I've been kicking around which e-reader I would be interested in getting. Mind you, I'm only thinking about dedicated e-readers. I'm not interested in reading books on tablet computers or phones.
That said, how would you rank the four most popular e-readers? Here's how I would arrange them:
1) Amazon Kindle
2) Barnes & Noble Nook
3) Kobo e-Reader (Borders)
4) Sony e-Reader
I went at this list from a States consumer, considering selection and the likelihood the reader will still be supported in the years to come.
I wish Kobo was bigger here in the States. The reader itself is better priced. I went to Best Buy yesterday and saw it for $99. That's $40 less than Kindle. Attaching itself to Borders was a mistake. But I hope it pulls through.
The Sony e-reader, on the other hand, has all the feel of a graphing calculator. Not a big fan of that one.
The Kindle is probably the best you can get anyway in this climate. It supports more e-book formats. I love it because of the variety of books that I can get on it (many of which are out of print now and unavailable in Australia unless you're prepared to pay more than the book is worth to have it shipped). I also travel a lot and the Kindle takes up less space than the stack of books that I would normally require. You're right about the battery life - these things last forever. I wouldn't even bother with a wall plug, you'll only ever need to hook it up to your computer for an hour every month. Kindle also supports .pdfs, which allows me to read my university texts and the required e-readings without lugging a kilo of paper to campus everyday.
My dad loves it because he's got really terrible eyesight and he can make the text bigger - although he wishes that the text to speech function was a little bit more advanced. It's hard to engage with flowery, Victorian purple-prose when it's being read to you by a disjointed, cold techno-voice. There's also the occasional problem with freezing - if you ask the Kindle to do something complicated or give it two or three tasks to do, then it gets PMS. It doesn't like multi-tasking. When that happens, you have to reboot it and that process takes a while.
Something else to consider is the dedicated format. There's a free-for-download program, called Caliber, that will reformat many ebooks purchased for the Nook, Kobo, or Sony, into the Kindle's dedicated MOBI format. But I don't think there's anything that will reformat a Kindle book into the other three's formats. So you get wider availability with the Kindle.
The only problem I'm having with my new Kindle is the page turn button. It's stiff and so I can't operate it with one hand, which pretty much rules out sitting down with a good book and some greasy, messy, lousy-for-me snack such as potato chips. Other than that, I'm seriously enjoying it.
I have the Literati, an e-Reader from Sharper Image on the Kobo platform. I like it...have no problems with it. My only complaint is that some older books aren't available in the Kobo store. This includes some of the earlier books by current popular authors, and a recent search for novels in the Cadfael series and the Aubrey/Maturin series by O'Brian also came up short.
However, they certainly carry the gamut of new releases.
To be honest, a moment of insanity. There is a Best Buy about a 3 minute walk from my house. I happened to wake up at about 4 a.m. on Black Friday and thought I'd go and get a Kindle, which was on sale. Kindle was sold out, but they had the Literati.
Not a very enlightened way to make a purchase, but I have been happy with it.
I never really had a choice, since I do most of my writing in the local B&N, and the staff take very good care of me. I lack the effrontery to walk in there with a Kindle or a Sony.
I have had my color Nook for about 48 hours and have read only the New York Times on it so far, but I like it. It's WiFi only, so I have the usual hunt for a connection if I'm not in the store, but so far that's a minor annoyance.
Question for you, Albert. How does the color Nook (which has an LCD screen) compare against the standard Nook (which has an e-ink screen) in terms of eye fatigue?
It's always been my opinion that LCD screens tax the eye more than e-ink during long bouts of reading.
My Nook was a gift, and my friends made it clear that they would only go for the color, which meant that I never really tried the B&W. The LCD screen was a bit fatiguing when I read the Sunday NY Times yesterday, but shorter sessions have been no problem.