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Canadian eReader - Page 71 of 74 - E-reader and book reviews

Kindle vs Kobo

As those of you who follow my blog will know, I am a strong advocate of e-reading and in particular, Amazon's Kindle.

I have had a Kindle now since January 2010, and have built up a significant library of ebooks.  However, I've recently become very frustrated with Amazon's US-centric focus and am beginning to wonder if the Canadian Kobo might be a better way to go.  With this in mind, today I purchased a Kobo Touch e-reader and plan to take advantage of Chapters' two week return policy to review it and decide whether that is the way to go.

I believe both of them are good, reliable e-readers and I don't think a purchaser would be disappointed in either.  Both have the eInk display which is easiest on the eyes.  

At the point where I was considering going into ereading, before I bought my Kindle, I did experiment with both Kobo and Amazon stores and customer service and was equally happy with both.  At that point the Kobo ereader was not yet on the market.  As of yet, I have not unboxed it, but from what I understand, the following are the relative merits of Kindle and Kobo.  

Kindle pros:

Whispersync: this is the functionality in the Kindle which allows you to start reading on your iMac over breakfast, pick up the book on your iPhone while commuting, and read on your Kindle at lunchtime all without losing your place.  Amazon tracks that for you automatically and syncs the book.  If I switch to Kobo I think this is one thing I will really miss.

3G Connectivity:  most models of Kindle come in two flavours; Wifi and 3G.  With WiFi you need to find a WiFi hotspot to download books, with 3G you're always connected.  Again, I believe this is something I believe I will really miss if I switch to Kobo.  You can also use this on the current model to have free, if basic, internet access via the Kindle.  Interestingly, Amazon has reportedly turned off 3G web access on the new Kindle Touch 3G.  

Ease of purchase: one-click purchasing.  This works like an absolute dream.  Click "purchase" on the Amazon website or your Kindle and 60 seconds later the book is there for you to read, exactly as the ad promises.  No messing around with USB cables.  

Collections: Kindle provides the functionality to sort your library into Collections to make it easier to navigate.  This is a godsend if you have a library as large as mine. 

Kindle Cons:

No ePub support.  ePub is one of the major ebook formats supported by most other ebook publishers.  This means that it is very tricky to read books by any other supplier on your Kindle.  It also means that, outside the US at least, you cannot read borrowed library books on your Kindle.  

US-centric focus: Amazon has a strong tendency to ignore its customer base outside the US.  Many of the new functionalities available to the Kindle are US only; these include lending of Kindle books and borrowing from local libraries.  All purchases are done through the US Amazon.com site, so prices are in US dollars.  When a new model is released, Amazon refuses to sell it to its international base until US orders have died down.  On a more petty level, when signing into your Amazon account with a non US address many of the "recommended for you" Kindle ebook offers are " not available in your country."  

Kobo Pros:

Canadian company: Naturally, any new products or services are available to Canadian customers immediately.

Touch screen navigation: of course, the Kindle Touch is not yet available to Canadians.

ePub support: hence support of library books and also books bought from Archambault.  This significantly increases the amount of French books available.   

Reading Life: this is a mini app built into the Kobo reader and apps which I believe tracks your reading habits and provides statistics and awards.  That looks pretty fun, actually.

Kobo cons:

No 3G:  it will be interesting to see how I find the lack of 3G, to see if I find it limiting.  If I decide to return my Kobo to replace it with a Kindle Touch when available, it will help me to decide whether 3G is worth an extra $50.

 No Whispersync.  I'm really going to miss this sucker.  I understand you can manage it the same way with bookmarks, but it's easier to have the ereader do all that for you.  

As I say, this is all from research and from what I've seen.d I will be keeping you up to speed with my Kobo experience over the next few weeks, so please stay tuned!

Kindle vs Kobo

As those of you who follow my blog will know, I am a strong advocate of e-reading and in particular, Amazon’s Kindle.

