Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, February 9, 2009

In Praise of the Sony Reader

It's Kindle 2.0 Launch day, and you'll find all about it, well, practically everywhere. Amazon has not yet sent a device for review (call me!), but I would like to tell you about my new Sony Reader.

Which is awesome.

First off: touch screen, people!

The touch screen leads to quite a bit of trickle-down quality, especially from an aesthetic standpoint because the device is mostly screen. If you want to take notes, it's very simple: a keyboard pops up on the screen and you simply type on it. It's also easy to navigate because you just touch which book you want to read, so there's no scrolling.

The display itself is a wonder: if you haven't seen e-ink you haven't seen... uh, e-ink. The best comparison I can make is that it's like an Etch-a-Sketch. It's not backlit. It's not like reading on a PDA or laptop. Repeat: it's not like reading on a PDA or laptop. It doesn't strain your eyes any more than paper. Repeat: it doesn't strain your eyes any more than paper. And the pages turn noticeably faster with this version of the Reader. It's just a tiny blink.

(And yes, I know that there will still be comments from people worried about eye-strain)

But perhaps my favorite underrated aspect of this device is quite simple: a built-in nightlight.

Because the screen isn't backlit, you can only read it under light. Thus, having a nightlight is basically indispensable for reading at night.

Other cool features:

- you can easily change the font size and layout if you'd like to read bigger or on widescreen.
- multiple ways to change pages, whether pressing a button or "flicking" the touch-screen with your finger
- an approximation of page numbers, unlike Kindle's bewildering "locations"
- the leather case snaps shut easily with a nice magnet
- you only need to charge it, at most, once a week

The Reader does have some drawbacks: the e-book store is not yet Mac compatible, and I do miss the lack of wireless. For an average reader I don't think this would be a problem because you can easily load up a bunch of books on a single plug-in and be good to go for a while. When you're an agent dealing with a thousand partials, however, I miss the wireless.

You can check out the Reader at your friendly neighborhood Target, Borders, and other stores.

I honestly, honestly never thought when I got a Kindle and Sony Reader that I'd become a raving lunatic of a fan of these devices. But what can I say? I really feel like it's an improved reading experience. I like reading with one hand so I can hold onto the bus/train with the other hand. I like the lack of clutter. I like getting books instantaneously. I like being able to easily search a book and have access to a ton of them. I like how they always open up to the last place I left off.

We'll always have paper books, and I'd always want to have some of my favorites. But now that I have e-readers: I can't imagine going back.

UPDATE: In the comments section people have been weighing on the new commenting system (an embedded window) vs. the old one (separate page with icons). Let's put it to a vote, and I'll change it accordingly:







128 comments:

beckylevine said...

Nathan, this may be a silly question (I'm trying to keep up with all the technology--honestly!) but why do you have BOTH a Kindle and a Sony Reader. Is there a place where they don't overlap?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was sold until "the e-book store is not yet Mac compatible". I was lucky enough to browse one in action in Heathrow's T2 lounge recently - a very patient fellow traveler let me take a look. The leather case was a nice touch and it did look lovely. Perhaps 2.0 will be Mac friendly and wireless?

Did you see GalleyCat's story on % of Amazon books sold for Kindles? "Kindle sales make up more than 10 percent of sales of books that are available in both traditional and e-book form."

Ink said...

A thousand partials? You need to slow down, my good man. Have a siesta.

My best, as always,
Bryan

Nathan Bransford said...

beckylevine-

They're slightly different experiences. The Sony Reader feels like more of a streamlined device than the Kindle, whereas the Kindle really benefits from the wireless. It all depends on what you're looking for in an e-reader.

Jo said...

I want it.
Unfortunately it costs $400 so I won't be getting it.

Nathan Bransford said...

Jo-

Yeah, it's not cheap, especially in these times.

Anonymous said...

I totally Kindle and Sony Reader stupid; so don't laugh at me when I ask, can you actually write your mss on it? Don't laugh!

Ulysses said...

Thanks for this. I find myself rethinking my original resentment of these devices. I guess I'm a Luddite of sorts and found the thought of reading a book on a machine to be philosophically objectionable. However, it seems there are a lot of things to recommend the experience. Once the price falls into the "not unreasonable" range, I'll have to rethink my non-buying decision. (It's not often I can include the non-single negative).

Fitz#11 said...

2 e-readers?

p. i. m. p.

Anonymous said...

I was drooling until, like the Anonymous before me, arrived at the bit about the Sony not being Mac compatible.

