Tuesday, March 10, 2009

E-book week part 2

I've added more e-book links to the right. Notice the link for books by Pauline Baird Jones. Ms. Jones is an award winning author, gadget geek extraordinaire, and our guest today. I haven't read all her books -yet. I read and loved The Key.

CP: Welcome Pauline to my humble blog.
PBJ: Thank you. I'm happy to be here.

CP: I hear you have three different e-book readers. Is that true?
PBJ: I'm afraid that's old news. I now have four. It's not as bad as it sounds. One was a gift. One started life as a phone and new features were introduced later. I use them all for different tasks and/or situations.

CP: Do you have a favorite?
PBJ: Oh wow. I like them all! I got the ebookwise first. I like it because it is fast and easy to use. It has backlighting and you can make notes on the screen. I like to load my MIP and read it and be able to make notes. You can also easily jump around a document. You can get books through a usb cable OR through a phone line (you can shop using the phone line) If you're looking for an affordable reader, then its a great option. Battery lasts about ten hours, but you can boost that by adjusting the back light settings.

The Sony Reader was a gift from my sister and it's pretty cool. The screen has to be seen to be believed. The battery lasts several days, because it has no backlighting. I can sort my books into collections myself. The more books I load, the slower the start up (still faster than a computer) and it took me a while to figure how to move around inside a book. You can do it, but not as quickly as the ebookwise. I can load my own docs, but not make notes.

Both have dictionary function that will let you look up words. Both allow you to adjust text size and have a nice, reading screen.

My iPhone is my baby. My kids had them before I did and I sighed in envy, but my trusty Treo was still working. Well, it died quite suddenly and very abruptly and my hubby told me to get an iPhone, I'd had a tough year. He was so sweet. I still wouldn't have done it, though, if the salesman hadn't assured me that e-reading was on the way. I had to wait a couple of months for the big applications releases. The iPhone has a big screen for a smart phone. The touch screen is easy to use and you can adjust the font size. It can't go into huge print, because the screen is still smaller than a regular book. I use eReader, but I also have Stanza loaded. I can browse for books in Safari and download them through the program, or shop by computer and connect the iPhone and download.

If you don't require a book-like experience and want a multi function device, the iPhone is a great choice (or Palm has a nice smart phone for $99). I like it because I can listen to music while I read. I mean the iPhone does everything an iPod does, so it has all that. I'm lucky I can read a smaller screen because I had Lasik some years back and got mono vision. Obviously my cell is with me all the time, so that's nice. I like having the chance to read if I suddenly find myself waiting.

My Kindle2 just arrived and I haven't spent much quality time with it yet.

All four readers fit into my purse, with the iPhone, the easiest, the Sony Reader and Kindle2 next and the ebookwise last (its the heaviest of the devices and the bulkiest).

I tell people the choice depends on what you HAVE to have. If you want a more book-like experience, then the Sony Reader is the one you want. If you want multi function, a smart phone is the way to go. If you're concerned about price, but want a dedicated reader, ebookwise is a great option.

One device I've been watching is a phone, that has an eInk screen that rolls out for a larger reading screen, then rolls back into a nice, small phone. But as far as I can tell, its not for sale yet.

CP: Are you at the top of the the waiting list?
PBJ: I wish. Too bad they're not looking for beta testers (smiles).

CP: I know your Kindle2 is very new. I'd like you to come back and share some thoughts on it once you've had a chance to play with it.
PBJ: Thanks. I'd like that.

CP: Do you have any parting words of wisdom?
PBJ: A good place to get info about ereaders is EPIC. Published authors can join for $30. They also have lots of good information for people interested in e-publishing. They hold a conference every year and they always have reader demos.

CP: Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts
PBJ: I had fun. I always enjoy talking about the tools of the trade.

Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of eight novels of action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. She's also written two non-fiction books, Adapting Your Novel for Film and Made-up Mayhem. Her seventh novel, Out of Time, an action-adventure romance set in World War II, is an EPPIE 2007 winner. Her eighth novel, The Key, released in 2007 from LL Dreamspell and won a Independent Book Award Bronze Medal (IPPY) for 2008 and 2007 Dream Realm Awards Winner. She also has short stories in several anthologies.

And now it's your turn. Do you have a favorite e-reader or e-book? If yes, please use the comments link below to tell us about it.


Maryann Miller said...

Great info on all the devices, Pauline. Wish I could afford the iPhone. :-)

I have an e-Bookwise and like it a lot. I use it primarily for reading e-books that I review. Haven't tried using it for editing a WIP.

With the Sony reader can you load books from sources other than Sony? I looked at that before getting the e-Bookwise as I liked some of the features but thought I was going to be limited in terms of formats of content.

Helen Ginger said...

It's great to read reviews of e-readers from someone who has them all and can give first-hand experience.

Although it is a little suspicious that Pauline's Treo died just after she started coveting the iPhone. Hmm...

Helen Ginger

Charlotte Phillips said...


