can be purchased at Fictionwise in Mobipocket format and then emailed to the Kindle).

The Amazon is a closed device and only the Kindle and thus the Kindle App can view the Kindle book.   The keyboard on the Kindle is difficult to use and not conducive to long note taking.   There is no file organization on the Kindle so if you have a huge ebook collection, there is no easy way to navigate through it.

No library connection.   Covers are extra.   There is no ability to expand the Kindle memory.

SONY

Sony_Reader_Pocket_Edition_01There are three versions of the Sony:

  • Pocket, 5″ screen at $199. No note taking ability. Must side load the books via a USB connection.
  • Touch, 6″ screen at $299.   Touchscreen.   Must side load books via a USB connection.
  • Daily Edition, 7″ screen at $399.   Touchscreen and 3G capability.   Ability to purchase direct from the device.

Pros of the Sony

The Sony devices accept epub which is fast becoming the standard in the industry.   Because of this, the reader can engage in Internet price comparison, shopping for the book at the cheapest prices.   The epub The touchscreen is responsive and it is easy to take notes using the stylus by writing on the screen itself.   Sony boasts a great organization system for the devices allowing books to be sorted into “collections” (like folders).

The Sony Touch and Daily Edition come with faux leather covers along with SD and Memory Card slots for expansion.

One of the best features of the Sony devices is the ability to interface with libraries.   Most libraries that lend digital books use Adobe DRM encryption (epub and pdf).   Sony reads those formats and therefore the Sony allows you to take your library reads with you.   The Daily Edition allows you to access libraries directly from the device itself.

Cons of the Sony.

Only the expensive Daily Edition allows for over the air purchases. The Sony ebookstore, however, often has higher ebook prices than other ebook retailers.    Sony does not ship with a wall charger. Instead you either charge via USB or buy a wall charger separately.   There is no synching between annotations you take on the computer or other device and your Sony.

BARNES AND NOBLE

nook-handBarnes and Noble has two devices currently available:

  • nook, 6″ eink screen for reading and 3.5″ LCD screen for browsing, buying, and note taking.   $259.   3G and in store wireless
  • IRex DR 800SG, 8.1″ eink touchscreen (stylus enabled only) for $399.   3G capability powered by Verizon.

Pros of the nook

The nook has 3G and in store wireless capabilities built on an Android platform.   Android signaled to me that the hackers will be all over this. The wireless capability is likely to be the first things hacked.   As commenter Dana noted, wireless capabilities are not crippled.   Moving on, The 3.5″ LCD screen allows fast browsing and note taking.   Like the Kindle, the nook allows for synchronization of notes across platforms.   The notetaking on the LCD screen will be light years faster than it is on the Kindle.

The nook will be able to read encrypted epub as well as eReader.   (Can read more about the Adobe/eReader integration here).   Supposedly this should mean that you would be able to use these devices with digital library books.

BN has a much heralded Lend Me feature but it only allows you to lend a book once AND it will not be enabled for all books.   Publishers don’t like the feature (and neither do authors).   PublishersMarketplace has this to report (paywall):

But the company’s web site clearly states that a given ebook can only be lent “one time.” One publisher told us that BN was initially trying to secure broader lending rights but pulled back based on broad publisher resistance.

For many big publishers, that’s still one time too many. [William] Lynch would not specify a number of lendable titles, only saying it would “a good bit,” noting that available titles will carry a LendMe burst symbol. But executives at most of the biggest trade houses indicated to us that they have not agreed to participate in LendMe.

Cons of the nook

There is no file organization on the nook.   You can browse by title and author.   You cannot create your own collections.   As with the Kindle, this provides problems for readers with large digital libraries.   The nook does not read RTF or Word docs.

Because of the LCD, the battery for the nook does not last as long as the Kindle.

CONCLUSION

Of the current slate of devices, the nook at $259 seems to be the best device for the money.   It has a more open platform than the Kindle but still has the over the air purchasing capability.   Having said that, if you could wait, I wouldn’t buy a new device this Christmas.

