How to choose the best eReader for us

Christmas is coming and we all need to figure out the best presents for our close ones.
eReaders can be the perfect present – they are affordable, small and easy to take care of. If you like reading, they will be your best friend, if you don’t like it, you can just put them somewhere and use them as a very energy efficient black and white picture frame.

But there are so many options on the market, how to choose the one that will make our present not only “affordable” but also “adorable”?

1. eReaders are perfect for reading. But there is a subtle difference on what you want to read on them. For simply books – the normal 6in (or little bit bigger) eReaders from all kinds are good. For textbooks and pdf-s, however, you need BIGGER screens. Otherwise, it’s a real torture to use them on purpose. So, if your guy/gal needs the gadget to read technical literature, best go for the bigger models.

2. Sex matters. If your guy is a gal, then it’s better to looks for the lightest models and also to make sure you buy a nice color that the lady will enjoy. As you can see from the models we presented on our pages, there is a plenty of choice when it comes to colors – black, white, silver, blue, pink, red. Probably even more. You can also buy cool accessory to make the eReader even more beautiful. For examples, please check our eReaders Accessories page. There you can find sexy silicon skins, colorful leather cases, waterproof casing and much more.

3. The loyalty case. Just like with phones, people like to be loyal to some brands. So if your people like to buy from Amazon, Kindle will be much more appropriate for them. From the other side, if your guy/gal likes to touch and to draw, a touchscreen eReader is much more preferable. For example Sony Reader offers the ability to write notes and to draw pictures with your stylos.

4. Price is not always so important. For example, newer eReaders are likely to offer color-display. Is this needed? It depends. If your eReader goes to a family with children or comic book fan, color will be important. But for general book-reading, black and white is best. It makes your eyes feel comfortable and people are well used to reading like this. Remember, eReaders are not PHONES. Phones need to be colorful and sleek and with many options. eReaders are strictly for book reading. Eventually for little music too as most eReaders have that option. But only that. Think of it as a device for digital books. Or even more, like a digital book. You buy a book only to read it, not to play chess with your neighbor on it or to break walnuts with it. So reading is a priority when buying and electronic reader.

5. The contrast of the display is a must. Some eReaders come with E Ink technology. It’s important to know how many levels of greyness you have on the eReader – 8 or 16. 16 is best and most new eReaders have it. Mine has 8 and still the text is easily readable on good light. On poor lighting however it’s hard to read. Also, some Readers do not employ E Ink so their displays are back-lit. That can be good if you intend to read on dark place, but it can be pretty bad if you want to read a lot since it strains the eyes.

6. Battery life. This one is simple. Choose the eReader with longest battery life that suits your other requirements. Anything below a week is too little. Note that the use of wireless internet and also sound decrease the battery life.

7. Other extras. Text-to-speech might be important for someone who has time to read only while driving, but it’s absolutely useless for someone like me who doesn’t like listening to books. So, be sure to consider the main use of the device your friend is likely to enjoy most.

Don’t forget that presents are not supposed to be perfect. But they need to show desire to please and active involvement in the decision process. It’s not only about buying something, it’s about buying something the other person will find pleasure in. Even a less expensive model with nice accessory can lead to a lot of joy if the accessory suits the person’s individuality. So choose wisely, offer with love and share the happiness you bring.

Cheers!

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Make Sony Reader PRS 600 show cyrillic

As I already told you, I have a Sony Reader PRS-600. It’s very, very cute and lovely and I’m very happy with it. It reads fine (even if the contrast is less than on the new PRS 650 or Kinddle – but then, they are more expensive or unavailable in Bulgaria). So PRS 600 it is.
For now, it behaves very nicely and I even made few drawings just for the fun of drawing on the screen. I also downloaded free books from http://www.epubbooks.com/ and from some Bulgarian sites and putting them on the Reader is piece of cake. I also tried reading scientific pdf – the text is really somewhat small in the original size and looks weird when you zoom in, but the figures look cool and hey, that’s the first time I actually enjoy reading that article! 🙂

