I am going to talk about 2 gadgets I own, and why I like and/or dislike them. The two gadgets in question are the Kobo Touch which is an e-ink book reader, and the Sansa Clip, which is an audio media player.
My ownership of the Sansa Clip has been pure and utter joy. I cannot find any flaws in its firmware. My husband was also able to install RockBox on it so I have even more features on it. But the best thing of all….. Even without Rockbox, the thing works FRESH out of the box. I was able to download CBC podcasts as freely as I pleased, and when I inplugged the unit I could just listen and find them on my menu. In other words unlimited personal use which is starting to become very important to me!! I did not have to enter my e-mail address or go to the “Sansa Clip Store” or download a silly desktop app to set it up. It worked, as advertised, when I took it out of the box.
While I like the idea of my e-ink reader, the Kobo Touch. The “big brother” proprietary issue really irks me. First of all, I have to “register it” with the Kobo store, JUST to set it up. It is very Linux unfriendly, and I have had to re-set it up a number of times. Setup requires that you download the Kobo desktop software which only is available to Windows and Mac users. I often have just skipped the setup, and the device “basically” works, but that means I don’t get the firmware upgrades.
Had I done my homework in advance and realized the song and dance I would have to go through just to have my expensive gadget work as advertised I would not have bought it. I will wait until e-readers (plain e-ink is fine with me) go down in price and also, work fresh out of the box without having to be linked to some store or silly piece of Desktop software I cannot, as a Linux user, obtain. I don’t think complete autonomy and free personal use is too much to ask when I buy a personal storage unit.
I became attracted to e-book readers when I discovered Project Gutenberg. I had just spent over $50 on printed copies of PUBLIC DOMAIN books I could have downloaded FREE of charge and read on Calibre. (Naturally, i wished I could just take back the books and get my money back but I had ordered them from amazon and it was too much hassle).
So far, I like Calibre best as my preferred E-reader. The next company that will get my e-reader spending money will be for an e-ink device which has these wishlist items:
- Works as advertised, out of the box without registering personal information.
- Does not require downloading of that company’s Windows software to set up.
- Costs about $80-$100 CDN (or less, come on this is the 21st century!)
- Has easy book organizing, and is compatible with Calibre (easy transfer of books from my computer via USB)
- Allows equal treatment of sideloaded books vs books I may buy from an online store. I prefer to download the epubs which do not have DRM, which I can get for free from Smashwords or public domain from Project Gutenberg, and still have it work. Why should my device care where I got my books from? My Clip doesn’t care where I got my mp3 files from!
- To be for the e-book reader what the Sansa Clip is for the podcast user, easy.
So far every e-reader I have looked at requires I store my e-mail address on it. I have never done that with my Clip. So, Buy, plug into computer, add files. That should not be so complicated.