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Ask Slashdot: I Want To Read More. Should I Get an eBook Reader Or a Tablet? 415

Posted by Soulskill
from the hire-james-earl-jones-to-read-to-you dept.
gspec writes "I read less and less nowadays, but I realize I need to get back into my old reading habit. Would getting an ebook reader or a tablet help me to enjoy reading more? Would you recommend one over the other? A little relevant background about me: I probably can spare two hours a day to read. I do not travel a lot. I am not a fast reader; if I force myself, I could probably finish a standard length novel in a week. English is my second language, so a built-in dictionary would be nice. I enjoy Netflix, and I have bought many computer/technical eBooks from O'Reilly for reference. I have many technical reference PDFs. I have 300-400 bucks to spare for this. I'd like to hear opinions based on your knowledge and experience on reading using ebook readers/tablets."
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Ask Slashdot: I Want To Read More. Should I Get an eBook Reader Or a Tablet?

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  • I had this issue (Score:4, Informative)

    by 2.7182 (819680) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:55PM (#41039119)
    I got an kindle dx which was terrible for pdfs, my main interest. Now I have an iPad and use goodreader and it is awesome.
    • Re:I had this issue (Score:4, Informative)

      by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:01PM (#41039197)

      Ebook readers aren't great for PDFs, but they are leagues ahead of tablets for reading textbooks. I'd leave it another couple of years until ebooks really get all the wrinkles ironed out, then get an ebook reader. I have a nook and I can store tens of thousands of quality books in there at less than the weight of a paperback.

      • Re:I had this issue (Score:5, Interesting)

        by History's Coming To (1059484) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:37PM (#41039579) Journal
        Agreed. If you're actually going to be using the thing for reading in a serious way, then eReader without a doubt. Ridiculously long battery life, pleasant to read on, no reflections and usable in direct sunlight, and far cheaper. In fact, for something that can do everything, you can buy a netbook and eReader for less than a tablet, and you get superior reading and superior computing. Tablets are for when you want the reading experience of a netbook and the typing/input interface of an eReader.
        • How about this, buy both. I read PDFs and color text books on a tablet (iPad) and I'll read linear content (novels) on the iPad if it's the only thing I have with me. But I far prefer linear content on an e-ink ereader. It's much nicer on the eyes and the battery lasts a really long time.

          If the budget restricts, pick one - tablet is more flexible, but not as enjoyable to read on (in my opinion), or ereader if you like to read linear content like novels, linear non-fiction, etc.
      • Re:I had this issue (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lord Maud'Dib (611577) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:38PM (#41039583)
        I don't agree. I use a Toshiba Thrive 10" Android tablet with an SD card full of textbooks in PDF. Makes it really easy to transfer them to my notebook if need. By reading them with EzPDF I can highlight, annotate, draw on them and save them. I can add bookmarks and quickly do searches too. I also find the extra length of the screen in portrait mode (due to the widescreen setup on Android tablets) is beneficial as it allows menus and toolbars along the top and bottom of the screen which don't overlay on the page. Overall, I can't think of a better solution, except for possibly a matte screen to reduce reflections.
        • by dwillden (521345)
          The question is, have you used an e-ink reader for extensive reading? Most who do, that I've talked to, dislike reading on an LCD. You give good examples of how tablets can be used but until you have used both, you really can't speak authoritatively on which is better.

          I have an SD card full of PDF's and epubs on my nook, there are some minor page formatting issues with PDF's in the nook, but they still read fine. And my Nook weighs a lot less than your 10" tablet and gets nearly a month between charge
      • Re:I had this issue (Score:5, Informative)

        by gmanterry (1141623) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:41PM (#41039619) Journal

        Ebook readers aren't great for PDFs, but they are leagues ahead of tablets for reading textbooks. I'd leave it another couple of years until ebooks really get all the wrinkles ironed out, then get an ebook reader. I have a nook and I can store tens of thousands of quality books in there at less than the weight of a paperback.

        Ebook readers aren't great for PDFs, but they are leagues ahead of tablets for reading textbooks. I'd leave it another couple of years until ebooks really get all the wrinkles ironed out, then get an ebook reader. I have a nook and I can store tens of thousands of quality books in there at less than the weight of a paperback.

        I have a Kindle and an iPad. Both have their strong points. The remarks about reading PF files are valid. However there is one other thing to consider, environment. The iPad is 100% useless outside in bright light. I use mine for reading in bed. The Kindle needs ambient light for the display so it is perfect outside, even in bright sunlight.

        • Re:I had this issue (Score:5, Informative)

          by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:57PM (#41041365) Homepage

          I hate being in bright sunlight so that isn't an issue for me. I have a basic kindle and Nexus 7, and I've read books on both.

          Both are a handy size for reading and both can be held in one hand comfortably, though the kindle is lighter. I haven't read so long with the Nexus that I've drained the battery, but if you are going to be away from power for days, the kindle is better because it will have juice.

          However, for reading PDFs, particularly PDFs with color, the kindle is very weak compared to the tablet. For example, I have the fishing regs for my state uploaded to my kindle and to the kindle app on the Nexus 7, and it's a real pain to use on the kindle. On the tablet, it's a snap to zoom in on a picture of a fish for example, or on some small print for a particular marine area. It's so clunky to do the same thing on the Kindle that I don't even bother trying.

