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Ask Slashdot: Ebook Reader for Scientific Papers? 254

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the digital-science-is-fun dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I love the idea of getting an ebook reader primarily for reading research journal papers. However I've heard bad things about the handling of PDFs on the major ones. I don't particularly care for color, but having an e-ink display and the ability to handle PDF/PS docs without conversion would be a major plus. I'd even be open to a hacked Kindle running Linux if it were practical. Does any good solution exist?" A few months ago I found the Asus Eee Note (some folks even figured out how the software works and got it to run other Qt apps), but my hopes were dashed when I learned they had killed it before it even arrived in the U.S. It seems right now that this particular niche is not being served: or is it?
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Ask Slashdot: Ebook Reader for Scientific Papers?

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  • by metageek (466836) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @06:07PM (#37136094)

    Kindle DX and read the articles sideways

    • Re:Kindle DX (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Thursday August 18, 2011 @06:28PM (#37136280) Journal

      Two words describe a problem with that: vertical panning... although I'm not so lazy that I'm unwilling to pan a page, it's still roughly as detaching from the experience of actually absorbing the content as flipping a physical page is, and creates a discontinuous impression of a single page that would otherwise have been seamless if you could see it all at once.

      Simply put, for some types of content, you need to see a whole page at a time... and you need it to be presented large enough that you will be able to see all the text clearly.

      The DX doesn't do that.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Take a look at the Brother SV-100B. A4 size so you get a whole page on screen at once. 9.7 inch LCD rather than eInk but 80+ hours battery life. Not cheap.

        Otherwise the only other option is a large tablet. If you get an Android one it integrates nicely with Google Docs so you can just upload everything to there (it accepts PDFs) for wireless access.

    • by dachshund (300733)

      I have a Kindle DX and an iPad. I love the idea of ePaper, but in practice the rendering is too slow if you need to flip a few pages back to get a definition, the screen isn't quite big enough, and reading sideways is a bitch when you hit a two-column paper. Oh, and zoom is a joke.

      The DX now gathers dust.

      The iPad LCD isn't ideal but it's functional in all the ways that the DX is not. Try GoodReader.

    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      It's a good suggestion, and it works well. I have tried Science (AAAS), Scientific American, and The Scientist. One of them didn't work, I don't remember which. It showed "Some content on this page could not be displayed" at the bottom of a blank page.

      Papers themselves should be fine. PDF reading in general is pretty good as long as it's not the one scientific journal I couldn't read.

      I play guitar, and use it to display Lilypond typeset output, and it looks wonderful. I can't even say it's a photoshop,

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @06:07PM (#37136096) Homepage
    I don't have much experience with different e-readers. Just noting that from my personal experience with the Kindle's default handling of PDFs it isn't very good for scientific papers. Diagrams especially don't come out well, and occasionally stuff isn't rendered correctly (although that issue has become nearly non-existent with the new Kindles and the upgrades. I don't know what they did but presumably improved stuff somewhere). I have friends who have had good experiences with the iPad, and for diagrams it is quite nice. You can easily rotate them or zoom in or out using a very intuitive interface.
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      I own a Kindle (2e) and love it, but I agree with the above sentiment. When it comes down to it, e-ink in general isn't very good for any paper with lots of diagrams or schematics. You want something that can pan and zoom without refreshing the screen, which means you want an LCD screen. So far I haven't heard of any top notch Android tablets, so that leaves the iPad as the frontrunner for this particular application.

  • I've had no issues with PDFs on the Kindle, whether the DX (which is the right form factor), or the 3 (which is conveniently portable). It's not a perfect solution, but it works.

    IMO, the optimal solution would be a hybrid display (like Pixel Qi make), a form factor halfway between the DX and the 3 (i.e. roughly the screen size of a normal book), and running an Android OS so apps can be written to support things like DJVU. I had high hopes for the Adam (Notion Ink, http://www.notionink.com/ [notionink.com]), but they're a l

    • by OFnow (1098151)

      Somehow for me the Kindle DX is a terrible pdf reader. The fonts that look sensible on paper just look really light on Kindle. And the search on Kindle is horrible: AFAICT no partial word search no control of case-match/not and so on. Even translating the source to an ebook format only helps with the character visibility (while kind of making the really long tables in the doc I want on Kindle into a mess), using Calibre as the transformer.

