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2011 Holiday Buying Guide for EReaders

2011 Holiday Buying Guide for EReaders

We’ve posted a comparison table between the three reading tablets and a hands on review of the Vox, the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire. Not to mention the Kindle Touch, Nook Touch, and Nook Color. But once you have the device or your loved one has the device, what next? Now it is time for accessories.

The Case

I used to be a huge proponent of the cover versus the sleeve but since the advent of the gorilla glass, I’ve changed my mind. It is harder to scratch the screens on these devices and the cases are often holding the devices in by unsightly elastic bands on the corners. I’ve been using my devices naked more often and really enjoying those devices in that manner.

For the eink readers, a case might be better choice if you do a lot of walking and reading and don’t plan to remove your device from the case.  The Amazon sells a light case for the Kindle Touch that runs off the power of the Kindle itself. I have one for my Kindle Keyboard and love it.  Barnes and Noble offers a huge variety of beautiful cases. My favorites are the ones where the reader clips in.

Kindle Touch CoverMadeline Cover

But I’m not often carrying my eReader, Tablet or iPad outside of my purse while moving about.  Further, a case can add a lot of extra bulk and for Tablets and iPads, that extra bulk isn’t worth it.  Thus, what I do want is to protect the face of my device from the keys, tweezers, pens or other random stuff that might scratch it. If you want to use the device without bulk, get a sleeve.

The other benefit of the sleeve? You can get anything from a very inexpensive neoprene sleeve to some gorgeous handcrafted cases. ($9.99 – $79.99).

Kindle Fire Kindle 3 Kindle Keyboardipad sleeveNeoprene Sleeve for Kindle Fire


The Power

I like to keep a power cord in my purse so that if my device gets low on power I will be able to charge it away from my home.

Retractable micro USB2 AMP Wall chargerNook Tablet Power KitTwelve South PlugBug

  • Kindle Fire: Needs a 2 AMP plug and any microUSB cable.
  • Nook Tablet: Uses a proprietary USB cable.
  • iPad: Needs a 2 AMP plug and a proprietary USB cable.

A couple other neat power sources includes the power brick for the iPad/iPhone/iTouch/Kindle Fire/Nook Tablet.  It provides a 2.1 amp USB port and can provide up to 10 extra hours for your tablet. ($99) An alternative is the ThinkGeek iGeek Large Capacity Portable Charger.  It allows for two USB connections (1 amp & 2 amp ports) and offers up 17 hours of movie time for the iPad2.  ($61.99) The travelers charger from Restoration Hardware rolls up while traveling and unrolls to provide a plugin tip for iPhone/iPad2, Mini USB, Micro USB, Samsung.

eb7b_igeek_large_capacity_portable_chargerRoll Up Travel Charger

And for in your car?  Turn the cigarette lighter into a plugin with ThinkGeek’s Coffee Cup Power Inverter. ($24.99)  Ned says this isn’t very manly so you could get this one instead.  I use a simple USB micro charger in my car. It’s nearly flush with the panel and in my Kia, the cigarette lighter top actually can close over this one.  Ned got the other one because it has a little handle to pull out the USB charger but it doesn’t sit as flush.  Make sure that the USB charger is compatible with the iPad if you want to use it to charge your Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire.


b29e_coffee_cup_inverterKensington K39224US PowerBolt Micro Car Charger for iPad, iPhone and iPod, including iPhone 4Satechi ST-2412 Car Lighter USB Charger Adapter with Smart Converter for iPad 2, iPhone 4S, Android Phones, BlackBerry Playbook, HTC Flyer


Only the iPad allows for a connection of a keyboard and while most are expensive, I do recommend one.  A keyboard really extends the functionality of the iPad. I’ve tried several.  I do not recommend the soft keyboards, particularly this device. I got this one as a member of the Amazon Vine program and while it is great for protection of the iPad, the keyboard part of it is really awful.  You could feel a single stamen (for lack of a better word) that needed to be pressed squarely in the middle or you would get multipllllllles of one letter.

I also don’t recommend the Apple bluetooth keyboard because if you carry the keyboard around in your purse the keys will eventually fall off.  Yes, this is from personal experience.

Logitech ZaggAdonit KeyboardKensington KeyFolio

The first thumbnail is for the Logitech Zagg Bluetooth keyboard.  The pros to this keyboard is that it works as a hardcase for the iPad and you can use the iPad in either portrait and landscape form.  The device is rechargeable via a micro USB and holds its power for around 3 weeks with casual use. The keys are nice sized and there is top row that allows you easy access to volume, home, and music control.  The con is that I have found the edges to be very sharp. You cannot change the angle of viewing. (This looks to be similar to the Logitech but at half the cost) ($72.95)

The second thumbnail is for the Adonit Bluetooth keyboard.  A friend of mine bought this and let me borrow it for a few days to test it out. (We traded).  The pros to this keyboard is the quick eject feature as well as the soft resting pad for your wrists.  There are several view angles.  The cons are that the keys are slightly smaller than that of the Zagg.  The device is not rechargeable but instead relies on 2 AA batteries. (This might be a pro for others)  The keyboard only works in landscape format and it is more difficult to use on your lap versus the Zagg. ($89.99)

The third thumbnail is the Kensington Keyfolio.  Another friend of mine has this.  I did not get to borrow before the review but I did play with it at a day long meeting.  The pros of this keyboard is that you can use it in both landscape and portrait format without ever removing the device from its case.  The keyboard keys are about the same as the Zagg.  The angle of viewing is adjustable.  You can easily access all ports without removing the device, including the camera. The cons are that you really can’t use this on your lap very easily.  Also, there is no quick release like the previous two which makes it more difficult to use while in bed.  It is more bulky than the previous two.  ($61.62)

Other Accessories

These are small accessories but might make great stocking stuffers.

