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Samsung Papyrus E-Book Reader, Coming Soon

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the 5th-mover-disadvantage dept.

Books 145

kanewm writes with a snippet from Portable-Ebook-Reader.NET: "Samsung's new, highly portable e-book reader, dubbed 'Papyrus,' will be available in Korea in June 2009 and in the UK and North America sometime later (likely within several months)." As the site notes, though, this lacks some features of the Kindle, the obvious choice for comparison in the American market.

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Lack of features (5, Insightful)

sanborn's man (687059) | more than 5 years ago | (#27808849)

well, if DRM is one of those "features" it lacks, I'll consider it. Kindle 2 is nice, but its draconian DRM it is a big no no for me.

If the DRM is th eonly thing you do not like ... (4, Informative)

stasike (1063564) | more than 5 years ago | (#27808931)

Well, there are quite a few readers [] with much less draconian DRM or even completely without DRM:

Sony Reader PRS-700, Sony Reader PRS-505, Bokeen Cybook Gen3, IRex Digital Reader, IRex iLiad, The Jinke/Hanlin, Ganaxa GeR2, Soribook, Readius, Hanvon N510 , Hanvon N516, astak EZ Reader, Astak Mentor, the new 5" models from several manufacturers and quite a few clones and rebranded OEM versions of above mentioned devices.

Re:If the DRM is th eonly thing you do not like .. (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809297)

Um exactly. I see WAAAAY ore Sony 505's in people's hands than the Kindle. Target had a sale on them a few weeks back and they were $249.95.

I have seen 1 kindle in the wild, and at least 30 Sony readers. What I like is that I can carry years worth of my favorite magazines and every technical manual with me. My buddy bough a Sony reader for his garage after I showed him where to get all his motorcycle assembly and repair manuals in pdf form online. He said that the silicone covers for the unit keep grease and oil off them very well.

Re:If the DRM is th eonly thing you do not like .. (2, Interesting)

winphreak (915766) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809439)

My uncle uses a Sony reader for the same thing, except he runs a small car repair shop, and uses it for all the repair manuals he's bought over the 2 decades he had been doing it.

Re:If the DRM is th eonly thing you do not like .. (5, Insightful)

Whillowhim (1408725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809519)

Many of those have DRM that is just as bad. I know the Sony readers have it from personal experience, and the Sony store sucks a heck of a lot more than Amazon. Of course, they all read a variety of free formats without DRM as well, as do all the readers I know about. The problem is not that the readers handle DRM, its that online stores are selling books in a variety of incompatible and restrictive formats. The Sony store sells books that are DRMed with a format only readable on the Sony e-book readers. The Amazon store only sells books readable on the Kindle. As an owner of the Sony e-book reader, I cannot buy e-books from Amazon. With a Kindle, I could not buy books from Sony. This fractures the market and turns e-books from "any book ever written (within reason)" to "any book your manufacturer bothered signing a contract with". This fractures the market and destroys much of the usefulness of an e-book reader. The sole reason I recommend the Kindle to people is because the Amazon store seems to have the best selection, I dislike some of the features of the actual reader itself (i.e. I don't see downloading books over a cell phone as a feature, since you have to pay for it with higher priced books and a short battery life if you forget to turn wireless off).

Of course, there are stores out there that sell books in a non-DRM format. Baen was one of the first publisher to do this and I have bought a lot of books from them. However, they are a small fraction of the books published today (3ish new books a month, all sci-fi or fantasy) and the same seems to hold true for the other stores I've found. Fictionwise seems to come up in conversation a lot, but only some of its books are DRM-free, and the 6 times so far I've gone looking for a specific book from them, they've had it only in DRM encumbered format. And since Sony doesn't want to release its DRM scheme, none of their DRM formats will work with my reader. I just added up my order history for Baen, and I've spent $936 on their e-books over the past 3 years. I'm more than willing to pay for books, but there are a lot of e-books out there where people simply refuse to take my money.

The alternative to all of this, of course, is to pirate books. This is generally a pain in the ass and can result in some poor quality books, but there is a lot more available this way than there is from legitimate non-DRMed books. I haven't found a specific site that works well for downloading books. Many of the major torrent sites have large collections of books available for download, but they can be pretty spotty and the quality is... variable. There will often be issues with the lines being too long for the reader, and wrapping in weird ways or with extra spaces between lines. There are some that are perfectly fine, but it is often a crap shoot. On the other hand, the first time I got frustrated with Fictonwise's DRM only books, I found a collection of sci-fi and fantasy that was 9 gigs. A good portion of that was scans of graphic novels, but you can fit a mind-blowing amount of text into even a small part of a 9 gig compressed file. Once I downloaded that, my first stop for new books is Baen, and the second stop is my hard drive. Its rare that I bother looking for anything else now. I still check for some new releases on various websites, but more often than not I'm disappointed in the results. I'm not going to pay $18 for a book that has been out in paperback for 6 months. And that was just the one book lately that _was_ available.

Though I may have got off track a bit, I think the real problem here is not that readers can handle DRM, its that online stores are fucked up. I could easily have spent an extra $1k on books if they were available in a format that works in my e-book reader. The fact that publishers won't allow those formats is the problem, not the fact that a specific reader has DRM for file format Y, but not Z. They're just asking everyone who doesn't have their specific e-book reader to pirate the books, instead of selling good quality versions for sale with reasonable fees and an easy to use system to download what you want when you want it.

