Friday, June 3, 2011

Kindle news 6/3: Kindle public-library date? Small Kindle Touch in Fall?

Library Amazon's Kindle Director, Jay Marine, had mentioned in the Kindle Chronicles podcast that the public library lending would be in place "by the end of the year."

Remembering that Kindle-owner lending was not announced as ready until December 31 last year, I wasn't too hopeful about the public library date being earlier than the end of the year.  More and more, though, libraries have been mentioning that Kindle lending will be ready soon.  Yesterday, the Moorestown Patch, in an article titled "Library Keeping Up with Technology," said:
' (Attention all Kindle users -- Amazon will be making their e-books available on Overdrive starting this fall.) '
I hope they're right.

Smaller E-Ink Kindle?
In the blog article of May 24, I quoted David Carnoy as saying, in a live blogging of the Nook Touch announcement, "Everyone should be aware that Amazon will [likely] do this same device within the next few months.  Just an FYI. There will be a smaller Kindle this fall IMHO (with a touch screen)."

In another CNet article, today, a very positive one about the new Nook's advantages (mainly the touch screen, the deciding factor for Carnoy), he mentions this again:
' Of course, how long those advantages last will depend upon when Amazon releases its own touch-screen e-ink Kindle, which we suspect will arrive as soon as September. '

Nook Touch's missing features vs its new Touchscreen
Carnoy feels the Nook is a 'better' piece of hardware because it has a touchscreen and therefore it's easier to get around and has a 'cleaner' look -- no keyboard 'buttons.'
 For Carnoy, that one capability makes it worth losing:
  . a basic web browser
  . an audio player for mp3's or Audio books Nook),

and not having
  . the ability to zoom into a section or image
  . Landscape mode ('move a page around') which can allow you to actually read the text of a PDF when too much is squeezed into the Portrait mode orientation
  . any Nook apps (the Kindle's apps include some very useful ones -- see box below)
  . text-to-speech for personal docs and books (when publisher allows it)
  . the ability to adjust screen contrast on PDFs
  . support for Microsoft WORD doc files
  . 3G cell phone network access for times when a hotspot is not available.

Carnoy also mentions
' Ideally, it would be a tad narrower, so people with smaller hands could more easily hold the whole device in their hands like they would a smartphone.
  ..the downside to this type of finish [soft-touch paint] is that it does show finger smudges, so you'll regularly have to wipe down the back of the device unless you buy a cover (plenty are available).

  ... Barnes & Noble has made a big effort to reduce the flashing effect of e-ink when a page is refreshed.  Instead of the screen flashing every page turn as it does with the Kindle, the screen flashes about every fifth page turn.
  However, it should be noted that in our side-by-side comparison with the Kindle, the two e-readers turned pages at essentially the same speed. '

There's one feature I do wish the Kindle had.  When holding down the page-turn buttons, you can fast-forward (flip through) or rewind.

Despite Carnoy's heavy leaning toward touch screen navigation as the one shining feature on an e-reader, his review is very thorough.
' ...we did experience one period where we noticed significant ghosting--the previous screen's image still visible after it refreshed a new page.  The problem persisted for a couple of minutes, but once we cycled the power, we were unable to repeat the issue.  If it's common, we assume that B&N will fix it with upcoming software updates. '

For daily free ebooks, check the following links:  (Also, Low-priced Sunshine Deals through 6/15)
Temporarily-free books -
- USA: by:
NEW:  Apr  May  June 2011
   Publication Date   Late-listed
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular
What is 3G? and "WiFi"?
Highly-rated e-books under $1
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
   Top 100 free
USEFUL for your Kindle (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad,   99c Calculator,
  99c CalendarPro,   99c Converter

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's)   K3 Special ($114)   K3-3G Special ($164)   DX Graphite

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  1. I suspect some of the Nook's 'missing features' will show up in future software updates. They probably felt they could not delay the release any longer, as Nook 1G was probably not selling very well. Landscape mode in particular is a pretty glaring omission for a device that is tablet-like in form and unencumbered by orientation-specific features like a keyboard or the Nook 1G's touch screen.

    Relative to K3 the things I would miss are TTS, the web browser, and the ability to email content to the device (the latter feature seems to be overlooked in a lot of these comparisons). It's not at all obvious to me how you export any notes and highlights you might make on the Nook, either, or if these are confined to the device in question (which would render them pretty useless IMO).

