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Share Your Thoughts on Electronic ReadersCan anyone suggest an unbiased website that...

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:26 AM via web

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Share Your Thoughts on Electronic Readers

Can anyone suggest an unbiased website that compares the various electronic readers available? Would anyone like to attempt a comparison of his/her own?  Please discuss the electronic reader that you use, ... and why you like it.  Any ideas about a particular reader that will become "standard"? Do you think separate page numbers for differing editions will become a thing of the past for students who use these electronic readers?  Electronic reader questions, ... I've got a million of 'em!

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:38 AM (Answer #2)

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I think that cnet.com is a pretty good place to go for reviews.  As far as I know, they don't have a stake in this particular battle.  Their reviews have seemed solid (and comprehensive) to me on other devices.  I've checked and they do have reviews of electronic readers.  Here's a link:

 

http://reviews.cnet.com/ebook-readers/?tag=revCatWrap

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Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 3, 2011 at 10:59 AM (Answer #3)

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Share Your Thoughts on Electronic Readers

Can anyone suggest an unbiased website that compares the various electronic readers available? Would anyone like to attempt a comparison of his/her own?  Please discuss the electronic reader that you use, ... and why you like it.  Any ideas about a particular reader that will become "standard"? Do you think separate page numbers for differing editions will become a thing of the past for students who use these electronic readers?  Electronic reader questions, ... I've got a million of 'em!

And another from CNET:

http://news.cnet.com/kindle-vs-nook-vs-ipad-which-e-book-reader-should-you-buy

I have a Kindle and an iPad, and I use them pretty extensively. If you are interested primarily in just reading text, then the Kindle is definitely the way to go between those two. If you are looking for a more complete computing experience (mobile games, Web browsing, etc.), then jump all over the iPad, though it is much more expensive.

Scott Locklear

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 3, 2011 at 12:59 PM (Answer #4)

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Share Your Thoughts on Electronic Readers

Can anyone suggest an unbiased website that compares the various electronic readers available? Would anyone like to attempt a comparison of his/her own?  Please discuss the electronic reader that you use, ... and why you like it.  Any ideas about a particular reader that will become "standard"? Do you think separate page numbers for differing editions will become a thing of the past for students who use these electronic readers?  Electronic reader questions, ... I've got a million of 'em!

I have a Kindle, and as handy as it is depending on the e-books you buy the flicking between different pages is very cumbersome and takes lots of time. Not the same as a normal old-fashioned book, I am afraid! However, having said this, if you are travelling or want to take lots of books on holiday, this is definitely the answer. Just make sure you don't get repetitive strain injury from pressing the "advance page" button too many times! Also, the battery lasts for ages!

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:11 PM (Answer #5)

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I have a Sony e-reader which I use for holiday reading to save precious case space. It is certainly easy to use - I haven't explored the audiobook facility as I tend to use my i-pod for that. What I have found is that enlarging the font size is helpful when reading in poor light, but I would prefer a scrolling screen to keep pace with my reading rather than the repetitive button pressing.

My husband has a Kobo which is much cheaper. It is less solid, but much lighter and I think more comfortable to hold. I would love an i-pad because of its flexibility of function, but Santa's budget didn't stretch that far this year!

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 3, 2011 at 1:50 PM (Answer #6)

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I got an iPad for Christmas, and I am already using it for a number of things, but I downloaded the Kindle Application for it along with some free books and just started getting into my first novel.  I still like the feel of an actual book in my hands, but being able to use white print on black background is very user friendly for reading in bed or on a plane.  The screen visibility is excellent, with little glare.  My parents have a Kindle, and the only criticism I have is that it is a little more cumbersome to load books to it.

Another thing I like about the iPad is that it is so multifunctional, whereas the eReaders are still expensive, but pretty one dimensional.

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted January 3, 2011 at 6:19 PM (Answer #7)

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I just received a Kindle for Christmas.  I don't have another e-reader to compare it to, but I do like it.  It took awhile for me to adjust to hitting the button instead of flipping pages, but after I learned how to navigate a bit better, I found I really like it.  At first I kept hitting the buttons on the side accidentally flipping through the text.  I had a difficult time finding my way back to my place.  If it had been a book, I would have had an easier time.  Now I'm more adept.  I looked up several reviews online before I decided on the Kindle, as opposed to other e-readers.  I don't know the specific websites, but battery life was a key benefit of the Kindle.

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kristenfusaro | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted January 3, 2011 at 6:39 PM (Answer #8)

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I have the Nook and the iPad.

