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Author Topic: Digital reading - Kindles vs Sony Readers vs Laptops  (Read 2465 times)
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the Nightbreeze
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« on: January 31, 2009, 12:54:34 AM »

I haven't done any research at all, other than to know that these would be one's options when it comes to digital reading.

With Netbooks going for about as much as Sony Readers and Kindles, Why are people not going with the larger screen  and multi-functional  appeal of Netbook Laptops?  Is it portability?  Is it media availability/exclusivity?  What are the benefits of these readers that I am missing at first glance?
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« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 01:07:13 AM »

The latest eReader devices use a screen called digital paper.  The screens are made in such a way that they use little electricity, and act almost like ink on paper, and thus can be read anywhere there is light, even in direct sunlight.  They're also smaller, lighter, and designed to be carried much like a book.

Even netbooks have a long way to go before they match the functionality of ereaders, but they are quite close.

On the whole we're getting very close to having those mystical all-in-one devices.
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the Nightbreeze
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2009, 01:13:21 AM »

Describe the functionality, if you would be so kind, Turtle.   What besides these asthetic appearances and lower power consumption do the readers do that a laptop cannot?  I'm trying to learn this relatively fast, and reading the product pages is a bit too steep jargon-wise for me. I'm just glazing over.

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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2009, 01:36:05 AM »

The screen isn't just aesthetic, it's also much much easier on the eyes and readable almost anywhere you can read a normal book.  That's nothing to scoff at.  The differences in power consumption is also much larger.

As for functionality, I haven't done that much research into reader devices either beyond what I've already mentioned.  I know that the kindle can automatically connect to amazon from almost anywhere via some sort of deal with the city-wide wifi services.  The Sony reader probably needs to connect to the pc to get stuff.  All readers should be able to pull, or at least accept files from all sorts of ebook selling websites.

The bigger question is, if you're looking to get either devices, what will you be using them for?  Are you just interested in ebooks?  Or did you want a more general purpose device that can also read ebooks?

Keep in mind that netbooks aren't all they're cracked up to be, and likewise ebook readers are are limited really to just reading ebooks and PDFs, you won't find anything like a computer in them.

Overall, if you don't already have a laptop, get the netbook, just make sure it's a good one and affordable (a lot of netbooks, despite looking cheap, are crap for what you pay).  If you already have a good laptop, and you read a lot (and can afford a specialized gadget) then consider the ebook reader as a way of easily bringing around a bunch of books with you anywhere you go.

Also try looking for Slate tablet PCs instead of netbooks.  Slate style tablet pcs have form factors similar to ereader, but have the computing ability of a laptop.  Their battery length is closer to a laptop, but still up there.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2009, 01:39:59 AM by Turtle » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2009, 01:55:19 AM »

Just to add to Turtle's comments above.  The Kindle uses Sprint's EVDO network to connect wirelessly, so technically you can buy and download books / magazines / newspapers from wherever you get Sprint's connection.

I think the e-readers like Kindle and Sony's device is primarily meant as a book replacement, so the shape, size and readability mirror those of a paper book.  There's no constant refreshing of the screen like in a laptop, thus making it easier on your eyes.  There's also no built-in back lighting (not yet anyway).  It's meant to be held and operated with 1 hand for the most part, just like a book.
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the Nightbreeze
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2009, 02:52:16 AM »

Good work folks! Thanks for the help so far.

Now, say that I don't mind the disadvantages of reading E-books on a laptop instead.  Would the availability of E-book points of sale be a disadvantage?  Is there exclusivity? 
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2009, 03:48:59 AM »

I use my Nokia N800 for ebooks.  It does text, RTF, PDF, ODF, PRC/MOBI and pretty much anything else out there.  Plus it does videos, music, internet, games and bunches of other stuff.  I wish they hadn't discontinued it.
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Jeff
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2009, 07:12:38 PM »

One teeny tiny little negative about the Kindle to keep in mind ... you can't fracking buy one.
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2009, 08:11:12 PM »

Quote from: Jeff on January 31, 2009, 07:12:38 PM

One teeny tiny little negative about the Kindle to keep in mind ... you can't fracking buy one.

the popular thought is that they've been out of stock for a while in an effort to clear old inventory before the Kindle 2 becomes available in the very near future.  when it becomes available, anyone with a pending order will automatically receive the new model.
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2009, 01:55:37 AM »

Quote from: disarm on January 31, 2009, 08:11:12 PM

Quote from: Jeff on January 31, 2009, 07:12:38 PM

One teeny tiny little negative about the Kindle to keep in mind ... you can't fracking buy one.

the popular thought is that they've been out of stock for a while in an effort to clear old inventory before the Kindle 2 becomes available in the very near future.  when it becomes available, anyone with a pending order will automatically receive the new model.