Drat.

Marvelous update, though. Thanks, Nathan! So glad to see you're embracing modernity.

Maybe now you'll be able to read my book...

Nathan Bransford said...

I should note re: Mac compatibility that there are some work-arounds, although since I have a PC at work I've never really needed to explore them.

Anonymous said...

Not only am I totally Sony Reader and Kindle stupid, apparently I have a brain malfunction when it comes to typing all of the words I mean to.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

No, these devices aren't ideal for typing. Laptop will steal beat them there.

clindsay said...

I loved my Sony Reader until it stopped working after five months. I am bereft! I seriously feel naked without the damned thing. And unfortunately, I can't afford to replace it.

*sigh*

Anonymous said...

Darn, I was hoping it would be something small and portable I could haul around with me, and use when my creative urge hit me.

Ink said...

Colleen's post does bring up an interesting point... are the e-readers durable? What happens if there's a glitch? Repair services? Warranty? I'm just thinking if you put your whole library on an e-reader and something starts to fizzle inside... will you need $400 lying around to regain access to your library? That would be... problematic. Especially since I have an odd Gremlin-like effect on most forms of technology.

My best, as always,
Bryan

CB said...

Nathan

Why the new format? I miss seeing all of the smiling faces. It's also harder to pick out your replies.

Newbee said...

It sounds like they need to create something like this that has a keyboard for us writing people. Then it would be a perfect blend of a reading and writing tool. Well worth the pretty price.

Ugly Deaf Muslim Punk Gurl! said...

I just saw photos and saw how small the Kindle is, and it looks so comfortable. Now I'm beginning to think this is something I should buy. I hate clutter and I don't want to buy any more books for my room.

Dara said...

It's something I'd check into when it goes down in price (like significantly...I can hardly buy a traditional hardcover now).

I'd still be hesitant to get one as I'm pretty clumsy and forgetful, and I'd worry that I'd break it or lose it :P

But it does sound nifty--especially the power supply part and only needing to charge it once a week (even though I'm still of the opinion a book should not require a power source at all, BUT the fact that this doesn't need to be charged as often is an improvement).

Nathan Bransford said...

CB-

I prefer the one-click commenting. Do other people not like it? I know you lose the icons, but a looooot of people e-mailed me who were confused by the old commenting system.

clindsay said...

Since I used my Sony Reader primarily for reading partials and manuscripts, the lack of Mac compatibility wasn't a problem for me. The Mac sees the Sony Reader as a USB flash drive. You turn your Word docs into RTFs and then drag and drop them on the computer.

The reason I chose Sony Reader over Kindle at the time was almost exclusively the price difference. I bought my Sony Reader about six months ago for $200 on sale. I couldn't justify spending an additional $100-$150 for the Kindle just for the wireless function (which is awesome; three of my agent friends and several editors I know here in NYC have Kindles and LOVE them - and they aren't as clunky as they look in photos, by the way).

For me, the reading experience between Kindle and Sony Reader was identical. They were both easy to read in direct sunlight and both had almost the same age turn rate. It was primarily the price that made up my mind.

But I also expected the Sony Reader to be a little more durable than it apparently is. That has been a huge disappointment to me. The 90 day warranty was an even bigger disappointment. I'm still trying to get hold of someone at Sony to discuss this with, so we'll see what happens. But, damn! Two days without it and I am already in withdrawal.

For the record, I read books and manuscripts primarily on a Palm Tungsten E for seven years, quite happily using eReader and Documents to Go. If the battery on that thing hadn't finally died, I may never have upgraded.

T. Anne said...

Thank you for the Etch-a-sketch analogy. (I actually own one and know how to use it. DId I mention how affordable they are?)

Since I'm primarily a mac girl, it doesn't sound like the sony would be for me. I do like the fact they are readily available just about anywhere. Not too long ago I saw them at Costco.

Eventually, I'll get in line at amazon for the k2.

Steve Fuller said...

I like the old commenting style because there are a number of people I know who leave good comments, so I look for their pictures instead of reading 200 names. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I liked the old way also, but because I didn't have to scroll all of the way down to post a comment, and I miss the pictures. They kind of add a little personality to each post. And there were a few pictures I really enjoyed Looking at. LOL ;)

Martin Willoughby said...

Now all they have to do is make it cheap...or make the 'books' cheap.

Mira said...

Awesome. It's not ladylike to drool, so I'm just panting with my tongue hanging out.