New multi function devices are due to hit the market in 2010 including the likely Apple Tablet.      It is easy for me to play the waiting game. I have an ebook reader; three of them, in fact: the laptop, the iPhone, and the Sony 700.   Having said that, I just know from years of reading on dedicated and multi function devices that I gravitate toward using the multifunction devices.   These new tablet devices will allow you to browse the web, play music, watch video and read.   If you can, wait.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

54 Comments

  1. Dana
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 04:34:37

    Thanks for all the aricles on ebooks. The blogs on Dear Author was the reason I started reading ebooks. And now 98% of all my book purchases are ebooks.

    The nook’s wireless is not limited to in store. This is straight from the B&N ebooks help board

    There have been a lot of questions about Wi-Fi.

    Here’s the story: nook is programmed to automatically connect to the free AT&T Wi-Fi in any Barnes & Noble store.

    When you’re in the store with nook, you’ll be able to read any eBook we stock, and we’ll be able to send you special content and promotions.

    You can also use nook on any 802.11b/g Wi-Fi access point. So, you can connect wirelessly at home, or whereever you have a preconfigured Wi-Fi connection.

    EDIT: We see there are lingering questions about Wi-Fi … So, for a point of clarity, you can connect on any 802.11b/g Wi-Fi hotspot, or wherever you have the SSID password. The exception to thie is Wi-Fi hotspots that use proxy settings (like you typically see in a hotel), where you have to enter a password or some other information before you can connect.

    Regarding AT&T 3G coverage: You can connect for free anywhere on AT&T’s 3G network.

    I’ve been wanting to buy an ebook reader for awhile now. I read ebooks on my ipod touch right now, Stanza + calibre works great, and I’m happy, except for the short battery life.

    I’m not interested in a Kindle, because I don’t want to be tied to Amazon.

    The nook sounds interesting, but I don’t like that there’s no way to organize books. But you can buy replacement batteries for the nook, so that’s one plus for it. And if publishers will get on board for the lending feature, I would look more closely at getting the nook. And if B&N do decide to open up to Android apps, I would be very tempted.

    I’ve been interested in a Sony, and I’m waiting to see what the Daily Edition will have to offer. I like that it’s not a closed system. But I’ve gotten so used to the touch screen of my ipod touch, the Sony 600 seemed slow to me when I tried it out, which is something I’m probably going to have to get used to if I want an eink device. I do like Collections, and being able to take notes on screen, even if it’s a little slow. So the Sony still sounds like the best choice for me.

    But for right now, I’m happy enough with my ipod touch, and I’m playing the waiting game also. And I have to say, if Apple does come out with a tablet next year, then I’ll probably skip the e-ink devices.

    ETA: I have to say that I keep buying ebooks because I’m able to strip DRM and actually own it. If I couldn’t do that, my interest in ebooks would be much lower.

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  2. Estara
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 05:10:13

    @Dana:

    ETA: I have to say that I keep buying ebooks because I'm able to strip DRM and actually own it. If I couldn't do that, my interest in ebooks would be much lower.

    Ditto!! Another advantage of my dedicated reader is the ability to buy out-of-print books, small epublished press books and loads of out-of-copyright works which I wouldn’t have come across in the wild.

    For example, Michele Jerott Albert is selling her out-of-print romantic suspense novels at her own website called InkBooks, and she offers her first book for completely free – I think I came across it here, in connection to the fact that the hero works as a male stripper. I don’t usually read crime fiction romance (except for J.D. Robb) and wouldn’t have tried them out else. Also, her for-sale novels are a lot of book for the money she asks. And they’re plain well written.

    Sometimes the ebooks are cheaper than paperbacks at import prices, too (considering I don’t live in the US).

    But I wouldn’t be buying any ebooks from the big publishers if I weren’t able to make them drm-free and archive them.

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  3. Ella Drake
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 05:44:08

    I haven’t seen anything to take me away from my Nokia N810 or, for that matter, my Blackberry Curve.

    But, I’d wanted to give an ereader as a gift this year. I won’t consider the Kindle because it’s closed. You don’t mention this in the cons, but the refresh rate on the Sony was an immediate deal breaker for me. It’s very distracting.

    Does anyone have info on the refresh rate for the Nook or iRex? My assumption is that since the Nook is LCD, the flashing between pages shouldn’t exist. I’d prefer Verizon as a carrier, anyway, so iRex looks good to me, but I’d still like to know about that refresh rate.