Re:If the DRM is th eonly thing you do not like .. (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810039)

This is exactly right. I've owned an eReader for about a year but have never bought a book from their store, nor am I likely to. I've found plenty to read on it, though, and Calibre will happily convert lots of different formats to the native one so that things look nice on the reader.

Re:If the DRM is th eonly thing you do not like .. (4, Interesting)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812185)

I bought a Sony E-Reader last November. I travel a lot for work, and I thought it would be nice to take books with me on the plane. I like reading computer books, and most of them are about the size of the Chicago phone book. Carrying a 5-10lb book around in my backpack "in case" I feel like reading is not something I wanted to do. It is amazing how many computer manuals come with PDF copies of the books on CD. If I have to choose between two books, I will always go for the one with the PDF copy, even if I feel the one without it is a little better. A mediocre book I will use is much greater than a good book I won't.

As far as purchasing electronic books, I've never done it yet. I don't plan on it. I'd be telling a lie if I said I had never pirated an eBook, but in my defense 95% of them have been books that I already own. I am more likely to buy the book and then pirate the electronic format than to buy the electronic format. Call me old fashioned, but I like having the book around, even if I never need to open it. I wont buy an ebook unless the price comes down significantly from the paper version AND the DRM is removed or significantly transparent and portable.

I am a huge Discworld fan. I got hooked in the 90's after I played the Discworld PC game. I went through his books like crazy, and I now own every Discworld book. I purchased many of them from the UK when Pratchett was having difficulties with US publishers. While I support Terry Pratchett, I don't intend on repurchasing his books. I hope he can understand and forgive me for seeking alternate means of acquiring his materials. If I said I felt guilty, I would be telling a lie.

Re:Lack of features (2, Informative)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809147)

well, if DRM is one of those "features" it lacks, I'll consider it. Kindle 2 is nice, but its draconian DRM it is a big no no for me.

Most if not all support multiple formats. Usually only one DRM encumbered format.

Re:Lack of features (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809429)

I'm hoping the screen technology has improved a bit. The slow update rate is the limiting factor with all current eBook readers. If the screen was faster, reading PDFs zoomed in or flicking through books/news items/menus/web pages would be a realistic prospect.

Re:Lack of features (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27810333)

The second version of the e-ink displays (which they are branding "Vizplex" are a tad faster (perhaps half the refresh time), but still not good enough to be able to flick through a book or do panning.

I also find with PDFs that the rendering time with these relative slow ARM based machines can often be longer than the screen refresh, so it isn't purely a display issue.

Only Pirates (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810229)

Are against DRM.

Are you sure you don't want to rephrase your statement, comrade?

Re:Only Pirates (1)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810931)

A Soviet ninja!

Re:Lack of features (4, Insightful)

yamfry (1533879) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811251)

I'm not really sure where this Kindle-is-full-of-DRM idea comes from. The Kindle has no DRM, but it does support a file format that can be restricted with DRM. I'm a Kindle 2 user (there are a lot of things I don't like about it, but that's another topic), and I have never put a single DRM-laden format on it. There are free utilities from both Amazon and third parties (I use Stanza) that will convert a host of other formats (PDF -- poorly, .mobi, etc) to Kindle format. There is nothing intrinsic to the device itself that makes it a DRM machine.

There's no avoiding DRM on any reader... (1)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811253)

For commercial content that is. There's no DRM even on the Kindle for your own content, but you are deluding yourself if you think major publishers are going to allow DRM-free e-books. If you don't want DRM, you are going to be limited to Project Gutenberg and the works of Cory Doctorow, basically.

Re:There's no avoiding DRM on any reader... (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811487)

Will they support all DRM formats and let you download the same book in another DRM format later if you change reader?

If not most people would probably prefer to wait until the DRM is cracked and then copy the books instead of ending up with useless files.

Personally I think the devices are too expensive but when I saw the cost of the parts of the Kindle I could understand why it cost the amount it does. So I guess no e-reader for me for a while ..

Thank God (4, Funny)

bensafrickingenius (828123) | more than 5 years ago | (#27808853)

Another ebook reader.

Re:Thank God (4, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809011)

I'm using ebook readers to roof my CSS manual house.

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809227)

OK, I don't get it...

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809537)

I do. Good one.
Unless we have a devastating fire, hardcopy doesn't run out of batteries, lose its memory, or fail to work with new technology and I can lend them freely without any kind of installation worries. To see the problem with the tech way, just look back a bit. For example, I still want to read my 5-1/4" diskettes but that computer is not happy.
The big problem with the dead tree version is the space it takes up.
It will be unreliable enough without DRM so no Kindle. I haven't found one I like enough yet, though, so I am waiting a while longer, for a company and product I can trust, before I buy my reader.

Re:Thank God (2, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809549)

every time there's a review of a css book (such as Friday?), there's a comment to the effect: "my house made of css books is almost complete"

Usual flaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27808857)

$299. Way too expensive.