      Been reading a few books a day for a week now, recovering fro

  • The built-in PDF reader on the Nook Color is decent. It drains the battery faster (maybe 2x or 3x?) than reading epub files but is still quite usable. I've only ever had trouble with one PDF: there was one page with a TON of overlaid vector images and it wouldn't render correctly; all pages after that page were missing images entirely. Otherwise it's been a fine machine.

    • Calibre seems pretty good at format shifting pdf to epub which is a lot less of a strain for an ereader , android device to cope with.

      I haven't tried calibre on complicated pdfs but so far it has handled everything i have given it.

      • I have used it; it works well when there are no headers or footers. But with heathers / foothers (i.e., all technical manuals), the headers get in the text and disrupt it.

        Anyone has tried some software that does not have this problem?

        • by xtracto (837672)

          I own a Sony PRS-900 and use it *only* to read PDFs (mainly Comp. Science papers). So far what have worked for me is using Briss [sourceforge.net] to automagically crop all the headers, footers and margins from all the pages.

          For multicolumn papers the PRS-900 has a great multi-column reading mode (dividing the page in 4 quadrants, zooming in the first one and as you select "next page" going into the adequate next quadrant).

          I installed Calibre some time ago but deleted it as it was a huge beast (it really made my computer cra

        • by b0bby (201198)

          There may be a way to set it to exclude margins, or ignore that text - I've only played with Calibre a little, but I found that there are some pretty advanced options for conversion. Some versions of Acrobat might export to Word & you could clean it up there. I've found that pdf conversion is usually a pain whatever you do, but if it's something you're doing a lot of, might be worth looking into.

    • by akpoff (683177) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @08:18PM (#37137222) Homepage

      I bought the Nook Color for the same reason. The Nook Color PDF reader is a very capable viewer. I didn't want the Nook version of Android so I bought one that was already rooted with CyanogenMod.

      I'm mostly happy with it for reading PDFs. Like any tablet-sized reader you will have to pan. You can view the pages in portrait mode fully zoomed out but it's hard to read that way. I read in landscape and just pan the document a bit. I'm finding more authors are publishing to PDF using one column. In those cases it just work. Pinch-zooming works but the text rarely (if ever) re-flows the way web pages do in Chrome.

      I don't like the Adobe file browser on Android, though. It adds every PDF on the SD card to the master list. It's a giant scrollable list with each folder path as a section separator. I would like the option to toggle between hierarchical folder view and list.

      I tried using Calibre to convert some PDFs to ePub. Two-column PDFs have been a disaster. I rarely get anything that's usable. YMMV. I decided to stick with PDFs (or .ps files I convert to PDF).

      Using Chrome to read web pages is mostly workable. Strangely, clicking an HTML file in the file manager doesn't launch the regular Chrome browser. Rather you get the "HTML Viewer". It's mostly Chrome but has no open dialog or access to bookmarks (AFAICT).

      As an Android device it's quite functional. Most market applications install without a problem. The one I have problems with are those for which the Download button doesn't appear. I haven't chased the issue down yet. Not sure whether it's a Cyanogen issue.

      Google Books works great but you have to have internet access to read the books. Just goes to prove Android is really designed to be an always-connected OS. FBReader, on the other hand, just works.

      As you can tell, it's no iPad in terms of "It Just Works". In sum, as a PDF reader I'm mostly happy with it. All the other features are bonuses. The issues are mostly irrelevant.

      Lastly, if you check E-Bay or B&N's website they sell refurbed Nook Color's for $199. For an extra $50 you can get the extended warranty (if you're into those). For the same $249 for a new one with 1-year warranty you get a unit with a 2-year warranty.

