eBook Readers - A Comparison of eBook Software

The Sony Reader
The Sony Reader

I mentioned eBooks awhile back and was pleasantly surprised to see how many of you already read them. Most of you read them on your computer, using software like Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Reader to view them – and that’s fine, they certainly get the job done.

But what if you want to read your eBooks by the pool, and don’t want to drag your laptop with you?

A few years ago, I’d have said you were nearly SOL on that one. Sure, Palm Pilots and the like have platforms for reading eBooks, but they aren’t very book-like, and they sometimes mysteriously change characters to bizarre symbols in some places.

So let’s take a look at the tech gear specifically created for the sake of reading eBooks.

The Sony Reader

Sony created this puppy primarily as an eBook reader, but it does other things as well.

Pros

  • A. It’s only ½ an inch thick.
  • B. It’s not just for eBooks – you can view PDF, JPEG and other files on it.
  • C. You can play MP3s on it.
  • D. Holds approximately 80 books.
  • E. Battery lasts approximately 7500 page views

Cons

  • A. It costs 300 bucks.
  • B. No built-in Macintosh interface – and to use their Connect Reader software, you need to have either Windows XP or Vista.
  • C. You can only read DRM eBooks in Sony’s BBeB file format – only purchasable through their Connect website.
  • D. It’s only available in the USA.
  • E. Even if you have one shipped overseas, the Connect website is still intended for US residents – so you still might not be able to buy any books through it.

The iLiad

iRex is the Dutch company producing this behemoth. It may look like your average eReader, but it does lots more, too.

Pros

  • A. It has the biggest screen available in e-paper technology.
  • B. You can read, write and draw on it.
  • C. You can receive international newspaper delivery on it.
  • D. It supports Sudoku and crossword puzzles.
  • E. Built-in wifi
  • F. Supports many, many DRM eBook formats..
  • G. Linux operating system

Cons

  • A. It costs more than 600 USD!!
  • B. It costs more than 600 Euros!

iRiver’s E-BOOk Reader

This one isn’t out yet – but this is the one I am waiting for. It’s thin, light, runs on regular batteries and… has *two* pages. This makes it the most book-like one I’ve seen, and that’s really what I’m most interested in. I mean, my paperbacks can’t play MP3’s, why the hell do I need an eBook reader to play them? I don’t. I just want something I can read eBooks on, that will make it the most realistic book reading experience possible. Hopefully this baby won’t cost more than the other two I’ve mentioned. I haven’t been able to find an expected release date for the E-BOOk reader, but I’m eagerly awaiting it!

There are other eBook reader devices out there, but most of them have been discontinued, and that’s why I’m not recommending them. I don’t recommend buying a discontinued model on eBay, either, because new books are unlikely to be published in discontinued e-formats. If you know of any other dedicated eBook readers and would like to list them in the comments, feel free to do so. If you could add a link that would be good as well.


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