The kindle has had massively long OOS periods in the past too. Months on end. This time, Oprah praised them on her show in November, and voila, a 3 month outage.
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2009, 03:18:57 AM »

It's also tied to amazon.  While amazon is a huge company and isn't going anywhere any time soon, there other other limitations that come with tying yourself to even such a large company.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure which formats the kindle supports or how to get external books to the device.

Man, all this talk of ereaders has gotten me interested, what are some good ebook sites?  Are they generally up to date or are they behind the bookstore releases?
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2009, 02:05:36 PM »

I got my wife the Sony Reader 505 for Xmas and she's been really happy with it.  It is incredibly light and small (height/width of a paperback but about 1/4" thickness) and she can stuff it into her bag without feeling like it's taking up a lot of space or weighing a whole lot.  Battery life is on the order of a couple of weeks, even with daily use and it recharges via USB pretty rapidly.  We haven't found the need to get the AC adapter.

Putting books on is via USB cable and pretty easy if you buy from Sony's store.  If you buy from another site, unless you buy in LRF format (Sony's format) or pdf, you have to convert the book first, which can be done via a free program called Calibre.  Again not a big deal, but if the book is available on Sony's store, we just get it from there to save that step.  Books run around $12 for new releases, which I understand to be slightly higher than Amazon, but still a whole lot cheaper than buying a hardcover new release.

There are tons of free ebooks out there too.  The best site I've found for info on free books and discussion in general on ebooks (Sony, Amazon and other's) is http://www.mobileread.com/

Sony's bookstore is accessed by software that comes with the reader.  Other popular stores are Books on Board and Fictionwise.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2009, 02:07:21 PM by DonD » Logged

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the Nightbreeze
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2009, 09:56:32 PM »

Very Helpful.  I am satisfied, but of course if anyone has more to add, feel free.  Thanks for saving me legwork.
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2009, 11:03:09 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on January 31, 2009, 01:07:13 AM

On the whole we're getting very close to having those mystical all-in-one devices.

You mean like this?

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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2009, 11:18:55 PM »

The whole d'loading via wireless means zilch to me.  I only want one of these to read books and since I can't read a book in a day I don't see having to go to my PC and load a book every so often even the remotest of a problem.  Sam's has the E reader now for $26X.XX.  Can't remember the exact amount.   I am thinking of grabbing one. 

I too don't like being tied to company as well. 
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« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2009, 03:41:58 PM »

Amazon apparently has what pundits expect to be a new Kindle (a large-screen version meant specifically for newspapers and magazines - it doesn't supersede the existing models per se) debuting Wednesday:

New Amazon Device Debuts Wednesday
http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20090504/new-amazon-device-debuts-wednesday/
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Here’s the full text of the invitation that just showed up in my inbox: "We’d like to invite you to an Amazon.com press conference scheduled for Wednesday, May 6 at 10:30 am ET. The press conference is scheduled to take place at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, located at 3 Spruce Street, New York City. Doors will open for registration at 9:30 am ET."
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 03:43:57 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2009, 01:51:47 PM »

Saw a USA Today article about e-book pricing ticking off publishers (Amazon loses money on all the e-books it sells for $10 apparently, and publishers lose money on those vs. hardcover sales, and so forth), but there's a part near the end about dedicated readers vs. laptops/netbooks/smartphones/tablets etc. of interest.

Tension grows as publishers target Amazon Kindle pricing
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/products/2009-12-11-ebooks11_CV_N.htm
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Yet it's unclear how appealing these alternatives would be for book readers.