      • I found reading programming books on the nook color doesn't work so well. I am not sure if it was the fixed width font or something, but the code examples would often scroll off the page, which made things very difficult to learn.

        My nook is about a year old though, maybe later revisions are better.

      • by pz (113803)

        I'm finding more authors are publishing to PDF using one column. In those cases it just work. Pinch-zooming works but the text rarely (if ever) re-flows the way web pages do in Chrome.

        To my understanding, PDF is not designed for reflow. It is designed for a fixed page size, not a variable one. Reflow is an exclusively web-centric idea.

        As someone who has typeset thousands of pages of scientific documents to professional standards as well as has designed a handful of web sites, designing documents for prop

    • I suggest Repligo Reader for reading .PDFs on any android device. It is the only one I have found that allows you to add annotations just like Acrobat Pro does so you can share the file between your device and your desktop.
  • by djfake (977121)
    Just use a printer and let them pile up on your desk. When you finally get to finishing that paper, they'll be there, somewhere!
  • by Angrywhiteshoes (2440876) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @06:11PM (#37136138)
    I used to have the Kindle DX. I bought it so I didn't need to carry a bunch of paper or books around with me. But I soon found, that it was VERY annoying for using as reference or reading papers on. Jumping from page to page with the clicky buttons was very slow and you couldn't do any side-by-side comparison. Not to mention, if the PDF or whatever is an Image PDF, it takes a decade to load. I just went back to paper and books, can take notes in the margins, highlight easily, do side-by-side comparison and easy reference by keeping bookmarks and flipping between pages faster. Maybe its just the method Amazon uses to render the screen, but I didn't like it for those purposes. Others might have a different opinion than me or a better solution (which I'd be glad to hear since I hate carrying all my books, etc around).
    • by pavon (30274)

      The slow page change in an inherent limitation in current eInk technology, as it has to apply an electric charge to cause small colored balls to move through a viscous fluid to display the image.

      LCD screens, be they transmissive (like the iPad), reflective (like the Eee Note), or tranflective (like OLPC one) don't have this problem, and the later two are almost as nice to read on as eInk.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Barnes & Nobel Nook Touch is a touchscreen e-ink reader running Android 2.1 Eclair. It has been rooted with Google Apps installed: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1132693 . You can download ezPDF or Acrobat reader through Google market. I have a Nook Color, the color LCD version of this running Android 2.2 Froyo. It renders scientific papers quite well. I don't have direct experience with the Nook Touch, but I imagine the experience would be similar.

    • For e-ink this is what I would recommend. However, I prefer Repligo Reader for reading .PDF files. You can mark up the document with highlights, notes, drawings, etc. just as you can with Acrobat Pro. Plus, these annotations are put into the file using the same format as Acrobat so you can sync your files between your e-reader and your computer and use the exact same file on both. The program has several other features that I think make it the best .PDF reader around.
    • I dunno, my Android devices (1st gen Snapdragon and a Ti OMAP 800MHz) are pretty slow at rendering big scientific documents. My 300-page EE PDFs take ages to load and scrolling farther than half a page per second gives me blank spaces that take a few seconds to load up...

    • by fafaforza (248976)

      Umm, eInk readers don't run Android. Maybe the LCD Nook does. But it isn't an eInk reader.

  • I don't know what your discipline is, but I think it'll depend on what journals you typically read.

    I'm a chemist, so a lot of what I read is from the American Chemical Society. Most of the articles are formatted for a big (bigger than letter size) with two column format. It's a big of a squeeze down to letter paper, but you can still read it.

    I've got a Kindle DX and I find the ACS journals are just too small when fitted to the Kindle DX's viewable area. It's suppose to be able to show a letter-sized documen

  • This doesn't specifically respond to your e-book specification, but Skim on the Mac is amazingly useful for reading PDFs. It has extensive notation and mark-up abilities. I use it exclusively to read technical papers and also use it exclusively to review journal manuscripts that are sent to me.