Or is that not ladylike either?

Sometimes, it's so hard to live up to the high standards of ladyship.

Mira said...

Oh, and my two cents - I like the new commenting system. It's much more simple.

And ladylike.

Anonymous said...

I also like seeing the pictures, because it is easier to spot earlier comments by the same people.

Rick Daley said...

Nathan,

If a partial leaves a laptop going west at the speed of light, but takes eighteen .005 millisecond stops at ISP routers and POP's along the way before reaching an agent's inbox, and that agent already has 1,000 partials to read, what is the agent's favorite color Kindle?

I'm excited to try one, but like others here I will wait until the pricing comes down a bit. It's good to know that are more like reading paper and not backlit, that was one of my biggest concerns.

My only complaint about the new comment format is that it's harder to make fun of the word verification ;-)

nancorbett said...

Okay. So, it looks like the Sony reader can present lots of different electronic document formats, so if I buy an e-book from someplace other than the Sony store, I should be able to load it on the Sony reader and read it, right? As long as the format is supported?

I want to make sure I'm not limited to only books the Sony store has to offer.

-Nancy

Nathan Bransford said...

Nancy-

Yeah -- I haven't yet tried this aspect and thus didn't mention it, but it supports a variety of formats.

Scott said...

Well, I pre-ordered my Kindle 2.0 today. In fact, I've been waiting for the imminent announcement for months. I've also been saving up for quite a while.

My ultimate decision to buy an e-reader was the - eventual - cost savings of an ebook versus the hardbacks I prefer to read. In a year's time I can save a good portion of money and make my backpack much lighter when I travel.

In the end, I have fallen victim to technology. Resistance is futile! : )

S

Lady Glamis said...

Nathan,

I certainly miss the old commenting you had... I miss being able to see people's pics. And it was so easy to pick out your comments with your orange shirt. :)

As for the e-readers, I think it is fantastic that you have found something that works so well for you!

I was talking to my parents who have a Kindle. They brought up a good point - it's very hard to get a feel for how big the book is that you're reading. They miss being able to close the book and see how far you've read and how much is left.

Does the Kindle or Sony Reader have a bar that tells you how far you've read? And how easy is it to skip back to a page where you want to check back on something?

Nikki Wadley said...

Thank you for this post. I was considering buying a Kindle. I am definitely going to get one now!

Kim Lionetti said...

Thanks for posting this.

I love my Kindle, but the lack of page numbers drives me C-R-A-Z-Y! When you download Word documents to the Reader do those page numbers correspond? Would make revision letters so much simpler!

But first they need to make it Mac compatible. Come on!

Nathan Bransford said...

Kim-

They don't correspond exactly to manuscript page numbers and it depends on how big you have the font. But they're much closer (and make much more sense) to real pages than the Kindle. The formatting conversion also seems to be smoother on the Reader than the Kindle.

as meredith said...

i had been thinking of the Kindle--and may yet break down and get one--but decided to just go with an iPhone instead. Granted, an agent isn't going to want to do all their reading on a little iPhone, but as something to have handy to read a few pages in the doctor's waiting room, it's perfectly good. And can play audiobooks while you're on the treadmill. A friend read huge books on his Palm while he was stationed in Iraq. And Google and Amazon have promised to make more ebooks available for mobile devices.

Linda said...

I've been back and forth on this whole Kindle vs. Sony Reader deal and I'm still not sure which to get. The Sony seems great for no other reason than it's much much cheaper, but at the same time it's the Kindle I hear nothing but praise for. Now I know the value of a dollar, if there's really not much difference I'll go for the Sony, then again five months is an awfully short amount of time to have an expensive device crap out on you. Ugh...choices, choices....

acpaul said...

For my part, I didn't go with either Kindle or Sony's e-reader.

Instead, I spent my 300 on a 'netbook' which is a mini laptop with a 9 in screen, a keyboard just large enough for comfortable typing. It weighs in at only 2.5 lb, so it's much more grab n go than a laptop.

I love the thing. I can take it wherever I go and work on my mss.

Newbee said...

Wow! The cold meds have made it hard for me to type anything that makes sense. I think I'm all done for today...LOL.

lotusgirl said...

For commenting, I miss having the cheery orange shirted Nathan smiling at us too. Plus, since there are sooooo many fans of your pages these days, sometimes I just want to quickly find my friends comments to save time and without the pictures that is much harder to do. You've just gotten to be such a popular place to visit and comment that. I can't keep up anymore and get any writing done.

