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Weekly Tech RoundUp

cool-er-image

asterisk_yellowThere are a couple of new eink readers on the market.   The COOL-er ebook reader mimics the look of the colorful iPods for the exterior casing of its 6″ ebook reader.   It reads EPUB, TXT, JPEG, any kind of PDF, MP3 for audio, and eight languages including Russian and traditional / simplified Chinese.   It is both Window and MAC compatible.   It’s definitely a product I would take a second look at if I were thinking about buying a new dedicated reader these days.

asterisk_yellowKindle App for the iPhone has an update which allows tapping or swiping to advance pages, landscape mode, and a choice of three different color schemes: white on black, black on white, and sepia.

asterisk_yellowSony Reader 700 is part of the Oprah Summer Giveaway. I’m not sure what, if any, kind of buzz the Sony Reader will get from being featured in this way.

asterisk_yellowFor ebook readers, you’ll want to bookmark this site. It allows you to enter a name of a book or the author and it outputs a price comparison chart for each book. Sadly the Kindle is almost always the lowest price available. The only way to stem the dominance of Amazon Kindle is to go DRM free.

asterisk_yellowWaiting until July to upgrade your new iphone? This Wired article puts together all the rumors and rates the likelihood of the rumors being true or false.

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

30 Comments

  1. Anne Douglas
    May 24, 2009 @ 12:42:16

    Since I already have a Sony, I don’t need another eReader, right?

    I am going to have to have a serious discussion with my wallet over the green or pink Cool-er device once they become available.

    Or maybe I should just buy myself a skin for the Sony, lol. Might be a bit easier at 25-30$ than the $249. :)

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  2. Silver James
    May 24, 2009 @ 13:08:17

    Wow! The Cool-er looks simple enough even this technophobe could figure it out. I would like to be able to touch and try before buying, though I sure like that price…even though I’m still lusting after a Sony 700 in my heart. But Silver Shine. How could I resist? *goes to count pennies*

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  3. Sandy
    May 24, 2009 @ 13:34:17

    I can’t believe how much cheaper ebooks are than hardcover and trade paperbacks! (The Kindle versions of my books go for around $5; the pdf ebooks for around $6, and the trade paperback versions are around $16.) Being as I have a sinful habit of buying waaaayy too many books, I’ve asked for an ereader for my birthday. Hopefully that will save some money in the long run. I think I’ll point the hubby at the Cool-er. It looks great. :-)

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  4. Dana
    May 24, 2009 @ 14:38:22

    Ooh. The Cool-er ereader looks interesting. It’s Mac compatible! That makes me so happy. I’ve been saving up to buy a sony ereader, but I think I’m gonna keep an eye out for reviews of this ereader before making my purchase. Right now I’m reading on an ipod touch, and I really like it, especially since Stanza lets me customize everything to my preference, and calibre makes it easy to upload and organize ebooks. The only thing I don’t like is the limited battery life.

    And on the shallow side, I love all the colors. :)

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  5. Darlynne
    May 24, 2009 @ 15:10:48

    Does your crystal ball give any indication of how long before we see a $100 eink reader?

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  6. Diane/Anonym2857
    May 24, 2009 @ 15:43:51

    Jane (and/or whoever has an answer),

    I’ve been meaning to ask this for months, but never seemed to get around to it. Now is as good a time as any, I suppose…

    I always read with interest all comments about e-book readers, as I am sure one of them will be in my future. Not only am I blind as a bat, but I have other physical issues which make holding books, especially large HBs, very problematic. Having something that is light-weight which can also increase font size is ever so tempting. Based on everyone’s comments to date, I am leaning toward a Sony, but it will all boil down to what my finances will allow and what is best on the market whenever I finally get my ducks in a row. Part of the reason I’ve held off purchasing one so far is because there is no universal format to make the books compatible on various platforms. Like the rest of you, I want to be able to keep my books with me forever and transfer them from one unit to the next.

    In the meantime, I keep coming across free downloads for books — Harlequin’s 60th anniversary ones, for example — that I’d like to download now in anticipation of building a library for when I get around to purchasing an ereader. My question is, knowing there is no official “universal” format, is there at least one platform that is “more likely to be compatible” on several ereaders? If so, I’ll download ebook freebies as I come across them using that format.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Diane :o)

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  7. Jane
    May 24, 2009 @ 17:14:07

    @Diane/Anonym2857 If the large text font is one of the reasons you are looking at a digital device, you may either want to wait for the Sony or Plastic Logic device or get the Kindle Dx. With the larger screen size, you can fit more text onto the page.