  • process of science is to enhance the knowledge of all humankind, why bend to the device that seems to refute and diminish the enhancement of mankinds knowledge?

    in summation: while sometimes cumbersome to pack, and lacking in search features, the technical and scientific papers and books I employ to do science have never stepped intentionally in my path to prevent me from learning or understanding the knowledge they contain.

    until "e-ink" and the 700 page book on my desk are indistinguishable in terms
    • by mark-t (151149)

      If all you need to have at hand is a single 700 page book, then portable electronic readers probably won't have anything to offer you.

      If, however, you need to have at hand the equivalent of 10,000 pages worth of information (or more), then that's where an e-reader can probably be of help. Paper is heavy... ebooks are weightless... and the reader itself is generally only a few ounces.

    • by b0bby (201198)

      I assume you're referring to Amazon remotely deleting/modifying books on the Kindle - I agree, I wouldn't buy from them if there's another option. If, however, you load on your own content (scientific pdfs), they have no control over that and it's just another viewing device. E-ink and books are never going to be indistinguishable, you just need to weigh the advantages of each format. I've been reading books on devices from my first (non-backlit) Palm Pilot, and I really like the e-ink screens. Pdfs are a p

  • by Simulant (528590) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @06:31PM (#37136306) Journal
    For PDFs you need a big screen. None of the small screen e-paper readers will do, and judging by my phone, nothing less than a 10" tablet will do either.
    • While that is certainly true in part, the other issue is that 'reflowing' anything but the simplest pdf's is fraught with peril. Two column scientific papers in particular are hopeless because the PDF format is locked into a specific document size when the pdf is created.

      One option which might help but does involve some know how and initial work is to grab the original TeX of the paper if it is available and switch from two col to one col output and then generate the pdf. You can also trim the margins too.

  • by rafial (4671) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @06:34PM (#37136350) Homepage

    I have the Galaxy Tab myself, and really like it, but I've also played with an Eee Transformer and was very impressed. I previously had the Xoom, and it was okay, but it's screen wasn't as good as the former two. The 10.1" Android Tablets have higher resolution screens than the current crop of iPads (1200x800 vs 1024x768), meaning a slightly higher DPI, meaning slightly easier on the eyes for reading.

    Honeycomb gives you lots of flexibility as to how you get PDFs on to the device (e.g. via Dropbox, local file transfer, etc) combined with the freedom to then view those PDFs with the app of your choice. Android has a version of Adobe Reader, which while feature light, is pretty much guaranteed to correctly render any PDF you throw at it. For my own purposes though, I typically use RepliGo, which handles most things, is notably faster, and lets you view and add notes in PDFs.

    • by fermion (181285)
      I have been playing with Papers to store journal articles across my Mac and iPad. The software is not free, but has been useful. I have not had time to really make it work, but it has proven useful in terms of citations. It is not made for Android, but there may be similar software. I find the ability to work between devices to be a key feature
  • by Demerara (256642) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @06:45PM (#37136428) Homepage

    FTA: It seems right now that this particular niché is not being served: or is it?

    Why do so many people have a problem with this word? I can put up with the US pronunciation (i.e. "nitch") though I grew up in Ireland and England pronouncing it what I presume to be a slightly French way - i.e. "neeesh"

    But how in heavens did we arrive at "niché "??

    • That was me being a dolt (does anyone want some habañero dip while we're at it?). Move along, nothing to see here.

    • by jabberwock (10206)
      I thought it was spelled nietzsche. But that was from only one of my perspectives.
  • I am currently using a Kindle 3 with the Duokan [netzbeben.de] firmware and find the PDF readability much better in terms of the interface. It can also handle ePub, HTML, and DjVU. Possibly more formats, but I haven't tried those.

    It has a rudimentary column splitting feature that lets you read the common two-column document format easily without having to continually zoom and pan.

    I particularly like that it actually uses the filesystem to browse for documents, so I can organize the files my own way.

