Chris Bailey

Joined: September 12 2008
Comments: 870
Votes: 0

06 Jan 12 #1

So I've been thinking I might pick up a device to lower my overall spending on textbooks. The features that are important to me are:

1. A wide selection of e-book format support.
2. Some sort of inline note taking? (Can I touch a sentence/paragraph and make some notes?)
3. Definitions! Sometimes I come across terms I don't know. Sure would be nice if I could just touch them and get linked to more information.
4. A screen that is easy on the eyes for long periods of time. I won't be using it outside much, so I'm not too worried about bright light viewing.


I have used a few e-book readers and tablets, but never for more than a few minutes. If anyone with real world experience has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. Thanks for your time!

KaVir

Joined: June 19 2006
Comments: 2654
Votes: 0

06 Jan 12 #2

I own a Kindle and use it all the time. It's small and slim enough to fit in my jacket pocket without a bulge, as easy on the eyes as paper, can store around 3500 books, and has a battery life of 2-3 weeks. It's fairly limited in terms of format compared to some e-readers, although it can read (and convert) formats like TXT and PDF. A4 PDFs aren't very nice to read though, which is a bit of a shame as I buy most of my roleplaying books as A4 PDFs.

It includes a dictionary, and you can make notes, although I find it a bit cumbersome to do so. If you want to do a lot of typing, then I'm not sure I'd recommend it.

However I strongly suggest comparing the book prices with dead-tree format before making any purchases. The Kindle prices fluctuate wildly, and sometimes they're even more expensive than the hardbacks - check out this article for more info.

EDIT: Actually I was thinking of this article, although the above one is interesting too.

Chris Bailey

Joined: September 12 2008
Comments: 870
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #3

Thanks for the links KaVir. I did a little bit of checking on the prices and availability of the text books I need for this semester, and I'm not happy. Our bookstore has been pushing the B&N Nook and suggesting that we can save 40% on the cost of our books, blah blah blah. Students seem to be jumping all over it. There is only an e-book version of two of the textbooks that I need, and here is how the prices break down.

Total cost of ownership (includes bookstore buyback, but not taxes)
New Print: $315.00 - $126.00 = $189.00
Used Print: $236.25 - $94.40 = $141.85
Rental Print: $154.35 - $0.00 = $154.35
Purchase E-Book: $180.15 - $0.00 = $180.15
Rent E-Book: $140.85 - $0.00 = $140.85

EDIT: I guess I can save $0.50 per book if I rent e-books. Sure will take a long time to recoup the cost of the tablet though.


I think I will just buy used and sell them back after the semester, as usual.

KaVir

Joined: June 19 2006
Comments: 2654
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #4

To be honest, while I absolutely love my Kindle for reading novels, I still prefer dead-tree format for technical books.

It's also worth noting that quite a few e-books are poorly edited, and while the occasional typo is irritating for a novel it can be a killer in a technical book. A friend of mine also "returned" an e-book because (unlike the 800 page paper version) it didn't have a table of contents. This obviously varies from book to book though, and it seems to be improving.

While I'm sure it would be much more convenient to carry a slim e-reader in your pocket rather than a stack of books in your backpack, in your position I think I would probably make the same decision - buy used books, and sell them again later. Paper books are also much more resilient to the sort of alcohol-fuelled escapades most students get into ;)

Zeno

Joined: May 15 2006
Comments: 1473
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #5

I went with the Nook Tablet. The Kindle doesn't have a card slot, so you can't upgrade the space. It also doesn't have hardware volume buttons.

I'm using my Nook Tablet now, with the Kindle app. :)

Runter

Joined: June 1 2006
Comments: 3432
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07 Jan 12 #6

e-ink or fail

KaVir

Joined: June 19 2006
Comments: 2654
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07 Jan 12 #7

Zeno said:
I went with the Nook Tablet. The Kindle doesn't have a card slot, so you can't upgrade the space.

I'm not sure I'd want to, to be honest. The Kindle doesn't let you have subfolders, so its a pain (from an organisational perspective) to store too many books at once - much easier to store your main archive on your computer, instead, I think.

On an unrelated note, another thing I dislike about the Kindle is that it forces its annoying screensavers on you, you can't customise them. I guess it's a relatively minor thing, but it grates a bit after a while. It's a shame they don't at least use the book cover as a screensaver, or something like that.

And while I'm ranting…although you can put Kindle books on your amazon wishlist, nobody else is allowed to buy them for you (at least not on amazon.co.uk or amazon.de) - the best they can do is buy you gift vouchers. And they have funky geographic-locking, too, so you can only buy from the country where your account is registered - fortunately I still have a UK bank account, so I can continue purchasing from amazon.co.uk, rather than relying on the smaller amazon.de selection of English books. But amazon.co.uk gift vouchers expire after 1 year, even if you've added them to your account (i.e., your amazon balance silently goes down if you didn't use the money within 1 year, and as there's no way to track vouchers once they've been added to your account, you can't accurately tell when the money is going to expire).

Ok, sorry, I'm done now. Overall, I do still like the Kindle, honest.

