Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My new ebook reader

For a while I've been watching the evolution of eBook readers.

I could give you a justification about saving weight when going on holiday and avoiding adding to the already massive loads of reading material I have laying around the house. But the truth is my inner geek suddenly decided I wanted to play ....

eBook readers are just beginning to emerge on the high street. I suspect Sony's eBook reader will sell well this Christmas. Certainly the sales assistant in the Sony shop said they were flying of the shelves. But the big revolution is yet to come in the arena of business, which is where the next generation of devices is being targeted.

The common factor to all these devices is eInk, which allows displays to only use power to change the display and also has the advatange of being readable in most lighting environments where the printed word would be. ( The catch word is ePaper, though I personally think its a little premature to use it ).

So after some time considering the options I went for Bookeen's Cybook - which WH Smiths have on offer for £179.99 right now.

I've started using it and I'll add the odd post on how things go ( keyword eBook ).

For the moment I'll just post the pictures below:

The photo's don't really do justice to the screen which has a high contrast.


It Will Come to Me said...

I'm curious to know if you ever print out a multi paged .pdf document, for instance, because you can't face reading it on a computer screen.

I too am a gadgetoholic and would love one of these new gizmos but wonder if I'd ever get over my resistance to reading from a screen.

For me a book is a three dimensional object whereas an ebook is two dimensional.

Please keep us informed about your experience with your new toy.

The Great Simpleton said...

I'm not convinced by them so I'm keen to hear your experiences as well.

Man in a Shed said...

it will come to me -
Yes I've often printed out pdf docs if I want to review them. Though equally I've used pdf editing software to make notes. Some of my work has involved research and analysis and I find keeping everything in electronic and thus searchable form to be a great advantage.

The eBook reader is certainly easier to read than say the LCD screen on the laptop I'm typing on now.

I find you think about actively lite documents (LCD / or CRT) differently since your gaze is always moving. Word processors also change the way I write and think, not always for the better.

I'm interested if some form of eBook technology might provide an answer here.

the great simpleton -
I'm a little sceptical also, which why I purchased a lower end unit. I have two types of interest - in the personal side (news/books etc ) and in potential software implications of this technology which currently doesn't have a major player trying to gain a presence - though that will surely change soon. ( Currently most eBook readers are Linux based ).

I'll post again when I've had a bit of time to get used to the unit.

wildgoose said...

This interests me - I regularly print out PDFs rather than read them on screen.

I have seen an earlier incarnation of the Sony eBook reader and was extremely impressed by the clarity and contrast of the display. However I would no longer buy a Sony device on principle - they saw nothing wrong with putting rootkits on the computers of people using them to play Sony Audio CDs, all of which implies they cannot be trusted to just decide that you should no longer be permitted to read books you have bought on their device.

So I have been keeping an occasional eye out and waiting for a more reasonable price. This looks pretty good. May I request a further update after another couple of weeks use?

Man in a Shed said...

Wildgoose - Yes will do.

I think the A4 pdf issue will be key to business uptake. There is one such device on the market now, and one planned to launch early next year. But neither, in my opinion, is yet mature enough for the money asked.

Hence as a stop gap I thought I go for a smaller device for reading, then I could move up latter on. ( Some eBook readers have held their price very impressively on eBay ).

I have to agree with you about Sony. The real commitment over time your making here is to content, not the device. If your tied to only one vendor then your in a bad position.

wildgoose said...

I have a seriously large number of A4 PDF documents, mainly programming and programming theory. Plus Go (the oriental board game also known as Wei-chi or Baduk) documents, plus books in HTML or text format. Oh, and jpgs of Hikaru-no-Go Japanese manga.

Legible A4 pdfs are probably the biggest draw for me but it seems that even the largest format eBook readers have still to reach that level.

But I've found PDF Cropper that might solve the problem.

I might just buy myself one of these for Christmas...

wildgoose said...

I've just ordered one from WHSmith.

Just doing my bit to keep the economy going despite zaNuLabour's depredations...

Man in a Shed said...

Wildgoose -

Hope its OK for you. I tried to write a comment last night - but for some reason it wasn't posted.

The gist was that I don't think this device is really useful for A4 pdf work - since the way you navigate reports etc differs from books which are more linear. It does support some localised html hyperlinks, but in general it'll be for linear reading without annotation.I have no idea how practical the reformatted pdf will be.

Having said all that the device has impressive battery life ( making good compromised on processor speed etc ). It probably does need the cover that comes with it to provide strength. The relevant bulletin boards mention cracked screens, which is clearly the issue to watch out for.

iRex have a set of devices that allow annotation, but they are over double the price !

I personally bought this device for reading books and getting a feel for the technology.

I suspect the next generation of devices will have better document support.

Still WH Smiths are offering the best prices I've seen by quite some way. Which makes it a low regret purchase since you can sell on eBay latter and upgrade. ( The eBook readers I've seen on sale on eBay have held their value surprisingly well ).

PS Thanks for the link on PDF cropper - I'll no doubt be having a play with that over the next few days.