Imagine all the Lesbian Porno to watch on this dev (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809189)

Hey what's up guys? You heard, and I'm going to write it. There once was a player named "yabbitboy" and he had the Lesbian Index and Strapon White Pages, but alas they are slowing down because all the girls are growing up and the amatures are takin' the scene. But that doesn't mean we can't look at all the old stuff: [] []

Sorry those lists weren't URL friendly, but hey at-least they are available. If you prefer almost the same as the above but in thumb-form, try []

And last and not least, make certain to browse for the scene lists so you know what actual Strapon Lesbian scene you are looking for in an often dualistic video title. I myself prefer the Keri Windsor vs. Kiki Daire [] in "Carnal Coed Confessions Scene 4" or Keri Windsor vs. Eva Angelina [] , however a good amatueur lesbian tribulation scene (lesbians hopping in bed) [] would do a better job.

Rarely does Nina Hartley ever make a good appearance, so I prefer when she is with a younger woman to dominate her [] as the case may be several times. []

On a side note, does anyone have any issues with downloading all the good shit when you're horny as fuck, but then after you jack-off 10 times in the toilette you then delete all 100MB of the good shit because you think you'll never do it again? I think your ol' doctor has problems himself, or he doesn't like the laws in relation to me getting caught with the data when I'm not horny and ashamed of it.

Until we meet later, be well.
Dr. Dean Adildo, MD, BS, DDS, WD40

Kindle, Papyrus...yawn. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27808869)

Why not a cool name like ThanaTree or Necroarbortron?

Highly portable? (1)

stasike (1063564) | more than 5 years ago | (#27808871)

I wonder what makes it more highly portable than Sony Reader (PRS 500. PRS 505, PRS 700), Kindle (1 and 2), Bookeen Cybook Gen3, The Jinke/Hanlin and quite a few others.

All-important specs missing (3, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27808965)

Lack of data support outside the US isn't a problem. The Kindle only supports EVDO, which nobody outside the US uses anyway. And whilst there is not hardware keyboard, I'd imagine the touchscreen supports a software keyboard (otherwise the 'memo' menu button displayed rather prominently would be pretty useless). The real make-or-break factor is it's resolution. The Kindle, along with all the other e-ink readers I've seen, have had no higher a resolution than 1280x1024 (for the iRex Digital Reader costing an exorbitant £600), with 800x600 being the norm. This is unacceptably low for comfortable reading without huge fonts (and thus low word counts per page), and entirely prevents the use of grayscale images at any readable quality. Until e-ink displays can hit 1280x1024 at a reasonable price point, they're just not worth it.

Re:All-important specs missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809043)

EVDO is used here in India.

Re:All-important specs missing (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809229)

Pity deodorant isn't.

Re:All-important specs missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27810473)

On the bright side, now that they've taken your job, you don't have to smell them.

Re:All-important specs missing (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809323)

I would consider 200 dpi the minimum barely acceptable resolution. 300 dpi is visibly better, and 600 dpi is finally "good enough". There is a reason laser printers improved from 300 to 600 and 1200 dpi as soon as they could develop the technology. It isn't merely a question of smooth fonts - at lower than 200 dpi small print like superscripts and footnotes is simply unreadable.

An A4 sheet at 200 dpi requires 2338 x 1653 pixels, and an A5 page (paperback size) has 1653 x 1169 pixels. In other words, the reader resolutions are still only getting there and real paper is the clear readability champion.

Re:All-important specs missing (3, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809499)

Four words for you: Resolution, Resolution, Resolution, Resolution [you can visualize a monkey-dance here if you like]
The lousy 800x600 greyscale that most ebook readers have makes a mockery of any attempt to render equations or scientific illustrations. For equations, you need higher resolution, unless you are happy with a single equation with a few sub/super scripts filling the screen by itself. For informative diagrams, you need color and resolution. I'll skip ebook readers for a while longer.

Re:All-important specs missing (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810717)

I'd imagine the touchscreen supports a software keyboard (otherwise the 'memo' menu button displayed rather prominently would be pretty useless).

Well, duh... You do have a pretty weak imagination, do you?
Try imagining how you wrote with a real notepad and a pencil.
Got it? ^^

Re:All-important specs missing (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811565)

you wrote with a real notepad and a pencil.

What? This is Slashdot.

Your method is clearly inferior, it's slow and makes unreadable texts.

Re:All-important specs missing (1)

MikeFats (1024245) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812281)

Until e-ink displays can hit 1280x1024 at a reasonable price point, they're just not worth it.

A screen's resolution alone is not an indicator of reading comfort or font size. Even a high-resolution display will look coarse if its physical dimensions are large. The spec to look for is pixels-per-inch (ppi): []

Why in the world (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27808969)

... would I want to buy something the size of a netbook, for more money than a netbook, that only does 1/100th the things a netbook will do?

Thanks, but... no thanks.

Re:Why in the world (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809061)

No wireless. Less space than a Nomad.


Only one feature needed (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809115)

(Insert Sarah Palin joke here.)

Because it has one feature that your netbook doesn't: the eInk display. This display only consumes power when the contents of the display change. The Sony ebook claims 7 thousand/i. page turns before the battery runs down. That would be very handy for long plane rides or road trips. The best netbooks run out of power in 10 hours, regardless of how quickly you read. (Which might be OK if you have access to a power outlet.) Dead tree books don't use any power at all — but that much printed matter is a pain to carry around when you're on the road.

