Author Topic: Advice on e-ink readers?  (Read 9604 times)

jfer_rose

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Advice on e-ink readers?
« on: June 10, 2015, 09:24:36 AM »
Hello!

My Nook Simple Touch died recently, leaving me without an e-ink reader. I much prefer reading on e-ink over a tablet or computer so I hope to replace it.

Does anyone have opinions on e-ink readers? I'm trying to decide what to replace it with. I mostly used my Nook for e-books from the library (free and convenient) so my biggest requirement is that the new e-reader needs to be capable of accepting library e-books.

My biggest pet peeve about e-readers is that they make it impossible to read your Nook book on a Kindle, or vice versa. I bought a small number of Nook books I love in the many years I used the Nook. I wonder if there is such a thing as an e-ink reader that would support library lending and also allow me to read books in different formats (Nook, Kindle, Kobo, etc). My biggest reluctance in buying a replacement reader is getting locked into that ecosystem and regretting it even more down the line.

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts!

NotJen

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 09:42:19 AM »
Is there a reason you want to switch away from the Nook?  It uses ePub format, which I think is generally more open than Kindle. I think there are converters available for the Kindle format, but I've never tried them.

My use is much like yours - mostly library downloads and only a few purchases, and I prefer e-ink to tablets.

I have the Glowlight now and really like it (rarely use the light feature, though). Both my Nooks were free, but I've never wished I had a Kindle instead.

jfer_rose

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 09:52:46 AM »
Is there a reason you want to switch away from the Nook?  It uses ePub format, which I think is generally more open than Kindle. I think there are converters available for the Kindle format, but I've never tried them.

I am considering a new Nook, it's just I am wondering if there is a better option. My minor complaint is that I don't like that  the new one is white-- it seems like it will get dirty. But my biggest reluctance is that the next time I need to replace it I expect I'll own even more Nook books and be even more stuck within the Nook "ecosystem" so to speak. And I'm not sure if Nook is a strong enough brand to still be making e-ink readers the next time I want one.

churchill

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 09:57:32 AM »
If you want something other than the Nook take a look at Kobo. You want something that does ePub like the Nook, so don't get stuck in the Amazon ecosystem. Calibre works well for conversion between formats if you do choose the Kindle.

NotJen

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 10:00:23 AM »
You're pretty safe with the Nook (ePub) books you've purchased - they should work on all readers except the Kindle.

TN_Steve

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2015, 12:52:01 PM »
I've loved my cheap kindles over the years (I buy refurbished/used, as they don't bounce well...)

Have had good luck with converting the few ePub files that have fallen into my hands, with free software.  It also handles pdfs fine (from gutenberg, etc.).

jfer_rose

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2015, 01:51:56 PM »
You're pretty safe with the Nook (ePub) books you've purchased - they should work on all readers except the Kindle.

Really? I don't think this is true. After my Nook stopped working, I tried to transfer the (library) book I was reading to my iPad but it didn't work. When I Googled to figure out if I was doing it wrong I learned that B&N tightened up their Digital Rights Management. I can read the Nook books I purchased with the Nook app on a computer, iPad, etc, but I don't think I could download the Nook app on most other e-readers.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 01:56:32 PM by jfer_rose »

jfer_rose

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2015, 02:04:54 PM »
If you want something other than the Nook take a look at Kobo. You want something that does ePub like the Nook, so don't get stuck in the Amazon ecosystem. Calibre works well for conversion between formats if you do choose the Kindle.

I read somewhere that you have to modify Calibre if you want it to convert books with Digital Rights Management, have you found that to be the case?

jfer_rose

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2015, 02:16:47 PM »
Here's an example of what I've been reading about Digital Rights Management. It's actually stuff like this that makes me want to leave the Nook system because I want to be able to read any books I purchase forever, no matter which device I choose.

Quote is from here: http://dealnews.com/features/Ways-to-Protect-Your-eBook-Library-If-NOOK-Readers-Are-Canned/747147.html
Quote
Convert Your NOOK Books

Unfortunately when it comes to keeping copies of your NOOK eBooks or transferring them to other devices, the waters are considerably muddied by digital rights management, or DRM. Take a look at an individual book in the NOOK store, and you'll see on the right a note that says, "Available on NOOK devices and apps," followed by a question mark. Tap on the question mark to get a full list of the devices that you can download that book onto; many books are restricted, and it's generally illegal to remove DRM.

Usually free works and classics that are out of copyright are DRM-free, and they can easily be converted for reading on a Kindle or other eReader or device without the need for the NOOK app. The most popular software for converting eBooks to different formats is Calibre, and it's completely free to use. It's also very easy to maneuver, but you'll find video tutorials on the website in case you run into trouble.