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  4. ann
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 06:04:33

    Ebooks will cost more for international customers on the kindle. So that is another con. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/oct/09/kindle-charges

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  5. Serena
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 06:30:21

    I cannot wait to see what Apple does. For now, I use my Iphone + Stanza to read ebooks, and it works fabulous. But if Apple can do better (which I’m sure it can), I have no doubt I’ll be upgrating.

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  6. Danielle
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 06:37:34

    I uderstand that QVC will be selling a eReader sometime in December.

    When I mentioned this to my friend she commented I wonder if they will sell it in 5 easy payments!!!!

    http://paidcontent.org/article/419-interead-picks-qvc-to-launch-its-cool-er-e-reader-in-u.s.-/

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  7. Anne Douglas
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 06:53:51

    @Ella Drake: Ella – only a small portion of the Nook (that lower color screen) is LCD, the main part I understand is a regular eInk screen

    @Danielle: If they do, that potentially could be the moment eBooks flip from being an oddity to becoming rather more mainstream

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  8. DS
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 07:08:04

    @Ella Drake: According to an interview on NPR the lower screen is LCD. The upper screen is e-ink.

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  9. Vivienne Westlake
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 09:25:46

    I like my Sony, even though I have a slightly older model. I got it earlier this year and it’s been awesome (particularly since my old ebook reader only held about 6-10 books at a time).

    From what you said of the Nook, it sounds cool, but I don’t like the fact that you can’t load Word files on it. Some of the first ebooks I bought were in formats that I had to convert to Word because I couldn’t view them otherwise on my old reader. I would want access to my old ebooks on the nook, so that’s a down side for me. While some ebook retailers allow you to go back and re-download your old purchases in a different format, some of my ebooks only allowed me to download once and I’d have to purchase the whole thing again.

    I do like the lending feature, though I can understand why publishers don’t. But, if it’s only being lent once and for two weeks, I don’t see a problem with it. I know a lot of people who read slowly, so they’d probably only get through four or five chapters in two weeks and then have to go buy the ebook anyway.

    But, I agree with you, Jane, if you don’t need a new reader right away, it is probably better to wait and see. Ebook readers are only going to get cheaper and include more and more features.

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  10. Eva_baby
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 10:10:51

    I own a Kindle but I admit the Nook looks cool. But then, I am a technophile. So any new cool gadget I see, my eyes gleam and I say “ooh, shiny!”

    It seems like the nook took the best parts of the Kindle (the ability to purchase and download wirelssly) and the Sony (the ability to read secured epub, pdf) and put them together in one.

    That said, I am still happy with my Kindle and will continue on with it until the market shakes itself out and something that does it all at a great price comes along.

    Also, the Kindle may be “closed” but it is only as closed as you want it to be. Only about 10% of my entire Kindle library were books purchased via Amazon. I purchase from wherever my fancy takes me.

    Also i agree with Dana, these are my books, I own them as much as I do dead tree books, despite what the e-book industry tries to say. I don’t re-sell or infringe on copyright, but I have learned how to take my books with me to a new e-reader if I should end up purchasing a non-Kindle one.

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  11. Caligi
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 10:11:24

    I own a Sony 600, and I like it, but an added con is the glare the shiny touchscreen causes.

    I kinda wish I waited. I didn’t think B&N’s device would take epub and look so nifty.

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  12. L
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 10:12:09

    i heard that buying books straight from Amazon won’t actually give the authors any percentage of the money like buying a soft or hardcover would.

    Still, it’s extremely expensive right now and seems silly, when I probably won’t use it all the time. $250-$500 to read books? I don’t even read $500 worth of books a year! Not to mention I’ll still have to be buying books as I read them (and if not, think of how much less money the author would get). Plus small gadgets like that can easily get lost or stolen (so it can get resold) at least far more easily than a book.

    Plus reading on such a little glowing screen sucks. That’s why I could never read fanfiction online. No to mention all this e-book stuff only makes it easier for people to put it up online for people to download and read for free.

    Anyway, I still prefer book-books and do not have enough money for silly readers like this, but all you suburbanites with money to waste, go ahead.

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  13. readerdiane
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 10:21:30

    I own a Kindle and really enjoy reading on it. I have bought most of my books from Amazon since we live out in the country and getting to a book store is not convenient. At night if I am tired I can increase the font size. I really don’t think I would be as comfortable reading on the I-phone because I find that I am turning the pages a lot on the Kindle as it is.