One of the big things I hate about my e-Book is that there are no pages listed. I guess they haven't fixed that. Colleen's loss of hers brings up one of my other main worries.--that after I pay a lot of money for a reader it could be broken in the first year (or five months) and, of course, not when it's still under warranty. That just seems WRONG!

Is the kindle mac compatible?

Jen said...

Not Mac compatible? Boooooooooo!!

Nathan Bransford said...

Ok -- decided to put the commenting system to a vote. If you've already weighed in, please be sure and vote in the main post!

Anonymous said...

Nathan,

I'm another person who misses your old blog format. I loved the little pictures, even though I hadn't added one for myself yet. Also, I can't figure out how to post this comment any other way than Anonymous.

My family owns one of the first Kindles. Bought it when it first came out. A couple of features on it broke: one of the scroll bars broke and ink lines wouldn't go away. Amazon replaced it very quickly. We were delighted. Love the Kindle! The Sony Reader looks great, too.

- Marilyn Peake
http://www.marilynpeake.com

Anonymous said...

Just saw the voting for blog format...and voted. Yaaay, voting.

- Marilyn Peake
http://www.marilynpeake.com

Michael Pickett said...

Oh, I didn't know that this was the new comments system. I change my vote to the old system.

Anonymous said...

testing comment

Anonymous said...

hate this new one

sandra o'briant said...

How much does it weigh? Do you read in bed? If I'm reading a good book, I like turning on my side with the pillow tucked under my head and sort of curling around the book. Is the Sony cuddle compatible?

Nathan Bransford said...

sandra-

The Sony Reader is excellent in bed.

Ha.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

If you like the old comment system (like I do) please vote - it's getting a little close, 52% to 48%!

Vancouver Dame said...

I definitely do not like this new method of posting comments. Posting and searching for others' comments and yours, Nathan, was easier using the old system. Current example: I just submitted a comment and it showed up on a totally different day. When I asked for preview, that's when the system screwed it up, and said 'can't process your request', then gave me the verification word, and my comment ended up in the wrong date.

Re - Kindle and Sony readers - sound great; cost too much.

PurpleClover said...

I voted Old. For the same reasons above - I like to look for certain posters' pics. It also helps me keep my place of where I left off reading comments.

Now I'd have to utilize the search button. :(

I'm really excited about the new Reader and/or Kindle. But I doubt I'll be getting one any time soon. Just don't have the moolah. :(

Scott said...

In the end I had to choose "Old" comment system because of how the pics made it easier to skate around and not lose your place. Won't be too bothered either way, Nathan, so don't sweat it if you have to play Blogtator.

And since I'm on a Mac, I can't even consider an e-reader. Having it break would really tick me off, though.

Scott said...

50-50? I think something's rotten in the state of Bransford.

Diana said...

Nathan - thanks for all you've written about the Kindle and the Sony reader. I've learned more about these newfangled doo-hickies from your blog than from any other source. They're a little less scary now.

A little. I almost want to touch one...

Sylvia said...

Is there actually a poll here someplace? People are referring to voting in the past tense but - perhaps because of all the scrolling - I missed it.

I don't mind either way really ... but the new system would benefit greatly from being able to stretch across the browser window rather than pushed into a column.

The old system is easy for blogger folks but less so for the rest of the world. Having said that, I notice I'm not auto-logged in so I may as well link directly to my blog. That means even if you WERE showing icons, you wouldn't be seeing my smurf outfit.

So yeah, I'll vote new.

P.S. Dear Amazon

Please make Kindle work for the rest of the world. I promise I've been good.

Love and Kisses,

* Sylvia *

Anonymous said...

Now I'm even more confused on which type of e reader I want to get. Sorry to ask, but did Sony give you this E book device to review for them?

Anonymous said...

I prefer the old way.

I miss seeing everybody's picture.

The new format looks and feels sterile.

BarbS--who doesn't have time to go through the sign-in process.

Anonymous said...

ALSO: I miss seeing the word verification. We-who-enjoy-making-up-definitions miss the oft-hilarious specimens that cropped up!

BarbS.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading e-books for about seven years now, first on my PDA and later on my phone. The two main reasons are convenience - I always have a book with me - and convenience - I always have my entire library with me. I originally used MS Reader, but several years ago switched to Mobipocket which I love. I would love a Kindle, but that would kill one benefit - convenience. I would be carrying an additional device (I currently use Mobipocket on the BlackBerry, which is nice because I can have my library, e-mail, phone, music, everything on one device).

