Even though I feel that I am not a 'typical' gadget person, I find my life going digital in a major way. The latest addition in my daily 'digital' routine is Amazon Kindle - Ebook reader. Even though I heard a lot about e-book readers, I never took them seriously. I thought a laptop will take care of the e-book reading part. But during this London trip, my books alone contributed to 8 kg (exclusive of laptop) and I got pain while running between the terminals in the airport. While commuting in the London Tube trains, I noticed people using the Amazon Kindle, which kindled my intrest in the Amazon's hugely successful e-book reader. So I ordered a Kindle for myself via my sister and got it into my regular day routine.
Since I hadn't seen any other e-book reader, I can't make any comparisions. Still I had few apprehensions and doubts before choosing for an e-book reader. Till I 'researched' about the e-book reader, I was under the impression that 'pdf' is the standard e-book format. I had read only one novel completely in its pdf format. It was Michael Chrichton's "Prey" and I read it on my iPod. The problem was that I had to 'zoom' the pages and 'navigate' to read the single page itself. But e-books have the texts "flowing" freely in case of e-books.
*.MOBI (Mobi Pocket E-Book Reader), *.AZW (Amazon's properitory format) and *.PRC are some of the formats of e-books available in the market now. However Amazon and other e-book readers support all these formats among themselves. Since I had understood the difference between an e-book & pdf file, I searched online and downloaded a Mobi Ebook creator (ofcourse from torrents) and got the pdfs converted to *.prc format. There were few 'e-books' with me before the Kindle landed in my hands.
Due to budget constraints I took a 6" Kindle. Since I am not the person who downloads the books on the go, I didn't go for a 3G version and this saved me some more money. Infact, after placing the order, I had an apprehension whether I had blown up the money unnecessarily. But this turned out to be an 'useful' investment.
Why I liked my Amazon Kindle?
1. A huge 3.5 GB storage gives me ample space to hold as much books which I can read for my whole life time.
2. The display is very similiar to paper - crisp and contrasting. Infact it makes reading in the sunlight (while travelling or sitting outside the home) a pleasure.
3. The feel of holding the Amazon Kindle is very much like holding a small notebook.
4. The inbuilt dictionary makes you to 'look up' for the meanings and helps in better understanding (or shall I say as improved vocabulary?).
5. You'll be able to make annotations and share it on Facebook & Twitter thanks to your wireless internet connection (or 3G network).
6. Changeable page orientation to fit the width if you are reading a Pdf file.
Still I had my share of disappointments with Amazon Kindle:-
1. It doesn't support Tamil fonts. I was seriously disappointed to the extent of returning it or giving it away to my brother-in-law and buy Wink - a Bangalore based E-Book reader which claims supporting 15 Indian Languages, including Tamil. But when I later found that they are referring to "pdf"s as e-books I felt vindicated.
2. The black and white display some times makes us feel bit obselete, especially with the illustrations. But considering that the novels we read are also monochromatic and least illustration, this doesn't make much difference.
3. The e-books converted from the pdfs / word doesn't support the table formats & powerpoint kind of illustrations. So the texts look out of place. I am not sure whether this is the problem with the e-book or Kindle, because I am yet to come across a commercially encoded e-book.
To sum it up, I can suggest Amazon Kindle for anybody who is a serious reading enthusiastic. Even though it comes with a price, considering that you get almost all the new releases in pdf format, it helps you carrying your library at the go!!
I am encoding many pdfs into e-books, so you can expect a section of Kindle books in my downloads section. Teacher solli tharalai?? - Sharingggg!!!
Regarding the pdfs, I tried cropping off the margins of the Tamil pdfs, so that the width has ONLY texts, which results in some form of maginification. Will upload the 'cropped' pdfs of Ponniyin Selvan, Sivakamiyin Sabatham and any other "unprotected" Tamil books I come across.
If you feel like sharing any e-books / pdfs, please mail it to me or share the link from the web.
Differences between E-Book & PDF file
To make it simple, try this example. Open a notepad window, but not to full window. Make a small window and copy, paste some texts that 'fill' the small window completely. This is how your e-book screen will be.
Select all, go to "Format" menu and click "Font" and increase the font size without changing the window size. You can see the text freely flowing & adjusting itself as per the window size. This is how the text functionality of an ebook works.
To illustrate the difficulty in reading pdf, open a large large image in an image viewer (say Irfanview). Reduce the image window to small one, just to the size of your (previous) notepad window. To see the image, you have to navigate here and there. This is how reading a pdf in e-book reader happens.