I have had a Kindle now since January 2010, and have built up a significant library of ebooks.  However, I’ve recently become very frustrated with Amazon’s US-centric focus and am beginning to wonder if the Canadian Kobo might be a better way to go.  With this in mind, today I purchased a Kobo Touch e-reader and plan to take advantage of Chapters’ two week return policy to review it and decide whether that is the way to go.

I believe both of them are good, reliable e-readers and I don’t think a purchaser would be disappointed in either.  Both have the eInk display which is easiest on the eyes.

At the point where I was considering going into ereading, before I bought my Kindle, I did experiment with both Kobo and Amazon stores and customer service and was equally happy with both.  At that point the Kobo ereader was not yet on the market.  As of yet, I have not unboxed it, but from what I understand, the following are the relative merits of Kindle and Kobo.

Kindle pros:

Whispersync: this is the functionality in the Kindle which allows you to start reading on your iMac over breakfast, pick up the book on your iPhone while commuting, and read on your Kindle at lunchtime all without losing your place.  Amazon tracks that for you automatically and syncs the book.  If I switch to Kobo I think this is one thing I will really miss.

3G Connectivity:  most models of Kindle come in two flavours; Wifi and 3G.  With WiFi you need to find a WiFi hotspot to download books, with 3G you’re always connected.  Again, I believe this is something I believe I will really miss if I switch to Kobo.  You can also use this on the current model to have free, if basic, internet access via the Kindle.  Interestingly, Amazon has reportedly turned off 3G web access on the new Kindle Touch 3G.

Ease of purchase: one-click purchasing.  This works like an absolute dream.  Click “purchase” on the Amazon website or your Kindle and 60 seconds later the book is there for you to read, exactly as the ad promises.  No messing around with USB cables.

Collections: Kindle provides the functionality to sort your library into Collections to make it easier to navigate.  This is a godsend if you have a library as large as mine.

Kindle Cons:

No ePub support.  ePub is one of the major ebook formats supported by most other ebook publishers.  This means that it is very tricky to read books by any other supplier on your Kindle.  It also means that, outside the US at least, you cannot read borrowed library books on your Kindle.

US-centric focus: Amazon has a strong tendency to ignore its customer base outside the US.  Many of the new functionalities available to the Kindle are US only; these include lending of Kindle books and borrowing from local libraries.  All purchases are done through the US Amazon.com site, so prices are in US dollars.  When a new model is released, Amazon refuses to sell it to its international base until US orders have died down.  On a more petty level, when signing into your Amazon account with a non US address many of the “recommended for you” Kindle ebook offers are ” not available in your country.”

Kobo Pros:

Canadian company: Naturally, any new products or services are available to Canadian customers immediately.

Touch screen navigation: of course, the Kindle Touch is not yet available to Canadians.

ePub support: hence support of library books and also books bought from Archambault.  This significantly increases the amount of French books available.

Reading Life: this is a mini app built into the Kobo reader and apps which I believe tracks your reading habits and provides statistics and awards.  That looks pretty fun, actually.

Kobo cons:

No 3G:  it will be interesting to see how I find the lack of 3G, to see if I find it limiting.  If I decide to return my Kobo to replace it with a Kindle Touch when available, it will help me to decide whether 3G is worth an extra $50.

No Whispersync.  I’m really going to miss this sucker.  I understand you can manage it the same way with bookmarks, but it’s easier to have the ereader do all that for you.

As I say, this is all from research and from what I’ve seen.d I will be keeping you up to speed with my Kobo experience over the next few weeks, so please stay tuned!

Odds and Ends

I thought I would write a short entry today about a few thoughts that have occurred to me.

First, Pottermore announced yesterday on its blog that it is extending the beta process for another month, new registrants will have to wait weeks or even months for their welcome emails granting them access to the site, and that the Pottermore store selling Harry Potter ebooks and audiobooks will not open until mid 2012.  None of this comes as a surprise to those of us in the beta program, who have borne witness to the numerous downtimes and the notorious Purple Screen of Death.  Indeed, it's probably the sensible – if only – decision the Pottermore site managers could make.  It is very disappointing though.  The site itself is fun and interesting when you actually get on, and of course, I was anxious to be able to add the Harry Potter ebooks to my collection.  

