UPDATE: I bought a Sony Touch, read my thoughts after six months.
An ebook reader is the latest gadget I want and I’ve been offered one for my upcoming birthday; I had the same offer last year and turned it down, as I didn’t think it was worth purchasing any of the available models, but I’m hoping it is different this year.Part of me wonders if I’m just after a new toy, however as I’ve read ebooks on my Palm Tungsten E and my HTC Desire I think it is a device I would certainly use, I’m just finding it difficult to select a model.
I’ve been here before when I bought a new mp3 player last year. I had been happy with my Creative Zen Micro until the battery connections started failing; I didn’t want to just buy the upgraded model, but wanted to see what had changed in the market since I’d bought my first player so started my research. I had assumed I would be spoilt for choice, but I obviously have unusual requirements and in the end only found one player, the upgrade to my old player that satisfied them all.
I think the ebook reader is the same situation. There is a model out there for me, among the many available, I just need to find it.
I don’t think my requirements are very difficult, but I guess the market for ebook readers is still new and the sellers are still working out what they can get away with, plus I think my options are restricted because I live in the UK. My requirements are:
- available in the UK
- fit in my handbag
- have note taking functionality
- have wifi functionality
- be able to borrow ebooks from the library
- be able to share ebooks with my husband (if he gets a device in the future)
- to be able to purchase ebooks at a reasonable price
Note taking and wifi seem to be present on most models I’ve looked at so they are not decision factors. The biggy is the file format and particularly the Digital Rights Management used. The impression I’ve got is that Amazon have personalised their file format so much the Kindle is not compatible with borrowing ebooks from the library.
The DRM format that seems to meet my requirements is Adobe Digital Editions as this is used by libraries and I can register my account on up to six computers and six devices. Helpfully Adobe provide a list of supported devices but I’m not sure that this is up to date as there are some devices missing that say they are compatible e.g. iRiver Cover Story or Sony Touch.
I’ve found a few lists that compare ebook readers, but none of them are up to date, so although they are useful they do not provide definitive information.
The other part of the decision is knowing where I can buy ebooks from. There seems to be a large variation in price and I don’t want to buy a reader that means I can only buy ebook from a site that is more expensive than paperbacks. From the quick look I’ve had, the prices seem to be lower on sites tied to specific devices e.g. Amazon Kindle books. Although I know there are plenty of free ebooks available from places like Project Gutenberg, I still want the option to buy newer books at a reasonable price.
As you can see I’m a little confused about my options and would appreciate any advice you have. Do you have an ebook reader? How do you use it? Have you found the file formats limiting? Where do you buy your books?