    In addition to the Page Flow(TM) feature, Nook appears to have PDF reflow: there's a reference to 'Reflowable eBooks in PDF format' in the User Guide. I'd like both features on the next Kindle.

  2. Tom, I have a NookColor -- and in 6 months the books still cannot be zoomed or put into landscape mode.
    That always amazes me, considering the e-Ink Kindle can do both.

    The NookColor CAN do landscape in web browsing and in magazines. The CHIlDREN's -books- for NookColor are often done in Landscape mode, but for some reason we don't have that for non-children's books on the NookColor. I think that some books can do it if very special formatting is done for them, but definitely most can't.

    Annotations should be transferrable via USB transfer but I haven't looked at that yet.

    There is a new Android app for PDF reading for the NookColor that I did download but haven't tried yet.

    The few books I have (mainly travel and photography) on the NookColor are frustrating in that I can't zoom the little pictures as I can on the Kindle and I can't put it into landscape for them.

    Yes, page reflow would be very nice.

  3. Regarding library borrowing with Kindle, I would note that there is not much difference between 'this fall' and 'the end of the year', considering that Dec 20 is the last day of fall. Of course, I'd prefer late Sept. to 'in time for Christmas'.

  4. Tom,

    People tend to mean Sept/Oct when they say 'Fall' and the holidays are generally seen as Winter, let's hope the library got word of something a bit more optimistic...

  5. New comparison video, where narrator gives Nook slight edge on features over Kindle. Of course he doesn't mention some of the differences highlighted on this blog.

  6. nards-barley
    I saw it. I consider it a useless comparison video since it doesn't compare any of the many other features.

    It's almost as if it's catering to an 8-year old mentality where touching a spot is the most important thing. I like some aspects of touchscreens (for tablets) but not the ones where you merely have to hover over something and it activates it (which can be annoying or painful) and I definitely don't consider it the main feature of using a reader. Readability is key and that's where the Nook Touch will give people some problems.

    The Cnet written-review though is thorough. Even if he has a personal preference for touch screen over everything else. I suspect he doesn't really use a reader most of the time for books, maybe a tablet.

    His writing mentions most of the points that should be made and I like that he's clear what they are and that his own bias is toward a touch screen. The video is too much avoiding any feature but the toushscreen while making an overall assessment based on only that.

    But a lot of general gadget reporters are like that. It's from the viewpoint of someone who already pays for a data plan on a smart phone etc.

  7. One disadvantage of the Nook he did mention that I can relate to after having owned a Galaxy Tab 7", is the accidental touching of the screen. However, if the Nook is place in a case, that is lessened somewhat.

  8. nards-barley,
    I have a NookColor and that happens to me ALL the time and I clean the screen several times a day if I'm using the NC. Drives me batty.

    The NC is heavy enough without having to use it in its case, but the Nook Touch eInk would be far lighter so it'd be more doable.

    HOWEVER, the Nook's own case I bought from B&N often will not connect well with the router because the clamp on the frame is extremely heavy.

    So I take it out of its case for that reason too. For just reading, really, I can highlight with more security by using the cursor.

    The finger doesn't often begin or end on the right characters for one thing. And if you touch it a certain way, another popup comes up instead.

    For swiping pages, I have to make sure my hand is in movement FIRST or it thinks I am just doing a tap on it and the interpreted-tap gives me another %^&^*( pop-up window that I have to respond to. (A tap won't remove some of the pop-up windows.)

    But for going quickly to web-links, I like the touchscreen much more, although I have to enlarge the characters or the screen contents first, to make sure I don't "click" on the wrong link (which happens far too often but is better since the last update).

  9. Yeah, clicking those links is a real pain sometimes. And if a book has footnotes, it is even more difficult because the font size is obviously smaller than the regular text. Plus, if the footnote is too close to the left or right edge, I will sometimes accidentally turn the page and will have to repeat the process.

    Although a capacitive screen with pinch to zoom qualities can make resizing and reflowing of text on web pages quite nice, I can see how a resistive screen with a stylus might be useful for selecting links in certain cases.

  10. Not sure this was mentioned previously, but one other advantage I think Kindle has over the Nook is the ability to purchase a Spanish-English dictionary and swap it out the for default Oxford dictionary. If I recall, it took a while before Kindle had this ability, so maybe it is something Barnes and Noble will make available in the future.

  11. nards-barley
    Yes, that's a plus. I found a good free German-English dictionary last month for a friend who was reading a book with lots of German words in it.

    B&N is keeping this Nook so "simple" that I doubt they'll offer this.

    Good point!


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