But for most of your eBook collection, DRM restrictions apply. There is a plug-in available for Calibre that allows you to remove the DRM from eBooks, but it's technically illegal to do so. Thus, if you want to walk the straight and narrow, you may find that your DRM books will be outright unplayable on other devices outside of the NOOK app.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2015, 02:20:31 PM »
I'm not sure I would double down on the Nook ecosystem now. At least with Amazon you're locking yourself into a system that will be around for a while.

There are various less-than-legal programs out there that will allow you to strip DRM off of an e-book file, which will then allow you to convert it to a format you can use on a different device. Finding such programs and deciding whether their use is morally justifiable is an exercise left to the reader.

Daley

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2015, 02:55:24 PM »
I'm going against the grain, and suggesting you stay with the Nook ST. Not because of B&N's possible future viability, but because 1) you already have a library with B&N currently, and 2) the Nook ST is an Android device at its very core, which means you can do things if you feel inclined to void the warranty and possibly break the law.

It's technically not legal currently to root an e-book reader in the United States, but in the past before the newer DMCA changes, I used to have a Nook ST that ran everything... after rooting, I could use the Overdrive e-book reader, Kindle for Android, Google Play Books, FBReader, EzPDF reader, I could read RSS feeds, could run Dropbox, and even did email with K9mail and browsed the interbutts with Opera... and I still had access to the native Nook reader. Even replaced the home screen with ReLaunch.

You can start to fall down the rabbit hole of potential here. The most useful thing over there currently is probably the 1337 ROM listed here.

It's that or just buy an Onyx Boox, which is just an open standards Android tablet with an e-ink display... which will do everything the Nook can (including access to your B&N ebook purchases using the Nook for Android app) without the need for hacking and being a scofflaw. You'll only find reasonable prices through Ebay, though.

Have fun!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 03:03:18 PM by I.P. Daley »

NotJen

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2015, 07:01:07 PM »
You're pretty safe with the Nook (ePub) books you've purchased - they should work on all readers except the Kindle.

Really? I don't think this is true. After my Nook stopped working, I tried to transfer the (library) book I was reading to my iPad but it didn't work. When I Googled to figure out if I was doing it wrong I learned that B&N tightened up their Digital Rights Management. I can read the Nook books I purchased with the Nook app on a computer, iPad, etc, but I don't think I could download the Nook app on most other e-readers.
Maybe not from a DRM standpoint, I was just thinking about formats.  Thanks for the info.  If you want to buy books legally, you have to deal with whatever rules the seller sets.

That's why my personal preference is to buy paper books only (I only buy 1 or 2 of those a year, anyway), and get digital from the library, where I am happy to comply with their DRM rules.  It's hard to get worked about about potentially losing a couple e-books I purchased.  I could lose the paper ones too.  It's just stuff.

arebelspy

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2015, 12:13:32 AM »
I vote Kindle Paperwhite.  Best hardware.  Best platform.  Longest future viability.

All your ePub books will be easily convertible in Calibre (we can help you with that if you need it).  Worth making the switch now, since the device died, rather than doubling down on the old one.
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lakemom

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2015, 04:47:15 AM »
I'm going against the grain, and suggesting you stay with the Nook ST. Not because of B&N's possible future viability, but because 1) you already have a library with B&N currently, and 2) the Nook ST is an Android device at its very core, which means you can do things if you feel inclined to void the warranty and possibly break the law.

It's technically not legal currently to root an e-book reader in the United States, but in the past before the newer DMCA changes, I used to have a Nook ST that ran everything... after rooting, I could use the Overdrive e-book reader, Kindle for Android, Google Play Books, FBReader, EzPDF reader, I could read RSS feeds, could run Dropbox, and even did email with K9mail and browsed the interbutts with Opera... and I still had access to the native Nook reader. Even replaced the home screen with ReLaunch.

You can start to fall down the rabbit hole of potential here. The most useful thing over there currently is probably the 1337 ROM listed here.

It's that or just buy an Onyx Boox, which is just an open standards Android tablet with an e-ink display... which will do everything the Nook can (including access to your B&N ebook purchases using the Nook for Android app) without the need for hacking and being a scofflaw. You'll only find reasonable prices through Ebay, though.

Have fun!

Thank you for this awesome info!  My Nook is aging and I've been thinking about replacing it sooner than later.  I like the prices on ebay, but they are all coming out of China and Singapore (or from a seller with 0 feedback).  Do you think its safe to order on from there?  The cost on Amazon is much higher!

