I've been slowly edging towards buying an eBook reader and while I have various not-great feelings about Amazon as a business, I was leaning towards one of the lower end Kindles. I installed the Kindle for Mac software on my computer to play around with and it all seemed pretty good.
Yesterday though I noticed that Target had cut the iRiver Story HD down to $50. Previously there didn't seem to be much point in considering a similarly priced minor-party contender like the Story but that is pretty cheap.
I feel like I've acquainted myself fairly well with the functionality issues and mostly am not seeing necessary deal-breakers, but it's really tough to judge the actual reading experience. Any first hand accounts would be appreciated. I'd be particularly interested if you've been hands on with both (or with the iRiver Story and one of the other main contenders more in the Kindle's league).
I'm concerned by the some of the issues raised by this Engadget review
- especially hints at the screen hardware being fragile.
Other issues I'm wondering about:
1) How annoying in practice is the lack of touch screen?
2) How much of an issue the described "very bare bones" UI is - does it get in the way/seem like an obstruction in reading?
3) Is it relatively easy to convert Kindle ebooks to a compatible format? (I'm interested in this only for making my own legally bought books accessible: I'm aware doing so may be contrary to the DMCA, as a comparison of what I'm technically up to for example I've ripped and converted DVDs to an iPod compatible format just researching online and using freely available software like Handbrake and VLC)
4) Tough to answer I realize but any thoughts on the issue that signs suggest the product may well get abandoned for future support? The price slash at Target seems to suggest its retail relevance is limited. I feel like if I can get even a couple years good reading out of it, for the price it would be a fair experiment. If I'm going to be fighting it all the time and end up succumbing to the inevitable upgrade in a year though I might as well just go with one of the bigger contenders now.
Thanks for any input