Chris Bailey

Joined: September 12 2008
Comments: 870
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #8

I am going to pick one up for my own personal use, for sure. I like the idea of being able to use my Amazon video/music library though. Does the Nook kindle app let you access all of that? Also, which Kindle do you have KaVir?

Omega

Joined: May 31 2006
Comments: 493
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #9

I may sound crazy here, but for its money, the black berry playbook is a great buy. I'm enjoying it.

Ssolvarain

Joined: November 14 2008
Comments: 933
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07 Jan 12 #10

The kindle isn't bad. I got my grandmother one because books make her hands cramp up. Now she's reading book after book :P

If you're into sources other than amazon, you'll find (supported) .mobi files to be available.

Zeno

Joined: May 15 2006
Comments: 1473
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #11

I was comparing the Nook Tablet to Kindle Fire, I don't know if that is what KaVir actually has.

I don't have any Amazon videos, so I don't know. But it's the official Amazon Kindle app on mine, so I assume so?

KaVir

Joined: June 19 2006
Comments: 2654
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #12

Chris Bailey said:
Also, which Kindle do you have KaVir?

Mine looks like the Kindle Keyboard 3G, except it only has Wi-Fi. They don't produce it any more though. It doesn't play videos, and although it can play MP3s, I've never tried doing so - I have an iPod for that.

Ssolvarain said:
The kindle isn't bad. I got my grandmother one because books make her hands cramp up. Now she's reading book after book :P

My mum got one because of the adjustable font size - she loves reading, but finds it difficult to read small text. She could have got the same functionality from another e-reader, of course, but the Kindle is a pretty decent product, and if you're already an Amazon user it's very easy to buy books or read samples.

Zeno said:
I was comparing the Nook Tablet to Kindle Fire, I don't know if that is what KaVir actually has.

Nope, you can't buy those outside of the US. I wouldn't mind a Kindle Fire actually, but I don't personally consider it an e-reader. It's an LCD tablet, like reading from a computer monitor (as opposed to e-ink, which is like reading from paper). The Fire also has a battery life of around 8 hours, as opposed to the 2-3 weeks my e-ink Kindle usually manages (and I usually read a few hours per day).

quixadhal

Joined: October 17 2007
Comments: 2706
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #13

Actually, the Kindle has "Collections" which can work as a single-level of subfolders. They're a bit of a pain to make and edit, but…

KaVir

Joined: June 19 2006
Comments: 2654
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #14

The collections are a bit like folders, but by "no subfolders" I meant you can't nest them. I wouldn't want to store thousands of books that way.

David Haley

Joined: June 30 2007
Comments: 7974
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #15

I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab and I love it. It's very unlikely I'd ever consider something that only did ebooks. The amount of stuff it does in addition to a vanilla Kindle (not a Kindle Fire) makes it worth the reduced battery life. It's more than 8 hours, though. It does obviously cost more, though, which might make it less attractive to you.

Chris Bailey

Joined: September 12 2008
Comments: 870
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #16

I'm exploring a lot of options but I'm starting to really see the differences between e-readers and tablets. It makes me think I should get one of each, but that will seriously lower my budget for each, hehe. I really wasn't looking to spend more than $350.00 here so that makes it pretty tricky I suppose.

David Haley

Joined: June 30 2007
Comments: 7974
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #17

Why do you need one of each? Or more precisely, if you have a tablet, why do you need the ereader-only device?

Idealiad

Joined: January 28 2007
Comments: 948
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07 Jan 12 #18

E-ink readers are lighter, have longer battery life, and are easier to read.

KaVir

Joined: June 19 2006
Comments: 2654
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #19

Chris Bailey said:
I'm exploring a lot of options but I'm starting to really see the differences between e-readers and tablets. It makes me think I should get one of each, but that will seriously lower my budget for each, hehe. I really wasn't looking to spend more than $350.00 here so that makes it pretty tricky I suppose.

The basic Kindle is $79, and the Kindle Fire is $199.

But it's really a matter of personal preference. As I said, I wouldn't mind a Kindle Fire as well, but if I could only have one I'd certainly pick the e-ink reader - it's smaller, lighter, easier on the eyes, and the battery life is far superior.

For many activities (movies, games, music, browsing, mudding, etc) the Fire would be better, but I already do those things on my PC, my laptop, my smartphone and my iPod Touch. The Fire would be a nice compromise (more comfortable to read than my phone, easier to carry around than my laptop), but I've already got the functionality covered by other gadgets.

What my Kindle replaces is the paperbacks (and occasional hardbacks) I would always lug around to read on the way to and from work, and which already overflow the shelves in my relatively small apartment. It's as nice to read as paper, and (unlike my other devices, which I have to recharge daily) only needs to be recharged every few weeks.

Tijer

Joined: May 26 2006
Comments: 237
Votes: 0

07 Jan 12 #20

i have a kindle any mine generally lasts for 4 weeks if i turn wifi off… its the same one as KaVir has i believe.. and i think its pretty decent… still do buy the occasional BOOK tho as i like to have them in physical form :)