Speaking of ebooks, I realised over the last couple of days just how much more enjoyable I find long form reading on my Kindle rather than my iPad, my iPhone or my iMac.  In all fairness, I should add that reading magazines is a delight on the iPad. The books I borrowed from the local library were not compatible with my Kindle, so I had to read on my iPad.  In the end I struggled with it too much and returned the book.  I am now back to reading on my Kindle and loving it.  In terms of weight, the Kindle is much more comfortable to hold for long periods than the iPad. The Kindle (now called Kindle Keyboard) weighs in at 8.7 ounces plus 1.8 ounces for the cover.  The iPad (I have the original one) is 1.6 pounds plus a cover.  I have two kitties who like to be petted while I read and it's very uncomfortable to hold the iPad one-handed for a long while.  As I have mentioned before, eInk is much more comfortable on the eyes.   Over at Bit101.com there is an interesting macro photo comparison of the screens:

Kindle

iPad

iPad

My next reading challenge is some fantasy not written in English.  As I am in Quebec, I have been looking to find Anne Robillard's Les Chevaliers d'Emeraude in ebook format.  I was finally able to find book one on Archambault's website.  It will be interesting to see if I find reading fantasy as enjoyable and understandable when it's not written in my native language.  I have read French translations of American/British fantasy works before, and do prefer them in their original English.  

Odds and Ends

I thought I would write a short entry today about a few thoughts that have occurred to me.

First, Pottermore announced yesterday on its blog that it is extending the beta process for another month, new registrants will have to wait weeks or even months for their welcome emails granting them access to the site, and that the Pottermore store selling Harry Potter ebooks and audiobooks will not open until mid 2012.  None of this comes as a surprise to those of us in the beta program, who have borne witness to the numerous downtimes and the notorious Purple Screen of Death.  Indeed, it's probably the sensible – if only – decision the Pottermore site managers could make.  It is very disappointing though.  The site itself is fun and interesting when you actually get on, and of course, I was anxious to be able to add the Harry Potter ebooks to my collection.  

Speaking of ebooks, I realised over the last couple of days just how much more enjoyable I find long form reading on my Kindle rather than my iPad, my iPhone or my iMac.  In all fairness, I should add that reading magazines is a delight on the iPad. The books I borrowed from the local library were not compatible with my Kindle, so I had to read on my iPad.  In the end I struggled with it too much and returned the book.  I am now back to reading on my Kindle and loving it.  In terms of weight, the Kindle is much more comfortable to hold for long periods than the iPad. The Kindle (now called Kindle Keyboard) weighs in at 8.7 ounces plus 1.8 ounces for the cover.  The iPad (I have the original one) is 1.6 pounds plus a cover.  I have two kitties who like to be petted while I read and it's very uncomfortable to hold the iPad one-handed for a long while.  As I have mentioned before, eInk is much more comfortable on the eyes.   Over at Bit101.com there is an interesting macro photo comparison of the screens:

Kindle

iPad

iPad

My next reading challenge is some fantasy not written in English.  As I am in Quebec, I have been looking to find Anne Robillard's Les Chevaliers d'Emeraude in ebook format.  I was finally able to find book one on Archambault's website.  It will be interesting to see if I find reading fantasy as enjoyable and understandable when it's not written in my native language.  I have read French translations of American/British fantasy works before, and do prefer them in their original English.  

Odds and Ends

I thought I would write a short entry today about a few thoughts that have occurred to me.

First, Pottermore announced yesterday on its blog that it is extending the beta process for another month, new registrants will have to wait weeks or even months for their welcome emails granting them access to the site, and that the Pottermore store selling Harry Potter ebooks and audiobooks will not open until mid 2012.  None of this comes as a surprise to those of us in the beta program, who have borne witness to the numerous downtimes and the notorious Purple Screen of Death.  Indeed, it's probably the sensible – if only – decision the Pottermore site managers could make.  It is very disappointing though.  The site itself is fun and interesting when you actually get on, and of course, I was anxious to be able to add the Harry Potter ebooks to my collection.  

