ebook or ubook
November 16, 2009 4:26 PM   Subscribe

Looking for the best e-book reader. (depends on how you define best)

I preordered a noon from BN.com, but having second thoughts. Asking the hive, what is the best e-book reader in your opinion for reading all types of PDFs. I'm going to be reading pdfs printed from online pages, e-books from multiple sources, scanned pdfs. But I don't care about e-book stores (so I could live without wireless if it's easy to copy files via usb)
posted by esemay to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Last I heard, the Kindle won't read PDFs (yet) unless you convert it to the Kindle's format, so the Nook would be a good choice for your purposes.

Although really, if you can wait a bit before buying one, I would. The Nook only just came out so it's hard to say just yet how well it will fare. Also worth considering: now that the Kindle has more formidable competition, prices on both will drop more quickly. Also, I would bet money that the next Kindle has all the same features the Nook does. I'm personally waiting until next year to buy an e-reader even though I've really wanted one since the first Kindle came out, and so far I've been glad that I waited; the Kindle 2 fixed some issues the original Kindle had and added some features, and now the price is already substantially lower because of the Nook.

If you have to buy one right now, though, you'll probably be perfectly happy with a Nook -- and the Kindle would be more of a headache for you at present, having to convert everything. I think worst case you might have some buyer's remorse later if the price drops or something, but that's technology regardless.
posted by Nattie at 4:36 PM on November 16, 2009

Kindle DX will read pdfs (that is, it has a native pdf reader). Doesn't allow for sizing the text, though. That's little annoying. I do like the built-in dictionary with the Kindle, and the battery life is great (with wireless off, it's gone for six days of 1-2 hours of reading a day without a recharge).

Expensive bloody things, though, and color is right out, at least for now. I love mine, though.
posted by Pragmatica at 4:43 PM on November 16, 2009

You could always look further afield. I've been hearing good things about the SmartQ 7.
posted by purephase at 4:46 PM on November 16, 2009

So glad you asked this question. I am an original Sony Ereader PRs-500 owner. Just got an email today from Sony advising I need to mail it in for 14 days to get it updated firmware to keep using it after December . . . or can trade it in for one of the newer Sony Ereaders.

Much as I like my Ereader, which really has a great screen, along with important features like resizing text, I am lusting after the Nook. I'm impressed with its looks, its wireless download capability, the ability to "lend" books on it, and the ability to mess with B&N books on it (notes, highlights etc.)

One of my favorite things about my Ereader is the ability to flip it open like a book -- it came inside a booklike little case, and has stayed there. I still don't think Kindle has that book like feeling.
posted by bearwife at 5:01 PM on November 16, 2009

Both the Sony Reader series and the Nook will support PDF (because under the hood they use the same Adobe ebook library). There's no difference between the Sony line and the Nook except that the Nook gives you features like wifi and 3G to the Barnes & Noble store.

The problem is that when you scale an 8.5 x 11" PDF down to a 6" screen, you often get unreadable fonts. The Adobe library will "upsize" PDFs, but all that really means is that they'll screw up the formatting and probably render them incomprehensible. And there's no ability to zoom in.

On a Kindle DX or the upcoming Que reader from PlasticLogic, you get a huge screen that can render 8.5x11 PDFs at something close to their normal size. If full-size PDFs are your main goal, those are the only two worth considering.

(or a netbook)
posted by nev at 5:17 PM on November 16, 2009

I'll second bearwife with saying that I'm a Sony PRS-500 owner. I'm probably not going to stay with them though. I feel like they should be offering a larger discount to existing clients for their new readers.

I've tried the Kindle and its very user friendly for a new user. The new sony series will support pdfs apparently in a new, more flowy way-- though I'll only believe it when I see it.

I'm leaning towards buying a netbook and saving myself $150.

I hope that you find what you are looking for!
posted by Draccy at 5:37 PM on November 16, 2009

See the mobile read forums.
posted by stratastar at 6:23 PM on November 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have a Kindle 2 and a Kindle DX and I find that each has solid positives and negatives.

The Kindle 2's PDF "conversion," basically makes anything that has any formatting whatsoever unreadable, so it is not a decent option for that sort of reading. For something to take along with you on vacation and to read books formatted for the Kindle, it is great.

The larger DX, which is great for PDFs, is not so good as a casual reader because of it's size. It is quite large and though "magazine size" doesn't sound that big, I find it a bit unwieldy and wouldn't carry it anywhere if I didn't need it for reading PDFs.

I'm really interested in the nook, though right now I have no need for another one. Browsing your library on a real screen would be a real improvement, as current e-ink displays are awful at everything but static, black and white images. Additionally, their library sounds like it is going to be significantly better than Amazon's (notably, the $9.99 price Amazon initially announced for ebooks turned out to be bullshit and many books are the same price as the hardcover edition, basically killing any price advantage you'd get).

Since you have an opportunity to stop by a Barnes & Noble and try the nook out, you probably ought to do that, unless you're in a huge rush. Compared to the Kindle 2, the nook looks to be significantly superior.
posted by paperzach at 7:17 PM on November 16, 2009

This, the iLiad, is pretty much the best ebook reader in terms of reading pdfs. Currently it supports: PDF / HTML / TXT / JPG / BMP/ PNG / PRC. And has the eInk scree. You can also find converters that convert popular ebook files into pdfs so you can read those on the iLiad. It is not available for sale in the US and is DRM free...but you can find them online or through ebay.
posted by jnnla at 8:51 PM on November 16, 2009

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