    I do need to investigate the sharing part since I have always shared my books with my daughters.

    The one thing I do not like about the Kindle is that I cannot delete books off the archived list.

    I went on vacation for 2 weeks and was able to bring 20 books with me but only taking up the room of one book. I always have a book with me and now I have my choice of what I want to read with me all the time. ;) I love it.

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  14. brooksse
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 10:49:31

    I have two Sony’s, a PRS-505 and a pocket edition. Hopefully, these will keep me happy for quite a few more years. But when it does come time for a replacement, I’ll be looking for a good multifunction device.

    The screen-size of the iPhone or iTouch is too small (for me) for reading an ebook or browsing the internet. I would prefer a device about the size of the Sony pocket edition or the 505. Something with comparable screen-size (at least 5″) and fits nicely in a purse. Something as easy on the eyes as the e-Ink screen that will hold a battery charge for more than a couple hours. Something that allows you to connect to a wireless router or internet hot spot, so you could browse the internet or read ebooks while away from home, or connect to your home network for transferring ebooks to/from your laptop or desktop while at home.

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  15. Mike Cane
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 10:53:53

    >>>It is not likely another ebook reader will be released before the end of the year.

    Um, what?
    http://snurl.com/sra7p

    There’s also Alex. And every week there’s a new one announced from someone. They might not go on sale this year, but CES 2010 will be overrun with them.

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  16. A Bibliophile's Bookshelf » The Sunday Salon: To eRead or Not to eRead
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 11:01:54

    [...] Edit: Dear Author has published a fabulous post today about the pros and cons of different eReaders. Check the post out here. [...]

  17. Caligi
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 11:19:12

    @L:

    Aren’t you a judgemental little creature.

    “Anyway, I still prefer book-books and do not have enough money for silly readers like this, but all you suburbanites with money to waste, go ahead. ”

    I’ll have you know that I not only don’t live in a suburb (I live in an awful, awful city of just shy of 100k where people have apparently not heard of “trashcans”) but I don’t have a ton of money, since I’ve been out of work almost a year. I don’t have cable TV and we share a single car. Part of the reason I switched to an ereader – and ereaders do not have a glowing backlit screen, you know – is because there’s no more room in my tiny house here for any more sillly “book-books” that I’ll probably never reread but can’t throw out because I paid for them. The other reason is that my hand muscles have atrophied and are prone to muscle cramps and twitches so holding MMPs open is uncomfortable. The “silly reader” you denigrate lets me read comfortably and for longer stretches of time.

    There’s a rather epic thread that touches on your claim that ebooks encourage piracy, so I won’t touch that with a 10ft pole.

    There’s really no need to be insulting those who choose the ebook format. No one thinks poorly of paper book readers. It’s all a matter of choice.

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  18. Estara
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 13:28:19

    @Caligi: You know I thought L sounded like a classical case of envy, so no need to dignify this with a reply.

    But you’re right the last two lines are basically a flame, so I’m commenting here to say I totally agree with you. My problems with my right cornea are not going away and my Sony was the saving grace (due to increasing fonts) when I really was going up the wall with wanting to read something and having problems with normal books.

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  19. Anne Douglas
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 13:36:49

    @Estara @Caligi: eBook Readers in which ever form you prefer, really are bringing books (vs audio books) to a whole new set of readers – the visually impaired. Large print books are limited, the ability to change font size opens the whole world of ‘everything else’ up to those readers. This whole ‘turn off TTS’ thing really annoys me for the similar principle.

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  20. Anne Douglas
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 13:37:05

    @Estara @Caligi: eBook Readers in which ever form you prefer, really are bringing books (vs audio books) to a whole new set of readers – the visually impaired. Large print books are limited, the ability to change font size opens the whole world of ‘everything else’ up to those readers. This whole ‘turn off TTS’ thing from various publishers really annoys me for the similar principle.

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  21. Jessica
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 13:40:18

    @L: Someone please tell me this is really Robin in satire mode?

    Jane, great post. I love my Kindle 2, but will trade up once it becomes worth it.

    I have an iTouch, and while I love it for other things, I have not read a single book on it. I get dizzy trying to, since I have to flip the pages so fast.

