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purplecat ([personal profile] purplecat) wrote in [community profile] ebooks2013-10-01 21:12

Recommend a Replacement for a Sony PRS-350

My Sony PRS-350 is becoming increasingly flakey so I'm looking around for a new eBook reader and I'd love to hear any recommendations.

My main requirements are:

  1. ePub format support (I have a lot of ePubs)
  2. Plays nicely with Calibre (I read a lot of fanfic on my ereader and use Calibre to manage conversion)
  3. Decent zooming of PDFs.

    This is something of a specialist requirement, I find not all PDFs worked well in the Sony reader when I just enlarged the font size (diagrams and equations in particular didn't like it), but the Sony eReader's actual zooming function was really horrible and you kept having to switch in and out of it to turn pages, so I'd love something that would let me read scientific papers on the device with a bit more ease.

    EDIT: I know I'm never going to get Adobe Reader style functionality on an e-Ink device. I never expected to be reading PDFs on it, but it's become something I find useful. So anything that improves the PDF experience over that on the PRS-350 is good and anything that makes it harder is bad.
  4. At least 12 hours battery life (which most ereaders have, but not all tablets if you want to recommend one of them).


I probably want something a little larger than the PRS-350. I loved the portability of it, but I was magnifying everything up at least one font size, and that's a problem that will only get worse and the lack of screen real-estate also contributed to the problems I was having with the PDFs.

If I can access Analog Science Fiction and Fact from the UK on it (which I've not been able to do since Barnes & Noble bought out Fictionwise) then that would be an added bonus.

Playing nicely with Adobe Digital Editions on a Mac (which the Sony doesn't) would also be a plus since I have a book I purchased for $1 in ADE and I'd sort of like to read it some day, even though I only paid a dollar for it.

Beyond that I'm open to suggestions. I've managed quite happily without a wireless connection but I'm prepared to be convinced I would benefit from one.
yhlee: wax seal (Default)

[personal profile] yhlee 2013-10-01 21:03 (UTC)(link)
I have a Kobo mini and I disrecommend it--I don't know if the bigger version is any better for PDFs or if they do PDFs at all, but as far as I can tell, if you use Calibre tags, there's no way to get Kobo to use the tags. I find it really frustrating.

I hope someone has a good suggestion for you; my PDF-reading solution is a Kindle DX but I don't think that meets your other criteria anyway.

Edit: There are a lot of things I like about my mini! Just, for you I think it is not the right one.
Edited 2013-10-01 21:10 (UTC)
yhlee: Lelouche Lamperouge, checkmate (CG Lelouche checkmate)

[personal profile] yhlee 2013-10-01 21:14 (UTC)(link)
Oh, tell me about it! I like to use tags to organize by fandom, and while I'm not, you know, the most polyfannish of fans, I read enough fandoms that using the built-in system to organize into "Shelves" is a serious time-consuming awkward pain-in-the-ass. It's almost making me think that I should buy a third ereader (I also have a Kindle DX, a gift, that I use for reading PDFs) that's Calibre-tag-friendly for AO3 fanfic. You know, with my infinite spare change. :-P
alasen: tenniel's picture of alice adjusting her crown (Default)

[personal profile] alasen 2013-10-01 23:00 (UTC)(link)
Calibre can transfer things to shelves for you. I followed these instructions to make each fandom a different shelf on my mini: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=193184
yhlee: Angel Investigations' card ("Hope lies to mortals": A.E. Housman). (AtS hope)

[personal profile] yhlee 2013-10-01 23:02 (UTC)(link)
OMG you mean there is a way???