Now, I don't have an ebook reader because $400 is to much to spend on something I'd rarely use. Part of that is because I own a tablet which is great for reading in an armchair or in bed. (And which I paid way too much for.) I'd still be tempted if I did any travelling, especially to place where I wouldn't want to risk my tablet.

Re:Only one feature needed (2, Insightful)

Whillowhim (1408725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809609)

Exactly, but you did miss one other feature. Size matters. Try putting your netbook in your pocket, or holding it in your hand without resting it on something. Readers are small enough and light enough that they are in a completely different class of portable compared to a small notebook computer. Its a similar comparison between an ipod and a netbook, since both of them play audio just fine.

So... if you want something with crazy battery life (1 week or more), small enough to fit in a pocket and light enough to hold in your hands indefinitely you want an e-book reader. If you don't mind recharging 1-2 times a day, carting a small bag around to hold your notebook and setting your notebook down on a convenient surface to read books, then don't bother with an e-book reader.

Re:Only one feature needed (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810269)

Really? I want to see you put a Kindle in your pocket.

Re:Only one feature needed (2, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810769)

He has very biig pockets [] . (Will be the new US size 0 in 2010.)

Re:Only one feature needed (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811049)

They actually fit quite nicely into cargo pants. Useful for taking it on the subway or things like that.

Re:Only one feature needed (1)

stasike (1063564) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812955)

I carry my Sony reader in my breast pocket in my jacket.

Re:Only one feature needed (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812297)

If you don't mind recharging 1-2 times a day, carting a small bag around to hold your notebook and setting your notebook down on a convenient surface to read books, then don't bother with an e-book reader.

As a matter of fact, I hate reading on a notebook. You can't curl up with the thing. If I didn't already have a tablet, the Kindle would be a lot more tempting.

Re:Why in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809151)

... would I want to buy something the size of a netbook, for more money than a netbook, that only does 1/100th the things a netbook will do? Thanks, but... no thanks.

It's the screen. The point of these readers is to use e-ink display, which doesn't have electrons flying towards your eyes.

Also, there's something to be said about doing one thing, and doing it REALLY well.

Re:Why in the world (1)

steveg (55825) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809153)

It's considerably smaller than a netbook. My Sony is about 1/4" thick. It's 5" wide and 7" long. When you're talking about a device that size, those differences are huge. I can put my Sony in a cargo pocket in my pants, or (with a little effort) in the inside pocket of my jacket.

I'm sorry, you're not going to find a netbook that can do that.

One of the things that the reader can do that your netbook cannot, is easily read the screen outside, even in direct sun. Unless you have an XO netbook, just try that on your netbook.

An e-reader with e-paper will not do what your netbook does, but the netbook will not do what the reader will, either. Whether you think it's a worthwhile expense is up to you, but their abilities don't overlap much.

Re:Why in the world (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810299)

Sorry, my reply to the person above was intended for you. If those are the dimensions of your netbook, the Kindle is larger. I would like to see you put a Kindle in your pocket.

Re:Why in the world (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809175)

Battery life, and the paper-like display. They also tend to be a hell of a lot thinner.

Not enough to sell me on one (I mostly listen to audiobooks anyways), but the market definitely exists.

Re:Why in the world (2, Insightful)

agrippa_cash (590103) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809237)

Because it claims to do something better than a netbook can. I am slightly eccentric though: I use a watch to tell time, a cellphone to talk and a camera to take pictures. It may seem silly, but there are a lot of people like me.

I'll hold off until they are cheaper though.

Re:Why in the world (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812583)

I guess I've never understood that argument. Camera phones aren't about replacing your camera, they're about having a camera with you 99% of the time. I don't know how many times something has happened that I wanted a picture of and didn't have a real camera handy. The camera phone pictures aren't the best, but they often do the job of capturing the moment well enough for me.

Obviously, if I'm going somewhere or doing something that I expect to be interesting I bring my real camera along for the ride. The camera on my phone and my real camera fulfill two very different purposes and I'm happy to have them both.

Re:Why in the world (3, Insightful)

teg (97890) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809245)

... would I want to buy something the size of a netbook, for more money than a netbook, that only does 1/100th the things a netbook will do?

Because it's smaller (like a pocket book), has much improved battery life and has a much better display for its particular purpose. I don't like reading books on a laptop, or even worse, on an iphone even though they have a lot of features an e-book reader does nat have.

If I could buy they Kindle here, I would. One major reason for ignoring other offerings is the book store... unlike music, "bring your own book" doesn't work very well so access to a large electronic book store is a huge plus.

Re:Why in the world (1)

caywen (942955) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809601)

Are you talking about the Papyrus or the Kindle?

Re:Why in the world (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810385)

It's not enough of a difference to matter to me. All these things are great. But not worth my money.

Perfect a color version of e-paper, make it bigger (I have had a Palm Pilot for years, I don't need another one), give it a touch screen and virtual keyboard. Then I might bite.

When similar devices without the e-paper came out some years ago, they did not have sufficient processing power and lacked applications. Today that's not a problem.

Re:Why in the world (2, Insightful)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809987)

To read in full sunlight.

Re:Why in the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27810849)

Because it only does one thing but it excels at doing it

Re:Why in the world (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811571)

Eventually "better" screen and much better battery life?