    On this point, “Books that are DRM free like His Lordship's Mistress by Joan Wolf can be purchased at Fictionwise in Mobipocket format and then emailed to the Kindle”

    I just upload the books to my Kindle from my computer, using Calibre.

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  22. Jane
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 13:47:50

    @Jessica What would cause you to trade up?

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  23. Bonnie
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 14:08:03

    I really dig my Kindle 2, but the Nook does look very cool.

    Like many others, I LOVE new gadgets, but will wait to see what the new year brings. Can’t wait to see what Apple does.

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  24. Lisa
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 15:09:55

    My husband (not a reader) keeps asking if I want a Sony (which he calls a Kindle, cause he’s not a reader). He thinks they are the coolest thing evah. However, I’m currently still on my honeymoon with my iPod touch after 2 years and use Stanza and Kindle for iPhone. It took reading about four books on my iPod before i was able to adjust to reading on such a small screen. Now it doesn’t bother me and I don’t even notice how often I turn pages. Also I like that I can read in bed with no lights on and not disturb anyone. Battery life is the only downside, but I read while charging also. Until I can’t see the small screen anymore I don’t think I’ll upgrade to a dedicated ereader. Not to mention I like that I have so many different functions on my iPod. This really is best gift I ever received.

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  25. Natasha R
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 15:54:30

    Personally I’ve been waiting for the much talked about Apple tablet/reader.

    I already own a Sony reader (505), iPod touch, eBookwise and a laptop. None of the devices currently in the market are tempting. The Kindle would have been slightly more tempting if it was available in Canada. But alas, no such luck.

    So I guess I continue to wait. I really hope Apple gives us some news soon. One thing I can say about them is that they have style. All the products that they come up with are eye-catching. I love the interface of the touch! I can’t wait to see what they do with a tablet :)

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  26. brooksse
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 18:13:25

    @L:

    i heard that buying books straight from Amazon won't actually give the authors any percentage of the money like buying a soft or hardcover would.

    That’s funny, I heard an author may earn a higher royalty percentage on an individual ebook sale than on an individual print book-book sale. The overall number of book-book sales may be higher, but the royalty for each individual ebook sale may be higher. At least that’s what I heard. But I’m not an author, so maybe I’m wrong and you’re right when you say “Amazon won't actually give the authors any percentage.” (I didn’t realize it was Amazon who dictated the percentage that an author receives.)

    On the other hand, I sometimes purchase books on an author’s backlist in ebook format. Now, if I’m right and the authors do get some kind of percentage from their ebook sales, then I’m pretty sure those authors are making more money from me now. Because I used to purchase their backlist in used-used book-book format. And I’m also pretty sure those authors were earning $0 from all those used-used book-book sales. Any percentage greater than 0% from an ebook sale has to be greater than $0 from a used-used book-book sale, right? But then again, I wasn’t a math major, so maybe my calculation is wrong. So if you’re right, well, no harm, no foul because they weren’t earning anything from all those used-used book-book sales either.

    btw, speaking as one of those “suburbanites with money to waste”, I’d also like to send out a great big thank you for the A-ok to go ahead and waste money on those “silly readers like this.” Oh my, what a relief that is. Because, you see, I haven’t always had money to burn. It just sort of happened. One day I was working a low-paying job, living paycheck-to-paycheck. Then another day, years and years later, I found myself in a better paying job. (Ok, in between there was that whole putting-myself-through-college-while-still-working-that-low-paying-job thingy, but that’s not really important.) So I may be earning more money now, but I’ve had a hard time getting away from that old, frugal mindset. Like why buy a brand new Lexus when my paid-for Honda still gets me from point A to point B. Why buy that brand name when the cheaper store brand is almost as good. Why buy a house uptown when a comparable house way out in the ‘burbs costs less. (Ok, it came with that nasty “suburbanite” label hanging over it. But hey, I can live with that giant red S on my roof.) So for those few areas where I do choose to splurge, it’s really, really nice to know that I can waste money without being required to lose sleep over it. So thanks!

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  27. karen wester newton
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 18:38:20

    I like your summation. I think you did a good job of assessing the major eReaders available as of now or soon.

    I would point out first that the chart you link to doesn’t mention the international version of the Kindle; also it lists the Kindle battery charge as “4 days with wireless on” and the Nook as 10 days. If you did not know any better, you would think the Nook battery lasted longer; but with the wireless off, the Kindle is rated for 14 days between charges. It struck me as odd.