Tjat

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2015, 06:25:26 AM »
I have a kindle and while I haven't done this, I'm aware of a few free programs that convert between kindle and nook formats. I'm sure this is against their TOS, but as long as it's for personal use, I think you legally own the content, not necessarily restricted to the medium it was purchased on.

Daley

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2015, 07:07:43 AM »
Thank you for this awesome info!  My Nook is aging and I've been thinking about replacing it sooner than later.  I like the prices on ebay, but they are all coming out of China and Singapore (or from a seller with 0 feedback).  Do you think its safe to order on from there?  The cost on Amazon is much higher!

My advice for buying anything from Ebay: check the feedback. Currently, there's only two sellers I'd personally be willing to purchase from selling Boox on Ebay (and do take note that I've not done business with either - these are just who I'd be comfortable buying from today if I were in the market personally): deal_aroma and extraxp in that order. The first one because they've sold at least 50 items without so much as a problem and they're located Stateside in New Jersey (they're also one of the cheapest listed), the second because they're a top-rated plus international seller that's maintained a 99%+ customer satisfaction rate doing large volume from the other side of the Pacific in Hong Kong. I always go domestic over international for purchasing first if possible, simply because it's easier to deal with returns if something goes sideways.

I won't link either, but they're easy enough to find. There's only two top-rated plus sellers, and there's only one C67ML seller in the United States listing the thing for $149.99 plus free shipping with any sort of significant transaction record.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2015, 07:11:09 AM by I.P. Daley »

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2015, 07:35:44 AM »
I vote Kindle Paperwhite.  Best hardware.  Best platform.  Longest future viability.

All your ePub books will be easily convertible in Calibre (we can help you with that if you need it).  Worth making the switch now, since the device died, rather than doubling down on the old one.

+1 to ARS' comment. My wife and I have both been very happy with our Paperwhites (1st gen) and they always seem nicer than the equivalent Nooks that some family and friends have.

Converting existing ePub books can be a minor pain but it's something you only have to do once. In future, if you buy or download things outside of the Amazon ecosystem (e.g. direct from an author or blog site, Project Gutenberg, etc) most sources will gladly have a .pdf version, and many also have their own DRM free .mobi version. The kindle handles both very well.

I'm not familiar with the device I.P. Daley recommends, though I'm not sure how usable any Android features are with the slow response of an e-ink display. Yes, cool to have, but would I use it? Probably not much. I personally like having the e-reader be as distraction free as possible. If I want to be distracted, that's what the damn phone (or iPad) is all too good at!

Daley

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2015, 08:04:25 AM »
I'm not familiar with the device I.P. Daley recommends, though I'm not sure how usable any Android features are with the slow response of an e-ink display. Yes, cool to have, but would I use it? Probably not much. I personally like having the e-reader be as distraction free as possible. If I want to be distracted, that's what the damn phone (or iPad) is all too good at!

Well, the Nook is an Android device at it's heart. An e-reader is an e-reader, software wise, on any platform. Just because it's an Android tablet with an e-ink display doesn't mean you have to use it for watching videos and using IM clients. It just means that you're free to install whichever e-reader software you want with no technical effort, and you're not restricted to just one DRM-laden ecosystem like a Kindle, Kobo, or unhacked Nook. For reading text, it's plenty fine and distraction free. :)

seattlecyclone

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2015, 10:57:15 AM »
...as long as it's for personal use, I think you legally own the content, not necessarily restricted to the medium it was purchased on.

At least in the US, this is false. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes circumvention of DRM a crime. As far as I know, most (if not all) of the content sold through the Kindle store and Nook store is protected by DRM. Legally speaking, you do not "own" anything you purchase from these stores, other than a license to use the content on devices approved by the store.

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2015, 12:25:20 AM »
I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I love it!

In Singapore, our National Library allows borrowing of e-books on Overdrive so that makes it a treasure trove for me to get ebooks for my Kindle.

Unfortunately, due to DRM, I have to use Calibre to get around that which is not so good but necessary because I need .mobi file for my Kindle.

I wish Overdrive extends to mobi files in future.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2015, 05:12:08 AM »
I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I love it!

In Singapore, our National Library allows borrowing of e-books on Overdrive so that makes it a treasure trove for me to get ebooks for my Kindle.

Unfortunately, due to DRM, I have to use Calibre to get around that which is not so good but necessary because I need .mobi file for my Kindle.

I wish Overdrive extends to mobi files in future.

At least in the US, Overdrive allows for download of .mobi versions. The downloads actually come directly from Amazon after a redirect link.

mickeyj

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #21 on: June 15, 2015, 06:33:44 AM »
I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I love it!

In Singapore, our National Library allows borrowing of e-books on Overdrive so that makes it a treasure trove for me to get ebooks for my Kindle.

