Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by hypewaders, Apr 26, 2012.
I wouldn't buy a tablet of any kind. If I want to read I'll do it on my laptop or home PC which is why I have them to begin with. I really do not need another gadget to have with me that only takes up more space and money to operate it. There are those however that don't have laptops and they would be the ones who will be getting these things I'd think.
I'm thinking of getting a kindle fire for this purpose, but zero for now.
I have several e-readers, a kindle fire, a laptop and a desktop that are all capable of reading e-books. (But i don't own an i-pad.)
I find myself mostly using an old kobo that I got for almost nothing at a Borders going-out-of-business sale. Not because it's the best e-reader in the group, but because it's rugged, light, reliable and it's a device that I'm not particularly worried about breaking. So I just toss it in my backpack and carry it most places I go. It's vastly more convenient than lugging a fragile laptop around, and the little black-and-white e-readers have much better battery life.
It's got maybe 600 books on it. The exact number changes day-to-day. I didn't pay for any of them, but they aren't pirated either.
They are mostly from the Internet Archive (archive.org). That site has literally millions of out-of-print titles from countless public and university libraries from all around the world. I've got a significant proportion of the late 19'th century academic literature on Eastern religion and philosophy on the thing. Yesterday I added most of H.P. Lovecraft's stories. Stuff like that.
I'm not sure how many books are on all of the devices, total. I keep most of my e-books on usb drives and have probably upwards of 3,000 right now. I add more all the time.
That's unique titles. There's a lot more books than that, since I have many titles in epub, kindle and pdf formats.
Epub is the most compact, a book typically taking up maybe 200-500 kb, so it's easiest on limited memory space. The kobo reads epub, but the kindles won't. And epub doesn't format very well, tables and charts don't always display right and pages often end up looking confusing with footnotes inserted anywhere in the text. Of course most of these are old books that were scanned into epub format. New books that originally come out in epub probably look great in epub.
Kindle (actually they are .mobi) work on kindle devices but not the kobo, the files are bigger than epub, but books scanned into .mobi seem to display a little better.
And the pdfs work on all of the devices, reproduce the original book's page layout most accurately and are best for tables, charts and photographs. Normally I like pdf books the best, but... Pdf files are bigger than .epub and .mobi files. Books that originally came out in pdf format diisplay great and are only about 1-4 megs. But many pdf books are brute-force scans of older titles and are maybe ten times that size, as many as 40 megabytes. A little e-reader will still read those giant files, but they reduce the machine's memory capacity significantly. And the scans often don't allow you to navigate within a book and sometimes they display tiny unreadable print that needs magnifying to read. And if you magnify the text, often times only part of a line displays. So while pdfs are often the best, they certainly aren't universally the best.
That's why I prefer to collect copies of some books in multiple formats.
I have about 5,000 on my main computer. I put 400-600 on my kindle at a time. Note, the Kindle Fire is pretty crappy for reading. Not because of the display, which is nice, but due to the weight.
I recently bought my first e-book reader - a Kobo Touch. I'm loving it. I don't have a lot of books on it at the moment, but enough to keep me busy for a while.
I have a Nook. It's my second (the first one broke twice), and the newest iteration of the base model, the Simple Touch, or something. After just a couple of months, the screen has a small spot on it where e-ink has gathered and will not disperse. Thank goodness the warranty was so inexpensive.
I have somewhere in the range of 20-30 books on there, and it's been wonderful when it works. The screen really is indistinguishable from real paper, and it's not backlit so there's really no strain on the eyes. I'll never stop buying physical books, but I think I'll save those purchases for special occasions and for books I've already read on the Nook and really loved.
I've had my Kindle for about four years and I only have about six books on it. I primarily use it for my daily newspaper and a couple of magazines.
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