The only problem I encountered so far is that I couldn’t read Cyrillic fonts, which US people obviously consider unessential for their customers. However, it’s quite important for me! So, after an hour and so unhappy searching the net, I found this extremely simple tutorial how to do the trick. In short – you can either use a patch for the firmware  (which however will eliminate the warranty) or you can convert your books to embed their own fonts and then, you can see the Cyrillic. I chose the second option and then I spent some quality time looking for an EASY way to embed fonts into EPUB file. Needless to say that this was my first time hearing about epub files 🙂

Anyway, he’s the best solution I found so far:
Embedding your fonts into ePub automatically using Calibre
1. Download Calibre for your OS (Win/Lin/Mac) and install it;
2. Download the attached plugin file (originally from Paul Tomashevskyi, GPL, see MobileRead thread)
3. Install it via Calibre’s Preferences> Plugins: provide the path to the downloaded plugin and click “Add” button;
4. Check that it has appeared in the list of plugins at File type plugins branch under EPUB Font embedding plugin name and it’s enabled (which is a default behavior on plugin addition);
5. Now open Preferences> Conversion> Look & Feel and add the following CSS declaration into Extra CSS area:
Code:
body {font-family: “Liberation”, sans-serif;}

This will tell Calibre that we want to use “Liberation” font family we’re going to embed into converted ePub content and it will add the font-family into own styles when it parses your ePub contents;
7. Add your content – which lacks embedded fonts and CSS declarations OR its embedded fonts aren’t capable of providing glyphs for our UTF codepoints – into Calibre’s library;
8. Select (or highlight) the content in the library list;
9. Proceed with the next toolbar icon and its option: Convert E-Books> Convert individually;
10. Set input format and output format to EPUB;
11. Check Look & Feel and that Extra CSS area contains what’s been specified in (5) (On Windows it was okay while under Ubuntu it took a couple of restarts for the defaults we set in (5) to pop up on actual conversions in the app: dunno, guess I did something dead wrong);
12. Click OK.
Your ebook gets converted into EPUB and we end up having a set of Calibre’s own UTF aware fonts (Liberation, serif set) embedded into it. source
It looks long, but actually it’s very very quick. It took me like 15 minutes with the installation of Calibre and the plugin! This cool program even has a plugin for Sony Readers! And it works awesomely in Linux and it recognized and mounted the Reader without any help from my side. I just did the steps and I had my first Cyrillic book on my Reader. The only thing that didn’t get converted, who knows why, are the titles of the chapters. But the text is fine and perfectly readable.

If anyone else encounters this problem – this is the way! Also, you can use other fonts (see the source), but I didn’t bother. This one works fine for me and that’s the most important.
Cheers!

Edit:
I had one more problem with some titles, who won’t show properly. It turned out that they had the idiotic option “font-variant:small-caps” in their original css. Because that option is not included in the Liberation font, the font won’t show those letters in Cyrillic (but in ??? instead).
Thanks to a Belorussian friend Vad, a solution is available.

One has to open the epub file manually (in Calibre, select the book and press T) and then to edit the css, by deleting all the “font-variant:small-caps” in it. Save it, close the folder, rebuild the epub and that’s it.
You have titles in Cyrillic too.

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Kindle Nook or Sony – Compare, Buy, Enjoy!

eReaders are one of the cutest and most useful little gadgets after phones. Phones batteries, however, are weak. eReaders can work for weeks without the need to recharge them. They are small, nice to the eye, soft to the touch and absolutely sweet as companions. I bought myself Sony PRS 600 and I love it.

On this site, you can find, compare and buy the best eReader suiting your needs and taste. And also, you’ll get the best price for them, since they come from major sellers. I will rate those I’m familiar with or provide useful link to reviews for those I don’t know. I will cover the 3 major eReaders: Kindle, Nook and Sony, but also some less popular, but also  not bad eReaders.

If you want something added, please feel free to comment. Enjoy!

eReaders

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