          However, reading in the dark with the kindle app on the Nexus 7 can be blinding. The Kindle app doesn't respect the brightness settings you set for the tablet, at least not once you're in your book. Fortunately, you can choose to adjust the display in the kindle app once you are on a page of the book by clicking on the font size icon -- then you can choose black on white, sepia, or white on black. You can also adjust brightness. I can't figure out why that is in the font size setting area, rather than in the preferences area, and I found it only accidentally. Anyway, for me, white text on black at the minimum brightness is tolerable enough for reading till I doze off. It isn't as good as ambient light on e-ink, but tolerable.

          The nexus will play netflix vids fine, though I rigged up a bit of stand by bending up a coat hanger so I can just set it on a side table rather than hold it if I want to fall asleep watching a show. Obviously the kindle won't do video at all. The tablet is a lot closer to having a real computer too and can do interesting things like marine charts, games, etc. etc.

          Anyway, if I didn't already have the kindle, I wouldn't buy one now that I have a 7" tablet. It will do what the kindle does best reasonably well, plus a million things the kindle won't do at all, and excels at a few things the Kindle does poorly (like full color PDFs).

          I don't have a 10" tablet, but I don't think I'd want one either. At that size a laptop is more compelling to me, but a 7" tablet can be used with one hand quite handily. So anyway, I'd get a 7" tablet and use the $100 a kindle costs for buying books rather than buying both devices.

          • Re:I had this issue (Score:4, Informative)

            by chmod a+x mojo (965286) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:29PM (#41042045)

            Couple things.

            One, if you aren't tied to kindle books by DRM or can convert them to DRM free, check out moon+ reader on the tablet. It's a pretty decent app for reading, can be set up so a swipe on the left side of the screen will adjust brightness, and has a decen't library interface as well as being able to search through your SD card / internal memory by directory to find your books. It beats the pants off the nook app or kindle app.

            Two, just root a LCD type reader into a full tablet. Nook color ( what I have ) runs Cyanogen mod 7 and works as good as a much more expensive tablet, even to running netflix. Total cost: $210USD, 200 for the device and 10 for the 16GB microSD card. I'm sure the kindle fire is probably hacked already too. The only real drawback is HW decoding h.264 video over 480P is crap, 720P xvid in software works out just fine though with only minimal size overhead for costs.

      • by EdZ (755139)
        I have both a Kindle and an iPad 3 (purchased solely because of the high-resolution screen). No matter what conversion tricks I try (with Calibre or otherwise), there is no way currently to comfortably read any sort of book with images, diagrams, charts, or equations on the Kindle's 800x600 display. It's just not going to work acceptably. For reading just-text books, the Kindle is miles ahead; it fits in a pocket, 'boots' in a fraction of a second to where you left it every time, and is just plain nice to r
    • Re:I had this issue (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tricorn (199664) <sep@shout.net> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @07:58PM (#41040841) Journal

      I have a Nook, which I love. It also doesn't do PDFs very well.

      However, there's a great free app, Calibre, which will manage your e-book collection on your computer and does a great job of converting between formats. I just convert PDFs to epub format and then I don't have any problems with them any more (though it probably wouldn't work very well if the PDF is just a scanned image).

      The advantage of the Nook Simple Touch, the Kindle e-ink reader, or the Kobo reader is that a battery charge lasts forever. Even the new Nook Glowlight doesn't chew up the battery (and you only turn the light on when you need it; it's very effective even at very low setting).

      I like the Nook because it has a microSD slot (I think it takes up to 32GB), and it will boot off the external card without having to modify the firmware at all. You can also easily replace the built-in firmware, then restore it later (assuming you backed it up!). It's also VERY light.

      Not sure of the others, but the Nook has 802.11b/g/n (only does the 2.4GHz n though).

      • by geminidomino (614729) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:30PM (#41041139) Journal

        I've had no end of problems converting PDFs to EPUB with Calibre, for my rooted Nook Color. Though to be fair, few of the other programs I've tried did any better. I finally broke down and bought EzPDF to read them (this was when it was still $0.99. I wouldn't recommend it at the current price). By replacing the horrible BN reader with FBReaderJ for epubs and EzPDF or Adobe (or whatever one you prefer) It does all right. Much better than stock, and it beats messing around with the wonky PDF-EPUB conversions...

  • Ebook reader (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:55PM (#41039125)

    If you get an iPad, and you're not disciplined, you'll find yourself doing everything else but reading books because it's really nice to use. Ebook readers with browsers or application support are still pretty limited.

    • Re:Ebook reader (Score:5, Informative)

      by ottothecow (600101) <ottothecow.gmail@com> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:01PM (#41039203) Homepage
      For just plain reading, the kindle is where it is at. Even with a retina display, an ipad doesn't feel right.

      It won't be great for techinical books, but for reading novels, the cheapest kindle is just awesome. eInk is super comfortable to read and it doesn't force you to read with an overly bright backlit display. The "page" is about the size of a normal book (the ipad screen is a little too wide to support a good reading speed IMHO).

      • Re:Ebook reader (Score:5, Interesting)

        by peragrin (659227) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:13PM (#41039351)

        it is size actually.

        if your reading 7-8" tablet size is easier to deal with than the 10" tablet's.

        if you want the most flexiblity get a google nexus tablet. you want the easy setup get either a nook or kindle fire.

        I love my nook tablet for reading and web surfing it is easy to hold on to and a decent size. the only draw back is that the stock OS sucks. if I root it i might as well get a full google tablet anyways.