Speaking of ebooks, I realised over the last couple of days just how much more enjoyable I find long form reading on my Kindle rather than my iPad, my iPhone or my iMac.  In all fairness, I should add that reading magazines is a delight on the iPad. The books I borrowed from the local library were not compatible with my Kindle, so I had to read on my iPad.  In the end I struggled with it too much and returned the book.  I am now back to reading on my Kindle and loving it.  In terms of weight, the Kindle is much more comfortable to hold for long periods than the iPad. The Kindle (now called Kindle Keyboard) weighs in at 8.7 ounces plus 1.8 ounces for the cover.  The iPad (I have the original one) is 1.6 pounds plus a cover.  I have two kitties who like to be petted while I read and it's very uncomfortable to hold the iPad one-handed for a long while.  As I have mentioned before, eInk is much more comfortable on the eyes.   Over at Bit101.com there is an interesting macro photo comparison of the screens:

Kindle

iPad

iPad

My next reading challenge is some fantasy not written in English.  As I am in Quebec, I have been looking to find Anne Robillard's Les Chevaliers d'Emeraude in ebook format.  I was finally able to find book one on Archambault's website.  It will be interesting to see if I find reading fantasy as enjoyable and understandable when it's not written in my native language.  I have read French translations of American/British fantasy works before, and do prefer them in their original English.  

Um, Amazon? There is a world beyond the US, you know…

So, I read the live blogs of the Amazon announcement and, as expected, new Touch Kindles as well as the Amazon Fire tablet were launched.

The entry level Kindle is now only $79 US.  That is a steal.  I really hope it will encourage more people to read ebooks.  For the full range of new Kindles, please check out Amazon's web page.  Engadget posted a live blog from the event, so I'm not going to repeat all the tech specs.

From my own perspective, my predictions from yesterday's entry were confirmed.  The Amazon Fire tablet looks to be a nice media consumption unit, and at just $199, a wonderful entry tablet.  If I were not already in possession of an iPad, based in the US and not hooked into iTunes/iOS I'd certainly consider it. 

The announcement of the Kindle Touch was what I'd been hoping for and I immediately went online to place my order… only to see that it's only available to US users, as are all other models except the current versions and the new $79 entry one!  Thanks, Amazon.  That is one way to generate interest and then kill it off.

This is not the first time I've had cause to complain about Amazon's US centric focus.  Library lending, ebook lending are all only available to US customers.  Please Amazon, do not forget you have customers beyond the US…

Um, Amazon? There is a world beyond the US, you know…

So, I read the live blogs of the Amazon announcement and, as expected, new Touch Kindles as well as the Amazon Fire tablet were launched.

The entry level Kindle is now only $79 US.  That is a steal.  I really hope it will encourage more people to read ebooks.  For the full range of new Kindles, please check out Amazon's web page.  Engadget posted a live blog from the event, so I'm not going to repeat all the tech specs.

From my own perspective, my predictions from yesterday's entry were confirmed.  The Amazon Fire tablet looks to be a nice media consumption unit, and at just $199, a wonderful entry tablet.  If I were not already in possession of an iPad, based in the US and not hooked into iTunes/iOS I'd certainly consider it. 

The announcement of the Kindle Touch was what I'd been hoping for and I immediately went online to place my order… only to see that it's only available to US users, as are all other models except the current versions and the new $79 entry one!  Thanks, Amazon.  That is one way to generate interest and then kill it off.

This is not the first time I've had cause to complain about Amazon's US centric focus.  Library lending, ebook lending are all only available to US customers.  Please Amazon, do not forget you have customers beyond the US…

Why I’m unlikely to buy the new Kindle tablet

Amazon recently announced a press conference to take place tomorrow, September 28th.  It is widely expected to introduce the Kindle Fire, Amazon's long expected entry into the tablet market.

