November 21, 2010

Make Mine Kindle, Please

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:16 am by dgcombs

I’d sure like an iPad. Who wouldn’t? It’s got a beautiful screen and a powerful processor. And WiFi. But as for my tablet, make mine Kindle, please.

I used to have a Kindle 2. I attended a conference and one of the door prizes was a Kindle. I won it! I took it home. I read a book, Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency. I took it everywhere. I loved it. I sold it. Why? Because the iPad was coming. I figured I’d better get some cash out of it so I could buy my very own iPad. After the iPad was announced, I regretted this decision. The paltry pair of Benjamins wasn’t nearly enough to cover the cost of an iPad.

So I turned to my phone for book reading. Palm Pre has an excellent screen, albeit a bit squint-inducing for reading text at 3.1″ diagonal. But it does have an eReader in the App Catalog. It’s called pReader and it’s an excellent choice for people who are not suffering from presbyopia. It allows you to read un-DRM’ed ePub and MobiPocket books as well as un-DRM‘ed Kindle format and even the old standby, text. But to get the book, you have to find it. No small task in itself. Amazon only sells Kindle format with DRM. Barnes and Noble only sells ePub with DRM. It’s hard to find people who publish books without DRM. Especially if you want current publications. Sure, you can find Hamilton Mabie’s Heroes Every Child Should Know for free on Project Gutenberg. But it’s a safe bet that, his having died in 1916, the Fantastic 4 or X-Men are not going to make an appearance. And of course, the current book I want isn’t there.

So I checked into the iPhone/iPod Touch group of programs. There are at least three options there. Kindle for iPhone/iPod Touch is one. It plugs into the Amazon book collection. Stanza from Lexcycle is another option. It plugs into an group of websites including O’Reilly and Fictionwise. I even tried the version of Stanza for Mac OSX but didn’t like it. In any case, I can’t get a current book that I want from Stanza’s group of resellers. The latest choice is iBooks from Apple itself. It’s really cool. Almost as good as Stanza for the iPhone. I was absolutely stunned though when I tried and failed to get the book I wanted. And I didn’t have an iPhone anyway. I had a Pre.

I was at a juncture where I was a little desperate. I found a program called FBReader. It has versions for Linux and Windows. For Maemo and Sharp and Archos. And Android. And even OSX. It even has a page dedicated to telling you where to download free eBooks, the usual suspects. But again, the latest book I want is not available there. And anyway, I didn’t really want to read books on a laptop. That was the whole point of an iPad wasn’t it?

Then I found a program called Calibre. It’s not really an ebook reader. It’s actually a format converter and library management software. Yes! I could see it now. I can download a book from Gutenberg in ePub and convert it to MobiPocket and transfer it to my phone and read-while-squinting. Wait! What problem was I trying to solve, anyway? And what about that latest book I’ve been wanting to read?

So as my birthday is approaching and I’ve accumulated a few Amazon Gift Cards, it is time to take the plunge. I got the Kindle 3. And now I can get that book I’ve been wanting to read. It’s not free. It has DRM. But I can download it directly to my Kindle without any fuss. I figure that this Kindle will be my handy pal for about a year. Next year of course the dual core, 2GHz, high definition screen, mega-pixel camera equipped iPads will be out. In the mean time, I’m going to concentrate on reading that book I’ve been wanting to finish.

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1 Comment »

  1. ez said,

    I temporarily lost my copy of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and needed to make progress in order to have it finished by the book club (tomorrow). So I installed the Kindle app on my phone. Then I downloaded the book. It took a bit to figure out the right page. Over the next week or so I finished the book just by reading it on my phone. Of course, my phone has a larger screen.

    Page turning felt unnatural because I’m apparently left handed when reading. So I ended up doing an uncomfortable holding position to turn pages until I figured out placing the phone on the table was better. I still prefer books to the phone. In a pinch was okay.


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