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Ready For Electronic Book?

September 9, 2007

It has been predicted that the era of electronic books will come, nevertheless most readers don’t embrace this technology and still stick with the traditional one, the paper version. Yet, this dream hasn’t been given up.

As reported in New York Times on Sep. 6, 2007, two new offerings are set to test whether the book buyers can accept this idea:

  • Amazon will release the Kindle, an electronic book reader, that has been talked about since last year. It will be priced at $400-$500 and can wirelessly connect to Amazon’s e-book store.
  • Google plans to provide users for full online access to the digital copies of some books in its project for a fee. Publishers will set the prices for their books.

Google fee-based service may change publishers’ mind, but it is still skeptical that publishers will jump for it immediately. Meanwhile, Google Book Search, allowing to search and view the excepts in some books, can be quite helpful, especially when the nearby libraries do not have the book or the book is already out of print.

As an e-reader, well, I have no idea why Amazon would like to release its own reader, especially that this reader looks so .. ugly. 🙄

(picture from Engadget)

Sony Reader is cheaper, priced at $300, and prettier, but it has fewer internal memory, 64 MB (ref: Kindle’s 2006 spec, not sure whether it will be changed).


Both devices have 6″ diagonal electrophoretic display with 800×600 pixel resolution in 4-level gray scale. Though my Palm TE2’s display is smaller, it at least is a color one. If I only use the e-reader for dictionaries or novels, it’s all right with 4-level gray scale. But not all the books are in text only. And I don’t understand why they only give you a niggardly internal memory.

As I mentioned elsewhere before, Another reader, which can be a note-taker too, is iRex iLiad. It has many advantages over Sony Reader, as well as Amazon Kindle, but it is much expansive (about $699). (PS: If one can spend so much on an e-reader, she or he may consider to get an ultra subnotebook like Sony VAIO UX or Asus R2Hv.)

There are also some companies working on flexible displays, e. g. Plastic Logic, Prime View International and Polymer Vision.

Personally, I like the idea of electronic book. But to me there are still two big problems: (1) available e-books and (2) accepted file formats. For the latter, PDF is usually the solution the retailers come out with, but I’m not a fan of PDF as e-book format. 🙄 If the file format is not wildly accepted and the device doesn’t allow you to install the software to read, you’re bounded to buy e-books in certain stores and read whatever are available in that format. That’s not good. 😦

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jo Fothergill permalink
    September 10, 2007 2:51 am

    i still prefer to hold the book i’m reading … i can see an e-reader being helpful if you’re on the road a lot travelling by public transport and want to be able to read (but i’m not sure about air travel and what the current regulations are for electronic devices) … i’ve just given my old handspring visor edge to spacegirl for her ebooks so she can read them on the train now that she has a one hour trip in and out to varsity

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