      • Re:Ebook reader (Score:4, Insightful)

        by iamhassi (659463) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:24PM (#41041071) Journal
        Get both. I bought a first gen nook for $40 on ebay buy it now. There's tons on there at that price and it's a great reader. I wouldn't try surfing with it, it works but it's strange using the small touchscreen to navigate, but it's great as a ebook reader, and the battery lasts practically forever, I think I've charged it twice since March. I like that the large screen is not a touchscreen because I'll often rest my thumb on the screen while holding it.

        At that price there's still plenty left over for a 16gb Google Nexus 7. Quad core tegra 3 and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with 16gb for $249.

        Under $300 he'll have a great ebook reader and a great tablet.
    • Re:Ebook reader (Score:4, Insightful)

      by alen (225700) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:03PM (#41039215)

      i don't know. i bought an ipad 2 expecting to do everything else and ended up reading more than anything

    • Tablets offer too many distractions. Every time the e-mail dings, your attention is drawn away from reading. I have an iPad and love it, but my Kindle has become my primary reading device.
  • by bananaquackmoo (1204116) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:57PM (#41039151)
    Why not both? You can easily buy two tablets for $300-400. One e-ink device @ $100 and one tablet @$200-300
    • It works for me. Carrying around both an e-ink reader and a cheaper larger Android tablet allows you to use the tablet to take notes without screen swapping. When used in combination with a Bluetooth keyboard & folio stands I find it far more productive than lugging around a laptop.
  • Try out one of each (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:58PM (#41039155)

    I prefer the Kindle because it doesn't have a backlight. I find it tires my eyes much less, like reading a regular book. Try one of each and see which one works out better for you.

    • eBook readers are generally lighter and easier to hold for long stretches with one hand on the corner, or propped up against something. They are generally great for reading anywhere you'd normally read a paperback book.

      However, tablets are backlit. This means you can read in low light situations, and for coloured diagrams, they are significantly superior. They also have the added advantage of being an email client and a decent web browser, as well as being able to run custom reference apps (which the sub

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:58PM (#41039167)

    The have a wide selection, great price, and 2 weeks to read it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:02PM (#41039205)

      The have a wide selection, great price, and 2 weeks to read it.

      Even though he says he's a slow reader, I don't think it would take 2 weeks to read a library card.

      --
      I don't usually reply to gweihir (88907) either. So there.

    • Books suck (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Asmor (775910) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:55PM (#41040331) Homepage

      I know I'm in the minority here--particularly on Slashdot, I'm sure--but I absolutely hate books.

      Before getting my kindle, I read only while in high school and college, and only during class. After graduating, I read almost nothing. Since getting my kindle, I read on my commutes, and even take out time to read when I'm at home and could be on the Internet or playing a game.

      Books are bulky. It's a pain to keep your place. The feel of the paper in paperback books gives me goosebumps. I find the smell of books unpleasant. You have to hold the books open, making reading one-handed challenging (a necessity on subways, and also helpful for reading in bed). Holding books open is particularly annoying at the start and end of the book, when the two halves are quite lopsided.

      Like I said, I know I'm in the minority, but as far as I'm concerned books are almost singularly unsuitable as a medium for recreational reading.

  • Personally I have both a tablet and an e-reader (iPad/Kindle3) and for $300-400, you could get both e-ink and LCD Kindles, for example. If reading detailed image-based PDFs is your thing I'd probably recommend 10" tablet at least. Reflow on text doesn't help there as much.

  • by dasunt (249686) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:59PM (#41039179)
    I really prefer e-ink for reading. Its nice on the eyes, and the low-power consumption of the screen gives excellent battery life. Plus, most of the e-ink readers I see seem a little lighter than the corresponding tablets.

    Right now I have a Kindle Keyboard. The screen may be too small if you read books with a lot of diagrams or illustrations. The Kindle DX would be better in this regards, but it is a tad spendy.

    Regardless of what you get, I'd recommend Calibre for managing your library, and I would strongly suggest checking out your local library system's ebook lending. It is extremely convenient to be able to borrow books at any hour of the day or night. If you have access to different library systems, check out the ebook lending offers at each - sometimes one system will have a wider selection.

    • I would strongly suggest checking out your local library system's ebook lending.

      Second that. Check your library's website for info. Lots of good books available this way. In the state where I live (Oregon) all the local libraries have formed a consortium for making ebooks available to their patrons.

      Even if your local library doesn't have this, check out libraries in neighboring communities. Residence requirements for library cards tend to be rather lax.

      Public libraries have an impressive set of online resources. In particular, there's often access to the Oxford English Dictionary, whic

    • by tricorn (199664) <sep@shout.net> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:51PM (#41041785) Journal

      Calibre is wonderful, it converts between many different e-book formats (and manages them, i.e. you have ONE entry for a book, even if there are multiple formats), it is VERY flexible, and it knows about a whole heck of a lot of different e-readers and how to transfer to them. Just plug your reader into your computer, select what you want to transfer and click one button.

      On my Nook, it knows about both the built-in memory and the microSD card (if you have one installed) and can transfer to either one. It will also show you which books are already on the device or card.

  • eInk (Score:4, Informative)

    by Manip (656104) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @04:59PM (#41039187)
    I would recommend eInk. Less eye-strain. Less battery drain (weeks between charges). And seems to work great in strong sunlight or other adverse conditions.

    Tablets are multi-media devices. They do it all. eInk based e-readers are just for books and they do it exceptionally.

