E-books: Features

you vs. technologySome features and assumptions to consider when deciding among tablets and eReaders:

you, the reader
readers' needs are different -- "one size does not fit all; your mileage may vary..."
evaluate hands-on if possible
Checkbox Syndrome: Why We Spend Money on Things We Don?t Need (and How to Avoid It) 5/15/2012
paper featuresthe eReader or tablet
more than the sum of its specifications and reviews
part of a "reading system", including you, books, stores, environment, ...
there are always design (and environmental) tradeoffs: no 'perfect' information system/device: desktop, laptop, tablet, eReader, smartphone, media player, wristwatch, ... even paper (including eyeglasses, lamp, shelves, search, ...)
book vs. batterybattery life
hours (tablet); days - weeks (eReader)
iPad family aces battery tests while Android tablets lag 12/7/2012
weight, portability, travel
eReaders are lighter than tablets
FCC urges FAA: Let passengers keep gadgets during takeoff 12/7/2012
Do Our Gadgets Really Threaten Planes? The ban rests on anecdotes, not on hard evidence?because there isn't any; 9/7/2012
The FAA is studying expanding device usage on flights but don?t worry, voice calls are off limits; 8/27/2012
airplane turn off ebooks booksWearable Gadgets Upset F.A.A. Curbs on Devices 6/17/2012
The Mystery of the Flying Laptop (TSA screens laptops but not netbooks, tablets, e-readers, phones, ...); 4/6/2012
Q. When an e-reader is loaded with thousands of books, does it gain any weight? (A. yes, on the order of an atogram, or 10-18 g.); 10/25/2011
download apps before breakfasteReader: books only vs. tablet: enhanced books, apps, media
storage capacity for books, documents -- and apps, video, audio?
Finding Your Book Interrupted ... By the Tablet You Read It On (distractions: e-mail, Facebook, videos, ...); 3/5/2012
Reading Books on a Tablet Is Dumb (single device vs. distraction); 3/5/2012
can't tell screen by coverdisplay
display area: phone (4-5"); eReader (5-6"); tablets (7-10")
contrast, brightness (indoor vs. outdoor use); optional light; fonts
resolution (pixels; ppi:pixels per in.)
iPad2: 1024x768 @ 132 ppi
Kindle Fire: 1024x600 @169 ppi
Kindle Fire HD: 1920x1200 @ 254 ppi
'new' iPad: 2048x1536 @ 264 ppi ('Retina display')
eink vs. lcdblack&white (eInk) vs. color (LCD)
Light Reading: How the Kindle Paperwhite Works 12/26/2012
The New Old Age: The Gift of Reading back-lit screens and adjustable font sizes may lead to faster reading by older adults; 12/12/2012
E-readers grapple with a future on the shelf e-reader (eInk) has become a transitional technology; 10/28/2012
LCD vs. E Ink: Which is better for e-reading? 5/31/2011
How Electronic Ink Works
cat prefers mousenavigation
keyboard and/or buttons vs. touch (and gestures)
page turning, scrolling, Table of Contents (TOC), library, store
ease of search, definitions, annotation, bookmarks
Apple Granted Patent for Their Page Turn Animation 11/15/2012
product announcementsnetworking
desktop(USB), WiFi, 3G-4G (cellular); bookstore-only or web?
online stores: book -- and app -- availability; samples; lending
file formats: open (ePub) or proprietary; Mobi; PDF; other?
how many apps available? from vendor only? security, e.g., screened for malware?
Android's Tablet Troubles 10/14/2012
How Compatible Are Rival E-Readers? 5/10/2012
book sampleDigital ecosystems: an in-depth comparison Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Sony: movies&music, reading, gaming; mobile, desktop, shopping, social, integration; 4/18/2012
Informal e-reader library comparison (book and periodical availability: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad); 10/28/2011
content: quality, adware (e.g., E-book 'missing content'? Amazon must do better); 9/30/2011
reliability, support; software upgrades
it's generally a good idea to wait a little while after a new model is first available to learn about any hardware omissions or issues, or software problems that can (or can't) be patched
OS and app upgrades may be non-existent / infrequent, esp. for generic devices
Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support 10/26/2011
additional unsupported features may be accessed by "hacking", "jailbreaking" or "rooting" your iOS or Android device
however, this requires technical skills, increases vulnerability to malware, and may void your warranty -- not recommended, and not covered here
error 404DRM (digital rights management, i.e., copy protection)
usually specific to publisher, author and/or book: text-to-speech?
loan? print? email? copy/paste?
users "DRMed" if E-books do (incompatible across platforms);
authors "DRMed" if E-books don't (more difficult to create revenue)
Read E-Books On Multiple Devices 3/8/2012
iBook?s DRM Defenses Are Now Only for Show (Requiem); 2/25/2012
Our relationship with e-books: It?s too complicated (Balkanization, ebook hell; sharing notes/passages: OpenMargin, Readmill, Findings; sharing books, unavail features, DRM); 11/1/2011
reading audio transcript in bedText To Speech (TTS)
Text to speech on the iPad Tutorial (with iBooks, etc.); 4/8/2010
Random House shuts down Kindle text-to-speech for their titles 5/15/2009
Disability groups demand full return of Kindle's text-to-speech 3/20/2009
Kindle Read-to-Me
Kobo, Nook: TTS not currently supported?
coloring bookmedia: pictures, animation, video, audio (music, narration), esp. children's books
So Now What Will iPad Rivals Say in Their Commercials? (Adobe drops support for mobile Flash); 11/9/2011
Booktrack adds sound effects and music soundtracks to eBooks 9/7/2011
Vook digital book with video, ...
smells like the timesaccessories, other hardware features
speed, camera, GPS, storage cards, ...
Is the iPad making men effeminate? ...sales of manbags are soaring, because men need somewhere to put their iPads. At the same time, women's bags are getting smaller?; 10/14/2012
Furniture Meets the Digital Age (adapting to E-readers and tablets; 3/29/2012)
Dressing Up an E-Reader for Style and Comfort (lights; screen management; audio enhancement; stands); 2/16/2012
Tablets: What Amazon and Apple know that all the CES tablet peddlers are still missing (services rather than features); 1/10/2012
why to buy tablettotal cost
device, books, advertising 'tax', subscription/carrier lock-in, accessories, ...
save money on older models / competitors' products discounted when new models are introduced
save money on refurbished models (w/ original warranty)
Kindle Fire HD: Amazon's anti-Apple profit engine Bezos: "We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices"; 9/6/2012
Why Not Carry Different E-Book Readers? 9/5/2012
"lifetime value" 10/26/2011; (razor and blades business model)