Re:Why in the world (1)

xlsior (524145) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811967)

... would I want to buy something the size of a netbook, for more money than a netbook, that only does 1/100th the things a netbook will do?


Seriously, in direct sunlight it completely blows any laptop screen out of the water. It's not even close. Plus since there is no active lighting, it is extremely easy on the eyes. Looking at computer screens for any prolonged amount of time leads to eye strain, which is not the case with e-ink displays -- it really does feel the same as reading a normal book.

Aside from the readability, most e-Readers don't use any power unless you change the screen -- the Sony PRS-505 is rated for 7,500 *page changes* on a single battery charge (750Mah), but depending on how long you actually look at each page that can translate to weeks of runtime. Good luck trying that with a laptop or netbook.

Besides, the e-readers are significantly smaller than Netbooks. For example:
The ASUS eeePC 701 claims to be the smallest netbook available. It's 6.5 x 8.9 x 1.4 inches. The Sony PRS-505 e-Reader is 6.9 x 4.8 x 0.3 inches.
That's almost half the surface area, and less than a quarter of the thickness.

I bit the bullet some time last years and bought one myself. Best purchase I ever made...

Anyway: In my mind you really shouldn't be comparing the eReaders with a laptop replacement, but with a book replacement. Current laptops simply aren't a viable substitute: The big power requirements, and massive eyestrain induced by the current generation of displays don't even put it in the same ballpark. I wouldn't even consider reading an entire book on my laptop, but have no problem at all doing it on an eReader: it's smaller, extremely portable (easily fits in a pocket), can run a VERY long time on a single charge, and is very easy on the eyes.
At the same time, it beats old-fashioned paper books: You can carry hundreds of books on a single SD card, which makes it great when traveling on airplanes. It remembers exactly where you last left off in any number of books. You can adjust the fontsize up or down so you're not stuck with whatever size the publisher deemed best. To me, it's the best of both worlds.

That said: Should the industry ever manage to speed up e-ink display technology significantly from the current ~half-second refresh rate to >10FPS or more, I'd wager that it would make an absolutely killer laptop screen for people that need to work outside... Visually there really is no comparison between e-ink and LCD/TFT... I'd gladly settle for black-and-white as long as the readability and refreshrate is there...

Re:Why in the world (1)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812227)

You wouldn't say that if you had looked at an e-ink screen. It's nothing like an LCD. It uses no power to display, only to "change the page". This means that you can go through 2000 pages on a single charge. Try that on a netbook! The nice thing is this, if you use DRM free books, you can still keep a copy on your netbook, your laptop, your desktop, your online storage location, etc. You are free to do what ever you want! But I promise you, if you had used an e-ink device, you would choose to use an e-ink device to view your electronic books. :-)

Re:Why in the world (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812947)

It serves a different purpose, for example it is a lot easier to read these for long periods of time.

You might as well complain that you can get a screwdriver for $4 down at walmart.

It's PAPYRUS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27808977)

Aren't they releasing this a few millennia too late?

Still a niche product (3, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#27808979)

Given the high price point and the (likely) too-restrictive DRM, I just can't see any of these devices really take off. I'm sure that, just like with music, the problem isn't the device manufacturers - it's the book publishers that are the problem. But as things stand now, there are just too many trade-offs for these to move into the mainstream. The publishers are just too concerned with trying to stuff the genii back into the bottle. Eventually someone - maybe Apple? - will come along with enough conviction (so they won't compromise) and clout (so they don't HAVE to compromise), and we'll finally get a truly revolutionary e-reader.

For the present, though it's too bad - I'd love to get e-book readers for all three of us (my wife, daughter, and myself). I'd love to quit buying paper books and a printed newspaper. For now, however, they're just too expensive and too locked down.

Re:Still a niche product (1)

MattXBlack (1534971) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809129)

BeBook isn't tied to DRM. I have heard rumours you can get hold of ebooks at the same place you can get music, films and tv shows.

Re:Still a niche product (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811119)

It's not going to be conviction that gets a company to be able to do it DRM-free, its going to be the publishers trying to break a single dominant outlet (e.g. iTunes for music). The single dominant outlet is probably an obvious result of a heavily DRM'd market, corresponding with the most convenient solution.

If no one were to use any form of DRM'd e-books, you'd probably have the publishers say 'look, no one wants them.' Fortunately, I think there's enough interest in the product that the publishers will be forced to come around. Its just a matter of time.

Of course, cost is always a matter of time as well.

E-Book? I'd rather have a document reader. (0)

smith6174 (986645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809161)

Seriously, E-book is about the stupidest invention I can think of. How about a device that I can use to read the thousands of .pdf files I have. There is no use waiting for all of the academic papers in the world to be re-done in some e-book format. How about all the pdf versions of books available through torrent that I shouldn't have to fire up my laptop to read? I know there are technical problems involved with pdf, but it can't be that hard. I would guess that the first effective .pdf document display device would catch on like a new ipod. DRM? Fuck 'em, everybody can afford a scanner.

Re:E-Book? I'd rather have a document reader. (1)

AeneaTech (1308711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809219)

Such a device does exist, it's called an ebook reader :D

Re:E-Book? I'd rather have a document reader. (2, Insightful)

smith6174 (986645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809277)

Thanks for the clarification, you must be a genius. Why is .pdf support "experimental" and shitty even on Kindle2? Why do you need wireless to send a file to Amazon to convert a file and send it to your device? Lets get real. If a decent reader device existed, every grad student in the country would want one.