I will have to try this when I am more awake. Thank you so much for the link.
alasen: tenniel's picture of alice adjusting her crown (Default)

[personal profile] alasen 2013-10-01 23:03 (UTC)(link)
Yep! You need to make another column in calibre for your shelf, you can't use the existing tag column, and it takes a little bit of fiddling, but it definitely worked for me :)
shanaqui: Quistis from Final Fantasy VIII. Text: within these walls. ((Quistis) Trapped)

[personal profile] shanaqui 2013-10-01 21:27 (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I love my Kobo Mini, but agree with you that it doesn't seem to fit these requirements.
elf: Quote: She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain (Fond of Books)

[personal profile] elf 2013-10-01 23:41 (UTC)(link)
I second the lack of recommendation of the mini. It's very nice within its niche, but "read PDFs" is not one of them, and it's got a few minor bugs that move it away from being worth recommending. It double-taps sometimes, and I have trouble getting it to turn pages at all when the battery's low. (At least, I think that's why, even though the battery indicator never says it's low.)

I don't use Calibre so hadn't noticed the tag issue.
butterflydreaming: "Cris", in blocks with a blinking cat (Default)

[personal profile] butterflydreaming 2013-10-01 21:07 (UTC)(link)
My Nook Simple Touch meets 3 of your 4 criteria, but fails regarding PDFs. My partner, however, has a Nook HD tablet(still at the crazy-good price of $129) that he has been extremely happy with in regards to battery life and features. He feels that the battery life, with the wifi disabled, is fairly close to his old Simple Touch. He uses the tablet online a lot, which is why he switched to a tablet from the basic Nook, so it is hard to judge, he says.

Remember that if you are near a Barnes & Noble, you can poke at the display copies and see how they perform. For the Kindle series, Staples office supply locations usually have floor models.
butterflydreaming: "Cris", in blocks with a blinking cat (Default)

[personal profile] butterflydreaming 2013-10-01 21:37 (UTC)(link)
If you aren't near a Barnes & Noble location, you might want to look into their return policy, or call and ask for purchasing guidance. They might allow you to try it out and send it back if it doesn't function as needed.

I'm very happy with Nook in general. I, myself, have always been fine with just the Simple Touch, since I also have a smart phone and a netbook, but ever since my dude got the tablet, I've been thinking about how nice it would be to have one for reading magazines, web comics, and other things in color. You could think of it not as another gadget, but as another bookshelf of sorts. One simply cannot have too many bookshelves.
ruuger: Giles from Buffy with the text "Librarians do it by the book" (BTVS: Librarians)

[personal profile] ruuger 2013-10-01 22:30 (UTC)(link)
I've got a Cybook Odyssey 2013 Edition and I've liked it a lot. I haven't had any problems with PDFs or Calibre (though I only use it very little), and it should work with ADE, though I haven't pesonally used it. It also has a wireless connection and isn't tied to any specific ebook store
elf: Quote: She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain (Fond of Books)

[personal profile] elf 2013-10-01 23:46 (UTC)(link)
I have heard nice things about the Sony 650, but after that, they dropped RTF and TXT support; the T1 and later may not have as much functionality as the earlier versions.

Warning: absolutely none of the e-ink readers are actually *good* with PDFs, and the only reason the DX is tolerable is that it's got a larger screen. If you have a lot of PDFs to read, you may be better getting PDF editing software that chops up the pages into multiples rather than trying to find a reader that deals well with letter- or even TPB-sized pages.

That said, the Kobo e-ink readers have a zoom that works better than the Sony zoom. And the 6" ones like the Glo may be less glitchy than the mini.

(My recommendation for the ADE book you bought is to get the unauthorized Calibre plugin that cracks the DRM and load it onto your reader that way.)
yhlee: soulless (orb) (AtS soulless (credit: mango_icons on LJ))

[personal profile] yhlee 2013-10-02 00:05 (UTC)(link)
You know, what makes me weep is that the iRex iLiad/DR800 (and also DR1000? but I never used one of those) eink readers had a PDF zoom function that I thought was pretty livable if you could deal with using a stylus--basically you drew a diagonal across the rectangle you wanted to zoom in to, and it would zoom in to that and stay zoomed at that level as you turned pages. For most PDFs, this worked pretty well, and you could always zoom further on a particular diagram or whatever if you needed to. (I also liked the DR800's filesystem, although I don't believe it worked with Calibre ever.) Of course, none of this does us any good because the company went bankrupt years ago. I only ever had an iLiad as a hand-me-down from a friend, and bought a DR800 when they could still be had on eBay, except then the processor died or something. At this point they're old enough that I wouldn't trust a used one anyway. I keep hoping that an existing ereader company will do something better in the PDF department, but I'm not holding my breath.
lauredhel: two cats sleeping nose to tail, making a perfect circle. (Default)