    Second, no one mentioned text-to-speech, which I think right now only the Kindle offers. This might not be that big a deal, since publishers can opt out of having it work, but I like having it as an option. Also, when I send my own documents to my Kindle, I can have it read them aloud to me as a way to proof.

    Personally, I am hoping having the Nook on the market pressures Amazon into adding EPub support. Otherwise it’s going to be more expensive for publishers to provide documents in the right format. I know sometimes they convert from PDF, but that can result in a lot of weird errors like “hyphen- ated” words with spaces in the middle.

    Also, Kindle 2 owners have found ways to create not folders but fake “tags” by entering notes on each book with a bogus word (like mysteryx, scifi, literaryxx, etc.) Searching for the bogus words yields a list of the titles in which it is found. It’s kludgy, but it works on the Kindle and I’ll bet it will work on the Nook.

    When my friends ask me about eReaders, one thing I point out is that Sony doesn’t sell books, so if they want to rely on library ebook lending, they really have to get a Sony. I will be curious to see if Plastic Logic’s QUE supports that feature; they don’t see books, but they’re marketed at business users so maybe not.

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  28. Jessica
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 19:05:51

    Jane,

    I don’t know what it would take to trade up from the Kindle 2, but library elending, touch screen, better navigation and notetaking, folder organization, open format, and some kind of built in light, added to what the Kindle already offers, would be heaven.

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  29. HeatherK
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 19:52:32

    We found the Sony 505 on clearance at Target this weekend for $200, and if I’d had it to spend, I’d currently have a second one stowed away as a just in case something happens to mine. I toyed with the two new Sony devices in Best Buy over the weekend, as well, but I didn’t much care for them. Mine has a much sharper image than the new models. Wireless and touch aren’t issues for me since I have very poor impulse control when it comes to buying things and I’d be in constant trouble over it, and a touch screen has the potential to get scratched up much, much faster.

    Also, on the charger, a Sony PSP charger works just fine with it, and stores frequently put video game stuff on sale–or you could try a place like Game Stop to find a used charger at a reduced price. As for battery charge, I read really slowly and can read numerous books before the battery is in serious need of a recharge.

    I haven’t yet seen the Nook firsthand, though I must admit I do like the sound of it. I understand why some authors and publishers don’t like the “lend” feature, but I personally have nothing against it. So long as it remains limited, there shouldn’t be any problems with it. Sharing of ebooks can get out of hand and in a hurry, which is my only concern with that particular feature. I know some have mentioned how they worry about people finding ways around the limited lend feature. Maybe, maybe not. Only time will tell.

    I haven’t seen the Kindle firsthand, either, though my ex has one and loves his. He’s supposed to bring it by so I can inspect it, but thus far has forgotten it each time he’s came over, which is typical for him.

    My mom uses my old Dell Axim pocket pc and prefers it to my Sony, mainly because it fits into her purse easier (since it’s smaller) and because it’s “color”, she says with a wicked grin. Text is black and white, so color isn’t an issue with me.

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  30. mia madwyn
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 20:03:06

    Is the only way to buy eBooks from Amazon via the Kindle? Can you buy them and load them onto the Sony? (I’m a bit confused about that.)

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  31. Jane
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 20:06:44

    @mia madwyn: You can buy eBooks from Amazon but you can only read them on the Kindle. In other words, you can buy directly from Amazon website or you can buy on the Kindle but these books can only be read on a Kindle or iPhone/iTouch using the Kindle App.

    You cannot buy ebooks from Amazon and load them onto the Sony.

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  32. mia madwyn
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 20:08:11

    @Jane:

    Thank you. This makes it so hard. I prefer the Sony, but not being able to buy ebooks from Amazon will be a tough choice. I’ll probably wait longer.

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  33. Jane
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 20:11:26

    @karen wester newton: Plastic Logic is supposed to be connected to BN’s ebookstore and the Sony Daily Edition will be connected to the Sony Ebookstore (vi 3g)

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  34. Maegan R
    Oct 25, 2009 @ 22:50:58

    I’ve had my Kindle for over a year now and I’m very happy with it. I find myself buying more books than I did prior to the Kindle, but that doesn’t seem to be too unusual. However, I will say that I sometimes get frustrated with Amazon’s prices, like when they charge you $9.99 for the ebook version of a paperback that sells for $6.99 or $7.99.