Re:E-Book? I'd rather have a document reader. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809387)

PDF support on the Sony PRS-505 is good enough for scientific papers. I use it all of the time for the files that OUP and PLoS churn out. Although using Calibre to automatically convert the HTML version is often a win, when the HTML is available.

Re:E-Book? I'd rather have a document reader. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809543)

Have a look at the iRex Digital Reader. A4 size, supports PDF.

Re:E-Book? I'd rather have a document reader. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810851)

A4 has a diagonal of about 363 mm, the largest reader currently made by irex has a viewable diagonal less than 260 mm. That's a difference of about 40%. They can probably get away with calling the unit A4-sized because the entire device, including the margins with all the controls and buttons, is about that big. But the viewable area still falls quite a bit short.

Re:E-Book? I'd rather have a document reader. (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809629)

The most known one isn't always the best one. Others [] (and just FYI, they support pdf etc nicely)

Re:E-Book? I'd rather have a document reader. (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810171)

You actually don't need wifi to convert the file. You can convert it via a free email service and then transfer it from your computer, no wifi needed. You got me on the experimental part (it works fine, like the browser: its experimental in the same way half of Google's stuff is beta...they don't want to take responsability for it, and if it eats away in their sales they may take it away...which I realize is pretty bad), but most other ebook readers have PDF native.

Most grad student in the country didn't hold one in their hands, thats why they don't want one, IMO. I bought a kindle to my girlfriend who's currently in the US (i'm canadian, so I can't easily get one for myself), because she wanted one, but once I saw it and tried it, just wow.

Re:E-Book? I'd rather have a document reader. (1)

AeneaTech (1308711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810559)

Nah, you must be just ignorant. The Kindle is not the only e-ink device out there: []

Even their old model the iLiad, which I have, supports pdf files, but you must have missed that one.

Re:E-Book? I'd rather have a document reader. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809397)

Its called a Sony eReader (the PRS 505 is the nicest IMO).

Read PDF files natively - no conversion required. Battery life is 7500 page turns (4 weeks for me), and it supports SD and Sony Stick Pro cards.

My one reader has about 3,000 docs - including several academic papers on it. The samsung release isn't anything dramatic - just samsungs competitive offering.

Yes! pdf, and may be djvu. (1)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809889)

I am studying math, and a while ago realized I have *lots* of free textbooks, lectures, tutorials, all in pdf format and I would *love* to carry them with me. In addition, I got quite a few documents in djvu format, which is more compact that pdf. A perfect situation for ebook reader except none of them apparently deals with either format natively. So I have to convert every pdf file I have to whatever format those ebook readers are used, and for djvu, I have to convert djvu to pdf and then to the native format. Seems like getting inexpensive tablet PC might be a better idea.

Get a Netbook and run Linux on it (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810589)

So get an Eee PC on Ebay. I've been using my 701 for more than a year and it just keeps getting better, since it is now running Mandriva 2009.1 Spring. Here is an install guide: []

Re:Get a Netbook and run Linux on it (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810895)

Paper is easier on the eyes than _any_ currently existing computer monitor. Epaper displays reflect light rather than emit it, so they are as comfortable to read for extended periods as normal paper is. Sure, you can't read them in the dark, but that's not the point of an epaper display... it's to be easy to read, not to shove more photons into your eyes than your pupils are generally dilated to actually accommodate.

auto-fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809173)

no wireless support?
nothing more than a very expansive piece of junk

Gotta be a winner (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809233)

Costs just a little less than a kindle 2, less memory, no keyboard, smaller screen, fewer features. No idea how many book titles will be available for it.

It does have a calculator though.

Makes me want to run out and get one to replace my kindle 2.

Re:Gotta be a winner (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810635)

Costs just a little less than a kindle 2, less memory, no keyboard, smaller screen, fewer features. No idea how many book titles will be available for it.

Why on earth would you want to have a keyboard on an ebook reader?

I don't see (nor want to see) ebook readers evolve into my "I have everything I need on the go"-device. Cellphones are doing a pretty good job filling that role; ebook readers are an extra device to take along to read books (and have lots of books stored to choose from). The most important thing I look for in a reader is: as large a screen as possible, in a package a small as possible, approaching the size of a regular paperback. That precludes physical keyboards, unless it is really thin and folds/slides away. I want something with a comfortable screen size that is still easy to carry with me in my coat pocket, without requiring a pouch or bag.

The Iliad reader comes close... it's just a tad too bulky still, and it's way too expensive. But if I could have my choice of what is currently available, that would be it.

Re:Gotta be a winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27811517)

Why on earth would you want to have a keyboard on an ebook reader?

Well, speaking for myself I travel and I'd like to not carry lots of travel books with me but I'd also like to search for things (towns, other places). A touchscreen keyboard would be fine though.

bah, A5... (3, Funny)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809275)

sorry, but im not interested unless its A4...

Re:bah, A5... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810969)

I concur, but people like us represent too small a segment of the population to make such a product commercially viable at this time. I heard this directly from somebody who works for a company that makes a portable electronic document reader, and that's the response I got when I suggested that they make a letter-sized device. I was told they'd keep the idea in mind for future products, in what reminded me of the way that one gets told by a company that isn't going to hire them that "they'll keep their resume on file for 6 months" but never actually hear from ever again until you send them your resume again 6 months later.

