E-Book Readers

I’ve been wondering recently if I could benefit from having an E-Book reader. I read often, both for fun and for educational purposes. I have classmates who state that their E-Book readers can open PDF format, so that’s an easy way to read articles for class. I hate reading long PDF articles on my computer, and I don’t want to waste the ink and paper to print them up, especially when ink is so expensive and the articles are 30+ pages long! I have a Kindle program for my computer and I started reading Emma on it for free a couple semesters ago (back in undergrad). It wasn’t ideal, but it got me started before the actually book came in. I don’t like the lack of page number in that format, however.

So I’ve decided to look into it. No, I’m not getting paid by any company to endorse one over the other, though I wish I was. I think that an E-Book reader would be wonderful for travel. It is impossible to use my laptop on the 7 hour (or 8+ with traffic) bus ride to Philadelphia when I visit friends, and it would be impossible on the ride to CT as well when I go down to visit family. Cramped seats, no space in front of me, and the simple bulk of my 13-inch screen is just impossible on a bus. I LOVE my laptop and it (she) is perfect for in-class or carrying to school for working on campus, like today, but traveling with it (her) makes me very wary, and it (she) does take up a considerable amount of space when I’m trying to travel light (some of this is my fault, she has a hard case and then a padded case too, but since I cracked the screen on my old netbook somehow, I’m not taking any chances).

There are a few options, of course:

Amazon has the Kindle. I know the Amazon site very well, and I like the free E-books that they carry. My options there are the Kindle, the Kindle Touch, and the new Kindle Fire.
The Kindle is $79.
The Kindle Touch is $99
The Kindle Fire is $199.

I don’t think I’d want the Fire. Sure it’s pretty and in color, but I think I would only get distracted by the ability to download games in color.
The Kindle and the Kindle Touch both have wifi, so it makes it easy to download books and PDFs. The Kindle Touch has more memory, so I could save more documents and more books. For an extra $20, I’d be able to save twice as much information. The Kindle can open PDF and .Doc format.

Barnes and Noble has the Nook. Again three options:
The Nook Simple Touch $99
The Nook Color $199
The Nook Tablet $249

Clearly the upper two are out. I’m not spending that much on an E-Book reader. Again, it has Wifi. Nook also comes without ads, which the Kindle has (they don’t if you pay a little extra. I don’t think a few ads would really bother me). The Nook is about half the storage space of the Kindle touch, but it has a microSD card slot. This is a nice feature. The Nook can open PDFs, but not .doc format.

Other: in comparing on the Wiki page, I noticed the PocketBook Pro. This thing can do everything. It can open nearly any type of document. But, it’s $293. Oh well.

(the Wiki page is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_readers)

According to CNET, the Kindle Touch has the highest editor rating (4 out of 5 stars). It was the editor’s choice for Nov 2011. The review is here: http://reviews.cnet.com/e-book-readers/amazon-kindle-touch-3g/4505-3508_7-35022791.html?tag=mncol;lst#reviewPage1
Excerpt: “Speaking of USB–you can connect the Kindle Touch to a computer to drag and drop MP3, audiobook, or text files (such as PDFs), but there’s otherwise no need to “sync” with a computer. In fact, if you’re just interested in reading, you’ll never need to connect a Kindle to a computer at all, as books, periodicals, and even audiobooks can be purchased and downloaded straight over Wi-Fi (or 3G cellular), directly from the touch screen.”
Sweet. I already sync my phone via the USB all the time. That’s how I get music to my phone and pictures from my phone. I love this feature.

The only downside I see to the “e-ink” readers like the Kindle is that the screen is not backlit like a computer or some of the more expensive options with LCD screens. However, it’s exactly that LCD screen that makes my eyes hurt when I stare at my computer for too long. Amazon does sell a special cover for the Kindle with a light built in. It’s pricey though.

Based on the above, it’s pretty clear that in order to get all the features I want: reading .doc, reading PDFs, and reading books; I should probably get a Kindle Touch.

Now to save up. $99 can be saved up if I’m careful.

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1 Comment

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One response to “E-Book Readers

  1. Just FYI, I have a Kindle and I’ve learned not to read PDFs on it. The screen is just too small and PDFs are usually formatted as a huge page so it’s really awkward to read it. So, if you are planning to read a lot of PDFs, I don’t really recommend the eReaders with the 6 inch screen. You’d need the bigger screens for that (but they also cost a lot more)

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