What’s Your Preferred Electronic Book Reader?

What’s Your Preferred Electronic Book Reader?

Last week’s announcement that the Kindle will go on sale in Australia is widely expected to increase the visibility of electronic books in Australia. However, Kindle isn’t the only game in town. Which options are Lifehacker readers already using to read electronic books?

Dedicated electronic book readers (of which the Kindle has been arguably the most successful example) have generally had minimal impact in Australia, in part because global publishing deals make it hard to support a decent range of titles. Sony’s Reader is also well regarded, but only available as an import.

However, if you’re willing to put up with a smaller screen, smart phones such as the iPhone or BlackBerry are a possible option. (My first serious commitment to eBook reading was using an HP iPaq). A gaming device such as the PSP is also a choice for comics. Another option is to use a notebook PC or netbook, perhaps in combination with a utility to rotate the screen for easier reading.

While some people outright refuse to consider electronic books, I suspect Lifehacker readers will be at the forefront of adoption. So I’d like to know: if you are into e-books, what’s your preferred platform? Share your e-reading successes and failures in the comments.


  • This is going to sound really bad..

    recently i have gotten right in to books from the mid 1800’s.. there are so many great books, all able to be downloaded as PDF’s for free.. i don’t have a dedicated eBook reader.. my mboile (e51) has a much too small screen to even bother attempting to read a 500 page book on. my laptop is work provided, and as such is huge ahe heavy. not ideal for carrying around to have a casual read every now and then.. so what do i normally do? i print the PDF’s and read them on paper.. i mean hey, they are books after all.. i have even thought about getting them bound..

  • doesn’t exist yet.

    out of those that do exist I have iRex iLiad and DR1000s. neither is perfect but I am happy enough with them.

    Ideally I’d want something ‘novel’ sized for personal reading and a4 sized for work. Work one should be capable of annotation, both quick and accurate. Day-long battery life or better.

    That or someone to read to me and take notes for me

  • I use an Archos PMA400 running the JustReader program. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have an automatic variable speed scroll. It doesn’t use e-ink so it probably doesn’t have the battery life of most e-book readers but it almost always gets me thru a day. But it records and plays video also and is a full linux computer with other functions.

    So I am real interested to see what multi-core A9 processors can do besides just be e-readers. I wouldn’t buy most of those I have seen because they are too big and have too limited functionality. The Archos fits in my pocket and has a 30 gig drive. Netbooks make more sense than most of these e-readers.

  • At the moment i use my Dell Mini 9 for long reading sessions or my iPhone if the computer is not available, i dont think i could handle less than a 5″ screen for a 4-6 hour read.

    the major thing for me is pdf support and some thing that weighs no more than my netbook.

    • I actually prefer my reading my ebooks with my ipod touch using the AirShare app (any better alternatives?).
      Being able to touch the document somehow makes it easier to read. More viral perhaps?

      How good are tablets as ebook readers? I don’t ever hear it talked about.

  • I use two apps on my I-touch to satisfy all my E-books reading needs. I use Stanza on my desktop/Itouch to convert txt, pdf, doc files to EPUB and then to transfer wirelessly to my device. And I use Good Reader which is just fantastic for reading PDF format files, it really does a great job of presenting PDFs to the I-touch display. My partner has an Iphone which also supports these apps, but I chose not to buy an Iphone since a) I already have a decent phone and b) the Itouch can do everything an Iphone can except make calls and provide GPS positioning. Before I purchased the Itouch I spent many hours researching E-readers. The ONLY reason I purchased the Itouch is for the purpose of E-reading, and I am very very satisfied with my decision. As a proviso I have to state that my eyesight is very good, I believe those with sight problems may find using the itouch for reading to be troublesome. I’d suggest if you wear glasses or dont have 20/20 vision to purchase a kindle or Sony ereader or any of the new generation E-ink readers.

  • I have been using the BeBook for the last year or so – which is my first e-ink reader. It has been able to use Mobipocket as a source – and with a bit of hacking I have been able to get my large library of eReader books onto it as HTML files.

    The great thing about the BeBook is the wide range of format support – although they have recently changed DRM support to ePub supported via the Adobe Digital Editions software which only seems to recognise the device on Windows.

    THe biggest issue seems to be that in the last year or so the ebook sellers – or the publishers – have clamped right down on books being sold Internationally. I have all but given up on eReader and Mobipocket as it seems anything I want to read cannot be bought in my region. Now I have to go to BitTorrent for my ebooks – and there are plenty available there. This is even worse than the music/movie issue because they had a working model and have destroyed it.

    Before laying down some $$ for a Kindle I would need a solid assurance that all – or a large percentage – of their library would be available in Australia.

  • The iPhone and stanza have provided a ready supply of delightful Dr. Thorndike novels from the start of last century. Sort of a post Holmsian CSI, though the kindle does sound good I doubt my budget can stretch.

  • I use my DS for reading ebooks on the go. Its pretty awesome actually, aside from the problems of converting ebooks to the right format. Otherwise I use the computer.

    Really, there isn’t a reasonably priced option for dedicated ebook readers here, and as mentioned in the article there has been a limit on what is available via publishers to read on them.

  • KirtasBooks.com, has almost 1 million books to choose from. We “Digitize on Demand”, if you find a book you would like, order it…we pull it from the shelf, digitize it and send you either a paperback, hardcover or digital file. We are specializing in hard to find, out of print works.

  • I have both a Kindle and an Irex Iliad. I like the Iliad much better because of its 8.1″ screen as opposed to the Kindle’s smaller 6″. I also like the fact that on the Iliad I can take notes and read formats other than the Amazon .azw format. I look forward to the new Irex DR800SG with high anticipation. It has all the features of the Iliad plus it has 3G connectivity to Barnes and Noble. WOW, how can you beat that?

  • MobiPocket is great! Used to love Plucker on good old Palm OS but this is better. Autoscroll so that you don’t have to flip pages, remember where you left the book so no need to doggy-eared bookmarks. However has a great bookmark/annotation system if you do need it. Simple doesn’t use much memory.
    One gripe is wish it had a batch converter to converter the books on PC.

  • Well, my local library is still the best place…. but other than that, I still use my HTC TYTN II for reading books, most of mine are in MS Reader format. The reason I find it the best is because it is always on me when I have some time.

  • I’m of the opinion that an eBook reader is only as good as the available eBooks for it. Considering most eBook stores contain DRM, this limits your options a bit. The fact that eBooks in Australia are still quite expensive further limits available options (unless you don’t care about cost).

    These are the reasons I bought a Kindle (original US version). Amazon’s Kindle store is colossal in size, and I rarely have trouble finding the Kindle version of the book I’m after. The prices are fantastic, too. I’m paying about a third to a quarter of the price of the equivalent paperback or hardcover.

    I’m also not a fan of reading eBooks on a device with a backlit screen, which is another reason I bought a Kindle rather than using the Kindle iPhone app.

  • Eco-reader (in AU, call be-book in UK) is much better. Multiple formats are viewable. Can convert using Callibre ebook libarary managemnent software (free)and lack of wireless means there no corporate snooping on what you read. Battery change looks much much better than kindle as well.

  • I am trying to get a Sony PRS 600 – seems to have a lot of good features. “Trying” is the operative word – no luck actually “buying” yet as they don’t seem to be available in Australia.

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