    PS - The text on this page is insanely small and CTRL+ won't fix it. What the hell /.?
  • by Shoten (260439) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:01PM (#41039195)

    The answer depends on a few different things. One, how durable a device do you need? Most e-readers are a bit tougher. Two, where will you be reading? If you expect a lot of outdoors reading, definitely go with the e-reader...otherwise, it won't matter. Three, how much use do you have for a tablet's functions? Tablets can do more than e-readers. Battery life: the nod goes to e-readers. Versatilty: tablets win. Up to you...

  • Do you want to read or have a media device?
    My wife has a kindle that she just wants to read on. If you want to read, watch movies, listen to mp3s, and browse the web get a tablet. If you just want books for the airplane or car ride get an eReader.
    • by sammyF70 (1154563)
      just a small correction : many ebook readers have integrated mp3 players and, at least on my Sony PRS-T1, the web browser isn't really THAT bad ... it's good enough to read the huffpost, news.google or slashdot.
  • by EggyToast (858951) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:03PM (#41039221) Homepage
    If you're reading fiction, get a Kindle or other e-ink device, because these guys have the advantage of being lightweight, have long battery lives, and "disappear" when you're reading. You just read and read and can enjoy yourself.

    If you're reading non-fiction, especially non-fiction with charts, graphs, and the like, get a tablet. They support more advanced features with ePub.

    Finally, the device in many cases also ties you into a store. If you're just interested in loading up your own PDFs, you have free reign to select any tablet. If you want to read books from the iBookstore, you have to go with the iPad. If you like the Kindle store or the Nook store, you can choose most tablets OR their own tablet offering.
    • by david.given (6740)

      You will only take my Kindle from the cold, dead hands. (Although, TBH, I'd rather you didn't.) It has made such a difference for me. I travel a lot, and having the Kindle has reduced the amount of luggage I have to take by half.

      That said, it's not perfect by a long shot: the main menu is rubbish, the rendering has some weird glitches (full justification doesn't always work), and the book UI has some very rough areas. Paging backwards is slow. But the store integration is *superb* --- you buy a book on th

    • If you're reading non-fiction, especially non-fiction with charts, graphs, and the like, get a tablet. They support more advanced features with ePub.

      All the major e-ink readers support epub.

      If you need to read charts and graphs and large tables, your best bet is an iPad because of the high resolution, color display. The Kindle DX is one of the few large-scale eInk devices and it suffers from issues with PDFs and hasn't been refreshed software-wise in quite some time. The other large eReaders are basi

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:03PM (#41039223)

    Like 75-100 books. Do you really need an e-reader just to read? Plus many e-books are overpriced, where used books only cost 1 penny plus shipping.

    If it were me I'd buy the cheaper e-book available which is the Kindle for $79. I wouldn't go spending hundreds of dollars on a device.

    • by opkool (231966)

      Like 75-100 books. Do you really need an e-reader just to read? Plus many e-books are overpriced, where used books only cost 1 penny plus shipping.

      If it were me I'd buy the cheaper e-book available which is the Kindle for $79. I wouldn't go spending hundreds of dollars on a device.

      The problem with $300-$400 in books is: where are you going to put them?

      The poster is already an avid reader, thus (s)he surely has a sizable amount of books. As you cannot buy (yet) 400sqf on Amazon to expand your home, space becomes a premium.

      My 2 cents.

      • Buy few at a time and donate it to the local library (or you nephew or someone else in your family), as you are done? If you want to read it again, you can buy it again.

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      amen to that. I do a bit of reading in the bath.... a tatty paperback is perfect for that, an expensive ereader is not. Same for out and about - a paperback is easy to pack and doesn't matter if someone nicks it.

      And not only that, the feel good and they get you laid. [goodreads.com]

    • by caffiend666 (598633) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:40PM (#41039603) Homepage
      My Kobo came with 100 (free) books pre-installed and I have read through about 20 of them so far. Having a good e-Reader makes Project Gutenberg books (free) easy to read, and there are about 40,000 books available, I have read about 10 so far. There are many great $1 dollar books available online. Given my Kobo cost me $80, I have broken even and saved money already, not to mention the tremendous convenience. I am also reading things I wouldn't have read otherwise, that I wanted to read. It wasn't worth spending $7 to buy a copy of Anna Karenina, but it was a worthwhile read at no-cost except for the reader which was already paid for.
      • by tricorn (199664)

        I got a Nook, in part because I get great service from B&N in a real store nearby, but I just recently took a look at the Kobo e-ink reader. The reader appears to be very similar to the Nook Simple Touch, and I like Kobo's philosophy of being able to read your books on whatever device you want. They seem to have a very good catalog of books as well, including a lot of free books. They have a mix of DRM-free and DRM-encumbered books.

        While B&N doesn't explicitly have read-anywhere as a philosophy,

      • by Rary (566291)

        Kobo's philosophy also seems to be the most "free" of the various options out there. A great many of the books sold at the Kobo store are DRM-free, and even the ones with DRM are easily shared between multiple devices (in my case, for some of my books, 2-3 laptops, a smartphone, and 2 Kobos). I also don't think (haven't confirmed this, though) that it's even possible for them to wipe a book the way Amazon already has with the Kindle.

  • E-ink reader here (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    All depends on exactly what you want to do with it.

    If you just want to read books then get an ebook reader - despite what everyone may say you cannot compare an tablet to an e-ink screen.

    E-ink is so easy on the eyes, and feels like reading a book.

    Plus they're light, and just the right size.

    If you want to use any other feature that are tablet specific (and you can't do on your smartphone (if you have one)) - then a tablet all the way.

  • If you mostly need it for books, the iPad 2 (last gen) is really good, and they are just $400 now - I would say it's a better option than other ebook readers for you because of the Netflix support which is also very good. The minimum configuration of 16GB would be plenty for books and a few other apps.