"Something built on current LCD technology where you have a back light shooting photons into your eye is not a comfortable reading experience," says Archuleta of Plastic Logic. "For short articles, that technology can work. But for people who read a lot, I don't think it's the right solution. ... We're not viewing it as a competitor."

Amazon has a similar view. "If you love to read, you want a single-purpose device for reading," writes Herdener. "You want a purpose-built device with a screen that is easy on the eyes and has long battery life."

Maybe so. But even the online giant can't see what future chapters portend for its intriguing struggles with electronics manufacturers, rival retailers — and, especially now, with publishers.

"They just need to work with as many formats as they can and try to do as much as they can to secure the best revenue stream," says May. "It's still very early days."
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2009, 02:24:42 PM »

I would tend to agree- I wouldn't even have an e-reader if it wasn't for the e-ink.  I've tried reading various long form pieces on LCD screens of all types and it just doesn't work for me. 
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2009, 03:43:02 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on December 11, 2009, 01:51:47 PM

Saw a USA Today article about e-book pricing ticking off publishers (Amazon loses money on all the e-books it sells for $10 apparently, and publishers lose money on those vs. hardcover sales, and so forth), but there's a part near the end about dedicated readers vs. laptops/netbooks/smartphones/tablets etc. of interest.

Part of the issue is that Wal-Mart price matches against the ebook versions of stuff on Amazon. Rather than do that and lose money, they have instead opted not to carry some things. Not having Wal-Mart carry stuff is a problem for the authors/publishers. I know there are authors that are now including language in their contracts preventing digital versions from being published when their books first come out for this reason.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 03:45:23 PM by Misguided » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2009, 04:02:30 PM »

(Posting in the right thread this time, I think...)

Seeing stories of publishers and authors intentionally delaying the release of e-books kind of baffles me.  While it won't be the revolution that mp3s were, I would expect that most companies would have figured out that it's better to be out ahead on these things rather than drag their feet and be behind. 

It's not just about dedicated e-readers.  Publishers should be happy to get their work in consumers hands in any way possible whether it's through traditional print publishing, through e-readers, or through people's iPhones, Blackberries, or on their PCs. 

If someone hears a recommendation for a book from a friend, or on the radio, on TV, etc then it's in the publishers best interest to let that person immediately get that book.
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« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2009, 11:45:40 PM »

I don't understand how you can -lose- money on an ebook.  I can understand how you can not get as much profit as you would on a hardcover sale, but since there is no physical copy, there is no printing fees, transportation network, warehousing or storage.  Every additional sale would seem to be profit.

If the choice is 'buy hardcover' or 'buy e-ink version', you could make an argument.  But I think the choice is 'buy hardcover', 'buy paperback', 'buy e-ink', 'go to library and borrow it' and 'too much effort'.  The ebook version sells for roughly the paperback price, but without the additional overhead in getting a paperback into consumer hands.

C'mon publishers.  We're not (that) dumb.
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« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2009, 06:27:28 PM »

I love my Kindle. The screen is super easy on the eyes, the battery life is excellent (even moreso if you turn off the wireless function whenever you're not using it), and it's just made reading a lot more convenient than it used to be. I don't have to carry a big hardback in my laptop bag anymore. I just slide the kindle in to one of the pouches and I'm done. If I finish the book I'm reading while I'm on lunch at work I don't get up and walk to borders like I used to... I just turn on wireless, buy a new book, and start reading.

Oh, and amazon associates an email address with your kindle on their website. I've downloaded books from several of the free ebook sites. You just mail the file to your kindle's email address. The system converts them and you can then download them to your kindle.
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« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2009, 12:04:24 AM »

I think the argument is that hardcovers are big moneymakers for publishers (who buys them I have no idea as I would never pay $40 for a book) and e-books canabalize those profits.  While there are costs involved with material and shipping and what not, I can't imagine that those costs are equivalent to $40-$9.99 that an e-book costs.

