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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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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.
May. 27th, 2010 08:36 am (UTC)
Excellent info, Elizabeth, and most useful too!

Thank you so much for taking the time to share :)

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