    Reading is really nice on the newer iPad with the higher res screen, if you could find one refurbished [apple.com] or used that would be ideal. Apple refurb prices are around $450 though, still slightly out of your bud

    • If an iPad is on his radar at all, he might be well-advised to wait until at least September 12th, since that's when rumors are currently pointing to an Apple product announcement taking place, with an iPad mini being rumored. It's possible that may either be more to his liking or else may trigger price drops on the rest of the line.

      Otherwise, I agree. An iPad 2 is in his budget, handles Netflix beautifully, and does great with colors, diagrams, PDFs, etc..

      • If an iPad is on his radar at all, he might be well-advised to wait until at least September 12th, since that's when rumors are currently pointing to an Apple product announcement taking place, with an iPad mini being rumored.

        I don't think so, especially given some of the things he likes to read (technical manuals). As an all-around reader, especially of content with diagrams the larger size screen would suit much better than the Nexus 7 or iPad mini size. The same holds true of viewing Netflix.

        If he were

  • by opkool (231966) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:04PM (#41039245) Homepage

    I had this same problem. I *love* to read, but I was hardly reading anything.

    Then my wife got me a Nook Color. And it's awesome

    - Decent price
    - B&N reader (very good!)
    - on-line dictionary (English is my 3rd language)
    - I can read ePubs and PDFs fine
    - New Nook Color has Netflix
    - Rooteable and good Nook Rooter community
    - B&N has free ebooks every week
    - If you root it, you can install Kindle Android App
    - MicroSD slot
    - Decent battery life
    - Not awful reading outside
    - I can read at night
    - (...)

    So in those last 2 years I've read a lot, a little bit during lunch and some week-end marathons when wife is at work.

    All in all, I love it and give it my OpKool Seal of Approval.

    --- Peace!

  • Not having either I could very much imagine a general purpose tablet taking my attention away from the book as does my laptop.

    An e-paper reader can be used in full daylight, a tremendous advantage.
    Plus they are not expensive.

  • There's no guarantee that getting an electronic tool will make reading more interesting or fun for you. The main advantage of an ebook reader like Kindle is that you can read it outside in the sunlight, if that fits better with your lifestyle. A tablet provide its own light, so you can read in the dark and not bother roommates. I personally prefer the tablet (Nexus 7 for me), since I can do a great deal of other stuff on it when I'm not reading. I spend probably half my tablet time reading, and the othe

  • Get both (Score:5, Informative)

    by caffiend666 (598633) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:06PM (#41039271) Homepage

    Get both. A $70-$120 dollar e-reader and a $330 to $280 tablet. e-Readers are bad for surfing the web or any interactive work, they are also bad for any graphical reading. Tablets are bad for long-term reading, both in strain on the eyes and they tend to go to sleep before wordy pages can be read, not to mention who wants to recharge multiple times to finish a book, and are worthless in sunlight, and Tablets are heavy.

    I have a Second-gen Kobo I got on sale as Borders was going out of business. And, I have a HP Touchpad I bought as HP discontinued the product line. Together they cost less than $350. Watch for a sale, the previous generation devices can always be found cheap.

    Both the tablet and e-Reader grew on me and I reach for each at different times. I keep both with me almost all of the time. My certification/professional work all ends up on the Tablet for the graphics. O'Reilly publishes their e-books without DRM, so I can put books on both and use whichever works best in a given situation. I wasn't too sure about the e-Reader until I went on a trip without it, I was miserable in an 8-hour layover without it. The Tablet I liked immediately, and have it dual booting between WebOS and Android. The E-Reader ends up with most fiction and non-technical non-fiction, I have downloaded about as many Gutenberg Press books as for pay books off of O'reilly, Google, and Kobobooks. I spend about an hour with each device EACH day. I also have learned to build my own Android APPs and ePub books, not that difficult.

  • If all you expect to do with this thing is to read books, the eBook reader is far better, especially if you can get one based on e-ink. The batteries typically last longer, and the screen won't strain your eyes to nearly the same degree.

    If you need something more general-purpose, though, then go with a tablet. E-ink is awesome for reading books, but is very specialized toward that purpose: the low refresh rate makes it unsuitable for many other tasks.

  • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:09PM (#41039303) Homepage

    A Kindle will allow you to read books using e-ink, which will be easier on your eyes. The Nexus 7 will provide you with PDF and ePub support, as well as more purchasing options.

    Even together, they will both be cheaper than an iPad.

  • My wife and I trashed three different eInk readers (Nook, Kobo, Kindle) by allowing sharp things to impact the screen, once even through a padded neoprene sleeve. Keys in a backpack = fatal. Get the eink reader for the screen, but then spend decent money on a case with a rigid, robust screen protector that flips shut whenever the device isn't being read.

    Also: I was a big fan of our Kobo, if you can handle buying books via laptop and syncing via Calibri. A simple, focused, cheap device.

  • If you're serious about reading get an Ereader that uses Eink they are so much nicer for extended reading than a tablet, and they are also much cheaper than a tablet. I got my nook simple touch for 60 bucks on Ebay, it looked brand new and works perfectly.

    I cannot stress enough how awesome Eink is, for reading it really does look just like a book, plus the battery life is so much longer with Eink, so long as you turn off the wireless while you're reading. My Nook has never been below 50% charge, I only char

  • Then pocket the other $200-300 while you watch how the 7"-8" tablet market shakes out. Oh, but spend another $30 to get an Octovo Solis light for your Kindle.