In completely unrelated matters, I have a jetBook e-reader and I love it but the screen is just a little smaller than I would like (5").  I would like to pick up Sony's e-reader but their 6" is $349 plus 15% tax in Canada!  I can't imagine paying more than what I would for a just released console for an electronic device that can only do one single thing.  I'm going to wait until next generation before picking up my next e-reader.  Hopefully the cost will have dropped significantly and e-ink technology will have advanced a little.
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« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2009, 01:11:28 AM »

Quote from: Canuck on December 16, 2009, 12:04:24 AM

I think the argument is that hardcovers are big moneymakers for publishers (who buys them I have no idea as I would never pay $40 for a book) and e-books canabalize those profits.  While there are costs involved with material and shipping and what not, I can't imagine that those costs are equivalent to $40-$9.99 that an e-book costs.

What hard cover costss $40?  Most seem to have MSRPs of $25-30 and in practicality I usually pay about $16-17 for a hardcover. 
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« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2009, 01:25:05 AM »

It's not uncommon to see hardcovers for $40-at least in Canada.  Those are the MRSP's anyways.  They may be marked down slightly by the book sellers.
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« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2009, 02:14:36 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on December 16, 2009, 01:11:28 AM

Quote from: Canuck on December 16, 2009, 12:04:24 AM

I think the argument is that hardcovers are big moneymakers for publishers (who buys them I have no idea as I would never pay $40 for a book) and e-books canabalize those profits.  While there are costs involved with material and shipping and what not, I can't imagine that those costs are equivalent to $40-$9.99 that an e-book costs.

What hard cover costss $40?  Most seem to have MSRPs of $25-30 and in practicality I usually pay about $16-17 for a hardcover.  
I was shopping for some hardcovers yesterday (for my sister-in-law's gifts, and for my own wish list). Here's a few...

$35.00 "Under the Dome" (Stephen King's latest magnum opus); King is a huge Kindle fan btw
$28.95 "Open" (Agassi's autobiography)
$27.99 "What the Dog Saw" (collection of non-fiction interviews/essays)

I'm not saying this is a "good thing." I mean, publishers are by definition money-grubbing and out to make money, not be our friends.  icon_smile

I'm just saying they probably would argue that they contract with a printer to print massive numbers of print books at heavily discounted "per copy rates" (think like how a Price/Costco or BJ's Warehouse Club store works). And then they charge out the wazoo at MSRP (and then there's plenty of wiggle room for an Amazon.com to discount out the ying-yang, or for Borders and B&N to do 30% off discounts on the books when they're new).

Presumably a flat $10 ebook fee provides very little profit margin for them (even if it cuts printing costs), and no leeway to differentiate between different length/size books like they do in print. But who knows? If Nook takes off, if maybe even Borders gets into the e-reader pool, the publishers may just have to take their medicine and evolve.  icon_cool
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« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2009, 03:21:53 PM »

I've worked at publishing houses.  I've taken classes on how to run a profitable publishing enterprise.  I still work with book publishers on a regular basis.   This is what I understand about book pricing:

Book pricing involves lots of guess work and lying. 




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« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2009, 03:50:41 PM »

I'm a big King fan but I wouldn't say he's a big fan of the Kindle - not after agreeing to the delay of the e-book version of Under the Dome.  It won't be released until Dec. 24th.

The bigger issue for publishers is what Covey just did with his books - separate the electronic rights from the paper publishing rights and grant those to a different publisher.  So, Amazon has exclusive rights to the e-book version of all of his stuff and the publisher is left out in the cold.  I hope more authors take that tactic and remove the decisions from the hands of the Simon & Scheister-types that want to delay e-book releases to squeeze more profits out of the market.

I have a Sony Reader 505 and a Kindle DX and love them both.  I also find the reading experience much better than on any LCD device.  I've always been a big reader but read much more with my e-readers because I ALWAYS have another book that I'm excited to start, instead of having to go to the library or bookstore and look around.  That's where the publishers are going to blow this - they should want to expand the market that gets people to read more.  Instead they want to fight it.
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« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2009, 04:45:07 PM »

Quote from: jament on December 16, 2009, 03:50:41 PM

So, Amazon has exclusive rights to the e-book version of all of his stuff and the publisher is left out in the cold. 

I'm all for authors telling their publishers to take a long walk off a short pier if they think they can get a better deal elsewhere.  I'm not so sure I like retailers getting exclusive rights to sell any e-book, though.  I hope Amazon makes the books available on devices other than the Kindle.   
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