One thing I don't quite buy in your otherwise great post is this whole "eye strain" issue. Eye strain? Like I said, I've been reading e-books for years. I don't think I'm suffering from eye strain. Heck, I'm reading from the computer all day at work. So what is the problem? Maybe I just have superhuman eyes? :)

Anonymous said...

What about flipping around in the e-book? I like to re-read passages only it isn't like I re-read in an organized fashion. It's not like I'm all, "Oh! That was beautiful, I must mark it with a sticky note!" Rather, I read and then I flashback on something I want to read again, or I need clarity and so I'll flip through the pages to figure out where I saw it, what chapter it was in, etc. Sometimes I can only find the passage because I remember the shape of the paragraph (sometimes only in relation to the paragraphs around it and on the other page). This is beginning to sound like lunacy, so I guess the question is, how easy is it to jump around and re-read bits when you don't quite remember where they were?

ryan field said...

I didn't know much about the sony until now. Very educational!!

Anonymous said...

Been reading up on readers because of the new Kindle 2. If anyone out there is considering a Sony Reader, it looks like the previous version (PRS-505) is better than the newest version (700) because the newest one has touch-screen. And because of this, the readability suffers apparently. Anyway. For me, grabbing a Kindle 2. Love the thought of Mr. Roboto reading to me.

Alexa said...

We have our Kindle on order! Very exciting.

Yat-Yee said...

It's interesting. I just read a review on WSJ Smart Money magazine, and they favor Sony a little over Kindle.

Lynne said...

Go to it, Nathan! Night light great. Are the Kindle people paying you? Kidding!

Alps said...

I never thought I'd say this (because I love the smell of books), but I think I know what's going to be on my list for Santa this year.

Lisa - Mother of Nine said...

"and I do miss the lack of wireless."

That was a confusing sentence. I stopped. Re-read it. Decided my first assumption of what you were saying was wrong. (After all, being in the field you are, you couldn't possibly have written the opposite of what you had meant.) Thought it was a strange and wordy way to say that you miss having a cord, though. Didn't understand why you missed it.
Then I realized a sentence or two later that you had, indeed, erred. Tsk Tsk.

Janis said...

Nathan,
Have you tried this out in the California sunshine? I've never yet found a laptop screen I can read out in the Ohio sunshine, not to mention at the beach. This would get me to drool too and even think about parting with my money.
Janis

Nathan Bransford said...

It's not like a laptop, it's really like paper. The more sun the better.

lisa-

I am chagrined that the Sony Reader doesn't have wireless. Also, I is eloquent.

Anonymous said...

ANON 4:45,

The last couple of years my eyes will hurt and turn red for days if I look at a computer screen too long. (I use one at work and then spend hours working on it home.) Maybe it is an over forty thing. Otherwise I still have perfect vision. LOL

Anita said...

I felt more connected to commentors with the old version...even if they had flowers for their pictures or whatever, I recognized them.

Just_Me said...

It's still expensive and I still won't take it in the tub or near a toddler. You're not selling this to my demographic, Nathan.

L.C.McCabe said...

Nathan,
I thought you and your readers might like to read Sarah's thoughts on the incredibly sassy blog "Smart Bitches, Trashy Books" who wrote on the same issue of Kindle vs. Sony Reader.

http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/weblog/comments/the-honeymoon-is-over/

Anonymous said...

Let me start by saying that I don't have an e-reader and am fairly sure that it will take me a long time to get there. I love my books. This love was born when I was very little and I have been watching my niece develop the same love. Even as a one year old she would walk around with her books like other kids walk around with a dolly. She would bring them and make you read to her. I guess it will take a while for illustrated books to go electronic, but I worry that kids growing up in homes without books will not develop the great love of the printed word that we have and that reading will be just another electronic activity vying with the Wii and the computer and the iPod.

Anonymous said...

What's going to happen in 2012 when the end of civilized timekeeping comes? A lot of people are going to wish they had their good old paper books in the cave with them, that's what!

Mary said...

I love the Sony. If it were Mac compatible, I would buy one in a heartbeat.

It should work with Macs that run Windows alongside Mac OS. But I’m not prepared to install Windows to use a device.

Get with it, Sony! ;)

CB said...

When the e-readers drop in price and enough young people are introduced to the technology, books will begin to vanish. I can remember older people during my childhood that didn't even own TVs because they didn't grow up with the technology. So it will take time, but eventually technology overtakes convention. People will be selling books, not for content, but for their value as antiques. Just like record albums.