Unfortunately, due to DRM, I have to use Calibre to get around that which is not so good but necessary because I need .mobi file for my Kindle.

I wish Overdrive extends to mobi files in future.

At least in the US, Overdrive allows for download of .mobi versions. The downloads actually come directly from Amazon after a redirect link.

That's even better! Hope Singapore adopts that sooner than later. :)

MMMaybe

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #22 on: June 15, 2015, 06:46:01 AM »
I've been happy with my 2nd generation Kindle since 2009. But increasingly I just use the Kindle app on my phone and iPad to read. It saves on carrying around an extra device.

You could just get a Nook app and access your old books that way.

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2015, 07:25:34 AM »
I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I love it!

In Singapore, our National Library allows borrowing of e-books on Overdrive so that makes it a treasure trove for me to get ebooks for my Kindle.

Unfortunately, due to DRM, I have to use Calibre to get around that which is not so good but necessary because I need .mobi file for my Kindle.

I wish Overdrive extends to mobi files in future.

At least in the US, Overdrive allows for download of .mobi versions. The downloads actually come directly from Amazon after a redirect link.

You still have to bypass the DRM if you want to keep the book longer than the loan period. But then you don't have to convert it.

(Not advocating for this, just pointing it out.)
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seattlecyclone

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2015, 08:29:55 AM »
I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I love it!

In Singapore, our National Library allows borrowing of e-books on Overdrive so that makes it a treasure trove for me to get ebooks for my Kindle.

Unfortunately, due to DRM, I have to use Calibre to get around that which is not so good but necessary because I need .mobi file for my Kindle.

I wish Overdrive extends to mobi files in future.

At least in the US, Overdrive allows for download of .mobi versions. The downloads actually come directly from Amazon after a redirect link.

You still have to bypass the DRM if you want to keep the book longer than the loan period. But then you don't have to convert it.

(Not advocating for this, just pointing it out.)

At least on my Kindle model (Keyboard version), they only "reclaim" the library books when you have the networking feature turned on. Leave it turned off until you're done with the book and you can take as long as you need to finish it. I don't know if that workaround is still present in current models or not.

jfer_rose

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2015, 05:23:56 AM »
I'm really enjoying all the feedback here! Thanks everyone! At this point I think I'll be choosing between the Onyx Boox and the Kindle Paperwhite.

The Boox appeals to my "@#$% DRM" side since it would not tie me to one particular ebook platform while remaining 100% legal. I don't see it listed as a supported device for ebook lending on my library website (their list of supported devices seems to be out of date). But since it is an Android device I assume I could download the Overdrive app on the Boox and get my library books that way.

The Paperwhite also has appeal in part due to the rave reviews and in part because it would just be easy.

Gonna make the decision soon since I'm going to need some great reading material for my vacation at the end of the month.

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2015, 09:21:26 AM »
I don't see it listed as a supported device for ebook lending on my library website (their list of supported devices seems to be out of date). But since it is an Android device I assume I could download the Overdrive app on the Boox and get my library books that way.

Correct. Given the C67ML "AfterGlow 2" runs Android 4.2 and has Google Play support, and the Overdrive app is pretty device agnostic and is used by most libraries, you should be fine. Like I mentioned, I was able to side-load and run Overdrive on the Nook ST back a couple years ago without any problem. If it can run on a rooted Nook without any problems...

The Paperwhite also has appeal in part due to the rave reviews and in part because it would just be easy.

My only thought on the Paperwhite is the loss of your existing Nook content without circumvention. @#$% DRM.

arebelspy

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2015, 11:03:29 AM »
The Paperwhite also has appeal in part due to the rave reviews and in part because it would just be easy.

My only thought on the Paperwhite is the loss of your existing Nook content without circumvention. @#$% DRM.

Agreed.  The circumvention is quite easy in terms of technical difficulty, but if you don't draw a distinction between morality and legality, obviously you lose out on that content.

Then again, how often do you re-read books you have?  And if you have another device that can run a nook app, you can read that content anyways in the rare instance that you do want it.
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jfer_rose

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2015, 05:08:14 PM »
So, in an interesting twist of fate the Kindle Paperwhite is not in stock except for the fanciest 3G versions. Since I really want my new e-reader before my upcoming vacation, I ordered the Onyx Boox today. It is significantly less expensive than any of the Paperwhite options I could have had in time for my trip. My fingers are crossed that I will like it!

Thanks again for your thoughts everyone!

arebelspy

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Re: Advice on e-ink readers?
« Reply #29 on: June 16, 2015, 07:09:48 PM »
Cool !  Let us know how you like it.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
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