Comparing Ebook Readers
So I’ve been pondering ebook readers for a while for three reasons. First, the technology interests me. Second, I’ve got more books than I know what to do with and need a more space efficient way to collect and consume. Three, I have joyous book royalty $$ to spend. To that end I’ve done a bit of digging about ebook readers. Three devices that supply this function in particular: the Kindle, Sony ebook reader, and the iPhone/iPod Touch.
There are of course huge difference between ebook readers and the iPhone which can be used to read ebooks. What is interesting is some of the issues carry over regardless of whether or not you use a single purpose device or a multi-purpose device.
Let’s start by by side-by-side comparison on the Sony Reader and Kindle
- Can read a variety of formats including MOBI and PDF (both protected and unprotected)
- My local library has books which can be read on the Sony Reader
- Like the overall size, slimness and intuitive UI
- Not as many books available that I want as in Kindle format
- Can’t buy and read Kindle books on it
- Lots of ebooks available for purchase
- Wireless built in
- I think the overall design of the original Kindle was not intuitive. I’m a geek and it took me 15 minutes to figure out how to “click” and select a book to read. I haven’t gotten my hands on a new one so I don’t know if the interface is better. Reading and scrutinizing the photos it looks like it might be.
- Proprietary Kindle File format. What will happen to my ebooks if Kindle goes bye bye or changes format? Also I can’t share my books with other folks which is something I do frequently.
- Have to hack Overdrive ebooks (Mobi format) from my library to read them on the Kindle
In some ways this is a completely different animal, but as you can see from my Pros/Cons I like the idea of small multipurpose device.
- Multipurpose device
- Really like Stanza and how it lets you put books on the device from your computer using wireless
- With iPhone wireless practically all the time
- Lots of free public domain books available
- Will read lots of different formats including now Kindle!
- Size of screen and resolution
- Won’t read DRM’d MOBI books or Adobe EContent (this is the ebooks my library has)
Overall, I feel like we are with ebooks at the place we were with digital music a few years ago. Too many proprietary formats that won’t play on different devices. Now that I can buy practically any music as an MP3, I’m much happier. I still can’t borrow some audio things from the library though because they don’t play on my iPod, but it seems like that is a problem which is diminishing. I wish the same could be said for e-books. Sigh. As a result, I may continue to take a hands-off approach with ebook readers. If I happen to get an iPhone or iPod Touch I may consider acquiring a Kindle Book or two to check out the reading experience. I actually have pretty good feelings about by reading experience with iPod Touch, Stanza and Project Gutenberg books. However, iPod plus LibriVox rocks my world. Is anyone who has a Kindle 2 coming to Computers in Libraries and would be willing to let me check it out in person?