[ubuntu-uk] OT Kindle

TT Mooney ttmooney at dilettantism.com
Tue Mar 22 13:34:01 UTC 2011

On 22 March 2011 10:41, Paul Sutton <zleap at zleap.net> wrote:
> Looking at the amazon kindle it looks as if i can use it to open / read
> normal pdf files such as the one for the ubuntu manual,  if this is the
> case it would be useful.

I have a Kindle 3G (the new one with both GSM and WiFi) and it is great
for reading ebooks. PDF rendering depends on the source materials, and is
not as good as it could be.

I just came back from the US with a Barnes and Noble Nook Color. It is a
full-colour 7" 1024x600 Android tablet that ties in with their in-store/NA
based ebook business (which of course only works with a US credit card and
perhaps a US IP -- I'm not using it anyway). It is much better for reading
full-colour PDFs, magazines, etc. It is easy to root, and that opens up
the full Android Marketplace. At $250, it's not expensive.

There is also the iPad, of course, but I am a former employee of the
Mothership, and not much of a fan these days. It seems way too expensive
to me.

Anyway, I like both the Kindle and the Nook for different things and still
have a massive pile of paper books as well.

The Kindle is a great ebook reader in daylight, and has an amazing battery
life (weeks) with wireless off. I am not sure that I would spend the extra
on 3G again, as the service isn't rock-solid, and the browser is a little
crappy. It works, but claims of service coverage (Nigeria, UAE, China,
etc) is pretty optimistic.

The Nook is full colour, so technical diagrams are better. Battery life is
worse (one full day). You have the full Android App Store. You do have the
Kindle app, as well, if you want to access your Amazon books. I am not
sure how hard the Nook is to get outside of North America. Most other
cheaper Android tablets (Archos, etc) have lower resolution screens, so I
steered away from them in the past.

> On another note, part of my Open uni studies requires me to read and
> highlight text in book, if i could get hold of electronic versions can i
> do this with kindle or other book readersl as in highlight text adnthen
> some how save the file with the highlights so i can use it to take
> notes, or perhaps there is other ways to attach notes to text.

This is easy on the Kindle with native formats (or on Android/iOS with the
Kindle app -- same thing). With PDF, I am not so sure, but I would not
expect the Kindle to do it -- at least not well.

> i can also buy electronic books cheaper than paper, copies

I don't think eBooks offer value for money, with the exception of Public
Domain works. I have a lot of classics on my Kindle (and Nook) but nothing
that I had to pay for. I also find a paper copy to be easier to leaf
casually through (and yes, I do leaf through at least one Linux book
casually: Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook, Nemeth, et al).
Of course electronic is easier to search.

> any suggestions or ideas

It depends how you read, but if most of your source material is PDF, I
would go with the Nook Color (if you can get it). If you opt for the
Kindle, make sure that you can get the books in a native format (by
converting or otherwise -- most stolen copies will be scans and therefore
not convertible). I would skip the Kindle 3G and just stick to Wifi --
there's not a huge difference in price, but I also think there's not much
difference in usability.

And, just to tie this closer to the list topic, on the Ubuntu side,
Calibre is your ebook management application. It is very good.

Kind regards,


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