My Feature Criteria (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809281)

I won't buy an ebook reader until they have most of the things I want. Wifi access to shares on the local network - I often read on the couch; a comic reader program, because I do like my Deadpool; a colour screen, obviously, because reading coloured comics in black and white is not cool; SD or MicroSD storage would be nice too. A couple of nice but non-compulsory features for me would be a themeable and customizable UI, and a touch screen that I can write on.

For all that, the price would have to be at or below $250 AU - Rough completely uneducated guess (I'm not even sure what the exchange rate is right now), that's about $320 US at the moment.

Re:My Feature Criteria (1)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809299)

I'm an idiot - I did that currency conversion backwards. I'm sure you're smart enough to see that, though...

what the hell is this web site? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809303)

it seems to have nothing on it but this crappy one paragraph "article"?

Price (1)

fractalVisionz (989785) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809407)

Unfortunately this new device lacks wireless capabilities

Does this mean it lacks wifi too?

At this price, $299 US, it will only be $60 less than the Kindle2, without wireless capabilities. That seems like a pretty bad deal in my opinion. Sorry, not a kindle killer in my opinion.

DR1000S (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27809413)

I love my new iRex DR1000S. Great for reading technical manuals and books. Great for PDF books which you can *ahem* get off the web. Still a few software bugs, but that is improving. And yes it runs Linux and is mostly open source.

Who needs wireless? (1)

Dillenger69 (84599) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809527)

Honestly, who needs wireless on an eBook reader?
As long as it's got a memory card slot and/or a USB port that's really all it needs. A keyboard is also another thing that's pretty much useless on a book reader. With a touch screen, the thing should pretty much just have a power button and no more.

If the screen is ok, the DRM isn't there, and I can get one for way less than $299, I'm there. Once something like this can go for $100, or even $150, I'm all over it.

Re:Who needs wireless? (1)

iknowcss (937215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27810955)

Really [] ?

not impressed from the few details (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809555)

I'm a kindle 2 owner. I looked at the touch-screen on a Sony device, and I didn't like it. The screen had more glare, and I didn't find it to be a suitable replacement for the keyboard. I suspect this device will have the same shortcomings.

The "article," scant on details, suggests that this device is more "portable." Since it lacks wireless, which makes it infinitely less portable than the kindle, I can only assume that it weighs less. At 10 ounces or so, weight isn't much of an issue, in my mind. That said, I think competition is good. But it would have to include many new, important features to offset the lack of wireless and keyboard. Calendar, notes and contact features are nice, but after having used an e-reader for two months, the slow refresh rate on these would make them a poor replacement for a PDA. I think Samsung has to do better than this to enter the market.

Great, but what about the SOFTWARE? (1)

IronChef (164482) | more than 5 years ago | (#27809959)

We've seen some keen devices, like the Kindle, hampered by their crappy software.

Likewise, the Sony Reader... I have one, and for the $50 it cost me as part of a credit card signup gimmick, I love it. But before I can spend a few hundred bucks on another similar item, it has GOT to be easier to use. Sony's desktop software is poor, and converting other formats for the device is a pain in the rear.

Please, Samsung... Let this thing mount like a USB storage device. Teach it to understand txt, rtf, html, pdb, pdf, and maybe even chm--WITHOUT needing to do any conversion on my computer. And add in whatever DRM-infested format you want on top of it, fine... but please, make a product that's for readers and not PUBLISHERS.

(I have ancient Pocket PC ebook reading software that transparently handles displaying text in all of these formats, even inside zip files. It ain't rocket surgery.

Right now the closest thing to an uber-reader, for my needs, is this thing. Spiffy, but if someone beats them on price, I'd be there. [] )

Re:Great, but what about the SOFTWARE? (2, Insightful)

ErkDemon (1202789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812175)

Yep, format conversion is a joy-killer.

A serious reader =has= to be able to read PDFs and basic webpages by default. Hell, reading ODF and MSWord6 wouldn't hurt, either.

But if a reader can't read a simple saved HTML page without an attached PC to run the conversion software, or without going online to access a proprietary conversion service, then it's not a very good document reader. If I'm going to spend a lot of money on a document reader, I want it to be able to show me PDF-archived correspondence and stored webpages.

BeBook/Jinke V3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27810615)

I own five BeBooks [] and I love them. They read HTML, PDF, DOC, RTF, TXT, MOBI, EPUB, FB2, LIT, all without conversion. The device runs on GNU/Linux and you can even replace the factory firmware with OpenInkpot [] , an ebook ereader OS built by hobbyist free software programmers. BeBook is actually an OEM version of Jinke eReader V3 [] , that is being sold in the US as EZ Reder [] (you can find more OEMs at the mobileread wiki [] ).

LaTeX (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811029)

I want an ebook reader that reads pdf files generated by tex & latex. Does one exist?

I have little use for devices with horribly limited pdf conversion options, like the Kindle. I don't mind producing ebook sized pdfs for my own papers using pdflatex, but I'd like to be able to read other pdf files too.