Anonymous said...

I like the old commenting because it gave you a chance to read your post and make changes -- this new one doesn't allow for that. You'd have to rewrite the entire post just to fix a spelling error.

Joseph L. Selby said...

Thank you! As every agent I follow raved about the Kindle, I kept saying the same thing. Don't get overwhelmed by the hype. There's a competitor worth looking into. I can't afford either eReader at the moment, but having done extensive research, I really felt the Sony was the better model for the casual reader and Kindle something appropriate for a professional in your line of work. I'm glad to see that opinion born out here.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, when you buy an E-book do you see the cover art. A lot of times, people pick a book partially based on the cover (especialy young people). And CB what about childrens books? picture books? the occasional reader who won't invest a couple of hundred? old people who won't adjust? I really don't think books as we know them will completely die for a very long time, at least not before I do.

Anonymous said...

I hate it when I see errors in my post! Darn it!

Joseph L. Selby said...

Anonymous:

If you're wanting something small and portable that's still big enough for you to type on, look into an Epecee. They're stripped down laptops with 7-9 inch screens. They cost $300+ and can easily be kept in a briefcase or backpack.

Anonymous said...

ANON 4:54

What about a good old fashioned power outage for a couple of weeks like we had in my area. A lot of people had to huddle around candle light. Technology wasn't so great then. I was certainly happy to have my paper books. That is two years in a row the ice got us, and knocked the power down. Some people are still not on.

Anonymous said...

Wait, last night, the old way was winning with like, 52%. Now its losing with 49%.

This game is rigged. The new way is like Benjamin flavored ice cream.

Beth said...

I have such a case of Sony Reader lust. Nathan, you may have just pushed me over the edge. I think I need to start saving for one now.

CB said...

Anon 6:27

Like I said in my post, it will take time, but technology always seems to win. Pretty soon, you won't be able to watch TV without cable. The prices of the e-readers will come down, like all gadgets do and then they'll be in most people's hands. They'll probably come up with a hybrid blackberry or i-phone, that incorporates an e-reader. This way you can read a bedtime story over the phone to your grandchildren that live on the moon. It's coming.

Scott said...

I like the old way. I recognized people by the pictures. And now that are at least two Scotts here, it makes it easier to remember which Scott posts I didn't write. But I'd hardly say it a huge preference. But it actually seems to take a couple more clicks to post a comment in the new format

Oh, and the Sony sounds cool. As my eyes continue to be ravaged by age, I suppose I can see myself getting there someday, but not yet. Plus, I'd be surprised if a lot of what I read is available for e-readers. I don't want another situation where I can't find my old LPs in CD format.

MzMannerz said...

I voted old, but I tend to be an Eeyore about change, and then when I've tried something new long enough, am just fine with it.

MzMannerz said...

Oh - and posting that just reminded me that I'm not just being an Eeyore... this method is choppier if I'm not already signed in.

Anonymous said...

I can't even see the score anymore.

Anonymous said...

This is a dumb question, but do illustrations/photos in e-books (like might be in a paper book) show up on the screen too?

Dara said...

Old or new commenting system, it doesn't matter. I voted for the new, but sticking with the old is fine too :)

Marilyn Peake said...

Anon February 10,6:27 A.M.,

Yes, the cover art appears in eBooks. All my books are published in eBook as well as paperback formats, and I was very relieved to see the cover art in the eBook formats. I believe there's been talk about future graphic novels for the Kindle. Does anyone else know if that's true?

- Marilyn Peake
http://www.marilynpeake.com

spyscribbler said...

I think the new is prettier, but the new one doesn't work on several of my devices. I like to read blogs on my Palm and sometimes on my Kindle, and the new commenting system doesn't work with it.

Not that I comment that much anyway. Just something to consider. :-)

Marilyn Peake said...

I looked it up. Already, there are some graphic novels available for the Kindle. Pretty cool!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Marilyn! Now if they come out with Children's picture books, I'll be all set!

SB said...

Can you elaborate on the night light? This sort of information is hard to come by. The main reason I don't have a Kindle is the lack of light (no light on Kindle 2 either!!). I read ebooks on my Palm Treo or iPhone, partly because I like reading in the dark. How is the night light integrated? Does it add bulk? If it's that easy to add a night light to an e-ink device, why doesn't Kindle have one?

