I was reading Dear Author this morning and thinking over eInk and eBook Readers discussed in the article. To Buy or Not to Buy: The eReader Dilemma
It’s really not a dilemma to me so far. Think people. What are you really getting for your money? Be honest. Are you getting all this…
ASUS Eee PC 1008HA
10.1″ backlit LED 1024×600 color
160gb (1 SD Card Slot and 2 USB ports)
6 hour battery
DRM Supported: Everything except Kindle
Or are you accepting only this…
Amazon Kindle DX
9.7″ eInk 1200×824 16-level gray scale
4gb (1 USB port and NO SD card slot)
4 days battery life with wireless on
DRM Supported: Kindle azw & tpz and nothing else
Let’s compare? Are you sure? Do you really need me for this?
For that price and only 10 inches of screen let’s take eInk technology completely off the table. I am not impressed with 16 shades of gray. I work all day, almost everyday, on a 17″ laptop screen in little boxes very much smaller than the full screen size. So eye strain… sure but it’s not the end of the world. I still do “in theory” 8 hours *SNORT* of work and then some *yeah let’s see 12 hours last Friday carry the 10 last Monday* and then I blog and I email and all that personal stuff after those 8 hours *ROFLMAO*. I want color people. My eBook covers are in color and I want to see them. OK? So anything I look at for “MY” eBook Reader had better be color. Is the $489.00 Kindle DX in color? Is eInk in color?
Whispernet wi-fi vs built in standard wi-fi… Cell provider wi-fi is cool. But with the ASUS I can get a USB dongle for any cell carrier and have better and faster cellphone wi-fi service than the Kindle DX. What happens if I lose my Amazon account with the Kindle? Bye bye Whispernet hello USB to a computer. So much for a prudent hardware purchase there.
DRM? Yeah, let’s see, stuck with Kindle DRM forever more? Or any freaking DRM I am silly enough to buy!
I use PDF even the DRM form of PDF. Why? Because PDF was created to give you the exact experience of reading the book as the publisher meant it to be printed with like you know numbered pages of information. It’s an exact replica actually. Say you have a manual with images and text. You don’t want that shit flowed! You want to find the instructions and the corresponding images where the table of contents has them specified. Is this a new idea? Does anyone read Manga? Do you want that shit flowed? NO!
PDF was created for this reason. Adobe did the right thing here. Just because you are trying to read War And Peace on your iPhone on the bus to work does not mean PDFs are horrible. They were not created to flow! PDF was created for manuals and techy things and replicating exact printed layouts which should be viewed on a reasonably sized screen under reasonable conditions. Anyway this is why one of my most important tests is how well a eBook Reader shows a typical PDF especially if you are looking at textbooks or my work manuals or my UNIX references or my LINUX references or my IBM White Papers etc. Computers can zoom PDF to any size you want. Can your eBook Reader do that? Gee, one $411.00 Netbook can at least buy me that feature and I bet ASUS provided it free of charge.
Battery life? I have a car charger with USB connections and generally at home in bed I am plugged into a wall socket. That just leaves travel time really and frankly 6 hours with full operating system and all those options trumps 4 days of anything with all 16 colors of gray.
What I really think of all this…
I think single function eBook Readers will always be compared to computers based on functionality and with less functionality should come a lower price tag than the cheapest computer. Full stop, end of story, despite the slew of vague justifications I read all the time. You think that ASUS Netbook at $411.00 is the most powerful computer you can buy? Hell no, it’s priced relative to it’s power and purpose. Same should be true for eBook Readers and yet people actually buy the Kindle DX. It amazes me. I am just too practical to blow that type of money on a one note wonder that does not even play that one note very well and I got to pay the monthly mortgage in this economy and it sucks.
When the Apple Tablet shows up I will be comparing it the same way I am comparing the Kindle DX. Honestly, it has more of a chance at competing with the ASUS because of multifunction capabilities and styling and Apple loves crystal clear screens and Apple’s continued support of their older products is well known.
In my opinion buying a single function eInk eBook Reader is any “fly by night” company (and there are several jumping on this bandwagon) should be able to put it in your hands right this moment for somewhere in the $200.00 dollar range and it should at least provide basic support for DRM PDF/ePub or I can start walking you over to the Netbook table real fast. At this time Cool-er has my vote but I still think $250.00 is a bit too rich for my blood.
Just my real techy opinion on all this.