    I like the utility of the iPad; but, for reading, my Kindle 3 (what's now called the Kindle Keyboard) beats the pants off it.

  • by alispguru (72689) <bane@gs[ ]om ['t.c' in gap]> on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:16PM (#41039389) Journal

    You'll fart around and waste time on the internet with a tablet.

    At least, that's what I'd probably do...

  • by milkmage (795746) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:16PM (#41039391)

    I used to think I'd always use the Kindle (3) over my ipadRetina because of 2 things:
    1) weight
    2) backlit screen

    since I got a nexus7, I've changed my mind.
    i use the kindle app as well as collections (the google book app)

    the weight problem is obviously solved,
    and I think the "backlit screen" problem is mitigated by fewer pixel i guess.. i don't get eye fatigue when staring at the nexus (white text black background, lowest brightness setting).

    it even comes with a $25 credit so you can get a few books from google. $250 is right in your range, you could buy a ton of books with the change.

    i like jellybean more than i thought i would, the nexus is a solid offering and it can do a hell of a lot more (quite capably).

    if you have amazon prime, there are a few perks available to kindle hardware owners... unless you really need/want a specific ereader characteristic (battery life, outdoor use, "free" networking) a tablet is the way to go (7" that is, at least for me)

  • I was in the same situation myself. I ended up buying a Nexus 7and now I'm typing this on my tablet in between finishing a book. I am the first book I've read in years, and actually. The functionality and portability of a tablet combined with the ease of reading pdfs or epubs or whatever can't be beat.

    You can have an entire library in your hand. You can use find functions for words or phrases and can look up words on Google or a dictionary app and pop right back into the reader program.

    Also, you can get fre

  • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:17PM (#41039405) Homepage

    .... and, in my opinion, if you want to read for pleasure, something with an eInk screen is the way to go. I've read tens of thousands of pages on my iPad over the past two years, on both the first gen iPad and, latterly, the iPad 3, and, were it not for the need to mark up / annotate my reading, I'd have much preferred an eInk screen; reading on the iPad has been tough on the eyes, and, whilst far from heavy, it's not ideal for reading over long periods of time.

    When I read for pleasure, I used a Sony 505, and, before that, a COOL-ER reader. Each had its flaws, but, for the simple act of displaying a page in an easy-on-the-eye manner, they were streets ahead of the iPad. They are different things, for sure — I'm happy with my iPad for annotating my reading, as I tend to read mostly academic works now, and, when I do read for pleasure, I use the iPad, simply because it's with me, and the best book is the one I have to hand. But if I were looking for something to read for pleasure, I'd go for eInk, whether a Kindle or something else.

    Oh, and I'd make sure I had DeDRM and Calibre installed, to ensure that I can read any book I purchase on any software client I like :)

    • If you do go for a tablet, be strict about keeping Wi-Fi off. Else you'll find yourself posting on Slashdot and not reading. The more capable the device, the more discipline required to get anything done, I reckon...

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:17PM (#41039407) Journal

    First, the hardware:

    E-ink reader: Cheaper, lighter, better battery life, sunlight readable.

    Tablet: Much more versatile, backlit, more expensive.

    For travelling/commuting users, the hardware characteristics of the e-ink devices are pretty compelling. Sunlight readable, cheap enough that losing/breaking/having one stolen isn't the end of the world, and can last (literally) weeks on a charge.

    For less mobile purposes, though, it matters rather less. Tablets aren't exactly laborious to carry, and they last long enough.

    Given that your question is "I want to read more", I'd be concerned about the psychological and attention aspects of the device. A tablet, aside from the suckitude of a software keyboard, is a portal to the Internet, man's greatest corrupter and destroyer, It That Hungers For Free Time, devourer of souls. This definitely has its perks; but your odds of doing more serious reading are not among them.

    E-ink devices, by contrast, frequently have wifi and may have some sort of rudimentary browser; but are largely too limited to muster any real distraction. You may put it down; but you won't just close the book and start tossing angry birds. That would make them my recommendation.

    Unfortunately, there is a slight wrinkle: PDF support. PDFs tend to reflow/resize poorly(though this can vary by source, 'PDF' is a monstrously complex beast, and can mean almost anything from slightly overwrought plaintext to some seriously indigestable monstrosities that are virtually impossible to view in anything other than the intended size and layout), which makes them a bit tricky on e-ink screens(since the slower refresh rates discourage lots of zooming/scrolling). Tablets are often a better option there. Either category should support all reasonably common etext formats; but epubs and their ilk are much better behaved on more limited devices.

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:18PM (#41039413) Homepage Journal

    But really -- hear me out. I found myself in the same position, having once been a voracious reader to not reading books at all. And I found that when I did make a conscious effort to start reading books again, I would finish a book and then take some time to start another, up to a year - or worse, start reading a book I really did not like, *cough*Crytonomicon*cough* which would stop me from reading all together for a period because I felt obligated to finish something that I really, really hated reading and would never actually get around to finishing.

    What did get me "reading" again on a regular basis was audio books. It seems that it wasn't so much my lack of interest in reading, but my lack of ability to make time for reading and that the pace of my life is much more condensed than it was in my early 20s. So audiobooks fit in with my schedule better, I can listen to them while driving, while eating or while working and have averaged about 4 books a month. And since it was much less effort of my time, I found that I could even make it through books I found I HATED such as Bleak House (sorry Dickens -- that was a long-winded turd), if only because it didn't take physical effort of actually reading the book and feeling I was wasting my time. Audiobooks are not dumbed down and while being read to you, they require your mind to provide the mental imagery and are every bit as cerebral as a paper or digital book. And often times they have well known actors such as Tim Curry, or even Samuel L Jackson doing the narration, which adds it's own element to the book.