Re:LaTeX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27812581)

this may worth trying:

Re:LaTeX (1)

vonFinkelstien (687265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812667)

I've been hunting for a latex-to-mobi (or other e-book formats) util out there, but haven't found anything. I have tons of code that I would love to make ebooks for Stanza and my Touch.

When ebooks will take out... (2, Interesting)

Fished (574624) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811273)

eBook readers will take off the same time that mp3 players and smart phones did... when apple releases the 'iRead' (or whatever they call it.) I'm convinced that apples the only company out there with enough sense (and cojones) to make an eBook reader that will actually be a useful substitute for the printed word. If Apple doesn't do it, then that's just an indication that the technology isn't Quite There Yet.

Sorry, I hate to sound like a hopeless fan-boi, but after getting burned on mp3 players (that just weren't Good Enough), then on Blackberrys (that Just Weren't Quite Good Enough), and loving life with my iPod and iPhone, I'm sold.

Apple, eBooks, EPUB (3, Interesting)

ErkDemon (1202789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812039)

If Apple doesn't do it, then that's just an indication that the technology isn't Quite There Yet.

The problem with the idea of Apple walking in and taking the market is vertical integration and formats. Apple tend to like having their own proprietary formats, and hardware, and their own stores for content. So do Sony. So do Amazon.

Sony keep trying and failing (Betamax, Minidisc). Amazon tried to corner the "print on demand" market and failed, because the industry were so furious about Amazon's abuse of power with the Booksurge fiasco that basically if Amazon hadn't backed down they have been sued or shot. Google books illegally scanned god knows how many copyright books with the intent to serve up content and charge advertising, and got sued.

So the book industry - authors and publishers - tend to see the outside corporate guys who keep trying to take over their market and steal their content as basically pirates who are one step away from being Organised Crime (if that).

So, while Amazon would certainly //like// to own the future eBook market and dictate terms to everyone else for the privilege of access to their ebook gateway, the book industry wants the Amazon/Kindle platform to go open-format and multi-vendor, or to fail. Same with the Sony format (except Sony seem to realise that they're weak, and seem to be making friendly noises about supporting whatever the industry decides on).


I spent a few days at the London Book Fair recently, and what the publishers all seem to be pushing for is an "open" format based on XML called EPUB. They recognise that ebooks are going to become an increasingly important part of their business, and they're damned if they're going to just sign over half their future ebook income for the rest of their lives to someone like Amazon (or Sony), and be locked into a proprietary system that another company owns and controls. So they're trying to rejig their production processes around XML, with export to EPUB.

The current plan is that EPUB becomes the default format that every publishing house uses for all their new books, in parallel with their print production, and that Amazon and Sony and everyone else have to retrofit support for EPUB or leave the market. So if the industry has its way, Kindle's proprietary format should be dead except as a legacy format in a year or two, and Kindles will be reading EPUB files Real Soon Now.

PDF isn't half bad, but the publishing industry is (understandably) SO paranoid about being screwed by corporations trying to take over their market, that they won't even touch that, because that one's owned by Adobe. They've worked out that the only way to avoid getting screwed over is to adopt a single industry-wide format that nobody owns, and break the various corporations' attempts to use engineered incompatibility to divide and conquer the market.

So that's where we are now.

In that context, if Apple announced tomorrow that they were bringing out a new ebook reader that only used a proprietary Apple format, the publishing industry would look at them like they'd walked into a wedding reception, dropped their pants, and shat on the wedding cake. They saw what Apple did with iTunes, and they're damned, damned, damned if Apple are going to try to waltz in and own the new market for their content, too.

If Apple want to do an EPUB-compatible reader, then that's fine, but if they want to set up their own new incompatible corner, that's not. And if their reader is going to be playing generic content, and if their shop isn't going to have an obvious advantage over all the other EPUB outlets, then there's not as much of a chance for Apple to extract added value from the scheme, and there's not as much reason for them to get involved with a new product.
And, actually, Apple already HAVE a pocket-sized eBook platform, in the shape of the iPhone. Unless they can buy in ePaper technology in bulk and bring the costs right down (as they did with iPod storage), it's not obvious why Apple would enter this market with a new specific product, except as a vanity product. And they're kinda leaving the vanity products to Sony. Maybe when the market's settled down a bit more, they might find a way to put a new spin on an "iKindle", but for now I think they're just happy to sell iPhones and let users buy third-party ebook software if they want it.

I suppose that it's possible that with Apple and Amazon both seeing the prospect of an open ebook format becoming successful, with neither of them being able to stop it, they might consider teaming up for a strategic alliance, with perhaps a merging of Apple and Kindle lines (Apple standardising on Kindle format, and maybe producing a higher-end Kindle, Amazon selling the content).
But unless Apple launch their rebadged version of the Kindle II with a snazzy acrylic case, or manage to buy up or otherwise control e-Ink screen technology, I don't see them having a dedicated reader any time soon. They're reasonably happy selling iphones.

Getting there... (4, Funny)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27811837)

I'm waiting for the one which has DON'T PANIC in big friendly letters on the front.

Re:Getting there... (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812787)

It's already available: []

yawn... (1)

asm2750 (1124425) | more than 5 years ago | (#27812335)

...wake me up when someone comes out with a color ink ereader that can also zoom and pan pdf files, I don't really care about wireless features right now.

Papyrus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27812783)

I hope that's not a reference to the typeface it uses.

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