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Pew Releases Latest Data on eReading Devices and Habits

October 21st, 2013 Comments off

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The number of Americans ages 16 and older who own tablet computers has grown to 35%, and the share who have e-reading devices like Kindles and Nooks has grown to 24%. Overall, the number of people who have a tablet or an e-book reader among those 16 and older now stands at 43%.

You can read the full report, survey questions and detailed tables here.

Categories: e-books

Kindle Paperwhite Review

February 1st, 2013 7 comments

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A week or so ago I acquired a Kindle Paperwhite, their latest stand-alone dedicated eBook reader. While all the trending data indicate that stand-alone dedicated eReaders are going the way of all flesh, I still prefer them as my favorite way to read eBooks. I do not much care for backlit screens for any lengthy reading sessions. Let me simply say here that the Paperwhite is a definitely a home run. The lighting technology is somewhat hard to describe, but it is not a backlighting method so much as a way of illuminating the screen so the e-ink really “pops” and when the light is adjusted properly it really does live up to its namesake. It is as if you are reading from a piece of paper. It is plenty fast and responsive and turning pages is quick. Everything is now controlled from the touchscreen, there are no external buttons; consequently, the PaperWhite is small and light. I went ahead and got a cover for mine, which bulks it up just enough to make it more comfortable, in my opinion, for reading. Plus, the cover closes with a magnet and turns the screen on/off when open/closed.

So, for anyone who was wondering if the Kindle Paperwhite was worth it, I would say, “Yes, definitely!”

As usual, Amazon offers you a range of buying options, with the least expensive version offering WiFi connectivity and advertisements when you go to the home page, never ads while you are reading. That version is priced at: $119. I opted for the 3G model, because I really like how easily it syncs everything across any device I may use to read my Kindle files: my iPhone, iPad and computer, etc.

If you have never used a dedicated eReader and are hesitant to put any money toward one much beyond the minimum required to get one, I’d suggest taking a look at this model, only $69.

Here are the features of the Paperwhite:

  • Patented built-in light evenly illuminates the screen to provide the perfect reading experience in all lighting conditions
  • Paperwhite has 62% more pixels for unsurpassed resolution
  • 25% better contrast for sharp, dark text
  • Even in bright sunlight, Paperwhite delivers clear, crisp text and images with no glare
  • New hand-tuned fonts – 6 font styles, 8 adjustable sizes
  • 8-week battery life, even with the light on
  • Holds up to 1,100 books – take your library wherever you go
  • Built-in Wi-Fi lets you download books in under 60 seconds
  • New Time to Read feature uses your reading speed to let you know when you’ll finish your chapter
  • Massive book selection. Lowest prices. Over a million titles less than $9.99
  • 180,000 Kindle-exclusive titles that you won’t find anywhere else, including books by best-selling authors such as Kurt Vonnegut
  • Supports children’s books and includes new parental controls
  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library – with Amazon Prime, Kindle owners can choose from more than 180,000 books to borrow for free with no due dates, including over 100 current and former New York Times best sellers
Categories: e-books

Amazon Continues to Prove is the Best Choice for E-Reader Devices

September 29th, 2011 3 comments

Some of you have, in varying degrees, expressed a bit of angst over the fact that I’m a huge advocate of the Amazon Kindle, as oppose to…ah….well, anything else. I still am, and my reasons for being an advocate for the Kindle over other choices just became even stronger reasons. Simply put, Amazon is, in my opinion, the best choice due to its huge selection of titles, it’s extensive infrastructure supporting their e-book sales and offerings and the fact that Kindle device itself has just become even lighter and less expensive.

Amazon shattered the $100 price point for an e-reader with its announcement of the latest version of the Kindle, which, if you choose to get the model that displays some advertising, you will only pay $79. The advertisements are entirely non-obtrusive. You never see them when actually reading a book. The basic model is basic, but if you are looking, as I am, for the lightest, simplest, smallest and best e-book reading experience out there today, you will choose an Amazon Kindle.

Here’s a video on the latest least-expensive Kindle.

But wait a minute, buried in all the other information is the announcement that for $99 bucks, you can get a Kindle with touch technology on the screen, with the same great e-ink technology. This is precisely what I’ve been looking for and I think it is going to make the e-book reading experience on a Kindle much better. More information here.

For a full, all-in-on place, everything you need to know story on Amazon’s announcements about their new tablet, the Fire along with Kindle information, here is a good story to read.

Categories: e-books

Boot Up and Read? — An Argument Against E-Books

September 10th, 2011 16 comments

My experience with e-books and e-readers has been … interesting. I’m still undecided if I enjoy reading a book on a Kindle more than holding the actual book. I can say for sure I enjoy being able to take a portable library with me wherever I go, reading it wherever I am, and I enjoy the reading experience every bit as much as turning pages. It’s taken me a while to be able to say that, but with the Kindle, I am drawn as much into the text as I am when it is printed on paper. Though, I like to own a book, as opposed to only owning a right to read my “book” on my gizmo, when it really exists “out there” in a cloud on some servers, somewhere, which download it to my device. My gizmo will grow old and I’ll have to buy a new gizmo and the book in some new format…once I own a book, it’s there. I don’t have to upgrade it, or update it, or buy a new one in order to read it.

