Tokyo Rain

eReaders

by on Feb.10, 2009, under News

So the Kindle 2 has just been revealed by Amazon, and it looks pretty spiffy. I was very close to getting v1.0, but I knew I’d like the second generation if I could just hold out. I just put in my pre-order. Not coincidentally, John Siracusa has a fascinating article¬†about the state of the e-book that’s worth a read.

On a Tokyo Rain related note, this is my commitment–assuming it is both technically viable and permitted under my licensing agreement–to release an e-reader friendly version of the final text.

So, are there any e-book afficionados out there? What are your e-book experiences?

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2 comments for this entry:
  1. Scurvy_Platypus

    I’m a pretty big fan pf pdfs for a variety of reasons. One of them being that since I now live in NZ, getting an rpg here is expensive. The typical book that costs $50 in the U.S. is going to cost somewhere around $100 here. And that’s if it’s carried in a game store. If it’s got to be ordered… usually that’s at least $20 U.S. shipping, which means $40 NZ.

    The big problem I’ve noticed is that people tend to make their pdfs rather large and bloated. Yeah, having background images makes for a nice looking pdf… it also generally means it’s going to be a larger pdf and therefore going to take longer to open and page through.

    If you’re looking at doing a pdf for an ebook type thing (sub-notebook like the Asus), then you’re going to want to make sure it’s nice and trim. If you’ve got to put out a version that looks just like the print one with all the fancy art and all that, then include a 2nd version that’s “print friendly”. If you trim it down so it’s print friedly, chances are it’ll do better on the readers that are out there.

    Available memory can be a major issue for these applications. Especially if they’re stuck using some sort of memory intensive program (like Adobe Reader) to begin with.

    Also, if you can do bookmarks… do it. Have the index (assuming there’s one) actually link to the relevant page. Not all applications might be able to take advantage of it, but for those that can, it makes life _so_ much easier.

    Also, newer versions of Acrobat have the option to have layers in a pdf. Some companies (like0One) that do e-tiles, and some individuals that do character sheets (Mad irishman) use layers for their pdfs.

    And unless you’re running Acrobat Reader, you wind up with a mostly unuseable and jumbled mess. The non-Adobe readers simply display all the information at once. You can see this behaviour with FoxIt, which is otherwise a sterling reader for the Windows platform.

  2. Sharon Butcher

    First, let me say that the Kindle 2 is my first dedicated ebook reader (previously I’ve read ebooks on my computer). So I’m not approaching the new Kindle from the standpoint of whether it’s worthwhile to upgrade, but whether it’s worth it for a new buyer.

    My conclusion: It definitely is. I love this device!

    I love the lack of eyestrain. I’ve read steadily since I got it (four and a half long books thus far), and it doesn’t strain my eyes any more than print reading– less, really, since I need bifocals but haven’t quite gotten around to getting them yet, and the Kindle lets me adjust the font size. Reading novels on my computer made my eyeballs feel like they were going to pop out after a while. Reading on the Kindle, on the other hand, is a pleasant and easy experience. The lack of backlight is not a problem for me, as I read it just as I do any other book.

    It’s just as lightweight and easy to handle as promised. I’ve read it lying down in bed, lounging on the couch, sitting in the carpool line at preschool… I find it awesomely convenient to be carrying around a library of twenty-five books (hey, I’m just getting started here!) on a device that’s smaller than a trade paperback. I’ve already gotten to the point where my Kindle goes everywhere I go. If I have to wait in line at a restaurant or a doctor’s office, it’s great to be able to grab my Kindle and start reading whatever I feel like reading at that moment. The buttons are self-explanatory and easy to handle, and yes, after a while the device really does seem to “disappear.”

    I love the automatic bookmark feature. The fact that the Kindle remembers where I was reading, so I don’t have to, is nice. Also, the built-in dictionary is very useful and will probably improve my vocabulary, as it enables me to look up the word instantly, rather than trying to remember to look it up later (and usually forgetting). I also enjoy the ease of ordering books– I do tend to do my surfing of Amazon on the computer, because it’s faster, but if I’m in the bookstore and spot a book I want to read, it’s nice to be able to order it directly from my Kindle.

    The selection of Kindle books is good. I have found a few I couldn’t yet obtain (Catch-22 is not yet available in a Kindle edition, go figure!), but I do realize that’s in large part a publisher issue– some publishers may not be willing to have their books put into e-format. So I don’t blame Amazon for that. Overall, the pricing structure seems reasonable– $9.99 for a book that sells for much more in hardback doesn’t bother me (I do draw the line at spending any more, however), and many books are cheaper than that. I’ve also found plenty of free or almost-free older books, which has allowed me to pad my library with comfort reading like “White Fang” and “Little Women,” as well as classics I’ve never gotten around to reading somehow.

    The device itself is certainly not cheap, and even in the long haul, I don’t expect that it’s going to save me significant money. I don’t have a problem with that, as it’s a luxury item. It’s like buying an iPod– no one HAS to have an iPod, but it’s a great thing to have. I am getting a great deal of enjoyment out of my Kindle, and don’t begrudge the price at all. I bought the standard leather cover, since I carry the Kindle with me in my purse, and I like the way it folds back out of the way when I read.

    The one thing I would like to see in the next generation of Kindle is a larger screen. If the designers could figure out a way to have the screen extend all the way down the front of the device, I think that would improve the reading experience just a bit. But that’s not a complaint, just a suggestion. Overall, I’m very pleased with my Kindle 2. In fact, after only a couple of weeks, I’m already addicted to it!

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