As per Time, the specs are: based on Android 2.1, but modified to the point of being unrecognizable, Siegler reports. The software will emphasize Amazon's own digital content—movies, TV shows, music, e-books and the Amazon Appstore—with a carousel view of all content on top and pinned app icons on the bottom. The idea is to make content purchases and consumption as simple as possible.

In terms of hardware: According to Ryan Block at gdgt, Amazon's tablet will look a lot like Research in Motion's Blackberry Playbook tablet—a 7-inch slab with sharp corners. That's because Amazon reportedly hired manufacturer Quanta, which designed the Playbook, to "shortcut" the Kindle Fire's development process.

Naturally, everything is speculation until Jeff Bezos gets up on stage and introduces the new product.  Many believe that it will be the first tablet offering to be a serious competitor to Apple's iPad.  Rumour suggests Amazon will be pricing this most aggressively – below cost at $250-$300.  That is half the price of the lowest spec iPad.  Equally importantly, it is considered a serious competitor because of the content that Amazon can provide.  In addition to the ebooks, Amazon provides the Amazon Android App Store, audiobooks, and video on demand.  Naturally, the new Kindle Fire will be setup to access all of this media content.  None of the other tablet providers could come close to matching Apple's content provision until now.

Now, to my comment as to why I personally am unlikely to purchase this new Kindle Fire.   First, I am not based in the US.  This means much of the content is unavailable to me at this point.  Secondly, for the several years, I have been hooked up into iTunes, and more recently, Apple TV for my digital media content. Now, I imagine it would be reasonably simple to transfer my existing content to the tablet, but like many users, transferring 10 years' worth of digital content is a daunting task.  Thirdly, and most importantly, my iPad and I are very happy together.  I do not need another tablet computer.

So, if it's not a replacement for my iPad, could it be a replacement for my much loved and used Kindle e-reader?  No.  The Kindle does one thing only, but it does it fantastically well – read ebooks.  While I have been known to read on my iPad, particularly magazines, the eInk screen on the Kindle makes it much easier on the eye for long form reading.  More to the point, no tablet could match the Kindle's battery life of up to a month. 

Having said that, I do believe the Amazon Fire would be a good purchase for someone looking for a basic entry level tablet to view digital content.  It's just not for me at this point.  With Amazon's return policy though, I may have to check it out.

However…  (yes there is a however) as the Apple Insider has rumours of two new eInk readers to be announced tomorrow too.  This rumour is far from substantiated, but I would be far more interested in the touch eInk "Whitney" model of Kindle than the tablet.  We shall see tomorrow -naturally I shall be posting my reaction to the announcement!

Why I’m unlikely to buy the new Kindle tablet

Amazon recently announced a press conference to take place tomorrow, September 28th.  It is widely expected to introduce the Kindle Fire, Amazon's long expected entry into the tablet market.

As per Time, the specs are: based on Android 2.1, but modified to the point of being unrecognizable, Siegler reports. The software will emphasize Amazon's own digital content—movies, TV shows, music, e-books and the Amazon Appstore—with a carousel view of all content on top and pinned app icons on the bottom. The idea is to make content purchases and consumption as simple as possible.

In terms of hardware: According to Ryan Block at gdgt, Amazon's tablet will look a lot like Research in Motion's Blackberry Playbook tablet—a 7-inch slab with sharp corners. That's because Amazon reportedly hired manufacturer Quanta, which designed the Playbook, to "shortcut" the Kindle Fire's development process.

Naturally, everything is speculation until Jeff Bezos gets up on stage and introduces the new product.  Many believe that it will be the first tablet offering to be a serious competitor to Apple's iPad.  Rumour suggests Amazon will be pricing this most aggressively – below cost at $250-$300.  That is half the price of the lowest spec iPad.  Equally importantly, it is considered a serious competitor because of the content that Amazon can provide.  In addition to the ebooks, Amazon provides the Amazon Android App Store, audiobooks, and video on demand.  Naturally, the new Kindle Fire will be setup to access all of this media content.  None of the other tablet providers could come close to matching Apple's content provision until now.

