I love books. Real books. The kind you hold in your hands to read. The kind you throw in a backpack and take to the beach.
But now there are all these e-readers and e-books that are taking the feel of the tangible page out of the experience of reading.
And I’m completely intrigued.
The toss-up for me has been between the two heavyweights in the e-book world: Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
Barnes & Noble recently unveiled the color version of its popular Nook — it was featured on “The Oprah Show,” just to put that into perspective — with an Android-powered interface and touchscreen. Models start at $149, but you’ll like opt for the more expensive ones.
The Kindle is the best-selling reader, due in part to its price — $189 — and Amazon’s huge selection of e-books that you can read on your computer or smartphone. And unlike B&N’s Nook, you can access the virtual bookstore via both 3G and wireless networks.
(Read Gizmodo’s comparison of e-readers, including the Sony Reader. Thanks to Leilani Young for sharing this!)
I posted this question on my Facebook the other day and the responses I got were pretty consistent: ditch the e-reader and get an Apple iPad instead.
Makes more sense to me, since you can do more with the (more expensive) iPad.
So why get an e-reader?
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i prefer real books, too, but i dl-ed the nook, kindle and the borders e-reader app for my android phone (evo). haven’t gotten an electronic book yet, but i may sometime. i think, when and if i get a tablet, i’ll get a galaxy or other android device instead of the ipad.
My answer is quick and sensible. You wouldn’t want to bring your $600 iPad to the beach and potentially get stolen or wet anyway. You can’t really read a LCD screen in direct sunlight as well as e-ink. Lastly, you have a iPhone 4 which is better than the current iPad and a Kindle is a lot cheaper.
I have very few electronic gadgets, and those that I have seem a real nuisance to keep charged and with functioning batteries. I’m going to stick with the old books, until there is a product on the market that seems likely to still be usable 5 years down the road from the point of purchase. I like the Kindle – gave one as a gift – but getting the account switched from my name and credit card info to the giftee’s info for future book purchases took about two hours on the phone with a tech support person. At one point, he told me that I had to pull the Kindle out of its leather cover, which I thought was sure to break the thing, it was snapped-in so tight, and then read the smallest serial number I have ever seen. It was like 42 characters very lightly etched into the back of the kindle. My head still hurts just thinking about trying to hold the phone to my ear while turning that thing about a thousand different ways trying to read that number.
I don’t think the Nook is going to survive long in this battle, so I would advise against that one.
Full disclosure, I work for a local book publishing company…so, real books all the way! That said, while I would never give up hard copy reading completely, there are a lot of good reasons for an e-reader device. I read a lot and fast, so dragging 4-5 books on a trip is a real pain; with an e-reader, I take one light device. It’s less satisfying when you finish a long book, no “thump” of accomplishment closing the covers, but the portable factor is great; plus, with the apps you can download for your computer(s) and phone, you can always pick up your book anywhere you are.
I prefer a dedicated e-reader device (like a Kindle or Nook) because part of the enjoyment of reading a book for me is to immerse myself in it. With an iPad, etc., it’s too easy to get sidetracked into checking email, playing games. With a Kindle/Nook, you buy books on it and you read ’em. That’s it. Just like a “real book.” The screen is also more eye-ball friendly. (Of course, this is for text-heavy fiction/non-fiction. A lot of the books we publish can’t go on an e-reader because of the color photos and complex layouts — those don’t render well on e-readers right now.) Oh, and no one will ever bother you while you’re reading on your Kindle to ask to borrow it to check their email/look up something on Google!
@WatermarkHawaii i like ur point abt not being distracted by email, twitter etc (what deadline?) and i love the one abt the satisfaction of closing a book after reading the last page. that moment of basking in the world of the story, prolly for the last time, looking at the book and digesting before moving on w/ life, wd be different w/ a touch screen, i imagine.
The one positive of e-books for a wishy-washy person like me is that fact that you can store so many books in a single device. This way I don’t have to decide which books to pack, I can just take the entire library. But as @MoOgooGuypAN said there are all those possible minuses of fear of theft, damage, reading in sunlight etc. Plus you don’t have to worry about recharging a paperback right! I think it is the future though.
I just got a Nook as an early Christmas present and I really love it. I was a skeptic at first because I love my traditional books. I find myself reading my books much quicker than I would with a traditional book since I can take it everywhere. It’s very easy to download books and samples to the Nook. Also I like the fact that there is no glare (like with an IPad). It’s like reading an actual printed page. The only downside is connecting to Wi-Fi is a little trouble-some and web-pages are difficult to navigate. But I love my Nook and would highly recommend it (you can even get re-furbished ones for less cost).
I don’t have an e-reader (yet), but I have taken some time to try them out in the stores. It could be that I am completely used to the iPhone, but I was quickly frustrated with the Kindle’s lack of a touch screen. The Nook felt familiar as soon as I picked it up, and the color screen is definitely awesome. I have heard of a few issues with it, but with Google backing up the e-reader, I’m sure it won’t be long until it is an amazing device I won’t be able to leave home without.
i can’t come up with one reason why i would need a Nook or a Kindle. but i don’t see how anyone can live without a pair of light sabre chopsticks
@turkfontaine I will be purchasing those lightsaber chopsticks tomorrow, by the way. Those are MUSTS.
hmmm, like real books … really like them and like the feel of a real book in my hands … but admit that I am flirting with the idea of a kindle … like Amazon.com and I’ve had a lot of good luck with them … but, when I go out and end up waiting for something I find myself checking fb on my droid or taking pics …
Neither… iPad all the way baby!!!