(That last question was rhetorical, unless you happen to have the top-secret answer.)

Thanks for your informative review!!

Anonymous said...

ANON 8:38
Your going to let a toddler carry around a Kindle?

Nathan Bransford said...

SB-

It's literally a series of LEDs on the side of the screen. It makes it a little brighter on the sides than in the middle (so it's not like an Indiglo watch, for instance), and it also seems to run down the battery a tad more quickly, but it gets the job done and doesn't add bulk.

Sarah said...

You can get a "two year service plan with accidental damage from handling" for $55 Seems like a good idea

SB said...

Nathan - Thanks! I just watched the video here, which showed it in action for all of one second.

I wish the Kindle had that! I'm one built-in LED away from buying one. :)

Lisa Katzenberger said...

Nathan, love the one-stop commenting. But I'm not in love with the Kindle or Sony Reader yet.

Anonymous said...

Let's remember... these are supposed to be readers, NOT mini PCs. Right? So saying that a mini netbook or some other version of a mini laptop is a better purchase isn't quite on the mark. It's overkill. If you have to write, and do other things like work, get a laptop (however large you want it). If you want to read, get a Kindle 2 (or Sony if you wish). Also, saying that the iPhone and other PDAs or mobile phones are competition for the Kindle 2 and the Sony Reader is short-sighted because who in his right mind would want to read a novel on such small real estate? Fine, enlarge the text... then you'll be scrolling the page every half second. If you're reading Japanese literature made for mobiles, that's fine...

SB said...

Anon February 10, 2009 9:04 AM -

Just because you can't imagine reading a novel on your iPhone or other PDA doesn't mean they're not competition. ebooks for iPhone are selling, and have been for other PDAs for longer than Kindle or Sony reader have existed. I personally ride public transit with just my PDA/phone and have read at least a few dozen novels on PDAs.

I hope that the future brings us cross-platform, DRM-free ebooks. What's happening with the music industry (Amazon, iTunes) and the book industry needs desperately to adapt to existing online distribution models to learn to survive in the current economy.

Jolie said...

Wait, so you have both a Sony Reader and a Kindle now? How did that happen? Is one better than the other for certain circumstances?

CB said...

Check out this link.
http://www.informationweek.com/news/personal_tech/smartphones/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=213402596

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

PW has more info today about the Plastic Logic Reader. Though they say it's pitched at business users, I think this will be of interest to fiction and casual readers, a school book of the future - plastic, flexible, light and about US Letter sized and will be in color within 5 years.

PW says
"Plastic Logic, a new company that plans to launch a new eReader device in 2010, announced its first content partners at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference today. The company has signed agreements with Ingram Digital for e-book distribution, LibreDigital for electronic newspapers, and Zinio for magazines, as well as with the newspapers the Financial Times and USA Today. The Plastic Logic e-content store, which will launch at the same time as the reader, will be powered by Fictionwise."

Christine said...

Wow.. my vote (#189) made a difference at this moment...

Marilyn Peake said...

Anonymous, February 10, 8:38 A.M.,

Yeah, children's picture books would be great. And an e-reader as indestructible as the Nintendo game systems - I've seen those things dropped onto the ground without breaking.

Whirlochre said...

Looks great — but how close does it shave?

Marilyn Peake said...

I just now discovered that there are some children's picture books available for the Kindle.

Erika. With a K. said...

I was a "you can pry my paper books from my cold dead hand" voter (though I'm not one of those concerned about eye strain)... however, the more I read about Kindle and the Sony Reader, the more I'm starting to change my opinion on paper books. I will miss the smell though....

zoewinters said...

I'm probably going to be the LAST person to go to an ebook reader. And it's largely because to me, reading is an ESCAPE from technology. I don't want to engage with technology period, when I read fiction.

Now if the price came down a bit, I could see it for non-fiction most definitely. (Then again, maybe not, I like to underline my non-fiction)

But, the Sony seems pretty neat, and I would definitely go for that before Kindle.

Elissa M said...

I had to comment just to see what changed. Now I can't vote because I don't really care either way and you didn't give that option.

Cass said...

Nathan - I appreciate all of the effort you put into this blog to educate and inform those like me who have much to learn.

Thanks also for providing us with a place to gather. I visit here daily, yes I even check in on Sat & Sun on the off chance you have something to share.

It was nice that you allowed us to vote on the commenting format before changing it for good.

I voted for the old, but will surely get accustomed to the new.

Cassidy

K.S. Clay said...