You know, I had the same thought, but sometimes the universe works in our favor:-).


Pauline B Jones said...

Hi, Maryann, the answer is yes! I buy Sony Reader books from fictionwise and also many indie publishers offer that format when you buy direct from them. If you visit fictionwise's FAQ's they list their formats. I *think* it's LRT, but don't quote me! You can also load personal docs onto the Sony and pdfs. The SR recently updated their software for the epub, which everyone hopes will become the standard format for all devices.

LOL! Helen. Yeah, the hubby was a bit suspicious, too, but I swear it just died. **vbg**

Okay, the Kindle 2. I've had it for a couple of weeks and I have to say, it is very cool to have stuff appear wirelessly on your device. Lots of impulse buying (though I DO get samples first. Yes, you CAN request a sample before you buy.) Another cool feature is the Read Aloud. There's been some controversy about the feature, which is basically a computer voice reading the text. The quality is surprisingly good, but its NOT an audio book. Just a way to keep "reading" when you have to do something else.

Like the SR, the screen is amazing. Navigation is easy. I'm not wild about the keyboard, but you need it to do stuff, like search for books.

I was looking at the new Sony's and it looks pretty neat. Built-in light and touch screen.

All the added features for both devices mean a shortened battery life, though. I turn off my wireless on the kindle when I'm not using it, because it burns the battery down, even if I'm not using the Kindle.

All in all, there are some great choices out there, and more than I have. If you visit Teleread, they have a chart with all the devices out there, with a breakdown of features.

Pauline B Jones said...

An additional note on the iPhone/iTouch. They recently added Kindle for iPhone/iTouch, so you can Kindle on them. AND, since the iTouch doesn't come with wireless,(you have to be in a hot spot to download stuff) you can use the amazon whispernet to browse amazon. I tried it out and after entering my ID, it offered all my purchases for download.

The new iPhones are actually quite competitive with other smart phones. They run $200 and offer 3G. The applications range from the useful to the seriously whacky.

Mayra Calvani said...

Thanks for the input. I found it quite helpful.

Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...

I can't remember every disagreeing with Pauline before, but I'm steppinging now. Got you gloves on Pauline??? Just kidding.

When I listened to the Kindle voice last week I was shocked. The voice in not computer generated, it is human. More than that, the voice has appropriate "mood" for the passage being read.

On the way home, I was listening to NPR and they just happened to have an expert on explaining how that was accomplished.

Basically, they have multiple humans reading aloud - for months, many different kinds of passages, and in voices for different moods. The speach is broken down, not into words or syllables, but sounds. Think about the sounds you make when you teach a child correct pronunciation of a word, and you've basically got it. (Yes, there is a fancy word for these sounds, but I don't remember it.)

Then, when the computer is told to read a new text using a specific voice, the computer find correct sound/mood by analyzing associated words in the text to be read in comparison with the many, many passages the reader provided during those months of reading out loud.

The result is not a "computer generated" voice. It is also not a fully dramatized audio book, but it is a giant step closer. After listening to the Kindle, I better understood the lawsuit.

Pauline B Jones said...

LOL! Okay, color me shocked. **vbg**

The voices (you can choose male or female) did surprise me by how good they sounded, but if you'd had a chance to listen to more, you'd realize it has its problems.

The computer can't tell the difference between a chapter heading and the start of the chapter for instance. Also, couldn't seem to handle ET in my book.

I wouldn't choose the read aloud that often for myself, but it is a great option for someone seeing issues.

I'm still on the fence on the legal issues. I always want to protect any rights inherent in a work, mostly because someone is always trying to whittle them away.

BUT, I also want anyone with sight issues to have access to my work. Since my books aren't available in audio, this could expand my reading audience w/o me having to find a market for those audio rights.

Now, have NO CLUE if someone with sight problems WOULD buy a Kindle. It's not like they could use it w/o help.

Glad lawyers will have to sort it out. **wg**

Janet Ann Collins said...

This information is very helpful. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Legally blind here. I didn't know they could read to you. I use the National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped. It works like the library, but uses the mail. It's free if you qualify. I've read/listened to over 200 unabridged books. All of the books are read by real people that volunteer. I'd be interested in a Kindle to read the books of less well-known authors. The NLS rarely doesn't have a book I want.

The Differently-Abled Children's Author
J. Aday Kennedy

Pauline B Jones said...

Hi, J Aday! Yeah, the Kindle 2 can read to you. Now some books will have that feature disabled while the lawyers sort things out. But its a pretty nice feature.

Have you tried fictionwise for books with read aloud enabled? I know multiformat books with MS Reader seem to be read aloud enabled. At least my books have that format enabled for read aloud. With multiformat books, you can get the format you need for one price. These books can be loaded to the Kindle OR read on your computer.

Thanks for stopping by. I really did wonder if anyone with sight issues would be interested (though I think my grandmother would have, if she were alive now.)

LuAnn said...

Actually, I prefer to download a pdf file to my computer. I have quite a variety of novels, novellas, short stories, etc.