    So you might want to ask if it's rally a factor of being able to make time and how busy your schedule is, and if it is pretty busy to the point of being unable to keep a constant commitment to a couple hours a day for reading, you might want to head over to Audible and give audio books a go.

  • Get a library card (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:19PM (#41039423)

    If you want to read more go get some dead tree books for free (library/friends) or cheap (swap meets, garage sales, used book stores) and save your money.

    If you want something JUST to read go for an ebook reader for the longer life.

    If you want a justification to get a tablet, just admit it to yourself that you want to play angry birds or use/try other apps and buy one.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Would getting an ebook reader or a tablet help me to enjoy reading more?

    No, they will make it easier to carry around a large bunch of books you might want to read, but they don't make reading any funner (it will be a word if you use it enough). Tablet vs eBook doesn't matter. If you truly want it for reading and not social media/videos, pick something with an e-ink display. If you're a slow reader, text-to-speech is a very nice feature. I use it all the time on my standard Kindle.

    You want an e-ink display.
    You want good battery life.
    You don't need much storage (books are at

  • I used to read a lot and then I quit because I didn't have time. I got a subscription to audible and I get more enjoyment out of it than I do television and movies, at 1/4th the cost. For one, you can listen to a good book while doing something else, like walking. You can also listen to one while driving. I get stuck driving a lot where I work, and it sure makes for a good use of time. Now if you are doing something that takes a lot of concentration, audiobooks don't work so well.

  • by Ecuador (740021) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:24PM (#41039469) Homepage

    Eh, this is a no-brainer. The Kindle (not Fire, the regular with the e-ink screen) has been the best think that has ever happened to my reading habits.
    Both me and my wife read a lot. While I don't mind reading the odd pdf on my (portrait-mode) LCD screen, I prefer the actual books since they are both portable and mainly much more relaxing to the eye. My wife cannot read on an LCD for more than an hour or so, so her only choice was books. That is until I bought her a Kindle Keyboard to try out. Well, let's just say that after a couple of weeks I got one for myself as well. While we have built a decent "paper" book library over the years (well over 1000 books), I now prefer to read the ebook versions - easier to carry, as relaxing to read, easier to hold, better night light, built in dictionary. Ok, I cheat a little - if I already own the book I download the kindle version without buying it again, but overall Amazon makes it amazingly easy to buy books instantly no matter where you are in the world.
    Overall, a tablet seems kind of useless to me for reading books. During the day, it is as tiring as a good monitor. Which for some people like me it is not that tiring, but it never compares to the relaxed reading that an e-ink screen offers you (and then there are people who get quickly tired with any LCD). During the night you would think that the LCD would have an advantage, but to me when the environment is dark that is exactly when the LCD becomes too tiring, probably because my iris is not closed enough due to the ambient darkness. A good light with the Kindle (e.g. the Kandle) is much more relaxing. Then we go to battery power - for a tablet it is measured in hours, for an e-ink reader it is measured in MONTHS (provided you don't leave your wireless on of course), if you can't imagine how important a difference that makes let me assure you it is a huge disadvantage of the tablet. One last thing is that a lot of people don't like the touch interface for their e-reader and that includes devices like Kindle Touch along with Tablets. The reason is that you don't want to accidentally switch a page while you are re-arranging your hold on the device and also it is tiring to do gestures when you do want to switch to the next page.
    Anyway, if it is not clear I am trying to say that a modern e-ink reader will actually improve your reading experience compared to traditional books making your read more in the end (at least in my and my wife's case), when a tablet is a device that among other things can let your read books, but makes a rather awkward substitute of the traditional book. I talked mostly about Kindle because I usually buy from Amazon anyway, plus I am a huge fan of free worldwide 3G access - but the rest of the points apply to any current e-ink based device.
    Obviously there are some limitations - pdfs don't work that well, you have to wait for the next generation if you expect color etc. But you asked about reading more.
    Also I am sure a lot of people will be adamant that e.g. an Apple tablet is as relaxing to read as admiring the landscape in the countryside (I mean - it's like a RETINA screen man, it's made for your eyes by Steve himself), but, yeah, you could try reading a few hours on a Tablet and on an e-ink and judge by yourself.

  • Try online audio books if you commute.. Lots of free stuff online and at the library.. and Audible has tons of up to date new stuff. In case you want to try reading without the reading.
  • Our local library (yay!) [nvdpl.ca] loans e-readers, so over a month I tried a Sony, a Kindle, and a Kobo.

    In a nutshell, each of them had some serious missing feature that drove me away.
    • Back-lighting. These should be ideal for reading in bed, but because they also need a lamp turned on I might as well stay with a book. I'd assumed that the screen would illuminate itself somehow for reading after dark.
    • Vendor tie in - our library system has lots of e-books available, but they aren't accessible on the Kindle, onl
  • Tablet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190)
    The fact is that there are a number of different formats. ipad and android tablets support most, if not all of the formats. The readers are limited to what that company wants.

    If you want an inexpensive reader, pick up a google nexus 7 with 8 mb.
  • Having a nice large library is an impressive thing for women (or men if that's your inclination) to behold. It makes you look super-smart, and since you're trying to go for licensed e-crap, you're going to *NEED* to look smart, because you've gotta be lacking in brains to consider an electronic device that will fail versus a book.

