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Reading textbooks on ebook reader

  1. Oct 26, 2009 #1
    Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    Well I wonder that I am not the first with this Idea. I am reading lots great eBooks (by Walter Greiner) on my desktop. Well, I am so impressed by those books that I have decided to use them as my textbooks. But the problem is I can't sit in front of LCD for so long (for 8-10 hours).
    So I am planning to buy an eBook reader. Just tell me is anyone of you is using it for the same purpose as I do and/or how greate eBook reader are at viewing pdf files specifically equations. My pdf files are not of high quality, as I will have to convert them from djvu format. and what if I convert pdf to azw format (official format of Kindle).
     
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  3. Oct 26, 2009 #2
    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    I'm reall interested in the new Nook from from Barnes and Nobles. It will be able to use most of the major formats and seems to have a nice interface. I am looking forward to trying it out. If I can get my textbooks for next semester on it, I will probably get it for sure once it is available.
     
  4. Oct 26, 2009 #3

    Moonbear

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    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    If you are only intending to buy an eBook reader for textbooks, I'd hold off on that idea for a little longer unless you can also access the same books on a regular computer and just want to supplement some portability. The reason is that I don't think the eBook reader technology is quite sufficient yet to display textbook content yet, nor are textbooks really optimized for them yet (I actually just happened to have a meeting with some reps from a major textbook publishing company today, and discussed with them some of the limitations of using their eBooks in their current format on things like eBook readers or iPhones, etc...they're working on it, but not there yet).

    Of course, I was also discussing with them some of the readability issues of current eBooks on a regular computer screen too, and suggesting they reformat the page layout, otherwise the preferred reading method will end up being printing out the textbook pages.

    Can any of the eBook readers handle color illustrations yet? Though, some subjects may be less illustration intensive, and might be easier to use with current eBook readers.
     
  5. Oct 26, 2009 #4
    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    Amazon is running a test with several universities with this idea. However, the feedback has been fairly negative. I can't link to an article just now, but I had read from a professor who was fairly negative about it.

    For myself, the technology is not there yet. I need to add handwritten margin notes and I need text that is hyperlinked. No more flipping through the book to find equation 15 in chapter 3. The table of contents and index also need to be hyperlinked. If the index has an entry like:

    permutation 15 23 63

    Then I want to click and go to page 15, then click on 'next' to get to page 23, etc. In fact, there really shouldn't be page numbers at all. This medium should present the book as a scroll. I have been told that the drawback with this scheme is that there is no way to cite the book. However, markers can be placed in the text so that citations can be made from other books running on the same reader. That is, hyperlinking between books.
     
  6. Oct 26, 2009 #5

    Moonbear

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    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    For the books used online, this technology is available, at least with the publishing company whose reps visited today (I'm not giving their name, because I don't know if other companies have this available too and don't want to "advertise" just one company). But it's not available for the eBook readers yet.

    I do know, because I own one, that the Kindle reader allows you to take notes while reading. But, it is still all black and white and images are low resolution, and in playing with it, I think the note taking ability is a bit clunky still (I think I'd rather have a stylus to hand write notes rather than an itty bitty keyboard). And, there is not any way to highlight passages, again, because it's black and white.

    The nice thing about what I saw demonstrated today was the way the e-book was integrated with the online exercises. For example, there were a lot of different types of self-quiz, and with some of them, if you missed an answer, it would provide a hyperlink to the passage in the textbook that pertains to that answer. Words in the glossary were also highlighted, and you could click on them and get a pop-up box with the definition. To me, these are nice features of an e-book that go beyond just another way to read the text and actually add to the educational value. Yet another thing I liked was that there was content on the website with the ebook that also included mp3 recordings of text being read and small movies showing animations of processes happening (they hired Pixar animators to do some of it!). I particularly like this because it was offering a lot of different ways to learn the same thing, and those appealed to students with different learning styles. These are the things I'd look for "bundled" with an ebook, not just switching how you read the book, but adding things you can't get just from reading a book.

    So, I agree that for just using an eBook reader, the technology isn't ready yet, but that's on the reader side, not the publisher side. If you want to read them from your laptop or desktop computer, then the technology is there and even more is available than just taking notes and highlighting passages.
     