I find the iPad to be an expensive toy, and way too cumbersome for reading. While the color and pixels on the display are impeccable, is it a bit heavy to hold relative to a book (unless you're comparing it to a textbook). It is much easier to jot notes and highlight, as you only simple need to swipe of your finger. Also great if you're in a dark area, as the display is bright and lively. Downside is if you only get Wifi (pay for 3G), you are limited to internet use, and it is extremely expensive ($550 and up).

I have been using the Nook for reading novels, and what I do love about it is how lightweight it is and the paper-like display. It looks like true pages, and you can up the size of the font with no problem. The 3G is free and fast -- you can seriously download books in seconds -- plus, if you're actually sitting in a Barnes & Noble, you can read for free. It also has a "Lend" capability that allows you to lend and borrow books for free (for a limited time). The downsides are being unable to read in lowlight, as the display is similar to a novel, the internet is fast, but difficult to navigate because the major screen is not touch -- you have to follow the small touch screen on the big view screen -- over-complicates things.

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted January 3, 2011 at 8:40 PM (Answer #9)

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I have a NOOK.  I thought I'd hate it (bought it because I had received a number of gift certificates that I "had" to use before I lost them).  I have spent many years "turning pages" and "feeling" the book as I read it, and thought that was an essential part of reading.  Turns out that I still like it, but I've found something in the NOOK I might like even better ... I have control over the size of the print.  As I get older, this becomes an a more and more important consider.  For example, I just re-read "Pillars of the Earth" --- it's a very long book that I had read about 10 years ago, and I wanted to read it while I watched the televised version.  I bought the book, but was intimidated by the small print (could it have been that small years ago ? :))  Each "page" on the NOOK was about 1/3 of a "physical" page, but they were easy to scan (fewer words/line seems to make reading easier) and clicing on the button brought the next page up, ready for me to read.

I don't know if these are the devices of the future, but I know there's one in my future.

There's also a nice app for Android (and probably IPhones) that allows you to read your ebooks on your phone ... so you're never stuck in the Doctor's office forever with nothing to do ... your whole elibrary is with you on your phone!

 

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 3, 2011 at 9:42 PM (Answer #10)

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I have a Sony Reader, and while I still prefer an old fashioned page to turn, I do like the ease of taking several books at the same time.  My Reader has touch screen capability, so I just swipe my finger along the bottom of the screen to "turn" a page -- no buttons to push unless I want to use that feature.  My biggest complaint is reading in poor light.  While the screen is very low glare in regular light, my night-light reading light clipped to the Reader can be a bit annoying.

What I like best about the Sony Reader is that I can check out epub books from the Media Mall of my local library and they are FREE!  This 'library' doesn't have everything I might want to read, but I can certainly find lots of great titles and can supplement my actual purchases with other books.  There is a three week check out limit and after that, it disappears off my reader -- it must be magic -- I don't know how it disappears once I have downloaded it off my computer, but is does.  The Media Mall has books for all ages, so my son can read a Magic Tree House mystery, and I was able to read all of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo books.

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rskardal | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted January 4, 2011 at 9:58 AM (Answer #11)

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My wonderful wife generously gave me a Kindle for Christmas. Before that, I used an iPhone app called "Stanza." Of the two, I much prefer the Kindle for its ease of making purchases, the size of the screen, and the unelectronic background is much easier on my eyes. How does the Kindle compare with the printed book? Well, the stories cost less and they take up less space in my house, and the Kindle is much better for commuting. In terms of use, I find the annotation is still sub-standard. My subject is English, and I would prefer to stick with printed books when analyzing a novel. It's very irritating trying to find a specific passage in the Kindle, though I admit that I'm still a novice. Ultimately, I'll continue to use the public library, but I'm happy to have an electronic option.

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goreadabook | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted January 4, 2011 at 4:52 PM (Answer #12)

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I own an Amazon Kindle, and while I can appreciate the convenience of having thousands of books and other documents available at your fingertips, I am not entire sold on this device being a replacement for actual books.  For one, reading is a far less personal experience.  It is difficult to engage with the book and annotate on an e-reader, whereas you can easily highlight and write in the margins in an actual book.  As a teacher, I find that students comprehend the material much more effectively and gain a deeper appreciation for the literature when they have a physical book to interact with.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 5, 2011 at 6:17 PM (Answer #13)

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One thing no one has mentioned so far is the WEIGHT of any of these.  If I were you, I'd seek friends who have various versions of these ereaders and see how long you can hold one before it gets uncomfortable.