    It also can play

  • by hweimer (709734)

    Depending on your preferences, you might want to have a look at the WeTab [wetab.mobi]. Since it's based on MeeGo you can install basically any PDF viewer you like (xpdf or evince for a slick experience, Okular if you want to make annotations). And no need to hack it, root access is just one sudo away.

  • by linuxguy (98493) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @06:56PM (#37136540) Homepage

    I am in the same boat as you. I wanted an ideal portable device for reading PDF documents. Here is what I have tried so far:

    1. Barnes and Noble Nook B&W e-ink device. PDFs simply do not look right on this device.
    2. Barnes and Noble Nook Color. Slow processor and small screen. Some squinting and patience is required to read PDFs on this device.
    3. ipad (1 & 2). Really good PDF rendering and pages turn fast. Downsides are: a) No easy way to transfer documents. Some may consider iTunes easy to work. I do not. b) Lower resolutio and physical size of the display when compared to Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and other similar Android devices.
    4. Samsung Galaxy Tab 7". Very portable and reasonably fast processor. Downsides are: a) Battery drains faster than other modern tablets. b) Small and low resolution screen when compared to its big brother.
    5. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. This is my current PDF reading device. I use it quite frequently. Display is excellent. Battery performance is outstanding. There are many ways to transfer documents. I just mount a share over the network and drag and drop content. Messing with cables and another computer etc. for doing this is stupid and Steve Jobs should know it. The only downside is that the PDF reader options on Android are not as good. The built-in reader on ipad is really really good. On Android, you have Adobe reader, that is missing some really critical functionality. For example you cannot bookmark a page. I currently use Aldiko. It is OK. It is a bit slow. And appears to render PDFs not as sharp. Also it acts utterly dumb if you switch to landscape mode. There is no way to tell it to fill the width of the screen. So I mostly read my docs in portrait mode and for that it is quite good. I really like the ability to change brightness level without using menus and moving my finger up and down.

    • by drjzzz (150299)

      3. you can transfer to the iPad very easily either by mailing or dropbox or downloading directly (I think... haven't done that recently). No need to use iTunes. As several others have recommended, read and annotate easily with iAnnotate PDF.

    • by reversible physicist (799350) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @08:39PM (#37137332)

      3. ipad (1 & 2). Really good PDF rendering and pages turn fast. Downsides are: a) No easy way to transfer documents. Some may consider iTunes easy to work. I do not. b) Lower resolutio and physical size of the display when compared to Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and other similar Android devices.

      You don't need to use iTunes to transfer PDFs. There are several hundred PDF readers written specifically for the iPad. I've only tried a few of them but my favorites are Papers, GoodReader and AirSharing, none of which require you to use iTunes for transferring files. Direct access to servers, including mail servers and dropbox, is common. Did you actually try an iPad?

    • I tried several readers that I had free access to (Adobe, ThinkFree Office included on the phone, Aldiko) and was not pleased with any of them. Little things like not recognizing that a table of contents actually had links to specific locations were deal-breakers.

      I picked up ezPDF Reader from Amazon's AppStore as a free app (normally $2 in Market), but it pretty much just kicks ass. It recognizes links, allows you to display in either text-only or full page rendering, navigates well, and just generally wins
    • You may not be aware you don't have to use iTunes to transfer files to iOS devices - and you've never had to. There have always been other options.

      Since nowadays most everyone has a Dropbox account, and there are free Dropbox apps for iOS (as well as most every other mobile OS out there)... I'm not sure why transferring files should be a problem for anyone. And, if you don't like Dropbox, the Briefcase app has existed on the iOS for years - that lets you easily transfer files from another computer over ssh.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Steve does know it, which is why that's all being fixed in iOS5 (re: messing with cables, needing iTunes as a base etc etc) - and about time. It was one of the annoying things about iOS that I was hoping would be changed. Android had that right from the start.

    • by linuxguy (98493)

      I did a little more research into various PDF option for Android after posting my earlier comment. And I think I have found a really good one. APV PDF Viewer. It is considerably better than any of the other PDF readers I have tried. Including the ones on ipad. It has a lot of useful features. What's more, it is completely opensource. So if I develop a minor itch, I can scratch without too much fuss.

