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Reading ebooks without an e-reader.

There’s nothing more annoying than choosing one of two, seemingly good, options, only to find out later that you backed the wrong horse (as anyone who bought all their music on 8-track music tapes or stocked up on Betamax video will attest). That’s why I’ve delayed making a decision about which ebook reader to invest in.
 
I’m still weighing up the pros and cons of the Nook and the Kindle – if you’re interested I’m currently swaying in favor of the latter, though I do like the look and feel of the Nook – but whichever one I choose, at least I know I’ll always have the option of reading books in either format on my computer.
 
I don’t know if it’s a well-kept secret or just me not paying attention, but I didn’t realize until the other day that Amazon currently offers free Kindle applications for the PC; Mac; iPhone; iPod touch; iPad and Blackberry, with one for the Android coming soon. 
 
Not to be outdone, Barnes & Noble have free Nook apps for the PC; Mac; iPhone; iPod and Blackberryavailable to download from their main site.
 
This is good news for me, since several of my friends have said they don’t have an ereader and asked how they’ll be able to read Fur-Face when it comes out.  
 
I downloaded both apps to my laptop (they were quick and easy to install), so now I can read ebooks from either store on my computer. The Barnes & Noble app came with three free ebooks, Dracula, Pride & Prejudice and Little Women, which I thought was a nice gesture on their part.  
 
One day soon, I think laptops will come with detachable screens which will work as ereaders when separated (or perhaps ereaders will come with attachable keyboards for those of us who prefer to type rather than text), but in the meantime, I’m still trying to pick between the Nook and Kindle. 

I also predict that both Kindle and Nook ebooks will eventually become compatible (what can I say, I’m a hopeless optimist). If they do, maybe they’ll call it the ‘Nindle’.
 
 
How about you?
 
Do you already have a Kindle/Nook, or do you plan to just download the free app for one or both for now?


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peadarog
May. 26th, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
One day soon, I think laptops will come with detachable screens which will work as ereaders when separated (or perhaps ereaders will come with attachable keyboards for those of us who prefer to type rather than text), but in the meantime, I’m still trying to pick between the Nook and Kindle.

There are already netbooks that can detach their screens. However, they don't have eink screens so, like the iPad, they will hurt your eyes.
jongibbs
May. 26th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
Stupid technology :(
snapes_angel
May. 26th, 2010 08:28 pm (UTC)
They'll never replace paper-and-binding books. XD but I've ended up with a few, here or there, on my computer (the e-reader, or readers, since I may have more than one). I do usually end up reading something in adobe format.
jongibbs
May. 26th, 2010 09:14 pm (UTC)
I do like the feel of a well-put-together book :)
(no subject) - snapes_angel - May. 26th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
authorwithin
May. 26th, 2010 08:52 pm (UTC)
I have the Kindle for PC on my laptop, but I haven't clicked on the little desktop icon to check it out yet(hey, I've been busy).

I do plan to purchase a Kindle DX in the future (hopefully soon). Maybe I'll take a few minutes to open the Kindle PC and see what it's all about. Also, I'll go check out the Nook for PC since I hadn't heard of it until now. =)
jongibbs
May. 26th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
They don't seem to promote it much, which seems a little odd to me.
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
May. 26th, 2010 10:50 pm (UTC)
Oh yes. I've no doubt we'll soon get adverts along with our downloads. Those cheeky beggars in the advertizing department are always up to something :)
mikandra
May. 26th, 2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
I downloaded Kindle for PC, then went hunting for some books to get, but &^$#@! you can't get a lot of the stuff I want in Australia, so screw that, Amazon.
I'll stick to paper books for the time being.
Might re-think when I get another phone.
It's not the device but limited availability outside the US.
jongibbs
May. 26th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
I wonder why that is.
(no subject) - mikandra - May. 26th, 2010 10:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
isleburroughs
May. 26th, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
Here's some link's to Rob's blog and his views on the different ebooks, Jon.

http://sfwriter.com/blog/?p=2261

If that doesn't link scroll down to the topic, "Youtube video of my ebook reader collection".

These are his feelings on nook:

http://sfwriter.com/blog/?p=2262

In case that doesn't link it's under "B&N Nook", etc..

I'm not ready to buy portable ebooks. Just puter ebooks are fine. Otherwise I want a paper book for the beach in case I drop it.

My sony is patiently waiting for me to fix the power button i broke when I dropped it not a month into owning it. *sigh*
jongibbs
May. 26th, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC)
They should make all those Sony and other devices out of 'black box' material :)
(no subject) - isleburroughs - May. 26th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
ex_camillea
May. 26th, 2010 11:26 pm (UTC)
No opinion yet.
jongibbs
May. 27th, 2010 08:25 am (UTC)
Fair enough :)
tracy_d74
May. 26th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
I learned a few weeks ago about the PC ereader ap and thought, I will download it when Jon's book comes out. (Seriously, I thought that.) I am so eager to read it. *claps hands, giggles*
jongibbs
May. 27th, 2010 08:25 am (UTC)
Thanks, Tracy :)
phoenixfirewolf
May. 26th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC)
I have neither. I prefer most of the features of the Nook, but the Kindle will display/let you edit word documents... you might see why I find that important. I believe the Nook will eventually be able to do that, but until then I won't by a Nook and I'm not quite sold on the Kindle.

Actually I'm not quite sold on ereaders... I love my books. I love to hold them, carry them around, smell them, flip their pages... yeah... I will buy copies of ebooks, but only when I absolutely have too, as with Fur Face. And I'm thinking about buying the newer Dresden Files in eformat because, while I don't want ebooks, I really don't want the ridiculous lame and stupid format they are now publishing the Dresden Files in. It's not Trade, which would be acceptable, and it's not mass market, which is the preference, it's like that slightly larger version of mass market that doesn't fit in your hand or on your shelf. Horrible!!! I love the series and haven't bought a book since they put out that format. Oh wait... this is a separate rant. Sorry. Sidetracked.