    I’ve been reading ebooks for years and was a big fan of using Microsoft Reader on my laptop, but I eventually wanted something that was more portable. I looked into the Sony e-Readers and was slightly overwhelmed by the selection you had to choose from. Then the Kindle came out and I was completely sold on the free wi-fi and “$9.99 for hardbacks” promise.

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  35. Why you probably should NOT buy an e-reader this year | TeleRead: Bring the E-Books Home
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 05:23:29

    [...] at Dear Author, the romance novel site, offers an excellent guide to the current crop of e-books—-but warns that shoppers might do well to wait until next year when better technology shows [...]

  36. Saundra
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 08:40:19

    heard that buying books straight from Amazon won't actually give the authors any percentage of the money like buying a soft or hardcover would.

    That's funny, I heard an author may earn a higher royalty percentage on an individual ebook sale than on an individual print book-book sale.

    I can’t speak for adult romance imprints, but I’m happy to share my contract info here. I have a YA hardcover with Random House, and I do get royalties on ebook sales.

    When I signed my contract in 2007, they gave me 25% of the suggested retail price of the ebook (including Kindle) before my advance earned out, and 15% of the suggested retail price after I earned out.

    In 2008 (before my book came out,) Random House changed e-royalties across the board to be more in line with hardcover royalties. Since my contract won’t change, I get to reap the 25%.

    But I think current and future Random House authors will have more like 10-12% on the first 10,000 units sold, with a minor increase after.

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  37. Angelia Sparrow
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 10:49:37

    Speaking here as an e-pubbed author, who can only lay her hands on one statement at the moment.

    Phaze pays the same royalty whether it comes off their site or an affiliate site. I get the same 25%-50% of the price (depending on whether it’s a solo or co-authored piece) whether it’s from Phaze, Fictionwise, BookSurge or Amazon.

    Average royalty rates for e-books run between 35-40%. Average paperback royalties can be anything from 3-15%.

    The thing that worries me about the Kindle is the whole ability to erase books. Also that the books aren’t physically in your posession. When I buy a .pdf from another site, I can download it to my computer and burn a back-up to CD. I can’t do that with the Kindle.

    I’ll hang onto my Sony 505 as long as it works.

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  38. Karen Wester Newton
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 11:43:20

    @Jane: I took “connected” to mean that it would be easy to buy B&N books, not that those devices would be locked in to only that store. Do you know otherwise?

    @Angela Sparrow: Actually, the web page for managing your Kindle library has a button that allows you to download each book to your PC. The problem has been that without a Kindle or a Kindle app on an iPhone, you could not read the books. The new Kindle-for-PC app should make that less of a restriction.

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  39. JessicaP
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 16:03:58

    I love my Kindle, but the nook looked very tempting. If Apple’s coming out with a multi-function device that will allow me to shop other sources than Amazon (as well as Amazon, I hope), download wirelessly, store, read, and browse the web, then I’ll definitely want one of those! I would hope that it would also allow downloading of audiobooks, as the Kindle does (although I haven’t done that yet). I spend a lot of time driving for work, and download from Audible.com to my computer, and thence to the iPod. It would be great to have something that is small enough to fit in my overly-large purse that would do everything. If any company can do that, it’s Apple.

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  40. mia madwyn
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 17:19:18

    @JessicaP:

    The Kindle plays audiobooks from audible as well as ebooks? If so, and if it handled public domain books from google as well, it would be my perfect device.

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  41. Lisa
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 20:04:34

    Amazon is having it’s Share the Kindle Love sweepsstakes this week. Add a wish list or add to your wish list and be entered to win 9 Kindles and 1 Kindle DX plus covers and preloaded books (30 total) plus more stuff. I have no problem taking a free Kindle!

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  42. Jane
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 20:05:53

    @mia madwyn: It does play audible books but no public domain books from google

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  43. Jane
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 20:06:57

    @Karen Wester Newton: No, I do think that you will be able to buy from other stores but I’m not sure on that (and I don’t think you’d be able to over the air)

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  44. karen wester newton
    Oct 26, 2009 @ 21:05:45

    Interesting. The new wireless Sony won’t let you borrow library books with the wireless either. You have to download the book to a PC and the cable it over. I wonder if any of them will offer the email function like the Kindle has? That’s a great feature. It lets me buy books and short stories from Fictionwise and have them go straight to the Kindle– so long as I fork over 15 cents per MB to Amazon.