      I cannot recommend this reader enough.

    • by jstomel (985001)
      Another thing to consider is that the iPad has some very good apps designed specifically for scientific paper reading. "Papers" on the iPad is not only an excellent pdf reader with good coverflow options, it will sort and arrange your papers by author, year, and journal. It directly searches public repositories of articles like web of science and google scholar and will directly import both from the web and from dropbox, eliminating the need to deal with iTunes.
  • iPad is my preferred mobile pdf reader. iBooks app is a free download. Decent days plus worth of reading time. Quality hardware. Decent company backing it up with a good warranty. And not likely to pull the plug anytime soon.
  • You want resolution, so I recommend iRiver Story HD Google Ebook Reader
    check out the review(/comparison to kindle) with some info about electronics documentation in PDF format
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXWKOoy20Rs [youtube.com]

  • Don't do it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Badge 17 (613974) on Thursday August 18, 2011 @07:29PM (#37136852)
    E-ink products will not serve your needs. I'm a grad student in physics, and I tried doing exactly this. I love my Kindle for reading books, but the delay and screen size issues (even on the DX) made reading technical papers, where I often am moving back and forward quickly, frustrating. This leaves aside the difficulties of organization - ereaders are not really designed to have 200+ papers. I suggest getting a tablet instead - the ability to download new papers directly from the tablet is worth the additional money.
  • The only thing that comes close to an eInk eReader that can handle PDFs well is the Kindle DX ($380). Do not go with a smaller format reader and think you can convert PDF articles to ePub. It turns out really badly - unreadable.

    Back when eReaders were the big new thing, many companies were going to come out with a large format reader. PlasticLogic was going to come out with their Que reader, but it was delayed multiple times and cost something like $600. It was dealt a quick and merciful death.

    The only sens

  • Found myself in the same boat a while back. Small-screen ereaders are cheap but rather awful for reading regular PDFs, large-screen ereaders are pricey but you can fit a single page on it.

    In the end I went for a Pocketbook 902. They're cheaper than the other 10" ereaders and handle PDF/PS very well, together with a host of other formats and supports wifi+bluetooth. I've read a bundle of papers and a few ebooks on it over the summer and haven't regretted it, in spite of the manufacturer being unknown and the

  • The largest size Sony should do it for you - although perhaps only barely...

    It's not cheap.

  • I played with the Sony E-reader with the idea that I'd use it for bringing papers to read (yes, it's a Sony, but despite that the e-reader is quite open and format-agnostic).

    In some ways it could work quite well: it has a mode that shows you one quarter of the page at a time, which fits very neatly with the typical two-column format. And the touch screen makes it natural to swipe around in the text.

    But it has two downsides: it doesn't do color, which makes many illustrations unreadable. And there's no way t

  • I use a Kindle DX for that purpose. My experience has been positive so far: It will handle almost any paper I throw at it, no conversion required, most are readable in full page in vertical mode ( some papers will have complex diagrams that will make you zoom & pan to be seen). Although most two-column papers are readable in full page in portrait, many times I turn it to landscape mode to have a better view of the column, and pan trough the document to the bottom of the page.

    As other posters have poin
    • by cpghost (719344)
      I agree, the Kindle DX is great. However, it misses one important functionality: split screen. More often than not, I need to pin a definition, a theorem etc... in one section of the screen, and to scroll through the remaining pages (e.g. proofs, additional remarks etc.), in the other section. Looking at both parts simultaneously is very convenient, when you don't have paper and pencil at hand (e.g. when you're traveling). But save for that, yes, I love the Kindle DX.
  • My wife is writing her PhD dissertation and uses her iPad for this. She loves it. The screen is nice, it renders the PDFs very nicely, and she doesn't have to carry around a stack of 80 odd journal articles when she's writing.

    YMMV of course, but she says it's made her life a lot easier.