My colleague, Laura Lane, sent me this interesting article declaring that the book will remain the better reading experience because of the “non-linear thinking” it encourages.

Here’s the link to the article.

Here’s a snippet from the article:

But if we stop reading on paper, we should keep in mind what we’re sacrificing: that nonlinear experience, which is unique to the codex. You don’t get it from any other medium — not movies, or TV, or music or video games. The codex won out over the scroll because it did what good technologies are supposed to do: It gave readers a power they never had before, power over the flow of their own reading experience. And until I hear God personally say to me, “Boot up and read,” I won’t be giving it up.

Is it Time for You to Buy a Kindle?

April 12th, 2011 11 comments

Perhaps…read here about Amazon’s new aggressive plan to get more people to buy a Kindle.

Categories: e-books

Why I Still Recommend the Kindle Platform for E-Book Reading

November 16th, 2010 6 comments

Christmas is right around the corner and there are going to be a lot of people buying eBook readers or asking for them, so here is my take on the situation.

If you would have told me, a few years ago, that I would be recommending the Amazon Kindle platform above any other method for e-book reading I would have told you that you were crazy. Well, I would not have said that, but I may have thought it. Why? The Kindle was poorly designed when it first came out. It was far overpriced. You had to lug it with you in order to read whatever Kindle titles you owned. So that meant you would probably find yourself carrying the Kindle, a cell phone, and a laptop computer, not to mention the cords and plugs required to keep them all charged.

But ask me today, as many do, and I quickly recommend the Kindle platform above any other e-reading system. Please notice my choice of words carefully. I use the word “platform” not “device.” That is very intentional. And now, in light of the release by Amazon of the latest and greatest versions of the Kindle, I am even more strongly recommending people buy a Kindle if they are interested in having a great eBook reading experience. Hands down, Kindle is the way to go. The latest basic version of the Kindle is wonderful, and for a few tanks of gas more, you can get the one that uses a touch interface exclusively, instead of buttons.

Pay close attention here: Forget the Barnes and Noble Nook. The Amazon Fire is a Nook Killer, no doubt about it. Here’s a strong word of advice: Before you buy an e-book reader make sure that the books you want to read are easily/readily available for it. For instance: Concordia Publishing House is providing our titles in Kindle format. We have not seen much point in supporting any other format, particularly since you can read Kindle titles on just about any gizmo out there.

Do your research and make sure you are buying what you really think you are going to use. If you want a media consumption device, the Kindle Fire may be for you, but it has the same “downsides” for reading an eBook as does the iPad or any mobile device that has a backlit display: glare and you can’t read it comfortably outside or in any bright light. That’s why I say that if you want to read eBooks, get one of the two basic Kindle models. Here are your choices. Click on the image below to go to Amazon’s Kindle store.

Amazon has not made much of this fact, but the reason the Amazon Kindle platform is, in my opinion, by far the best e-book reading system out there today is because you do not even have to own an actual Kindle device, to use the Kindle platform. Let me explain. And forgive me, in advance, if you already know all this, but I don’t think many people do.

Amazon made a brilliant move when it decided to release software applications to enable as many devices as possible to use Kindle formatted e-books. The fact that Amazon is the single largest reseller and distributor of intellectual property in the world makes the Kindle platform absolutely irresistible for publishers, and that’s good for readers.

If you own a computer of any kind, no matter MAC or PC, you can use Kindle formatted e-books on it. Desktop or laptop? Doesn’t matter. Netbook? Sure. How about all those nifty devices collectively now referred to as “smartphones.” Amazon’s got you covered: Android? iPhone? No worries, you can read Kindle files on those devices. iTouch? Blackberry? Yup, those too. And no doubt all the up and coming tablet/iPad imitators will be able to use Kindle files as well.

How about the iPad? No problems, you have a very well implemented and well executed Kindle app for it too, and all Kindle apps now offer searching of the text, and instant connectivity to Wikipedia and dictionary for quick reference and research. And no doubt all the up and coming tablet/iPad imitators will be able to use Kindle files as well.

So, here’s my thinking. If you are going to invest in an e-book, and it is an investment and a somewhat risky one at that*, why not buy a format that you can read on virtually any device out there, including, oh, yes, the actual Kindle device itself, which in its latest iteration has become even more attractively priced and better provisioned with useful features. You can get a nicely designed and improved Kindle now for only $80. Yes, $80.

And, what’s more, you’ll find, usually, the best prices on e-books are also to be found with Amazon’s Kindle platform.

