Friday, September 30, 2011

A Humble eReader

"eReaders are 'crack' for you," stated a colleague earlier today, after she saw me carrying a Nook and Aluratek eReader around with me. I couldn't help but agree. I'm fascinated by devices that bring me the printed word. For folks that don't have a deep abiding respect for the printed word, an almost reverential feeling that stems from many hours in a library, not to mention hole in the wall bookstores in small towns to the mega-bookstores of yesterday that put the "Shops Around the Corner" out of business, a dedicated device appears insane. Why get a dedicated eReader when you can use an iPad?

Now that three readers out of 4 family members are carrying eReaders, it turns out the inexpensive $50 Aluratek eReader is available for use! You may remember me waxing rhapsodic about the Aluratek, an inexpensive eReader that, unlike, until recently, more expensive relatives (e.g. Nook and Kindle), is compatible with ePUB and mobi, which are the formats for the Nook and Kindle, respectively.

It supports PDF, TXT, FB2, EPUB, MOBI, PRC and RTF. 24hr battery life. SD card expandable. The price has can get a Kindle for less than what an Aluratek Libre eReader costs and it's no's Kindle before Libre.
The Libre has no internal storage, but includes a 2GB SD card preloaded with 100 e-books. Buyers can expand the devices storage to up to 32 GB by buying higher-capacity cards. The Libre features a 5" epaper display, smaller than the Kindles, but has a built-in MP3 player for background music while reading. 
The device lasts about 24 hours on one charge. Features 5" sunlight-readable display SD card slot Includes 2GB SD card preloaded with 100 e-books Supports PDF, TXT, FB2, EPUB, MOBI, PRC, and RTF text formats MP3 player Photo viewer 24hr battery life ... 
PROS: (1) PDF support (2) does not use the same e-ink technology as most ebook readers - no page turning lag, no flashing during page updates (3) affordable price point (4) SD card slot for expandable external storage up to 32GB (5) solid build quality ... 
CONS: (1) no annotation feature (2) lacks WiFi / 3G connectivity (3) only 117MB of internal storage (4) no QWERTY input method (5) not compatible with the DRMd ebooks from many mainstream ebook retailers. (Read Source)
Although some--like Tim Holt--labelled a piece of plastic junk (paraphrasing him), let's be honest. Tim would never be satisfied with anything less than an iPad. In the conversations today about eReaders, one of my team said, "I don't read books." For him, like other human beings, reading is a waste of time. "You have to wade through all that stuff; I want to live real life." Of course, that team member is an avid iPad user, putting him in touch with the stuff he needs to live his life.

Source: Facebook wall somewhere

Therein lies one difference between eReader aficionados. In truth, I don't care if my eReader can let me surf the web, check my email, plot my position as I travel through the cosmos via GPS, or load awesome apps. What I do care about is that I can load stories and texts on it that I can access quickly, where the device disappears, and I can focus on reading.
  1. The battery only lasts 24 hours before having to be plugged in? So what?
  2. It can only read PDF, TXT, EPUB (Nook), MOBI (Kindle), and RTF? Perfect!
  3. It's a cheap chunk of plastic? Great! Paperbacks cost $11.00 each these days. For 6 paperbacks, I get a device I can load up with a LOT more content.
Now, I'm not trying to say that iPad users are vapid, vacuous, or lacking in imagination. If that were so, it wouldn't take them months to get up to speed using a device as wonderfully wrought as Apple's iPad. What I will say is that when they try to push their device on the rest of us, as if we had to rely on an external device with pretty lights and sound to aid limping imaginations...well, let's just say that devices exist to meet the needs and desires of every person.

As for me, the Aluratek was the perfect, inexpensive combination, blending maximum compatibility with nonDRM ePub and mobi formats. Of course, Amazon Kindle's priced their device in such a way to blow the Aluratek out of the water, and I hope that Barnes and Noble's Nook Touch will follow suit.

Still...the lingering question is, why couldn't Kindle and Nook have been made as "compatible" with other formats as the Aluratek Libre eReader? The answer is obvious...and, that the Libre took the high road to obscurity, humbling.

Image Sources
High Road.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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