Friday, February 20, 2009

My kingdom for an ebook gizmo

The most fabulously interesting thing that comes out of today is that Chapter Eight is up at Legends ... which shows you what a flat, impossible calm the day is! I wish I could give you a link to my recent posts at Digital Kosmos, but work has me nailed down ... haven't been able to post there in a couple of days. When I finally get the chance, I'll probably do several at once -- it could be the weekend before I get to it.

Right now, I'm looking at ebook readers, and the ebooks themselves. I'm actually wondering if I ought to get a mate in the US to get me a Kindle, even though the wireless subsciption service isn't available in Aus. The Kindle takes SDs cards, you see ... and it reads most ebooks, though they're still working on its ability to read PDFs. Rats. It's the Kindle's inability to read PDFs that stops me asking family in the States to just get one for me and mail it, because PDFs have the functionality I want in en ebook. TXT, RFT and DOC files just don't.

I spent a considerable time looking at the iLiad, though it's an enormous price -- over a thousand dollars, when mail ordered into this country, complete with the exchange rate, shipping and insurance. I was, and am, extremely tempted. Here, I'm going to defer to an expert and iLiad enthusiast with whom I've been corresponding, and who gave me the full report, plus permission to share it here.

I'm going to hand over to Val right here:

The ebook reader was a long/hard decision making for me - and generally I make those decisions quickly. I 'looked' (internet) for over a year and flip-flopped between the Iliad, Booken Cybook, Sony, a tablet notebook, and something else. Here are some of the things that I thought were important before I bought and what I think now:

  • screen size - I thought bigger was better and spend a lot of time comparing size x to y and trying to draw comparisons with physical books. What I found in reality was that the difference in screen size between the Iliad and the others probably was not as important as I thought it would be - but I have to be careful in saying that because the way that the reader zooms is really important. With pdfs on the iliad you can use the stylus to window a zoom level so you can get rid of all the margins. You can also put the pages on continuous flow (no annoying part pages but you do get the top/bottom margin) and rotate.

    screen quality/resolution - thought it was really important and still do! The Iliad screen is easier to read than many physical books. Really nice! One review (at RegHardware) suggested that the iLiad had a better screen resolution that some other devices.

    page turn speed - thought it was important and still do - the iliad is reasonable on this and some review I read before buying suggested that the IlIad was good on this point. A page of pdf text pages faster than a page of Mobipocket text. When reading with Mobipocket I kinda get used to requesting the next page a few seconds before I want it. If it took too long I'd get irritated fast.

    WiFi etc - thought it might be useful but have never used it and probably never will. I'll also probably never use it as an mp3 player.

    formats - I thought that PDF and Mobipocket would be enough but there are some books only available in other formats that I would have liked to have.

    Things I'd like to be different/am surprised by:

    there are too many buttons that can accidentally get pushed by a restless thumb etc - bloody annoying - why are they there - the stylus is perfectly fine for doing everything expect paging!

    the battery life is as promised by the manufacturer but I am still amazed by how short it is.

    DRM - I HATE DRM! I don't share files, music or books, if they are good enough to take up space on my hard drive then the musician/author deserves my support so they can make more of the stuff I want to read/listen to. Protected pdf (Digital Editions) does not work on the Iliad. Mobipocket is OK too (but watch out for how the retailer manages passwords etc and don't forget who you bought them from and don't change your email address - I have a couple of books that I cannot read although I have paid for them).

    I do worry about how robust it is and dropping it etc.

    In summary - I now prefer to read stuff on the Iliad than on physical book unless it is a very high quality physical book (and not too heavy either).

There you have it: the iLiad review you've been hunting all over the Internet for -- or, at least I was, being on the prowl, looking for the best gizmo for the best price. Thanks, Val! I appreciate the input, and I'll tell you -- if I had the grand going spare, I'd be mailordering the iLiad right now!

The Kindle is about half the price, as it would arrive in my hands from a mate in the States, but since the wireless network doesn't work here, and it doesn't read PDFs or Mobipocket, or LIT ... welllll, I'm still thinking about it. Thinking seriously -- thinking a lot! -- but still thinking.

There, I must stop and get some last-minute work done before knocking-off time.


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