What about the iPad? Well, as much as I hate to say it, I enjoy reading my Kindle formatted e-books on it better than iBookstore titles. Why? Simple: price. By and large, I find that Kindle titles are priced lower on Amazon, than the same e-book formatted for the iBookstore. I’ve got to tell you, at this point, I really don’t know why I, as a publisher, would even be all that anxious to release my titles in Apple’s much more restrictive and less diverse format, just to sell it in the iBookstore.

So, at this point, I’m still a big advocate for Amazon’s Kindle platform for e-book reading. What are your thoughts?

*Why is purchasing an e-book a somewhat risky proposition? Who knows if you will be able to use it in the future. Can we expect, for example, that Amazon will make all future versions of whatever its e-book reading platform is backward compatible with all previous editions/formats and versions? I don’t know. There’s the rub and there’s the advantage of a physical book over an e-book, any day and every day. Plus, trying to copy and paste sections elsewhere for reference? Forget it. Proper citation and page numbers? Nope. Well, not yet anyway.

Categories: e-books

Amazon Releases Kindle for Android

June 29th, 2010 3 comments
Categories: e-books

Screading vs. Reading

October 29th, 2009 13 comments

readingDr. Gene Edward Veith had a fascinating blog post today, well, fascinating to me at least. Perhaps you too? Listen, I’m a publisher and I know all about trends in e-books. They represent the fastest growing type of “books” being sold today, hands down. And by fast, I mean, triple digit growth rates in quantities sold, as opposed to negative double digit decreases in nearly every other type of genre, at least according to the most recent data released by the Association of American Publishers, which I am legally not able to share with you, but take my word for it. It’s dramatic; however [and in life, there's always a "however"], for me the experience of total “mind immersion” in a book is much greater than an e-book. A book I can hold in my hands, skin on paper, not skin on plastic. I can underline. I can write notes. I can jot stars, or exclamation points in the margins. I can instantly flip around in the book. So far, no e-reader I’ve seen remotely replicates the experience of reading a book. I don’t mind reading fiction on an e-reader, but anything serious, that I want to “inwardly digest,” must be a real book. Here is a great article that speaks to the difference between “screading” [reading on screen] as opposed to reading-reading.

from Cranach: The Blog of Veith:

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article about scholarship on the difference between reading from a page and reading from a screen (termed “screading”).

[Anne] Mangen notes the growing sub-field of screen reading studies, but finds that the “intangibility and volatility of the digital text” remain under-examined. She focuses first, then, on the material nature of digital and non-digital reading experiences. “Unlike print texts,” she writes, “digital texts are ontologically intangible and detached from the physical and mechanical dimension of their material support, namely, their computer or e-book (or other devices, such as the PDA, the iPod or the mobile phone” (405).

This is important, she argues, because “materiality matters.” The reading experience includes manual activities and haptic perceptions (what the skin and muscles and joints register), and so as activities and perceptions of that kind are changed from one kind of reading experience to another because of the object, the reading experience, too, will change.

The differences between screen and paper go deeper than the physics of each. They also involve the relationship the reader has to them. For Mangen, a crucial difference lies in the nature of the immersion in screen “worlds” as being distinct from the technology that facilitates it. In other words, the mouse, head set, and so on provide the entry into the visual world, but are not constitutive parts of it. “In contrast,” she explains, “consider the sense of being immersed in a fictional world which is largely the product of our own mental, cognitive abilities to create that fictive, virtual (in the figurative sense of the word) world from the symbolic representations — the text, whether purely linguistic or multi-modal, digital or print — displayed by means of any technological platform.” Books don’t have tools to help readers make up that fictive world, and so they do it more with their own minds. . . .

One effect, Mangen maintains, is that the digital text makes us read “in a shallower, less focused way.”

There are other effects as well, but this one is far-reaching. While “shallower” reading through or on the screen serves certain purposes quite well, when it comes to reading complex texts and interpreting, analyzing, or even summarizing them, a slower and deeper habit is needed.

I’m not sure I’m convinced. It definitely seems harder to read a long, sustained work on a screen as opposed to a book. Screading (if we are to adopt the word) does seem to work better for shorter shots of language. Let me ask you owners of Kindle or similar readers. Is your reading experience qualitatively different when you read on a Kindle vs. reading ink on paper? Are you missing anything?

For more:

HT: Jackie

Categories: e-books, Web/Tech

Cyberbrethren is Now Available on the Kindle

May 18th, 2009 2 comments

So, Amazon has opened their blog distribution network to, well, anyone with a blog. Cyberbrethren is now available via monthly subscription to all Kindle owners and readers. It will be interesting to see what happens. I’m having a hard time figuring out why anyone would actually use a Kindle as their blog reader, and pay to view blogs, when they are available for free over the Webernet. Here is a screen shot of Cyberbrethren’s Amazon Kindle location:

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