Widows & Orphans

Some thoughts that fall through


I’m pondering whether I should get myself an e-reader. No, not a tablet computer, no iPad. I just want a device for reading (and annotating), nothing else. What I need is a device that allows me, first and foremost, to read scientific papers and books, bookmark pages, highlight content and add notes. Something that saves me from printing out all that stuff, carrying it with me, and losing the copies. I think I’ll still prefer material books for anything belletristic. For scientific work, however, I think the e-reader is a very useful tool.
I’m kind of intrigued by the e-paper technique (I was from the first moment I heard about it). Something that (claims to) «feel» like paper seems just the right thing for me. Monochrome is OK, I don’t need colors. What I need is something that is easy to the eyes and good to read (so, again, no tablet computer).
However: it needs to support PDF. Most of the scientific stuff I read is available in PDF. Sure. I could convert it, but I’d like to keep the formatting and, most importantly, the pagination. This seems to rule out some e-reading devices. Next, the screen size should be reasonable to read papers up to A4. This rules out even more devices (such as the Kindle 3, which looks pretty promising otherwise, as far as I can judge from the promo whistles and bells).
I’m currently tending towards the Kindle DX. It seems to be adequate enough for my needs, and the price is bearable (at least compared to other devices such as the 10.2 inch IREX). Alas, it does not support PDF annotation and highlighting yet, but since the Kindle 3 just got this functionality, I hope that Amazon will soon update the DX’s firmware.
Maybe I’ll just wait some more weeks.
Update (2010-09-06): Waiting some more weeks was definitely a good idea, after all. At the IFA, some interesting new devices that come close to my wishes have been presented (PocketBook Pro 903, ASUS DR 900). Now I’ll have to wait until those are available and saw some serious reviewing …
Update (2011-01-24): Meanwhile, I purchased a PocketBook Pro 903. There’s certainly still much room for improvement especially as far as editing and annotating are concerned; as most PocketBook users, I’m hoping for firmware updates and for the publication of the SDK, so that some kind soul (if not the PBs themselves) can port the excellent Xournal application. But anyway, I very much like the reading experience, and this is what the device primarily is made for.

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