    While there is no universal format, there does appear to be alot of support for ePub. ePub works on many devices except for Amazon.

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  8. Jane
    May 24, 2009 @ 17:15:37

    @Darlynne Given that there appears to be only one company manufacturing eink screens, I would say no time soon. In 2010, the Plastic logic screen will debut & it’s possible the increased competition to Vizplex (the eink screen) will lead to a reduced cost device. But realistically? I would guess 2011.

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  9. HeatherK
    May 24, 2009 @ 17:29:20

    Diane, I have three letters for you. PDF. It seems to me that a lot of readers will read the PDF format. However, when in doubt and the books are free, I try to download them in all formats to be on the safe side…but that’s just the over cautious side of me rearing its ugly head.

    PDF is rather standard. When you get a new accessory for your computer, most often, it comes with a user manual in PDF format. So, I don’t see that format going anywhere any time soon. I know the Sony reads that format, as will a Pocket PC, or a Palm device not to mention you can read them on a computer or laptop (both PC and Mac). No experience with the Kindle, so can’t give any insight on how it works, though.

    I have noticed that more often than not, PDF is about as universal as one is likely to get in the ebook world at this point in time.

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  10. GrowlyCub
    May 24, 2009 @ 17:37:28

    Diane,

    I buy a format that I can convert into .rtf files. Which usually is the annoying DRM’d MS Lit files, since there’s a tool to strip off the DRM and to convert the Lit file into an rtf file. I then change things into my preferred font and font size via Word and upload to my Sony 505. Works beautifully.

    I bought a bunch of PDFs before I got the reader and they are a pain in the butt, because you cannot change the font and for some of them even the largest (of 3 available reader font sizes) isn’t working as desired, so I stay away from PDFs now and other file formats such as epub and the Sony lrf format because I am not aware of whether or how I could convert them to a file format that has shown some longevity (like rtf).

    I’ve heard some rumors that Lit may be on its way out the door, which would be really annoying as far as I’m concerned (not that I like the Lit files themselves or that awful MS Reader just that I can work with them to get to a format that is easily backed up, stored, and will hopefully be readable on future PCs and e-reading devices). I’ve noticed that many new releases at FictionWise (now owned by B&N) do not to offer the Lit format any longer. I won’t be buying there much longer it seems. Too bad, it used to be a great company.

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  11. orannia
    May 24, 2009 @ 18:18:47

    Thank you Jane! The COOL-er ebook reader (and am I the only one who thinks of The Great Escape when I see the word ‘cooler’) looks so pretty….but, pessimist that I am, I doubt it will be released here (NZ). Am thinking the only option for me is the iTouch…

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  12. Angela James
    May 24, 2009 @ 18:31:42

    Ebookprice.info is a great concept but seems incomplete right now. I did a search for Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain, it didn’t even come up with a Kindle price (13.82), and one thing to keep in mind is that it didn’t take into account things like Micropay back at Fictionwise or Reward dollars at BooksonBoard. Those types of things do sway my buying decision. (In this case, the Micropay rebate makes the book $3 cheaper at Fictionwise than Kindle). I’m also wondering if the site searches the regular price or the club price at Fictionwise.

    I’d love to get my hands on a COOL-er ebook reader for comparison to the Sony/Kindle. Maybe I’ll email them and ask :P

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  13. Azure
    May 24, 2009 @ 19:51:04

    @GrowlyCub: I’m with you in hoping that MS Lit doesn’t become a thing of the past. It is by far the easiest to convert into other formats. Which is also why it’s probably being phased out in favor of formats that take more time and are a bit trickier to convert.

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  14. GrowlyCub
    May 24, 2009 @ 19:56:03

    Azure,

    I’m sure you are right and that’s what is inherently wrong with the way publishers are doing e- right now. They ought to make it easier for their customers and potential customers to buy and use e-books, not harder. Oh well. If anybody has mastered DRM’d PDFs or Mobi files please share..

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  15. Diane/Anonym2857
    May 24, 2009 @ 19:56:47

    Thanks for the info, ladies!

    Diane :o)
    taking notes

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  16. Jody
    May 24, 2009 @ 20:08:32

    When I enlarge the font of PDFs on my new Sony 505, it messes up the paragraphing and crams a lot of short paragraphs, particularly lines of dialogue, together.

