4-10 March is Read an eBook Week, and the whole of March is Read an eBook Month in Canada!
I love the look of the new Kindles but until they support the epub format I’ll be sticking with my Sony PRS-350 and Nook STR.
Just picked up a Nook STR at B&N Georgetown DC. I already had a B&N account so it registered straight away in the store. Later, back in the hotel, I tried to buy a book and, not surprisingly, it asked for my cc registered address, adding “it must be an address in the US.”
So I added my UK address, it accepted it, and allowed me to continue and purchase the book, which appeared a moment later on the Nook.
The system may have looked at the IP address and and allowed the purchase because I’m in the States. I’ll try it again when I’m home.
Anyway, this may encourage other non-US residents to buy the Nook STR on their next visit to the States.
I'm loving the new Sony Reader, the PRS-350 Pocket Edition. It's smaller than my last reader, the PRS-505, but faster and with lots more memory. It also has a touch screen with excellent contrast.
With the international iPad arriving soon, here are some things I’ve learned about the iPad over the last few weeks:
The battery life is great. It will last all day and maybe two days.
It needs a 2.1 amp charger as opposed to the 1 amp of the iPhone so your iPhone chargers won’t work. New iPad/iPhone chargers are now available which pump out the higher amperage. Most USB hubs don’t produce 2.1 amps so you’ll need to connect the iPad dock to a USB port on your computer or plug it into the wall.
iPhone apps look horrible. The good news is most apps have already been updated.
You can leave your laptop at home. Unless you’re editing video or doing some other heavy-duty project everything you need is on the iPad.
iBooks are great and are in epub format, but if you buy your ebooks from Apple they will have Apple’s Fairplay DRM (digital rights management) embedded. So if you want to future-proof your ebooks buy them in Adobe Digital Editions epub format and remove the DRM so you can read the ebook on any device. Once the ebook is DRM-free, Calibre is a great program for converting ebooks from one format to another.
- You’ll soon discover that you need a few stands around the house to prop up the iPad. Griffin Technology make a great stand (see above), the A-Frame, but at $50 you won’t want more than one. Cheaper solution are (a) a business card holder like this one from Office Depot, only $0.69 so buy half a dozen and spread them around and (b) plate holders like this one.
- You’ll also need a case. I’ve got a Belkin Vue Sleeve at the moment but I’m planning to get the Marware Eco-Vue when I can get my hands on one.
- The 3G version also has a GPS.
The UK data plans aren’t great. Consider buying a MiFi which creates a WiFi bubble wherever you are. I use a Huawei E5830 from three.co.uk and I pay £15 a month for 5 GB of data. There’s also this one which I believe comes already unlocked.
Not essential, but great apps: PCalc, WeatherBug Elite, NYT Editor’s Choice, The Guardian Eyewitness, NetNewsWire, Instapaper Pro, National Geographic World Atlas, OffMaps, London Tube, Star Walk, Urban Spoon, Epicurious, WunderRadio, Air Sharing HD, Print Central, AppAdvice, Kayak Flights.
Enjoy your new iPad!
I’m really enjoying my Sony Reader PRS-505. I got hold of it before Christmas with the aim of lightening my travel load, and it works a treat.
The screen is very clear – when I saw it on display in Waterstones I thought it was a mock-up with a piece of paper slapped over it. There’s no backlighting on the screen but you can always clip one of those little reading lights on the cover when you want to read in the dark.
The battery life is excellent because it only uses power when you turn the page. I ran it recently for seven days, using it everyday, and the battery indicator was still showing full when I got around to plugging it in. I’ve never seen it showing less than half charge.
Sony’s partner in the UK is Waterstones. Last time I looked they only had about 7,500 ebooks available and their prices aren’t low either. The good news is many ebooks can be downloaded free of charge, in fact the Reader includes a CD with 100 out-of-copyright classics to get you started. And the Gutenberg Project has thousands of free titles to download.
For purchased books I’ve been using mainly ebooks.com and Powells. Ebooks are available in a variety of formats, DRM’ed and DRM-free, and tools are available online to convert to and from various formats.
As a Mac user there is one ripple on the pond. Sony uses Adobe Digital Editions to authorise the Reader to display DRM-protected files and the Mac version of ADE doesn’t recognise the Reader. The solution is to authorise the Reader from the Windows version of ADE, either with a real PC or something like Parallels. Once the Reader has been authorised you can use the Mac version of ADE to put files on the Reader, or simply drag them to the Reader which shows up as a USB drive in the Finder.
An even better solution is Calibre by Kovid Goyal. Calibre (freeware) converts ebook formats, sends the files to the Reader, allows you to read the ebooks on your Mac as well, if you wish, and generally manages your ebook library.
Sony has recently released the PRS-700 with built-in backlighting, a touchscreen and a higher price, but it’s getting mixed reviews. The 700 isn’t designed to replace the 505 apparently, and both are likely to be on sale for the foreseeable future, but the PRS-505, at US$300/UK£200, is significantly cheaper and does the job well. Recommended.