    • Worked for me. Especially if she is a librarian. Don't be fooled by those classes and buttoned up high collared white shirts. Still waters run very, very deep and usually end up with wildly exciting rapids.
  • 1. They're easier on the eyes.
    2. They retain their resale value; trying to resell an ebook ranges from hard to impossible.
    3. They never crash.
    4. They work even when you're out of battery power.
    5. If you drop them, the book (and 500 others) doesn't instantly become completely useless.
    6. You're not beholden to any particular supplier.
    7. Neither Apple nor Amazon can remove the book from your house if they decide that releasing it was a mistake.
    8. They look great on shelves.
    9. They provide insulation in the winter.
    10. You don't have to turn the book off for takeoffs and landings.

    Of course, I'm hardly a neutral observer [lawrenceperson.com]. On the other hand, I do take my own advice [lawrenceperson.com].

  • I use a tablet (Kindle Fire to be exact) for e-books and I like it just fine, but I only use it for free or low-price books. The problem I have with e-books is you lose all your rights with them. With real ink & paper books you can do what you want with them. They're yours forever until you decide to sell/trade/lend/donate/etc... them. With e-books, you don't have those options (yes yes, Amazon lets you "lend" a book...sometimes...with restrictions) and they're never really yours. They're only yours unt
  • Personally I don't have any "physical" problems of reading books on a tablet, although I seems people always tell that is "worst" for the eyes or that it is a much worst experience. That having a light source is bad for the eyes, that the refresh rate makes you eyes tired, etc. I don't experience those problems. The only thing where tablets do suck is reading outside and where e-ink sucks is comics and PDF's.

    What I even find more remarkable is that every study or articles that I have read about the sub
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @05:51PM (#41039693)
    If yo read it, then your desire to read has come back. If you don't finish it then you're really just kidding yourself - so no amount of technology will re-kindle (groan, no pun intended) your earlier love of reading. Either you want to read, in which case yo will, or you don't. Simply buying a new toy won't kickstart it. But I reckon you already knew that.
  • I own a Kindle (and a Nook running cyanogenmod), but I still read most books on paper.

    Not because I don't want to read them on the Kindle, but because a used book is often half (or less) the price of a used book including delivery. And I can still sell it for a buck or two when I'm done.

    I read the occasional title from Baen [baen.com] or Smashwords [smashwords.com], but I've bought only a handful of Kindle/Nook titles in the past 2 years.

    As long as you don't care about reading new releases as soon as they are published, buying used is

  • by Almonday (564768) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @06:18PM (#41039919)
    ...and spend the rest on actual content via the Kindle, Nook and Play Store apps, among others. I've been really happy with mine over the past two months: The bezel widths are just about perfect for reading with one hand if I make an "L" with my thumb and index finger and use the other three fingers to brace the back, very similar to how I'm accustomed to holding paperback books. It's light enough that my arm doesn't get tired. Battery life is good. In terms of bang for the buck, you could do far, far worse.
  • by Man Eating Duck (534479) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @08:45PM (#41041269)

    I'll join the E-Ink choir... I read *a lot*, and a 6" E-Ink device really can't be beat for reading novels. I have a Sony reader, and it's just about perfect for its designed purpose, I hear good things about the later Kindle E-Ink models as well. No eye stress, ridiculous battery capacity, and it's very handy for carrying around. PDFs can be somewhat cumbersome on it if they're not designed for a relatively small screen reader, but it works great for reference PDFs if you mainly use it for lookup. PDFs often have substantial margins as they're primarily designed for printing, make sure that you crop yours for use on a reader (goes for tablets as well). Mind you, E-Ink readers are single-purpose devices, but for extended, continuous reading it really beats the pants off any backlit device. Some will advice you to just get a tablet and turn the brightness down, I personally disagree, the reading comfort is in no way comparable. A tablet with the brightness turned all the way up *can*, however, double as a reading light in a pinch :)

    If you are determined to read mainly PDFs a tablet might be the way to go, although you're somewhat limiting yourself in that case. PDF is good for fixed layout, but it basically sucks for novels.

    I would advice you to get the free library software Calibre, and deDRM all books you buy. I also convert everything to epub for guaranteed forward compatibility. DRM stripping is automatic and completely painless, google "apprentice alf" to obtain the necessary Calibre plugins. That way you're vendor-independent, and don't have to rely on drm-servers which will surely not exist indefinitely. There are also a great selection of classics and a few contemporary novels available for free, and not all classics are heavy. Look into Wodehouse or any number of turn-of-the-century mystery/crime authors for light, free reads. I buy a lot of books as well, and rarely pay more than about $8 for a book, often far less. I won't get into any piracy debate, I really don't care, but I personally find that legally obtained books are very affordable and painless to use when stripped of DRM.

    As for rediscovering the delight of reading: focus on light, enjoyable novels for starters, and don't force yourself to read. I see that you plan to set aside a fixed amount of time for reading, but never do it as a "chore". Take a break if you get tired or don't feel like reading. I very rarely abandon a book, but don't be afraid to jump ship if you don't enjoy a particular work. Your reading speed will pick up fairly quickly, and you will probably find that you read even more as you get into the habit. If you travel, reading is a great way to while away the hours on each stretch. Digital reading also lends itself well to "reading of opportunity", I always carry my reader in my pocket and whip it out whenever I have five minutes of dead time.

    Finally, good luck, there are innumerable tales, settings, and good times awaiting you :)

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