My perfect e-book reader

In my opinion, the idea of an e-Book reader is awesome. Some people find it strange, since they know how I love books. Paper ones.

So, I started to see what kind of e-Book readers are in the market.

First of all, I was horrified with prices. More than 150 euro is not acceptable and even that price is not acceptable with the usual characteristics of e-book readers in the market.

Another matter is Digital Rights Management (DRM). You know I refuse to support DRM, and it is absurd that people who bought an e-book with some functions (like text-to-speech), suddenly find that they don’t have that function anymore, like it happened with Kindle, just because some publishers decided that a machine reading text is copyrighted. It’s a machine reading a text!

In terms of copyright, I see this function like a photocopy. In Portugal, photocopies does not have copyright. If the law allows you to take a photocopy of a book or paper, you can not say that you are “the author” of that photocopy. The same with photography, except when applied to 3D objects, because in this case, the choice of the angle and light makes a new work.

I think the only possibility of buying a book read by a machine is when there is no other format of the book for that person and that person really needs or want to read that book.

Of course, text-to speech can have some advantages. Suppose you are reading an e-book, and at some time you need to have your hands free and don’t want to stop your reading. You can always, for a brief period of time, use the text-to-speech function and after that return to the text.

So, I would never buy a text-to-speech function, I would prefer the text version or the audiobook version read by a person. In fact, I bought two recently and I liked the experience. In one of them, the reader even does the voices! 🙂

The e-book publishers are saying to customers: “If you buy one of our e-books, you can stop to have some functions and even you can stop to have access to the book at all, but if you go to the next site, the e-book will be yours forever and you didn’t even pay for it”

I don’t really think this is a good message to pass, if the publishers want to get customers.

So, what would be a perfect e-book reader for me?
– It should cost less than 150 euros;
– It should read several formats (pdf, txt, html, mp3 are compulsory);
– It should not support DRM;
– It should have a minimum of 10G of space (I should be able to listen audiobooks there, one audiobook can have 274Mb);
– It should be able to bookmark any format supported (text or sound);
– It should be small (if I am going on holidays or if I am going to make a long trip, I would certainly find a space for a paperbook in my bag; so the e-book reader is useful in those circumstances like small trips in public transports or situations when a paperbook is not socially acceptable, but something like a mobile is. So it should be possible to quickly put the e-book reader in my pocket, if I need to do it)

Do you know an e-book reader with these characteristics? Because now I am using a mp4 player as e-book reader, without lots of features I would like to have.


9 thoughts on “My perfect e-book reader

  1. I completely agree with you except for one small thing: I don’t mind if the e-book reader comes with something like 60mb of onboard memory as long as it has a SDHC slot to allow easy and cheap expansion.


  2. Paula, discordo contigo num aspecto. Um e-book reader para mim devia tratar do texto, e fazê-lo muito bem. Para MP3 e afins, os leitores existentes servem perfeitamente, talvez só adicionando bookmarks.

    Pessoalmente não gosto de audiobooks, mas compreendo que seja um mercado, só não quero que haja e-book readers sem audio com o preço mais baixo relativamente a essas features.


  3. Dextro: I agree. Although I would prefer the device with a good amount of space already.

    Alcides: Para mim, um e-book reader perfeito ou próximo disso tem de suportar necessariamente áudio e bookmarks nesse áudio. Um áudio-book é um livro também.
    Tens razão que os leitores existentes servem, mas eu nunca iria comprar um e-book reader sem essa função.
    Recuso-me a andar com um leitor para áudio e um leitor para texto: qualquer dia trazia a mala cheia de aparelhos cada um para a sua coisa. Não é comportável.
    Não percebo o teu segundo parágrafo.


  4. My ebook reader is my Nokia N81, using Mobipocket Reader for Series 60. The screen isn’t as small as it looks, and it’s great to have it fit in your pocket.

    It’s got DRM, though. And no audio. Then again, the reader itself is free, it’s just the books that cost money.


  5. Pedro: an e-book reader on my mobile was the first thing I thought. I tried several, but with no result. My mobile it is not very good, maybe it is because of that.
    DRM would be a problem. You know I don’t support it, but even if I didn’t care I wouldn’t buy an e-book reader that at anytime could prevent me to read the books I bought. It is always a matter of trusting companies, and they have been showing us they are not worth of trust.

    Now, I am using a mp4 player. It is not the perfect reader, but I can have several books, in txt (no pdfs 😦 ), each one with several bookmarks.
    I am listening there an audiobook, but it has a problem. I can make a pause and turn off the device, and when I started again I will continue from that pause. But I can’t listen anything else until I finish that audiobook, that way I would lose the “bookmark”.


  6. small screens can be a problem. very small letters do not appeal to me. but a reader smalle than an average book would be great. I agree about DRM and as an author I do believe it’s not a question of copyright but of control.


  7. well, small screens can be a problem, yes. But my main use for an e-book reader are for those moments where I can’t have a book with me, and usually they are not very long moments, so it is ok for me, at least for now 🙂
    DRM is always a problem, it does not protect authors, in practice, and restrict people who want to do things by the law.


  8. This includes newspapers and paper packaging, reputedly highly biodegradable yet one can find nearly whole copies of newspapers from decades past in landfills. ,


  9. In general I have the same opinion you have about price but with the requirements you set, your are actually seting the bar too high
    Ebook readers are directed at READING and its cost is highly related with the e-ink screen.
    Personaly I think A ebook reader could skip the mp3 thing but that is just my disregard or interest in audio books. I want it to read, not ti listen


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