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  17. GrowlyCub
    May 24, 2009 @ 20:15:28

    Jody, did you do the firmware update?

    I had real issues with PDFs when I first got the e-reader (even on the large setting the type was tiny), but after I upgraded via the Sony software, I’ve been able to use most PDFs successfully. It’s not as nice as the rtf files I create (I really am a creature of habit and want my documents to be in Arial 22 point!), but doable.

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  18. darkened jade
    May 25, 2009 @ 01:54:18

    Thanks for the reviews and the helpful links. I have to admit the COOL-er looks very interesting. I wonder where these will be a year from now.

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  19. Jayne
    May 25, 2009 @ 06:12:42

    I love the colors for the COOL-er but does it come with some kind of protective cover or case?

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  20. Li
    May 25, 2009 @ 07:42:41

    There was a little blurb about COOL-er in the Sunday Times (UK), but £189 v. £200-odd for the Sony Reader isn’t a huge enough difference for me to seriously consider moving away from my Sony Reader. I’m glad prices are moving in the right direction though.

    @GrowlyCub: One word – mobidedrm

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  21. Rachel
    May 25, 2009 @ 08:14:35

    @Angela James

    Thanks for the feedback on my website eBookPrice.Info – very useful!

    I’m fixing both the points you raise:

    (a) I’ve noticed recently that several popular books which are available in Kindle format aren’t actually showing up in Amazon’s feed, so I’m going to fix that in the next couple of days;

    (b) you also mentioned the varying prices for FictionWise clubmembers etc, I’m working on a new feature which will let you see all the various prices for club members/with or without rebates which will optionally let you exclude the ones you’re not interested in. That’s going to take a little longer, but should be ready next month.

    If you’ve any other suggestions for improvements, please drop me a comment via the website or email me directly at [email protected].

    Cheers
    Rachel

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  22. eBook Reader in Cool Colors! « Malle Vallik's Blog
    May 25, 2009 @ 08:54:50

    [...] in repeating work when someone else has already done it better. Jane from Dear Author has her weekly tech round up and includes the new COOL-er eBook [...]

  23. ShellBell
    May 25, 2009 @ 15:52:41

    I use a Palm T/x for my eBooks and I am always envious of all of the eReader devices that seem to be available anywhere but New Zealand. I guess the COOL-er eBook reader is just another device for me to drool over! Don’t get me wrong, I love my Palm – I love that I can read books in various formats – I just wish the T/x had a bigger screen like the iLiad, Sony, Kindle etc! It’s almost as frustrating as the ‘geographical restrictions’ that I am beginning to encounter more often when I purchase my eBooks.

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  24. Estara
    May 25, 2009 @ 15:59:39

  25. Estara
    May 25, 2009 @ 16:32:56

    @ShellBell: FYI, I’m from Germany but I have a Paypal account. BooksonBoard.com has so far not really bothered about checking where I’m from, as long as the money arrives in their account, so I’ve been happily buying US ebooks. there. Worth a try, maybe.

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  26. Janine
    May 25, 2009 @ 17:07:01

    @Jane: Is the Kindle Dx larger and heavier than the smaller screen Kindles? If so, it may be too heavy for Diane to hold comfortably.

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  27. Christina
    May 26, 2009 @ 09:44:31

    I use my blackberry curve as an ereader. I love it. so far A friend sent me some books that are lit. file Is microsoft erader the only application that those can be read on? does anyone know if that can be downloaded to the blackberry? or does anyone know if those files can be tranfered to a mobipocket file. I have researched this a couple of times, but no real definate answers

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  28. ShellBell
    May 27, 2009 @ 00:15:57

    Many thanks Estara .. I hadn’t thought of that. Will look at using Paypal through BooksonBoard for those eBooks I can’t get through Fictionwise

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  29. De
    May 27, 2009 @ 20:55:26

    A friend sent me some books that are lit. file [snip] does anyone know if those files can be tranfered to a mobipocket file.

    Search for “convert lit” It’s VERY easy to use and converts .lit files to .html. You might be able to just read the .html files, but if not I think there are probably a lot of ways to convert them to .mobi

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  30. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Reading our lives away
    May 28, 2009 @ 02:08:08

    [...] Author’s weekly tech roundup has some good stuff this week, including info on colorful new ebook readers and an ebook price [...]

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