Amazon’s new Kindle is the first ebook reader that has a credible chance of cracking the mass market. Smaller, cheaper, faster and better connected than its predecessor, the new Kindle is to the old what the paperback is to the hardback, and on Friday it’s finally officially available in the UK. Prices start at an affordable £109.
It’s worth getting some criticisms of this excellent device out of the way first, however: the open ePub reading format is not supported, so you’re tied into the Amazon ecosystem (which is not too bad a place to be, by the way). The screen isn’t in colour, either, and design-wise this, like the iPad, is a device that needs a cover to protect it from the real world. Unfortunately that will set you back nearly £50 and effectively doubles the width of the device.
Amazon’s new Kindle is the first ebook reader that has a credible chance of cracking the mass market. Smaller, cheaper, faster and better connected than its predecessor, the new Kindle is to the old what the paperback is to the hardback, and on Friday it’s finally officially available in the UK. Prices start at an affordable £109.It’s worth getting some criticisms of this excellent device out of the way first, however: the open ePub reading format is not supported, so you’re tied into the Amazon ecosystem (which is not too bad a place to be, by the way). The screen isn’t in colour, either, and design-wise this, like the iPad, is a device that needs a cover to protect it from the real world. Unfortunately that will set you back nearly £50 and effectively doubles the width of the device.
More generally, however, the iPad is not a spectre that looms large when using the Kindle – the devices overlap in some respects, but the new Kindle is not a rival. At about 240g, the Kindle is more discrete and is easily held in one hand. Turning pages is faster than on the old version and the library is ever expanding. Its e-Ink technology makes extended reading easy – in short, it’s a relatively inexpensive device for reading books, rather than a kind of computer. Illustrations, too, render with remarkable detail now that contrast has been substantially improved, there’s room for 3,500 books and, on the £149 3G version, there’s free access to the Amazon Store wherever you are. That means a computer or even a wifi network is completely unnecessary. Bookmarks, users comments and social media enhance the reading experience, but fundamentally the Kindle tries not to get in the way too much. Key to that is the one-month battery life. The device’s cleverest touch is synchronising your place in a text across a range of devices, from phones to computers or other products.
In due course, there’ll obviously be some coalescence across this range of devices: Amazon admits it would like to do colour screens, for instance, but says the technology is not yet good enough. When it does then electronic textbooks, for instance, will be compelling for every school child and student. At that scale, too, the market might sort out the problems of pricing eBooks that exist at the moment.
For now, however, where the iPad has its place, so too does the Kindle. Speaking as a consumer, I’ll be buying a Kindle; but I’ll be waiting for tablet computers to evolve before I spend any money on them.via Telegraph.co.uk
Before e-readers came on the market only around four per cent of books were accessible to to the partially sighted - either in braille, large print or audio. According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) they have proved a godsend for people with failing eyesight:
"E-readers are fantastic. You can increase the text size, on some you can even change the background. Some even have the ability to turn text into voice.
"They could open up a whole new world of reading for blind and partially-sighted people. Increasing the print size is important, but also you need to be able to change the contrast and background colour.
"Some people can read better, for example with yellow text on a black background or white on a black screen.
"Most people find that their eyesight does get worse as they get older, even if it is just difficulty in reading."
At first using an e-reader is slightly disconcerting. Clutching a piece of metal does lack the tactile satisfaction offered by a dog-eared, coffee-stained paperback. But the advantages are overwhelming for those of us of a certain age and this seems to be born out by American research which shows that two-thirds of people investing in the technology are over 40.
Competition for the e-reader market is fierce. At the top end, there is the iPad from Apple. It does not fit in the pocket easily, but according to the RNIB does offer more features than its rivals.
Other major players include Sony. Having tried the Pocket Reader and the Touchscreen version, I would opt for the former.The resolution is clearer and the buttons a bit chunkier, which makes the device rather easier to use than the more expensive touchscreen version.
There were a few problems getting it to speak to my Mac, but once sorted the download process was pretty straightforward. It also fits into a suit pocket and is ideal for using on a tube journey.For the British user, there is the additional advantage that it is tied up with Waterstones, which means that most titles available on the high street can be put onto the reader itself.
The Kindle has one big advantage over the Sony reader, which is that it does not have to be tethered to a computer. Find a wi-fi hotspot and downloading a book is quick and simple. However the biggest snag is that it is tied to the American Amazon market, which means that a lot of books a British reader would like are not available.
Rather bigger than the Sony Pocket Reader, it feels less intuitive and having "next page" buttons on the left and right of the screen can be a bit confusing. But its other big selling point is the ability to search a book which, believe me, can be rather useful.
At the top end of the market is the iPad. It is of course rather more than just an eReader. There are some obvious disadvantages. It is bigger, heavier, does not fit into a pocket and is in reality a computer and carries a price to match and there is always the temptation to start surfing the net rather than reading. But the resolution is gorgeous, it also almost feels like a book, especially when it comes to turning a page.via Daily Telegraph
The eReader market is hot. Barely a day goes by without an announcement of a new device release or acquisition. It is no surprise that eReaders are becoming increasingly popular. After all, people always love the thrill of owning a new gadget. But is there more to this device? Would it appeal to the book readers as well as gadget lovers?
eReaders are light. Often weighing less than your regular paperback, an eReader will provide you hours of entertainment on a long trip. Keep in mind that an eReader would hold hundreds of books, so if you are used to taking 3-4 paperbacks on your long trips this is a wonderful solution for you. You will have great variety and a constant supply of reading material.
The eInk Technology. You have to see it to believe it. It looks just like real paper. Your eyes never get strained and the experience is as close to a normal book as possible. It is much different than reading from a laptop or a palmtop where the flicker and the back-light of the display will make you get tired after 30 minutes.
Variable font size. Leading models will offer you to adjust font size to suit your needs. This is definitely something you cannot do with a regular book, but a much needed feature for those of us who're approaching our better years.
Battery Life. The battery supply on these devices will last for two weeks, which is remarkable. This long battery life is thanks to the eInk technology. A display using eInk only draws current when a page is flipped. So, it doesn't matter how long you have it on, as long as you are on the same page no current is drawn from the battery. And when you do flip a page, it draws a small amount for less than a second.
Multiple formats. Multiple file formats are supported by the top eReaders, so you will never be left without enough books to read. Wherever you choose to acquire your ebooks, the leading eReader devices would probably support that format. PDF files are supported on some, which is great if you are a student or a business professional.