They are pretty amazing. The screens don't work the way cell phones and computers do. The "ink" is magnetic so you don't have any issues with glare or eye strain. It actually looks like you're reading a newspaper or something. The Sony Reader is a touch screen but the Kindle has a miniature key pad. In both readers you can take notes right into the text. With the Sony Reader, I'm pretty sure you have to be connected to the internet, but with the Kindle you have a built in network that you don't have to pay to access. So you can download books anywhere.
I am not mentioning the iPad (I said iTouch at first, sorry!) because that one is too expensive for me to even dream about. I do know it has downloadable book content but from what I can tell, it's just a big iPhone. Minus the phone.
If you are trying to decide if these are the "wave of the future" and you're considering selling an MS's first publication to a digital reader publisher, I'd be careful. I think right now, printed books are still the way to go. There are a lot of people out there trying to take advantage of new writers and anytime you come across a new technology like digital readers, there is an even higher chance of getting screwed.
But if you're looking into them because you're considering buying one, I think they're awesome. (I prefer the Kindle, myself, but the Sony Reader is a little more affordable.) You can't get every book in digital format, but if you throw it into your bag and get stuck at the airport or something, it's nice to know you can read almost anything you want.
[This message has been edited by TrishaH24 (edited May 16, 2010).]
If you go by a major bookstore like Barnes & Noble or Borders, they have examples out on display for you.
Also, the iPad has a reader feature, and you can see one of those at an Apple store...
I for one think the whole debate is silly. I doubt e-readers will replace books, because anyone who doesn't have one will still want to read. But I do think that they will expand book readers, and impulse buyers, into becoming more frequent readers. I think it will obey the law of supply and demand - the supply of books won't really increase (format of books is not the same as NEW or different books...) but the demand will increase as reading becomes more convenient. It will be a benefit for authors.
The problem I see with the way these things are going is that Kindle will have some books and Sony Reader will have others and you'll be limited by which brand of reader you buy.
If they really wanted it to take off they'd drop the proprietary angle and use a standard format. Then let people choose based on the quality of the reader. It would make me more likely to buy one.
And with an eye to travel, it would be really nice if they had a simple word processor so you could keep a journal. Right now, I can accomplish as much reading as needed with audiobooks and a tiny MP3 player. They need to offer something more if I'm going to carry around something that big.
The iPad has a word type application, but I'm not spending seven hundred bucks on a digital journal when I can use my iPhone for that. Or better yet, I can carry a Steno notepad and a pen.
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The iPad doesn't have the soft finish that makes it look like a book page, does it? I would think the glare would get tiresome on the eyes. Correct me if I'm wrong though.
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No I'm pretty sure you're right. It doesn't use the magnetic technology to make it look like paper. And yes, I'll bet it would really hurt your eyes after a while.
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If I was in a position to buy one of those I think it would be one of the E-ink ones, no glare in the sun. (I've been excited about E-ink since it first started appearing at shows and stuff, more than ten years ago I think.)
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I didn't realize that about the Nook, Jamie. Interesting. I don't recall having to enter anything AT&T-wise, but I have an iPhone and probably didn't notice it.
I have a Nook and I love it. It's fantastic.
I desperately want an iPad, not for its e-reader capabilities (though that's one of the ways I would want to use it) but because it's such a fantastically interesting non-computer computer. As the ads say "you already know how to use this." - which is totally different than most computers for some populations (e.g., our parents and those who are on the digital perimeter.)
Wave of the future? Sure, in a way. Replacing books? No, not at all. Augmenting book sales is more like it. I'm buying waaaaay more books now because I have a nifty device to read them on. Used to be a library-only person (and am waiting for some type of netflix-like subscription service to let me borrow an ebook - one title at a time for one price, two titles at a time for another price - and read it, returning it when I'm finished and checking out the next title. I'd pay a monthly fee for the convenience of being able to read more books than I can realistically afford.)
The standardizing of formats is just one of those technology things that will sort itself out in the near future. We early adopters accept that as a risk when we get the latest whiz-bang tech device (thankfully we early adopters are sometimes right about the wave of the future of tech, as aforementioned iPhone is great evidence of. Still no realistic competitor on the market, though droid/google and windows mobile are making a go of it.)
But the concept of these specialized devices that use e-ink is a great one. The portability, the ability to download books when you want (a feature of both the Kindle and the Nook, but not of the Sony eReader.) The ability to read in all light conditions including direct sunlight (though they are not self-illuminating and thus require a light in the dark.)
This is changing things for readers, and what I see is that it's giving more people the opportunity to read more. I used to see hardly anyone reading, but now I see loads of Nooks and Kindles in use - I think their small size is tremendously appealing, particularly to commuters and the people I see at the gym (my personal favorite use case - I can prop my Nook on all manner of gym equipment, thereby distracting me from the drudgery that is a workout.)
Dave Farland's Daily Kick today had this interesting tidbit: "News for the Day: A Boston Consulting Group conducted an extensive online survey of 13,000 people in 14 countries to understand their e-reading desires and found that an impressive 28 percent of respondents expect to buy an ereader or tablet in the next year. Slightly fewer than 50 percent expect to buy one in the next two years. The ideal price for books, they said, ran between $5 and $10."
My daughter is in the Air Force for the next 6 years. She can't carry a load of books from assignment to assignment. I thought some sort of e-reader would make a nifty birthday present for her. She's a techie. Give her the reader and a few e-books for her birthday. But which reader? My first thought was the one from Amazon but her older sister said that one was on the way out. She suggested (rather forcefully) either a Nook or the one from Apple.
I like the Apple one in the large format but the $499 price tag is a bit daunting especially when the market for e-formats is still in upheaval. This leaves the Nook -- but Borders is bringing out something "new" in June. It's so hard to decide. The Nook does have a large library already...but...?
quote:I have a Nook and I love it. It's fantastic.
Still love it. It's been out for 6+ months and they've released two major software updates, both of which have dramatically improved the reading experience.
Of course as a geek I'm totally jonesing for an ipad, but the ipad is way more than an ebook reader. If you want to get her sort of a mini-computer and portable entertainment device (playing movies, ebooks, and games) - then go for the ipad. It is very very cool.
If you just want to get her a reader, I have been very satisfied with the Nook, but my Kindle friends have also been very satisfied with their Kindles.
I don't own an iPad, but I've played with one quite a few times in various apple stores. The eReader is actually remarkably easy to use and see on - the downside is that it does have outdoor glare and will tire your eyes. On the plus side, increasing/decreasing the font size with a tap, increasing/decreasing illumination, etc, is pretty nice. I believe that Apple uses the same non-proprietary formate (ePub) as Nook; only Kindle is on the proprietary-only book bandwagon.
I'm inclined to eventually get an ereader b/c it's simply nicer to have a searchable book and a searchable library that I can carry wherever I want to go, but I don't think I'll be getting one for a year or two b/c I want the tech to grow up.
Beware if you go play with an iPad; they're addictive.