Now, to my comment as to why I personally am unlikely to purchase this new Kindle Fire.   First, I am not based in the US.  This means much of the content is unavailable to me at this point.  Secondly, for the several years, I have been hooked up into iTunes, and more recently, Apple TV for my digital media content. Now, I imagine it would be reasonably simple to transfer my existing content to the tablet, but like many users, transferring 10 years' worth of digital content is a daunting task.  Thirdly, and most importantly, my iPad and I are very happy together.  I do not need another tablet computer.

So, if it's not a replacement for my iPad, could it be a replacement for my much loved and used Kindle e-reader?  No.  The Kindle does one thing only, but it does it fantastically well – read ebooks.  While I have been known to read on my iPad, particularly magazines, the eInk screen on the Kindle makes it much easier on the eye for long form reading.  More to the point, no tablet could match the Kindle's battery life of up to a month. 

Having said that, I do believe the Amazon Fire would be a good purchase for someone looking for a basic entry level tablet to view digital content.  It's just not for me at this point.  With Amazon's return policy though, I may have to check it out.

However…  (yes there is a however) as the Apple Insider has rumours of two new eInk readers to be announced tomorrow too.  This rumour is far from substantiated, but I would be far more interested in the touch eInk "Whitney" model of Kindle than the tablet.  We shall see tomorrow -naturally I shall be posting my reaction to the announcement!

eBook Borrowing from the BAnQ Montreal – followup

Further to my blog entry yesterday regarding ebook borrowing from the BAnQ in Montreal, I received a very useful and informative reply from them which I would like to share with you:

Thank you for sharing your comments regarding our ebook collections. We recognize that the process includes numerous steps and can be cumbersome at some times. Please find below some information about recent developments in our services.

Finding ebooks on our portal

Regarding the visibility of our ebook collections on our website, we have recently implemented a new page entirely dedicated to ebooks. There is a link to it on our homepage, at the right side (where it says Livre numériques on a green banner). The page has not been translated into English yet, but we hope that our subscribers will be able to navigate our ebook collections easily from this page and will find answers to most of their technical difficulties in the page’s FAQ (Foire aux questions
:http://www.banq.qc.ca/ressources_en_ligne/livres-numeriques/index.html. This page is updated regularly.

Once you are on the Livres numériques page, you may use the search box to search for ebooks in the Iris catalogue (it is a different search box from the one that you have used on our Online Resources pages). You may also access the Iris catalogue’sAdvanced search screen and check the Numeric books option. All ebooks are indexed in the Iris catalogue. There is, however, a small indexing delay between the appearance of a new ebook in Numilog or EBSCOhost and its inclusion in the Iris catalogue. We strive to keep this delay as small as possible.

Reserving borrowed ebooks

The portal eBooks on EBSCOhost allows users to add their name on a waiting list for an item that is currently borrowed. However, as you mention it, this option is unfortunately unavailable in Numilog.

Transferring ebooks on a mobile device

Dowloading an ebook from Numilog or EBSCOhost on a mobile device is indeed more complicated than it is for a free ebook, especially for the first time. Numilog and EBSCOhost’s books are protected by copyright. Providers therefore must use technological solutions to ensure that copyright will be respected by users. Due to the wide range of technologies currently available on the market and the commercial rivalries that sometimes cause compatibility issues, it is difficult to ensure that the procedure will be clear and simple for every device.

That being said, as you mention it, this technology will likely become simpler and more accessible as more and more people get accustomed to ereading. We value our users’ comments and keep working towards a better service. In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact our reference services if you encounter any other difficulties or have any other comment.

We thank you for the interest you have shown in Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Do not hesitate to contact us as needed.

User services

I checked out the combined search page they mentioned and it did make a big difference to my searching.  That certainly resolved one of my issues with borrowing from the library.  Many of the other frustrations I experienced were not so much the library's fault

All kudos to the library, I was impressed by the depth of information they provided and their level of commitment to ebooks.  I look forward to seeing how things develop.

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