Ebook reader that does cyrillic?
June 17, 2011 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Seeking recommendations for e-book readers that meet my specifications. Any experience with the BeBook?

I'm looking to buy an e-book reader to take with me while traveling and living abroad. Price is less of an issue than the following things:

1. I need it to be able to read cyrillic texts. It looks like that rules out the Kindle or the Nook.
2. I definitely want an e-ink screen or one that can otherwise be read easily outside.
3. A long battery life is a plus, since it'll save me having to constantly deal with adapters and such during travel.
4. This is getting into the wishful-thinking range but it'd be nice it it were as light/unobtrusive as possible.

I'll be buying this in the US, but I'll be using it abroad for over a year. Internet connectivity is good but not essential if I can easily upload things from a computer.

From things I've seen online like the discussion here, I'm thinking the BeBook might be the best choice for me, but I'd love to hear recommendations from anyone who actually has one, or has something else that meets my criteria. The whole e-book market is rather overwhelming. Thanks in advance!
posted by toesock to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Kindle 3 supports cyrillic. [link]
posted by Ookseer at 11:30 AM on June 17, 2011

Just as confirmation of the above, the amazon page for Kindle confirms that it supports Cyrillic:

Support for Non-Latin Characters
Kindle can now display Cyrillic (such as Russian), Japanese, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), and Korean characters in addition to Latin and Greek scripts for certain file types. To view your personal documents with non-Latin characters on your Kindle, send your file as a Microsoft Word document (DOC) attachment to your Kindle's e-mail address ("name"@free.kindle.com). The file will be converted to Kindle format and sent to your Kindle via the Wi-Fi connection and also to the e-mail address associated with your Amazon.com account at no charge. See more details about Kindle’s Personal Document Service via Whispernet here. Loading TXT files containing non-Latin characters over USB is currently not supported as some characters may not display properly.
posted by brainmouse at 11:58 AM on June 17, 2011

I'm not sure if my tests related to a current model, but a year or so ago when I was looking at ebook readers I played with a BeBook in a store and found it had very poor usability.

The kindle definitely fits 2,3,4 but I can't comment on 1.
posted by curious_yellow at 12:24 PM on June 17, 2011

The Kindle is quite light, and it can go quite a while if you turn off wireless / 3G access. My only first-hand experience is with the Kindle, and there are a lot of e-book readers on the market. There might be one that is better suited to your locations abroad.

One more note about the Kindle: it charges through a USB plug, so as long as you have access to a laptop or computer for a while, you can charge it up. I imagine this is not an uncommon feature in e-readers.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:08 PM on June 17, 2011

PocketBook 360 is what I use almost every day for two years. The screen looks a bit blurry and uneven on this photo, but it is actually sharp.

1. Cyrillic texts - Yes.

2. E-ink screen - Yes.

3. Battery life - I honestly don't remember when was the last time I used a charger.

4. As light/unobtrusive as possible - comfortably fits into the back pocket of my jeans, though I wouldn't recommend sitting down. You can comfortably hold it in one hand while reading.

Other concerns:
- while 5" screen does seem a bit too little, it actually provides enough space for a comfortable reading, especially if you hold it horizontally;

- detachable plastic screen cover is a bit of a pain. It fits, it protects the screen, and it doesn't come off by itself, but you risk losing it;

- you don't need an adapter to charge it, although it comes with one. Any USB-to-miniUSB cable will suffice. Same for data transfer.
posted by ringu0 at 1:12 PM on June 17, 2011

USB charging is pretty slow. Bring an adapter. On the plus side, however, the battery lasts a long time with the Wifi and 3G antennae shut off.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:15 PM on June 17, 2011

Huh, I'm not sure where I got the whole kindle-doesn't-read-cyrillic idea. Does anyone have experience reading in Russian on the Kindle?

Thanks for all the suggestions so far! The PocketBook 360 sounds interesting too.
posted by toesock at 1:27 PM on June 17, 2011

Does anyone have experience reading in Russian on the Kindle?

Here's how the book I'm reading looks on Kindle I just bought for my friend. Sorry for blurriness and the protective film I decided to leave on the screen.

PS. Just thought I would add this: Kindle and PocketBook 360 side by side.
posted by ringu0 at 8:53 AM on June 19, 2011

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