Moving on...

Really looking forward to Fur Face, which I will be reading on my PC.
jongibbs
May. 27th, 2010 08:28 am (UTC)
I'm with you on the oversized paperback-trying-to-be-more-than-just-a-paperback thing. 'Be what you are, and proud of it,' that's what I say.
(no subject) - phoenixfirewolf - May. 27th, 2010 11:40 am (UTC) - Expand
dendrophilous
May. 27th, 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
This is the third time I've chimed in on this topic; I should just post the text below somewhere. This is an email I sent to someone, in which I forwarded an email I'd sent to someone else a few weeks earlier. The short version: I have a Sony and love it, mostly. I also read on my iPod Touch, but right now I don't have a way to put books I've bought from the Sony store onto the iPod. However, there are other places I can buy books that let me download in multiple formats or DRM-free, and then I can put one copy on each.

Looooong comment:

I was buying an ebook reader right around the time of the buy button fiasco, so I didn't do much research into the Kindle. Also, I thought its keyboard was stupid so I'd already pretty much ruled it out. But maybe some of this is helpful.

As an addendum to the below, while I can make annotations on my Sony, and sync them back to my computer, *I can't print them*. I edited [stuff] in Botswana, and I'm either going to have to take screen shots and print those, or copy all my scribbles onto paper. (I used the stylus to make notes. You can also type notes, and maybe those can be printed? Also, you can highlight words, and you can get a list of all the words you highlighted. I didn't find that particularly useful for critting...)

Addendum #2, battery life and charging: My Sony wouldn't research from an AC socket on our trip. (My husband has an AC USB adapter that works great for the iPhone/iPod, so I don't know if the limitation is something Apple put in or an issue with the Sony.) Sony sells an AC adapter separately. That said, I read more than a book and a half on the way over, made annotations on about 150 pages, got a low battery warning, and read another book plus a bit on the way back - the battery never quit on me. I suspect all three readers have about the same battery life, though.


------- Forwarded message -------
From: Me

[Someone said the iPad will be better than Nook/Kindle and I replied...]

Except battery life (and price). I've been very happy reading books on my iPod Touch, so had been looking forward to the iPad and its larger screen, but the Nook/Kindle/Sony have longer battery lives. Obviously, depending where you're reading, that may not matter, but I like not having to recharge my book every day.

S., I already deleted all the notes I made comparing the three readers. I tried the Nook at our local B&N, and ended up getting a Sony Touch (their mid-range reader), which you can try at Best Buy and maybe Borders.

Some comments from memory:

* Many people like the e-ink screens better than LCD; I find it a bit too dim, and of course you can't read in the dark. All three readers have that problem.

* The Nook's color strip at the bottom means you get less screen per device area, which seemed silly to me. Kindle has the same problem with the keyboard. The Sony Touch has a nicely sized edge and narrow buttons.

* On the Sony you can't buy wirelessly, so you have to wait to buy books until you're at the computer (horrors!). Their store and software are easy to use, although somewhere along the line I had to get some Adobe login, which was a pain. It's easy to organize and sync files and to find them on the device. I found navigating the Nook more difficult, though obviously I didn't try it for as long. (The higher-end Sony does have wifi capability.)

* I've had no trouble putting all sorts of free content (mostly PDFs given away by publishers) onto the Sony.

* The Sony Touch doesn't seem to do a sans-serif font. The Nook and Kindle both do, as far as I can tell. All three can make text ridiculously gigantic.

* Annotations - I wish I could remember more clearly here: The Sony has a stylus with which I can mark up text (including my own RTF files), and I can see the annotations on the computer. I *think* the Nook and/or Kindle only let you annotate certain types of files.

* All three have the e-ink page turn flash, which the LCD screens don't. It's not annoying; most of the time I don't notice it.

* Supposedly you can borrow books from the library with the Sony, maybe also the other readers. I haven't tried it, and our local library doesn't have a very big ebook selection.
jongibbs
May. 27th, 2010 08:36 am (UTC)
Excellent info, Elizabeth, and most useful too!

Thank you so much for taking the time to share :)
ysabetwordsmith
May. 27th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
No...
I hate ebooks. They're too hard on my eyes. I want paper books.
jongibbs
May. 27th, 2010 08:37 am (UTC)
Re: No...
I don't think they'll be going anywhere anytime soon :)
writertracy
May. 27th, 2010 03:53 am (UTC)
I've got the sprint version of the smart phone, which has a Kobo app (the company that just inked a deal with Books a Million). It's also got a couple of general reader apps and will read web page-based texts (such as the kind offered by project gutenberg and the Baen online website)

I've been satisfied enough with it that i've elected not to buy an e-reader just yet. I'm in front of a computer all day. The only place I would use an e-reader are places where a reader would be one more thing to keep up with.

It would be different if I didn't have the smart phone.
jongibbs
May. 27th, 2010 08:41 am (UTC)
Those Smart phones aren't so smart. My friend left his in the Starbuck's the other week, it didn't even call out to tell him he'd forgotten it. If the girl at the counter hadn't run after him, he'd have lost it ;)
(no subject) - writertracy - May. 27th, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
bodgei
May. 30th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Ofthe Kindle or Nook I'm leaning Kindle. Mostly becasue I already have Unbox Veiwer downloaded on my laptop.

But of all the e-readers I seem to like the sony e-reader the best, but it's totaly a 'I like the feel of it in my hands' thing.
jongibbs
May. 30th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
Does the Sony have unique file-types or does it read PDFs etc?
(no subject) - bodgei - May. 30th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
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