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To e or not to e

I am trying to figure out if I want to purchase an e-book reader.  Actually I am trying to decide if I want to pressure Wendy to get me an e-book reader for my birthday.

The three main choices seem to be:

Amazon Kindle

The Amazon Kindle is finally available and functional in Canada.  It’s has a six inch screen, I can read newspapers and magazines on it, and of course I can subscribe to some blogs on it.

Here are the highlights

  • Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines
  • Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback
  • Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered wirelessly in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
  • 3G Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle; no annual contracts, no monthly fees, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Global Coverage: Enjoy 3G wireless coverage at home or abroad in over 100 countries. See details. Check wireless coverage map.
  • Paper-Like Display: Reads like real paper without glare, even in bright sunlight
  • Carry Your Library: Holds up to 1,500 books
  • Longer Battery Life: Now read for up to 1 week on a single charge with wireless on, a significant improvement from the previous battery life of 4 days
  • Built-In PDF Reader: Your Kindle can now display PDF documents natively. Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go.
  • Read-to-Me: With the experimental Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book’s rights holder made the feature unavailable
  • Free Book Samples: Download and read first chapters for free before you decide to buy
  • Large Selection: Over 400,000 books, including 101 of 112 New York Times® Best Sellers, plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs. For non-U.S. customers, content availability and pricing will vary. Check your country.
  • Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are $9.99, unless marked otherwise. When traveling abroad, you can download books wirelessly from the Kindle Store or your Archived Items. U.S. customers will be charged a fee of $1.99 for international downloads.

Of course what has really gotten me excited about the Kindle is the apps that will be coming.  The ability to blog, Tweet, or do other things from this device would make it exponentially better.

The Sony Reader

I hadn’t really thought of the Sony Reader until Warren Kinsella talked about his Christmas gift on his blog.

I got Sony’s gadget for Christmas, and I haven’t put it down yet. Right now, I’m re-re-reading Vonnegut stuff, and plan to re-read The Great Gatsby.

The eReader lets you download books super-cheap – sometimes free, for the classics – and then upload them to the eReader through an iTunes-like interface.

It’s easy to read, and you can increase the font size if (like me) your eyes are getting a bit older. You can load music on it, and even photos (but they’ll be in a quaint black and white).

It’s gotten me reading fiction again, big time. I don’t know why. A gentleman spotted me using it this week, and we chatted about it, and I told him it makes reading funner. (I didn’t say funner, however, I said something else, which my sleep-deprived hockey Dad brain now forgets). It’s easy to carry around, among other things.

I don’t know anything about the Amazon Kindle, but I’ve heard it’s pretty cool, too. There’s lots of AppleBuzz about Steve Job’s tablet thingie, per usual.

The old-fashioned way of reading books is swell, of course, and has the added advantage of being bathtub-friendly. They also don’t require re-charging.

I just wanted to opine that these new devices are pretty neat. And anything that makes reading easier is a good thing, no?

Sony Reader

The reviews talk about a two week battery life and there is a general consensus that the Sony ebook store is less expensive then the Amazon one.  When you purchase as many books as I do, that is a big deal.  They both have six inch screens and weigh about the same and in Canada I need to use Wifi to download books.  The Kindle has a keyboard but the Sony Reader has a tough screen.   Of course the Kindle has apps coming and Sony has never embraced the idea of apps for it’s PSP so I doubt it would for the Reader.  Of course one of the reasons I love to read a book is that it takes me away from technology so perhaps a Twitter free Sony Reader is a plus, not a negative.

Another big plus for the Sony Reader is that it has access to the entire Google Books library.  With the Kindle, you (or I) am locked into Amazon.  The Sony Reader has a bigger world.

Here is the feature summary

The Kindle 2 vs the Sony Reader

PC World thinks that the Sony Reader has the advantage over the Kindle.

Here is my dilemma.  Most of the books I read, I don’t care if I ever read them again.  While some of been lovingly published (the BLDGBlog Book comes to mind), much of them are poorly bound, edited and even written.  While I care as a book as piece of art, I don’t care that much for books as paper and ink. I read them and give them away.  For those books, I would love a ebook reader.

I have a small house and need to literally give away 600-700 books for the space they take up.  A device that allows me to store books internally or with a SD card is my friend.

Of course there is the iTablet but I find Apple stuff really overpriced at launch as you Apple nerds rush out to get them and when I want to read, I don’t want to watch a movie. So while Darryl Dash keeps the share price of Apple strong, I ask the question… Kindle or Sony Reader?

6 Comments

  1. Kevin Powell says:

    Let me know what you decide. I’ve been thinking either the Sony or Kindle myself.

  2. Darryl says:

    I don’t even know what Apple is selling yet, but I’m ordering!

    Unless my wife finds out, of course.

  3. MDSF says:

    I don’t have a good answer here yet either, but I’d love to know what you decide; right now I can’t shake the impression that the abundance of $4 used books available from Amazon make the Kindle kind of expensive. And then there are all the non-electronic books I already have….

  4. Dave King says:

    I’m guessing you can’t give an ebook away after you’ve read it. Just a thought.

    – Peace

  5. Rick Webster says:

    “Of course one of the reasons I love to read a book is that it takes me away from technology so perhaps a Twitter free Sony Reader is a plus, not a negative.” Don’t worry, you won’t be accessing Twitter from the Kindle, either. The 3G wireless (in Canada) gets you Amazon and Wikipedia and that’s it.

    Pricing is also something to be aware of. Aside from being locked into Amazon you have to buy from Amazon.com and pay in American dollars. I just finished reading John Irving’s ‘Twisted River’ on my Sony so I used that as a quick reference. It’s $17.99 U.S on Amazon, $9.99 U.S on the Sony store and $11.99 CA on Kobo, the Chapters/Indigo partner site. That might be an unfair example but then again, I’ve bought two books from Kobo since Christmas with a $1.50 off e-coupon for each. I went with the Sony based on the expectation that more websites would appear and competition would allow me to shop for lower prices. Amazon does have a huge selection but as digital devices proliferate I would expect publishers to open their back and mid-lists to everyone. For what it’s worth the Kobo site is highly functional, fast and just plain pretty – the Sony Store is, well, clunky.

    I love my Sony Touch but, honestly, either of these devices will serve you well. And, let’s face it, the Kindle not only has 3G sexiness but – as you say – Amazon has also opened a development kit for apps. That’s pretty sweet.

  6. Mike O says:

    > I have a small house and need to literally give away 600-700 books for the space they take up.

    Are you near a veteran’s hospital or a Veteran’s of Foreign Wars chapter? The troops (oldor young) would welcome the books.

    As far as the two readers, my thoughts would be to wait for a backlight version. Your cabin is small, and there will be times when you wake up at oh-dark-thirty and want to read to get back to sleep. The competitiveness in this marketplace will bring out that feature.

    Amazon has more books to buy (rent) but Sony allows you to load your own stuff (or stufff from your Resonate buddies like Darryl).

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