Currently using my iPhone 4 and iBooks to read books. I have nearly 1000 books loaded. It is an amazing fast way to read as well. The only reason I want an iPad is to read PDFs at a larger size, as well as the new crop of Digital Magazines from Conde Nast and Richard Branson’s “Project!”
ePub or “true” e-Books are great on the small phone screen (and the iPhone 4’s retina display at 329 ppi goes a LONG way towards this). But viewing my PDF magazine collection on a small viewing area is not efficient as I’m constantly zooming and scrolling. ePub reformats. For this reason, I want the iPad.
Oh, and of course I like real books as well… but let’s “get real” and off of our high horses. Electronic format for any media: music, movies, television, reading, etc., is unrivaled.
As an architect, I/we went through the same thing with CAD (computer aided drafting/design) in the early-’90s. You had your expected, hand-drawing hold-outs–but even 99% of them have switched over to digital production… and the SAME can be said for photography. Even Hasselblad has a medium format digital camera to replace 4×6 negatives. Only the 8×10 glass negative cameras can boast superiority over digital–for now.
Just keepin’ it real folks!
Hmmm… my top post was accidentally truncated. The last sentence should read:
The “ePub format” reformats for smaller screens since it is text only based and the amount and flow of text is kept to a readable size for the small screen.
If I get an e-reader, my book shelf will be a wasteland. I guess I can start stacking my laundry on the shelves. How will I impress visitors on my reading library? An e-reader on the coffee table to substitute for all those coffee table books? Oh no, another electronic device on the coffee table to be confused with the TV remote, the cable remote, the home theater remote, the DVD remote, the cordless phone, the IPod, the laptop, and the toe nail clipper!!??
@Annoddah_Dave LOL! I mistook my iPhone for a remote control the other day! Hah!
iPad! If I had a choice between the two, I think I would go with the nook.
Portable readers are great if you take 3-4 books with you on trips and switch between them, it is a whole lot lighter. Something like the iPad works better for me because you can do more stuff with it. as a slow reader taking one book is all I need for a trip so the portable reader does not work for me yet. As for students, when there is a reader that has all your texts in one place that has the capability to add notes to the pages or in class notes to the back of a chapter then you have something. Working calculus, physics, or chemistry problems would be a bonus. Super bonus points would be the ability to put links in the book to other sources of info on the same topic. Imagine if you are preparing for the GMAT or something like that being able to easily carry that around with you. The iPad is about a dozen features away from being a fairly ideal platform IMHO. Nook and Kindle aren’t bad, more a novelty item for the already have everything money can buy set.
@dbjack Have you looked into Apple’s iBooks on the iPhone and iPad? Because it has the notes feature where you can highlight text in yellow, and it creates a yellow page that comes up when you tap on the text where you can write notes to your hearts content… as well as add links to other sources as you mentioned.
Also, universities have adopted the iPad to the extent of putting the textbooks on the devices, and creating apps to perform classroom exercises as well. I think all of your bases are covered dude!
@MaxMaxMax I’ll have a look at the iPad, used one for a day that I borrowed from my almost 80 year old aunt. Can still buy a solid PC laptop for a lot less and have considerably more computing power. We have a couple of courses at Elon that use iPads and they seem to work pretty well. The day I can make calls with it and buy it for under $300 I will likely buy one. Have to wait for the early adopters to bring the price down 🙂
@dbjack Well, it’s not really meant to replace laptop or full on computers… yet! Someday though, I see the future of computing going towards this. Of course, more features will be implemented.
As for making calls, I don’t think they’re going to do that in the foreseeable future. I mean, to do so, you’d have to make it your primary cell phone since your number can really only go to one device. So the question is, would you want to have it, and only it, for your only cell phone?
The iPad 2 is expected to ship in the Spring, and like the iPhones, I’ll bet they plan to sell the older models for less than the cheapest model now. We shall see!
@MaxMaxMax Frankly I wish i did not have a cell phone, getting to the point I do not like the things. Everyone I chat with uses Google Chat, QQ, or SKYPE and I enjoy face to face way more than using the cell. Cells make you too accessible. And the service for what you pay for it is pretty lousy. Hate to say it but I may be headed the way of less technology rather than more. Suspect iPad5 is where the device becomes interesting.
@dbjack I actually hate, hate, hate talking on the phone too… I think Cat had a previous post about phone calls. I much prefer e-mails and texting. Less intrusive.
The problem about holding out on technology is that the world will move forward, and after a while, your best intentions may be to your (or anyone’s in general) detriment. I’m sure there’s a threshold somewhere where “too little tech creates too much heck!”
@MaxMaxMax Technology is interesting in that people seem to believe rightly or wrongly that new is better. Often times people don’t fully understand older stuff before newer stuff comes out. this poses a number of interesting issues. as an example, Microsoft had studies that showed users of Excel rarely knew of or made use of more than 5% of the features. More versions come out and still this remains true. Having been a techy for about 35 years now and riding each technology wave it is abundantly apparent that the more things change the more they remain the same. In the hardware software development world we all knew the technology we use today would be available as soon as we figured out how to actually make what we created in our minds. The displays were too limited, memory, software development tools etc but we always knew what was possible when we got there. The same is true today, we can visualize clearly what the new stuff will do, and what it will look like, we simply haven’t finished developing the tools to get there. What am I saying here? for some of us the new stuff is simply a neater way of doing the same old thing. And for a smaller group that really know how this stuff all works there really isn’t anything terribly new at all other than the User Interface which is unfortunately all marketing. A final thought is that new is not better, it is just new, so often times old tech guys like myself and my buddies will skip several generations of a product because we know some stuff is released to make financial objectives rather than technology objectives, and the difference is frequently obvious. Just give me a phone that makes calls reliably… that apparently is still too much to ask… remove all the extra features and give me a phone that does what a phone is supposed to do… CONNECT CALLS. That and a good netbook and I have all I need.