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  45. ardeatine
    Oct 27, 2009 @ 07:19:35

    Looked into Kindle now it’s international and discovered that a $2.99 book on amazon.com shows up as a $5.57 book if you’re accessing amazon.com from the UK. Anyone know why? Apart from the fact that the UK always seems to get rip off prices.

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  46. Kathleen MacIver
    Oct 27, 2009 @ 07:44:20

    For those bothered by the fact that the Nook doesn’t read Word documents…are you aware that you can download free print drivers that allow you to “print” your Word documents into a PDF? Also, OpenOffice (free open-source software suite) also allows you to open a Word document, then export it as a PDF, retaining page size (if different from letter) and all formatting.

    Soo…between these options, you can buy a Nook and still read your old books. (If you’re willing to spend the 5-15 minutes to download and install the driver or program, and then spend the 30 seconds per book to convert them, of course.)

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  47. Karen Wester Newton
    Oct 27, 2009 @ 07:46:52

    @ardeatine: Is that because the wireless costs more? It appears Amazon’s deal with AT&T treats all non-US wireless delivery as “roaming.”

    ReplyReply

  48. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Halloween Linkity Horror Show! Eeeeeek!!
    Oct 28, 2009 @ 02:05:09

    [...] Author thinks this is a good time to buy an ereader; TeleRead disagrees. (Don’t forget that there are other readers besides the Sony, the Kindle, [...]

  49. Rose
    Oct 28, 2009 @ 12:17:36

    I’m waiting to see what the Asus ebook reader looks like/feels like/costs. I was originally very interested in the Kindle because they have an international edition and I’m planning on teaching abroad in the spring. It seemed so ideal–I could, essentially, carry my library with me. I’d have access to most books I wanted and be able to download them while I was traveling or before. Then I found out that, apparently, the books sold via foreign IP would have to pay extra money for the same books. Now, I could fairly easily have a friend order them from the US for me, but that significantly lessened the appeal of the Kindle and, currently, the nook has no international plan at all. So, I figure, if I’m going to have trouble and have to find other ways to work to get my books I might as well just wait for the Asus, see what their rules are, and likely be easily woed by color(comics might be an option!) and a touch screen–possibly for nearly $100 less than the kindle and nook(if I remember correctly).

    In short–I can wait. At least until about February.

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  50. MaryK
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 12:45:26

    @Vivienne Westlake: Calibre is very useful for converting different types of files to epub. And it’s an awesome ebook management system.

    Convert Microsoft Word documents – calibre does not directly convert .doc files from Microsoft Word. However, in Word, you can save the document as HTML and then convert the resulting HTML file with calibre. When saving as HTML, be sure to use the “Save as filtered HTML” option as this will produce clean HTML that will convert well.

    There is a Word macro package that can automate the conversion of Word documents using calibre. It also makes generating the Table of Contents much simpler. It is called BookCreator and is available for free here.”

    ReplyReply

  51. #FollowReader: Of Nooks + Blogs + Piracy « Follow The Reader
    Oct 30, 2009 @ 13:33:53

  52. Cin
    Jan 17, 2010 @ 12:17:16

    Interesting. I love reading ebooks and am very interested in learning about the new technology coming out with all of the e-book readers emerging. I durrently own two e-book readers (both Kindle) and am looking to purchase the latest one from Sony. I think the technology is outstanding. I even have a personal blog started, dedicated to digital readers.

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  53. Ramey
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 18:31:54

    I have been contemplating buying an e-reader, but then found that I can download Nook for free on Barnes & Nobles and buy whatever books I want from there. Why would I need to buy an e-reader? What, other than a backlit screen on my laptop, would be the advantage of having an actual e-reader instead of just using my laptop? I am getting a little confused on this.

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  54. Jane
    Sep 13, 2010 @ 19:55:01

    @Ramey: ereaders are portable (i.e., you can stick them in your purse) and the batteries last a long time. If you plan to read primarily on your laptop and near a plugin, you probably don’t need an ereader, but if you want something that you can take with you, a portable ereader makes a lot of sense.

    ReplyReply

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