[personal profile] lauredhel 2013-10-02 03:03 (UTC)(link)
I would say to look at the new Aura (not Aura HD, the new six inch Aura). It's a true six inch screen but smaller even than the Glo, and the new multi-touch implementation (including pinch-to-zoom) with the capacitive touch screen looks pretty good. Check out video reviews. There have been some QA issues with light guide defects (manifesting as pinpricks of light when the light is turned all the way up), so buy in-store if possible so you can check it out before leaving. Or if you're not inclined to have the light on high, this might not be an issue.

But yes, for PDFs, really a tablet is the way to go. Any e-ink reader is a compromise.

As above for Calibre shelf management - it works great.

Another good thing about the new Aura is the Pocket integration, which might be a useful way of getting new fanfic onto the reader easily.

Kobo plays fine with ADE, but I'd still recommend DRM-stripping for various other reasons - you can format the book yourself (eg reduce line spacing, alter paragraph spacing, strip embedded fonts, etc), and you'll still have access to your books when Adobe or Kobo or wherever you bought the book from falls over.
Edited 2013-10-02 03:04 (UTC)
lauredhel: two cats sleeping nose to tail, making a perfect circle. (Default)

[personal profile] lauredhel 2013-10-02 09:41 (UTC)(link)
I have a Mac and a Kobo - never had a problem with ADE :)
isis: (Default)

[personal profile] isis 2013-10-01 23:48 (UTC)(link)
I replaced my (lost) PRS-350 with a Kobo Touch (not the mini) and am very happy with it! It handles PDFs better than the Sony but I still don't really like PDFs; I don't know what the calibre tags are that you're talking about, but I do have calibre so I could do a test for you if you like.
amalthia: (Default)

[personal profile] amalthia 2013-10-02 02:39 (UTC)(link)
I recommend the Sony PRS-T2, which may be on sale now because the T3 is coming out soon.

It meets your requirements. Though to be fair and honest on the PDF front I've only seen a few PDFs on the device and they looked okay...My husband charges his device once a month if he remembers and reads a lot on it. It can also take a beating.

I have a PRS-650 and I absolutely love it. It plays well with Calibre without you needing to jump through any hoops. I can also host over 1k files on my device and find the stories very quickly because of the Alphabetical list on the side in the Collections and in Books.

Lately almost all my fanfiction comes from the A03 archive and I use Calibre's plugin "Fanfiction Downloader" to directly download the fic into Calibre. Saves a lot of time.

I've been looking at my options for when I need to retire my Sony PRS-650.
rebecca2525: Abby Sciuto from NCIS with the word "geek" (Default)

[personal profile] rebecca2525 2013-10-02 06:49 (UTC)(link)
I have the Sony PRS-T2 (after I've lost my 350). Since it's bigger than the 350, reading PDF in landscape is quite okay as long as it's plain text, but diagrams and formulas with tiny sub/superscripts etc are probably always going to be a hassle. What the PRS-T2 does very well though is PDFs with two-column layout in portrait mode; then it will show you 1/4th of the page at a time, and you can just page through the 1/4th pages like normal pages. Similar for three-column PDFs. So if you have a lot of those types of PDFs, it might be worth giving it a try. OTOH, diagrams spanning the whole page within two-column layout are probably going to be annoying.

I haven't used the zooming function on PDFs so far, but I can give it a try these days and report back. BTW, I remember when I decided for this eReader, there were good videos on YouTube demonstrating the features and their handling, so maybe you find something there, for other eReaders as well.

But overall, for scientific papers with lots of diagrams and formulas, a tablet might be the better option.