  • I am a physicist and in my daily job I usually have to keep open and study several papers and textbooks. Most of the documents I study are in electronic format (mostly pdf and dejavu), but paper is still covering a significant part of my desk. I currently use a PC with two large screens, but for looking at my documents I wanted to find something more comfortable and that was easy to carry along my travels (my laptop is a bit too big and heavy, and I am quite tired of bringing it with me). However after tryi
  • (I'm not aware of any specific issues relating to scientific journals- my reading is predominantly legal journal articles (usually in .pdf), PDF prints of web articles (converted via Readability), and legislation, cases and the like.)

    I used a couple of eReaders (COOL-ER (no longer trading) and Sony), but, whilst these were great for reading novels, or for casual reading, I did not find them of use for reading academic materials - I wanted to make notes, to highlight sections and the like, which neither o

  • Lots of you have commented that Kindles just don't have a big enough screen for scientific papers as PDF. When I look at the papers I have next to me, they're all formatted as two columns (so your eyes don't lose track of the line you're reading). So what we really need are scientific papers formatted for e-reader. Are any of the major publishers doing this? (Yes, I know we all have a ton of PDFs, but let's look to the future for a moment...)
  • We bought 2 10 inch Kindles and 2 10 inch pocketbooks 903s at our lab, to see if we could use them to read academic papers instead of all those dead trees. Also, a colleague had a 7 inch kindle, so we tried that as well. Most papers we read are PDFs in two-column format, so how well a reader can handle that was perhaps the most important requirement.

    The pocketbook is quite nice, and is also a very open device (it's linux and you can run scripts on it etc), and it has WIFI. Other than that, the readers ar
  • I've been using an ipad + goodreader to view pdfs, and so far it's the single best solution I've been able to find. iPad is a big screen, and goodreader allows you to non-destructively crop empty borders in pages, so you maximize your reading area.

    I wanted an e-reader for the longest time, but thought the current ones were way too overpriced. They still are IMO. I almost went with Notion Ink but I read about people having issues with it. Then the ipad 2 came out, and a reseller was selling original ipad

    • I forgot to mention that Goodreader also has amazing annotation capabilities. It's the single most powerful pdf viewer I've seen that runs on a gadget.

  • Best one is iPad. I tried everything else and the PDF reader on the ipad works fantastically. Good reader is nice but the one built into iBooks renders fast and correct every time.

    I did not like the choices on Android, but I have not checked for any new ones in 3 months since I switched to an iPad.

    It's not about the hardware, it's about the apps and quality of the apps. and nothing else has goodreader or a better pdf and all other format readers right now.

    Now unleash the foaming at the mouth apple hat

  • iPad, in combination with the app Papers [mekentosj.com], is an excellent portable platform for reading scientific PDFs.

  • I have an iRex iLiad from 2007 that I use mainly for just that, scientific papers. It's great:

    - PDF's look great.
    - It's eInk. Much better for the eyes than a tablet if you ask me.
    - You can zoom to whichever part you want.
    - The screen is larger than in most of the latest ereaders.
    - There is a third-party reader that you can install for PDF's with column layout, letting you read in column order.
    - The device is free and can work as an USB drive, you can copy the PDF's directly to it or you can plug an USB stic

  • If you are stuck on a PC or laptop, Acrobat now allows you to change the background color of a document you are reading.

    It isn't as nice as an ebook reader, but changing the background color from white to gray helps to reduce ( not eliminate ) eye strain.

    FYI, if you still want to print those PDFs out you can be much kinder to the environment by printing with less white space in the margins and of course, doing duplex.

  • If you just want to read a scientific paper then any color ebook reader with a decet size would do the trick. But my experience with scientific paper is that I want to write on it and I want to draw on it. So somtehing like a nook won't really do it, you do need surface to write. and you need a stylus. If the screen is not at least 80% of a letter, it won't be useful. I tried an iPad and found it too small.

When I left you, I was but the pupil. Now, I am the master. - Darth Vader

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