Carson Cleaning Cloth3 Pack Stylus PenQuirkyFlexi Tie cord keepers

  • Cleaning cloth and cleaning spray.  This one from Carson retracts the cloth by the cables.  $4.61
  • For those who don’t like fingerprints on their touchscreen, they might like the touchscreen stylus pen.  3 pack for $6.85
  • Cord helpers. The Quirky keeps your earbud cords untangled and serves as a stand in a pinch ($4.99). These larger flexi ties (set of 6 for $8.85) for larger cord clutter.
Friday Midday Links: NY Times brings forth its ebook bestseller list

Friday Midday Links: NY Times brings forth its ebook bestseller list

Update: A reader mentioned that I forgot to point out that Barnes and Noble is having a groupon where you pay $10 for a $20 gift certificate that can be used on anything. Be sure to use your Groupon before April 10, 2011.

# Limit 1 per person. Valid on all items – including sale items. Not valid on previous purchases and/or adjustments. Not valid with other offers.
# Except as prohibited by applicable law, on April 10, 2011, any funds remaining on the BN Groupon shall be reduced by $10.00. For example, if you use your BN Groupon to make a $6.00 purchase sometime in March (meaning your BN Groupon would have a remaining balance of $14.00) but do not use it again thereafter, on April 10, your BN Groupon will be reduced to $4.00 (because $14.00 minus $10.00 is $4.00).


India may be the fastest growing market for English language books but the digital craze isn’t gaining a foothold there yet or so say the major publishers in India.

The sales of digital books in India is expected to pick up in coming months but that will not impact the aficionados love for hardcover books as has been the case in the West, say major publishers here.India may see good rise in sales of digital books as downloading them on mobiles becomes a possibility but their growth trajectory may not be same as in the West, they say.

As I understand it, India is replete with cell phone users but whether cell phones = ebook adoption remains to be seen.


The New York Times unveiled its new set of Bestseller lists this week to be published in the Sunday issue.   There are several new additions:

  • ebook
  • ebook + print
  • all print formats

Strangely, the Times will not count any individual vendor sales such as self published books citing “market instability” as the reason.   I think that is a bunch of hooey, but this is the Times and the Times list is what they want to make it, damn the market reality and all.   So the ebook and print list doesn’t represent a huge change given that the Times is excising a big portion of the ebook market.

Having said that, there were some interesting findings.   For example, Catherine Anderson’s book, Here to Stay, was number 3 on the mass market list but 23 on the ebook plus print list and did not appear on the ebook bestseller list at all suggesting that her numbers are primarily built upon print sales.   Susan Elizabeth Phillips made it to 12 on the NYT hardcover list and 31 on the ebook + print list but like Catherine Anderson, did not generate enough ebook sales to make it onto the Times list.   Conversely Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Consort was number 8 on the mass market list and number 18 on the print + ebook and number 18 on the ebook only list.

This week’s list is dominated by thrillers and mysteries.   In fact, of 96 slots on the mass market, hardcover, ebook, and ebook + print list, 51 were filled with either thrillers or mysteries titles compared to 24 titles with a romance designation.


Book By You is a personalised romance novel service wherein you fill out a questionnaire and receive a romance novel starring you and the hero/heroine of your choice.   The reason I am mentioning it is because the services is now offering a gay and a lesbian title.   While I am not a fan of the service myself, I am glad to see that they are recognizing all sorts of love:

To spice things up in time for Valentine's Day, the company has just released a couple of hot, steamy same-sex novels catering to gay and lesbian readers.

"Hot Blooded" tells the erotic story of two gay men -’ one vampire, one mortal -’ who fall deeply in forbidden lust and love, while "Seduction Games" follows a sexy romance between two lesbians who pine for each other after they become rival contestants on a reality-TV game show.


Our friend and fellow reader, Keishon, is shutting down her romance blog to focus on her current love: mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction.   Keishon started the To Be Read challenge and is one of my inspirations for blogging. I am glad that she isn’t leaving the blogging scene entirely.   You can still find Keishon at Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog.


Carriger_Heartless-MMGenerally, I think Orbit is a genius imprint.   They do cool things and great promotions (think the online paper doll thing for Gail Carriger’s series) and I think that their publishing blog is one of the best in the business.   Their covers are great.   Amanda Downum’s covers, in particular, are just striking.   I’m not a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction, but their blog posts are so interesting, I still follow along.   I think because I have such high expectations, I was struck nearly dumb by the really awful cover for Gail Carriger’s next book, UHeartless.   The hair looks like a wig that is about to fall off and the face is too realistic for the cover. It looks like a bad SIM.   I don’t know what happened here.