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Mini-workshop invite, October eBook column

From: Mark
Sent on: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 10:03 AM
Hi All!

Following please find my October column ? a followup to last month?s, and the first of a three-part series on eBook readers.

And I invite you to a mini-workshop with Alice Orr next Tuesday evening. Successful commercial novels have one very important quality in common ? an exceptionally strong and well-written main character (Hey, I need one of those!). Alice will tell how to create a protagonist with agent-editor appeal.

Alice is a writer, editor and agent with a wealth of information. Q&A follows her mini-workshop. Cost for dinner is $20 (which goes entirely to the caterer and room rental). More information is here: < >
and here: < >.

Please RSVP by this Friday, Oct. 1, to Roberta Trahan at (206)[masked] or email to [address removed]. Or call or email me.



Which eBook Reader for Christmas?
First of a three-part series

by Mark Hennon

Nook, Kindle, iPad or Reader? Which of the Big Four eBook readers to get for Christmas? Wait, there?s the $129 Kobo from Borders, too ? rumored to be headed for $99 by Christmas.

But they?re all different, and some can?t use each other?s books, so they each have different sets of available titles, and they connect to the electronic bookstore in different ways, and some use electronic ink and others are backlit ? and what?s this I hear about the iPhone being the most popular eBook reader, anyway? It?s a cellphone!

You say the Nook runs on my PC ? the Kindle, too? Are you sure they can run on my Mac? Hold on, those are computers! How do I use ADE to transfer my DRM? Isn?t there a price war, too?

It?s all so confusing. . . maybe I should just wait for Easter!

LOL. It is crazy out there. What was going to be a simple review has ballooned into a great mass o? data that only a lighthearted approach can master. So this month, we look at the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Apple iPad, next month the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader, and for December an overall roundup and recommendations.

Library and reading ease are important
The Nook and Kindle use ?electronic ink,? which requires external lighting, just like printed books. The iPad and the new Sony Readers have internal backlighting so they can be read in the dark. The trade-off is power usage and glare on the eyes, as it can be more of a strain to read backlit text than the electronic ink.

Since they are from booksellers, the Kindle and Nook have large libraries of books available.

My first hands-on was with the Nook. It seemed simple enough to control once I figured out that I needed to press the chrome ridges below the symbols, not the symbols themselves. Reading was easy, although some of the commands seemed slow ? but I?m used to the speed of my very fast personal Apple server, which boots in 15 seconds.

Although someone came to help me very quickly, I have every confidence that I could have worked out how to use the Nook by myself. Very user-friendly.

iPad proves more complex
I could not (gulp) say the same for the iPad. I finally got a book open, but it was frustrating, as the iPad has many more functions, of which its iBooks program is a minor one. I had to (blush) resort to the Help menu.

I could almost smell the ozone in the Apple Store, as dozens of machines lay out on the tables, free for the fondling. After fifteen minutes, I was past the sales sizzle of the iPad operating system and into its iBooks reader.

The science-fiction category I called up showed bestsellers for sale on one side of the huge display, free books on the right.

I could have figured out how to search for a book, or I could have asked one of the literally dozens of blue-shirted sales assistants, but I could see the iPad would do the job well, and deliver a host of other applications and uses. Price and backlighting will decide its purchase. When turned, it displays in either portrait or landscape, which shows two pages like an opened printed book. Vertically, the screen is about the size of a page of a hardcover book. A magnificent machine.

Nook wins on price and selection
The Nook has more books available (over a million, plus almost a million others free of charge) and costs at least $350 less. It also comes with face-to-face support at more than 700 stores ? all focused on books and books alone.

And although I can?t read myself to sleep with the $149 Nook unless I use a book light, two iPad owners (who also own eBook readers, so their advice is golden) said ?long-term? reading on a backlit machine does cause eyestrain.

The decision is clear: Round One goes to the Nook.

Next Month: Amazon?s Kindle & Sony?s Reader

Mark Hennon is an editor and former reporter now writing a science-fiction / horror series and fixing Mac & Windows computers. His email is [address removed]; phone is[masked] or[masked]-9244.

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