Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Ebook Readers

I have been looking for an ebook reader for quite a while. There are quite a few public domain ebooks that I have been keen to read, and also I get quite a few ebooks for review on both the blog and from my (no longer produced) podcast Dial P For Pulp! 

I haven’t been able to justify the high cost that they were going for, however in the later part of 2010 the price seemed to drop quite considerably, so over the Christmas break I did some hunting around and finally bought one. I didn’t quite know which way to go, there are so many options out there that it took a bit of working out to finally settle on the one I bought. Firstly, there is the ebook format that you want to read. I have settled on the epub format at it seems to be becoming the standard format. I considered the Kindle, but didn’t like the idea of being tied to Amazon for my ebooks… I also wanted to be able to open PDFs, I have quite a few PDF files that I refer to regularly (wargames rules, RPGs, software manuals etc.) and there are also some good PDF ezines that I would like to be able to read on a regular basis on my reader. Now I know that there are problems with PDF files, that are generally produced for computer screens, being read on small mobile device screens, but I was looking for the best option I could find on this anyway!

I was chatting about ebook readers with my brother and he pointed out that the ever increasing selection of  internet tablets (as they are called) might also be worth considering. I had a look around at some of the Android tablets and seriously considered a few of them. However, in the end I decided that I would rather wait until the tablet technology is a little more established, for now I would rather get a dedicated ebook reader.


The final thing to decide before I chose the reader was whether to go for a TFT one or an E-Ink one. The E-Ink screens are certainly a little easier on the eye when reading for a long period. They also are far better on battery life (as they only use power when actually page turning). The TFT screens are colour, so better for many PDF files. Most TFT screen Ebook readers will also play video, not a major requirement, but could be useful for watching the odd TV show or movie while commuting. The TFT readers are also somewhat cheaper.


After looking around at the various models, both online and in some local stores I finally settled on a budget option and went for a 5” TFT Imagin IMEB5 Reader. £65 from my local WH Smiths. It is certainly a compromise, battery life against colour (and the video thing of course). However, I can live with the shorter battery life, I usually charge my phone daily anyway, this will just go along side it!

The screen is nice and crisp, the menu and systems are easily understood and used. I am very pleased with it in general, the only downside is that I have not managed to find a case that fits it! As I will be using it while commuting a case is fairly important. Fortunately, being good with my hands and craft oriented I am making my own out of some leather I had lying around , so hopefully that will take care of that!


Steve said...

"I considered the Kindle, but didn’t like the idea of being tied to Amazon for my ebooks…"

Not sure why you'd think that. Karen has 248 books on her Kindle and only one came from Amazon! Most came from The Kindle does read PDF's and have a basic internet browser.

Also try for free e-books.

The good thing about the Kindle in the UK is that Amazon are offering a suck it and see approach and if you don't like it return it and they'll refund you.

Steve said...

Forgot to mention, regarding epub v mobi.azw format, download Calibre:

And you can convert one to another with a touch of a button. Useful if you want a Kindle bookstore title in epub format.

Ironmammoth said...

Thanks Steve,

I have been playing around with Calibre over the last couple of days. The conversions seem to work really well, even with PDF to Epub (although that can be hit and miss).

I also raided the site this morning, great for SF titles...

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