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.