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

$200 E Ink Ebook Reader at IDPF Conference

Astak inc is showing off three different sizes of e ink ebook readers at the International Digital Publishing Forum conference. The smallest one has a 5″ screen and is going to retail for $200.00. There will also be 6″ and 9.7″ sizes. The larger devices will have wi fi and bluetooth capabilities. No word on whether you will be able to browse or get emails. The 5″ budget model will be available in June and the larger devices are supposed to be available in October.

Via Teleread.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. David H. Rothman
    May 14, 2008 @ 20:31:00

    Hi, Jane. Actually the five-incher is expected out in June, at least in the States. Great news for e-romance fans on a budget. Best. David

    David Rothman |

  2. Jane
    May 14, 2008 @ 20:32:42

    That is good news.

  3. Tina Burns
    May 15, 2008 @ 10:05:50

    Yeah! Good to know readers are getting more and more choices and I like the mp3 features too.

  4. Angela James
    May 15, 2008 @ 10:32:54

    I would really love to see one of these and try it out.

  5. Susan G
    May 15, 2008 @ 11:32:06

    Question for e-book reader fans:

    Where can a person see/hold/experience one of these gadgets in real life? I have asked at numerous large and small electronics stores in my area (Charlotte, North Carolina) and they are never stocked.

    I think this might be a device I would enjoy using but it’s much too large an investment without having first seen it in person.

  6. Jane
    May 15, 2008 @ 11:33:32

    Susan – If you have a Borders, it should have a Sony Reader on display. the most disconcerting thing about the e ink reader is the refresh when each page is turned, but most everyone I’ve talked to gets over that after reading for a while.

  7. Walt
    May 15, 2008 @ 15:08:41

    The issue some might have with this lower priced reader (some reports have the 5″ priced at $150.00) won’t attract attention because (since it runs on Linux) there’s no support for content rights management — no mobipocket or lit files —

    Some may not want to be forced to convert their purchased books into a TXT, PDF, RTF, HTML/CHM format so they can read them. In other words, ripping the copyright protection via a program of dubious legality (“crack”).

    As a result, readers like the Astek may not sell well at first.

  8. XandraG
    May 15, 2008 @ 15:12:54

    I’d be interested to know why the 5″ comes with a Linux base, but the 6 and 9 come with WinCE–what motivated their design choices and the like. Also, why .PNG images don’t seem bo have support. And why the 5″ doesn’t have a wifi option. Just curious on the diff between the 5″ and the 6″ not seeming all that different, yet vastly different with their choices.

  9. Angela James
    May 15, 2008 @ 15:15:20

    Some may not want to be forced to convert their purchased books into a TXT, PDF, RTF, HTML/CHM format so they can read them. In other words, ripping the copyright protection via a program of dubious legality (”crack”).

    Although, a lot of people with readers currently do this anyway (for instance, people who own an Ebookwise).

    If Sony can attract readers using the PDF format, I would think this reader could do similar, especially if it supports a straight RTF/HTML format with no conversion. But maybe I’m unique in not seeing the lack of LIT/PRC support as a drawback. Why do you think it would be, Walt?

  10. Jane
    May 15, 2008 @ 15:20:03

    Xandra – I am guessing cost. Linux is free and the Windows CE probably has a licensing cost. Maybe the size of the 5″ doesn’t allow for the hardware of a wifi/bluetooth (although I doubt it).

  11. BevQB
    May 15, 2008 @ 16:05:33

    Angela, unless someone comes up with something better, I will never, ever buy an eReader that doesn’t let me use MSReader (lit) (I’m assuming the Windows CE Astak devices will allow download of MSReader). For one, I prefer the navigation in Reader, I like the bookmarks, I like how it keeps track of what pages I’ve read, and I REALLY love the “sticky notes”. Secondly, it’s a Microsoft product, so I’m pretty sure it has a better chance of being around 5 years from now than the Sony or Kindle formats do.

    Jane, maybe I’m missing it, but do you know if these Astak devices are backlit? Honestly, I really wouldn’t have much use for a device that I couldn’t read in the dark.

    The fact that Windows CE is available as an OS makes me think of them as more of a UMPC, but since they don’t refer to them that way, and the fact that the price is so low, has me wondering what the difference is between these devices and a Windows Mobile PDA or a Windows based UMPC.

  12. Jane
    May 15, 2008 @ 16:10:17

    No, these devices would not be backlit because e-ink technology does not allow for a back light. You’d have to get a book light.

    The difference would be in the screen. The eink screen is flat in its visual aspect and does not flicker (except when you turn the page).

  13. Shannon Stacey
    May 15, 2008 @ 16:42:15

    Never say never, but I’m extremely unlikely to ever buy an ebook reader that doesn’t read .prc because, after test driving several formats, that’s by far my favorite.

    And I’ve had two different handhelds—the iPaq and the Palm—and could never get PDF to work properly on either, so I’m PDF shy. For somebody like me, who doesn’t have the technical know-how to “crack” a book, that would be a dealbreaker.

    I also wouldn’t spend more than fifty bucks on any reader that isn’t backlit, but that might just be me.

  14. Angela James
    May 15, 2008 @ 16:42:17

    I understand what you’re saying, Bev, but my point is that there currently isn’t any dedicated reader that uses LIT, so this particular reader doesn’t have a “deficit” that any other dedicated reader doesn’t also have. So I don’t think its lack of use of the LIT format will work against it any more than it does any reader. In other words, equal playing field.

  15. BevQB
    May 15, 2008 @ 17:03:35

    Ah, okay Angela, I understand what you meant now. However, if the Windows CE based versions DO have LIT, then I would view it as a definite advantage over the dedicated readers.

    In fact, the more I think about it, if, other than the screen difference that Jane pointed out, these devices function basically as a UMPC, I just might be able to live with needing a booklight. Every single problem I have ever had with any of my PDAs involved connecting/synching them to a PC. So, a low priced device that would allow direct download (assuming I can also load MSReader), is sounding VERY attractive to me.

  16. Walt
    May 16, 2008 @ 00:08:22

    BTW, the paparazzi snapped a pic of Jennifer Aniston relaxing in a bathing suit. What do the geek websites focus on? She was using a Kindle.

  17. Beth aka Scifibookcat
    Jun 10, 2008 @ 02:05:50

    MS Reader capability is a must for me, too. More than 90% of my approx 400 ebooks are .lit files. When I first made the jump to ebooks last July, I researched all of the formats that were readable on a PC (I read on my laptop) and I liked the appearance and features of MS Reader the best by far. I’d love to have something more portable to read on, but not enough to spend $300 unless it does a lot more than carry books.

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