  7. Oct 26, 2009 #6
    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    My wife needs to read an American novel written in the late 1700's. It's out of print, but available on a PDF. This morning, before I left for work, she was debating an attempt to read online or to print it out. I'm not sure what she decided.
     
  8. Oct 26, 2009 #7
    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    Are these new readers easier on the eyes than most computer screens or is it similar? I usually print out everything I read online if it is very long because if I try to read off the screen I end up with a headache. I was thinking of getting one of the ebook readers but i'm worried about not being able to use it much.
     
  9. Oct 26, 2009 #8

    Moonbear

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    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    I haven't tried any other ebook readers, but the Kindle is definitely easier on my eyes than a computer screen. It also isn't bright like a computer screen, so for reading books for pleasure before bedtime, I can fall asleep reading the Kindle, just like with a traditional paper book, but a laptop would keep me awake. The Kindle is also pretty durable for being slept on when I do fall asleep reading it and wake up with it under me (along with the TV remote sometimes), which is also better than a laptop. The battery life is also as long, or longer, than advertised. It uses up battery power pretty quickly if you have the wireless connection on for downloading books to it, but if you turn that off while just reading and not downloading, I can easily go 2 weeks without charging. It also automatically goes into a sleep mode if you don't turn a page or do anything else for 10 min, so the energy consumption is very minimal when I fall asleep reading. You're not going to wake up with a dead battery if that happens (that was something I was very concerned about, because I do often fall asleep with a book in my hands at night).

    One of the things I've suggested be changed for online versions of books is the page layout. Right now, the standard for most textbooks and publications is a 2-column layout. That means if you zoom in large enough to read what's on a page, you have to scroll down one side, then back to the top, then down the other column. I think they need to return to a one-column format and perhaps even something where the text changes position a bit as you zoom in so you don't have to scroll side-to-side either. For me to read on a computer screen instead of on paper, I would want to just have to click one button to keep scrolling down, and not up and down and side to side.
     
  10. Oct 26, 2009 #9
    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    I've used the one by Sony and it was pretty easy on my eyes. It's pretty pricey though.
     
  11. Oct 26, 2009 #10
    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    Thanks for the info moonbear and sorry!, I just might have to check one out.
     
  12. Oct 27, 2009 #11

    IMP

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    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    Most readers have a small screen (6" or 7") so they do not display PDF's very well. Most do not reflow PDF's correctly either. You really need a device with at least an 8.9" screen if you intend to view PDF files. Many such devices are coming next year. You also need to remove DRM from any books you get so you can view them on any device you own. It is an extra step but is a must. Several of the new devices will be color (LCD based). Don't think there will be color eInk for a few years...
     
  13. Oct 27, 2009 #12
    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    The only e-reader that I have been interested in so far is the Barnes and Noble nook. It has a touch screen and supposedly you can scroll by dragging your finger. You can highlight with your fingers also. If the text books are hyperlinked I will probably get one. I am waiting to try one out before I actually order it though. Kind of too expensive to try willy nilly. Once I try this one out I will make sure to post what I think of it. It would be nice to knock fifteen pounds off my backpack weight.
     
  14. Oct 27, 2009 #13

    IMP

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    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    I understand the Nook does not have folder support yet. This is really too bad. If you have more than just a few books on your device, you really need folder support. It does otherwise appear to be an interesting device.
     
  15. Oct 27, 2009 #14
    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    BandN said it can support a 16gb SD card that permits 17000 books to be added. I couldn't imagine how this could even function without some sort of folder function. I will have to try out the sample. I would not get one if it had this limit. It would be like Netflix que. Just listed in the order I picked them. A stupid thing to have.
     
  16. Oct 27, 2009 #15

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  17. Oct 27, 2009 #16

    Moonbear

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    Re: Reading textbooks on ebook reader!!

    I'd want color eInk before I decided to upgrade to another generation/model. It makes a huge difference having eInk vs an LCD screen in terms of being able to read outdoors in sun, comfort on the eyes when reading a long time, and so on. I think the best way to describe my experience with the Kindle version of eInk is it's like reading a newspaper. The text quality and the grayish background instead of bright white is very similar to newsprint...except it doesn't rub off on your hands. :biggrin: I don't think I'd want a touch screen, since that would put fingerprints all over the screen. I'd be happy with a small stylus, so it feels like writing when highlighting or such.
     
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