Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My E-reader Wishlist

I being a huge fan of science fiction and the like have been interested in electronic readers forever.  They strike me as the "datacards" and whatnot of sci-fi.  For being able to read large amounts on I want that e-ink background as opposed to the I pad and other coming tablets.  To be able to carry my entire library around with me would be awesome (though I still want to keep my books too, I'll get to that shortly).  Unfortunately even though since Sony first announced it's Sony Reader, to the Kindle, to the Nook, and all the various other versions out there, I still haven't seen the technology get to where I would buy one.  I have a few things I really want to see prior to investing in an e-reader.

At A Glance image

Amazon's Latest Kindle
Star Wars "datapad" via Wookiepedia

1.  A screen the size of a paper back book.  I don't mind having a slightly larger device but I want the reading area to be the same.  I don't like the devices that are the size of a book with the smaller screen, it doesn't maintain that book feel to me then.  I know that there is a larger Kindle but it is too big, although if I were still in college and I could get my textbooks on it I would probably consider it.

2.  Non-proprietary formats.  Like Apple uses with itunes, Amazon uses a proprietary format for its books.  I hate this.  I don't want to by a Kindle once and then be forced to keep buying from the same company because I lose my collection if I switch to another device.  Yeah, it makes sense from a the perspective of trying to trap your consumers into staying with you.  I can't stand it and will avoid it where I can; meaning I won't get a Kindle until they open up of the format more.  I believe the Nook uses an open source format, and I believe Sony uses a plethora of open source and proprietary.  I am not sure about the other ones out there.

3.  It needs to look good and function well.  I have not had a chance to actually look at a Kindle in person, but from what I have seen of them online they just don't look that nice.  Sony's look nice but from what I have seen in person they are slow, and looked like they had a burn in problem.  I could see faint text in the background behind the text that was being displayed.  I also didn't like how the screen flashed black during page turns.  Figure out a way to animate a page turn or something but clean it up.  I understand it is e-ink but they need to have the function down better.

4.  Price below $200 preferably below $150.  Some of the Readers that get close to my preferred standards are too expensive.  Considering what is being done with computers, phones, and the like for less, they need to work on their price point.

5.  Books and e-books together.  I think Disney had a brilliant idea with the way it has been selling its Blurays.  Their Blurays at least the ones I have purchased have come with the bluray risk, a dvd, and the electronic copy of the same movie, so you can watch it in whatever format you want.  I think it would be awesome if publishers would start doing that with books.  Buy the paperback and you get a code to unlock the electronic version for download into whatever reader you have.  If this were to start happening I would be much more inclined to get an e-reader.

So there you have it.  If you have in the E-reader business get to it.


Tom said...

I would like to see the examples of readers you DO like. How do those look compared to the ones you don't like.

AlphaOnOne said...

From a pure functionality standpoint I think the Kindle up top is probably one of the best out there. With the improvements to battery life, contrast, speed and the like. I just don't like the keyboard integrated with the reader and the screen size. I don't like the Nook for similar screen size and the LCD book cover screen at the bottom is just a waste to make it look flashier. From playing with it at Barnes and Noble it is slow.

From a pure form perspective I really like the Sony Reader here.

But having played with these in the past I was not impressed by the functionality. Maybe this newer version will improve upon that enough, but it is still $250-300 which is a little high for a dedicated Reader.

And again my biggest concern is having 300 e-books and then wanting a new type of reader and no being able to read my entire library any more. I understand why DRM exists, but it is what keeps me never straying far from hard media because I never have to worry about my books not working any more.

Anthony said...

It makes more sense to have digital copies of movies being that you can fast forward, rewind, etc. in order to pick up where you left off IF you left off somewhere. You typically don't stop watching a movie 14 times whereas when you read a book you're not going to complete the entire book in one session. So what good does it do to get to a certain page in your book at home and then when you go on the road you have to search your e-reader for where you left off. It just sounds like a pain.

AlphaOnOne said...

I look at it more from the perspective of having a backup to my electronic copy. If I were to buy an e-reader, I would probably make the switch to reading mostly on it so I wouldn't plan to be having to look for that page. But if I switch e-readers and it can't read the other file or the file gets corrupted, I still can go back and read the book again if desired. And I do read books multiple times.

AlphaOnOne said...

The other part is that the price would have to stay comparable to buying one copy of the book. I don't to have to buy both things separately or pay a comparable amount as if I were buying both things separately. You have paid for the story, if the electronic copy exists it shouldn't be cost prohibitive to give it to people who buy your story.