I didn't used to like the idea of ebooks, because I like the physical experience of holding a book in my hand and turning the pages. At the same time, the idea of ebooks and ebook readers is quickly becoming more attractive, mainly for one reason: I like to read multiple books at once, usually a novel and one or more nonfiction books on various subjects. It would be easier to keep track of all of them if they were all on the same device. Also, I could then carry them all with me rather than settling for whichever one fit my purse. Finally, I imagine an ebook library would be more organized than I currently am. I don't actually have access to half of my books right now since last time I moved they got placed in the garage and quickly stacked and surrounded by other things, rendering it hazardous to my health to try to clear a path to dig out a particular title. Unfortunately, I can't afford the price tag for an ebook reader so it's not an option right now. But I'd definitely consider it in the future. Thanks for sharing your experience with the Sony, Nathan. I like the new comments system.

Anonymous said...

SB @ February 10, 2009 9:18 AM

I take your point that people have been reading on their PDAs and cellphones. But now that there are specific readers in the market, that may change.

Of course, we as consumers want everything in a product. I think the real competition for Sony and Amazon is Apple. Apparently, there's talk of a small tablet coming out... bigger than the iPhone. If it has the capabilities of the iPhone along with a DRM-free reader, it will pretty much dominate for quite a while. I would love a small tablet with a stylus to jot handwritten stuff, mixed in with a phone that has video capabilities, and the entertainment factor of an iPhone. Yeah, sure... add email. Let's move away from laptops.

SB said...

@Anon February 10, 2009 9:18 AM -

I love everything in a product, which is why I read ebooks on my iPhone and my other PDA (yes, I have two everything gadgets). The Kindle really, really cool, but I don't think it will ever monopolize the ebook market. A separate product just for *books* is great for us book lovers, but not what casual book readers want.

Also, as someone who buys ebooks, I can understand why Nathan would want or need two ebook readers. Some books are only available for Kindle, or only for Sony Reader. That is frustrating to me (I don't own either), which is why a cross-platform ebook file format is important (analogous to the mp3 music format).

So I guess my stance is, sign me up for the a great everything gadget, and please let me get ebooks on it! :)

SB said...

That last one was to anon February 11, 2009 3:14 AM, btw. I'm overly passionate about this ebook thing, if you haven't guessed. :)

Anonymous said...

Ahh, Nathan, I hate the new layout for commenting. But only because some how my work computer blocks me from posting under this new system but I can post just fine using the commenting system with the pictures. darn darn darn. Guess this means I will have to work at work. How sad.

-Sad Anon

A said...

Not sure if this has been answered - I didn't read all 123 comments!

Can you buy a Kindle edition on Amazon and download it to the Sony, or can you only read Kindle editions on a Kindle reader?

Anonymous said...

SB @ February 11, 2009 1:43 PM: Yes, and that's a good thing! I'm a horrible reader, want to be a better one, and love technology. I've heard that the Kindles have helped a lot of people consume books more often and more voraciously (b/c of its capability to download immediately... and now allows us to preview books), so if that's true, the technology may be helping our industry!

A @ February 11, 2009 6:06 PM: Here's the thing that people are griping about: I think Amazon's books are a proprietary format. This I believe is the reason why the publishing industry is a little wary of Amazon's efforts at dominance. It's a little like Apple and iTunes back in the day. But to be fair, Sony has their own proprietary format too. Both readers handle all sorts of other formats. I think in general it will be a race to see who has the larger catalog, who has the less restrictive use licensing, and who (if possible) has the best reader. I still say Apple has the best handle on useability, design, and forward thinking. But with regard to formats, in my ignorant opinion, it's almost up to the consumer to complain enough to get the digital industry to open up (just like music).

I just came across this looking for clarity: http://tinyurl.com/24oyvh It's an article at Gizmodo that talks about the licensing issues with Amazon and Sony. NOTE: this was published in March of 2008 so things might have changed.

Anonymous said...

Oh and by the way, don't count out the alliance that seems to be forming between Apple and Google with regard to books. That's a space to watch too...

Anonymous said...

One truly last thing: if reading on mobiles or on computer and you haven't checked these sites out by now, go to DailyLit and Project Gutenberg for free reads...

Anonymous said...

http://www.booksinmyphone.com

http://imgs.zinio.com/retail_srvs/classics/

http://www.penguin.co.uk/static/cs/uk/0/penguin_tasters/index.html

(coffee's done, goodbye)

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