The iPad is HEAVY and not especially comfortable for reading at long stretches (though, my husband uses his all day for work and doesn't complain much).  I also think the Nook is a bit big and awkward.  Found my hands getting sweatty and not knowing how to adjust positions well.  I'm not sure which one is small enough to fit in your back pocket, but I've seen them and like them.  If you can get past the constant "clicking" to turn pages, they seem the most comfortable to hold for long periods.

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amymc | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted January 10, 2011 at 10:24 AM (Answer #14)

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I would love it if someone could convince me that the ereaders are better than a good, old-fashioned book.  They are about the same size; books don't break or need to be recharged.  I don't know.  My boyfriend wanted to get me a Kindle for Christmas, but I vehemently refused.  Am I wrong?

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted January 28, 2011 at 6:10 AM (Answer #15)

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Poster 14, I use my Kindle a lot and still read paper books as well. I think the two are for different kinds of reading. I certainly wouldn't refuse an e-reader, but rather, just not commit to reading exclusively on it.  A book that I'm reading for enjoyment, one that I probably won't need to have in the future, such as Franzen's Freedom which in hardcover would be 27.00 new, I buy on the Kindle for the convenience of being able to carry it with me at all times and hold it on the metro or in the waiting room at the hair salon. Books that I find used, though, I love to buy and read in paper format. For me, it's an issue of finances and convenience. I'm an English teacher too, so any book I feel I might want to loan to a student later I try to buy in paper form.

Sometimes I can't help myself though, I find that I really enjoy reading on the Kindle, that it's more comfortable than reading a book, easier on my eyes, and buying a book on it is so convenient... immediate delivery to my hand! Love it!

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted January 28, 2011 at 6:12 AM (Answer #16)

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Also, to address the weight issue, the Kindle is extremely light and fits in a small purse. It is lighter and less cumbersome than even the lightest paperback. I love that you can hold it and turn the page with only one hand.

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diane89 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 30, 2011 at 4:14 PM (Answer #17)

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Electronic readers have become highly relevant and useful. Many of the e-books are cheaper in cost than actual books. As well e-book's such as the Kindle offers services such as adding notes, highlighting and more. I think they will become an even bigger trend.

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sleistman | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 13, 2011 at 8:33 PM (Answer #18)

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I agree with many of the previous posts that CNet is a helpful site to compare different e-readers. As for myself, I have both the Kindle and the Pandigital Novel (PDN). Both e-readers are absolutely amazing, but for very different reasons.

The Kindle is a great no-frills e-reader. You can read easily in any lighting conditions, which is almost impossible on all other devices. The buttons are positioned perfectly so that you can turn pages with a click of the thumb. The downside for me, however, is that the Kindle works best with .mobi files; .pdf's tend to open all wonky because of formatting issues. Also, the Kindle content cannot be in color, which is a bummer if you want to read magazines or picture books.

The PDN is, to me, the best e-reader out there (which is sad because not many people know about it). The PDN runs on an Android platform and comes with the Barnes and Noble application pre-installed so you can purchase books with one tap of a finger (it has touch screen controls). It is full-color so anything you read will be super bright! Unlinke the Kindle, however, there can be a glare when reading in certain lighting conditions. The best part of the PDN, though, is the ability to hack it and turn it into both an e-reader and Android tablet. It sells for under (!) $200, so you are getting two devices for the price of one cheap one. Also, because of its ability to download Android applications, the PDN can open any type of e-book format, including .pdf, .mobi, .epub.

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James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted January 25, 2012 at 12:11 AM (Answer #19)

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Like many, many others, I got a Kindle Fire for Christmas and really enjoy it. I'm much more adept at using it now and find, for example, that annotating the electronic text is almost as quick and easy as writing in a physical book. Some advantages, of course, are that the annotations can be easily modified and are automatically indexed. With a touch, you can jump from your annotation (among the list of annotations shown in "My Notes and Marks") to that section of the book, for example.

The questions and comments in this thread really got me thinking about two points:

1. What will citations look like in the future? Will page numbers no longer be required?

I have seen section and paragraph numbers used in some influential electronic journals and can imagine that a similar system might eventually be adopted for e-books. The resulting citations might even come to look something like those for a specific passage in plays (those citations give acts, scenes, and line numbers but not page numbers).

2. Are ebooks any cheaper than analog books?

Ebooks are often not much cheaper than physical books, unfortunately. See, for example, the Chronicle of Higher Education blog on the results of a study that concluded that e-books "saved many students only $1": http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/new-study-shows-e-textbooks-saved-many-students-only-1/34793

Great topic! Thanks for all the discussion!

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