Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ebooks vs paper books

I was reading ebooks long before they were popular and long before there were any ebook readers on the market. My first reader was Sony Clie with various reading applications. My favorite app was Plucker. Reading ebooks is much more convenient for following reasons:
  • You can read anywhere, given that your reader is compact. Bored standing in line at the store? Pull out your device and start reading.
  • You can read just a few pages at the time when you got a spare moment. The reader remembers where you are and ready as soon as you power it on.
  • You never run out of books to read. Even the old Clie with 16MB of memory could easy hold 10s of books.
  • It is easy to make notes with the right application or even without it if you get a little creative.
  • You don't need to have light while reading in bed if your device has a backlight.
There are of course some downsides:
  • You can't read on the plane during take off and landing.
  • Your device battery can run out if you forget to charge it.
Of course Clie is no longer practical and there are much better devices available. I currently read on iPod touch 2G which I received as a gift. iDevices have very poor ebook reader applications especially after demise of Stanza. Notable exception is MegaReader but it is still missing a lot of features and the font rendering is not accurate. If you have apple device this is the one I would recommend. iBooks is slow and huge. Most of the main stream readers are not configurable to be pleasant to use on the small screen.
Android platform has much better selection. All of the applications that I have tried were very good. FBreader was my favorite but they all very good. My next device is going to be Android powered, most likely one of the Samsung media players or possibly 7" tablet. I have tried 8" Visio but it is too heavy and too big to be useful on the go.
If you are avid reader and not sure if you want to read ebooks, give it a try and you will not regret it.
For managing your ebooks and converting them for your device Calibre is a perfect application. It is actively developed and getting better every day.

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