Best Places To Get Ebooks

by Ebook Doctor on October 5, 2010


ebooks

As an ebook reader user, you must shop around when it comes to buying ebooks. There are now many stores selling downloadable books but prices vary, so its definitely good to have a good list of E sources around.

Firstly we’ll look at the free ebook sources out there, where you can find a treasure trove of out of print books to download free.

Getting free ebooks

The best place for free books is Project Gutenberg – From classics such as the Art Of War, Alice In Wonderland, or Pride And Prejudice – You will be able to find hundreds of thousands of ebooks downloadable in all formats (epub/kindle/pdf/txt).

There are a few other sites out there which also provide free books but these are usually taken from Project Gutenberg! If you use popular bit torrent websites, you can also find a wide range of popular books there. (Quality varies, and if you enjoy the book please buy so support the author)

Best places to buy ebooks in the UK

Kobo Books – Kobo Books have a larger store (2 million titles) with some great prices. You can download their e-reader software on your PC, Mac, Ipad, iphone or download the ebooks in epub/pdf format. (compatible with most ebook readers)

Diesel Ebooks – Diesel Ebooks usually have the best prices on ebooks in the UK and have a surprisingly large catalogue of ebooks you can purchase in all the major formats. Buying is easy and you get rewards when you purchase books which you can redeem for money off your next order. (Compatible with most ebook readers)

Amazon Kindle Store – If you own a Kindle, or an Ipad this is the best ebook book store to use. Amazon have really competitive prices on ebooks, its just a shame that you can’t download these ebooks in popular formats for other ebook readers.

Waterstones – Waterstones have an ebook section on their website (click ebooks), but their catalogue is nowhere near as big as Kobo or Diesel, nor is their purchase process as user friendly.

Best places to buy ebooks in the USA / Worldwide

Ebooks.com – This is the reference when it comes to ebook stores. With a large catalogue and competitive prices.

Kobo Books – Kobo Books have a larger store (2 million titles) with some good prices too. You can download their e-reader software on your PC, Mac, Ipad, iphone or download the ebooks in epub/pdf format. (compatible with most ebook readers)

Diesel Ebooks – Diesel Ebooks usually have the best prices on ebooks in the US and have a surprisingly large catalogue of ebooks you can purchase in all the major formats. Buying is easy and you get rewards when you purchase books which you can redeem for money off your next order. (Compatible with most ebook readers)

Amazon Kindle Store – If you own a Kindle, or an Ipad this is the best ebook book store to use. Amazon have really competitive prices on ebooks, its just a shame that you can’t download these ebooks in popular formats for other ebook readers.

Best places to buy ebooks if you have an Ipad / Iphone?

The Apple Ipad and Iphone have access to the Ibook store by default, but as an Ipad user I can never find the best deals on ebooks there. These are usually 10-25% more expensive than on Amazon.

But, there are some great alternatives:

Kobo Books– Sign up to Kobo and download their Ipad/Iphone app to buy books direct from the Kobo Book store for some great discounts.

Amazon Kindle Store – Amazon have a really nice Ipad/Iphone app which I use daily where you can buy ebooks in one click, and sync all your kindle ebook purchases. This way you get to use your Ipad as an ebook reader, and get some really good discounts on ebooks. To use, just create an account and use this when downloading your ipad/iphone app.

Best places to buy audiobooks?

Its quite difficult to find downloadable audiobooks, as many are available as cd’s which makes it a pain to use on MP3 players or ipods/iphones.
We recommend getting a subscription to Audible which lets you download audiobooks from as little as £4/$6.

Click here for the UK free trial offer.
Click here for the US free trial offer.

{ 10 comments }

Amazon Kindle Refresh Line And Drops Prices

by Ebook Doctor on July 29, 2010


new-kindle

Amazon today released details of its new line of Amazon Kindle devices which are now available to pre-order (dispatch of the new ebook readers will start on the 27th August in the UK & US).

Jeff Bezos wrote a personal message on the amazon homepage detailing the news:

Two new Amazon Kindles are coming (A Wifi only and Wifi & 3G version), which will replace the Kindle 2. The new devices are smaller, lighter, and now much more affordable which should help drive the demand in ebooks.

The new Kindles feature the following:

-Improved screen (50 per cent superior contrast to any other e-reader, faster page turns, and sharper fonts)
-21% smaller, and the new Kindles weigh only 247g)
-New webkit based web browser
-Now available in graphite colour!

kindle-comparison

Also the great news is that a UK centric Amazon ebook store is coming on the 27th August, as you now have to purchase from the US website at the moment.

I’m not too sure how Amazon can make this work financially, but its great news for book readers – As ebook readers are now much more accessible, and perfect for everyday use – Much better than Ipads and colour tablets when it comes to reading books, and now much cheaper.

The Kindle Wifi will retail at £109 ($139) , and the Wifi + 3G Kindle will retail at £149 ($189), and you can click here to pre-order yours for dispatch as soon as it comes out. Pre Order Your New UK Amazon Kindleor Pre Order your New USA Amazon Kindle.

{ 3 comments }

Will The iPad iBooks Kill The Ebook Reader?

by Ebook Doctor on April 1, 2010


ipad-ibook

In typical Apple fashion, the iPad has generated a huge amount of interest. Steve Jobs has described the device as “magical”, “extraordinary” and sees the device as redefining the personal computer.

This tablet type device launches on the 3rd of April in the US, and will hit the UK at the end of April. Featuring a glossy 9.7” LED, touch screen, the device which resembles a large Iphone will support email, web browsing, all the main features (except the phone bit) of the Iphone as well as an eBook reader built in.

But is it an eBook reader killer?

Lets first look at what makes eBook readers so popular:

  • The ability to carry a near unlimited amount of books around
  • The sharp E-Ink screen, which reads like a real book (so you don’t get eye fatigue and you can read under any environment)
  • The long battery life (most eBook readers can get over 2 weeks of use)
  • The ability to purchase books from the device (available on the Kindle, Nook, Bebook Neo for example)
  • The ability to load up any pdf, pre purchased eBook, or document into the device for reading later
  • The compact form factor
  • Varying price points (you can pick up an ebook reader for as little as $100, and as much as $500)

Add to these the fact that you can use your eBook reader as a note taking device, you can annotate text, and on some readers actually listen to music or audio books on the go.

kindle-dx

How does the iPad compare?

  • The iPad has a huge memory capacity (starting at 16GB)
  • The iPad features a high resolution glossy colour screen, but this is the same as what you will find on most laptops. Which means you won’t be able to read as comfortably as on an E-Ink device (think about it as reading text from a laptop screen)
  • The iPad has 10 hours of battery life which is great, but simply cannot compare to 2+ weeks of use on standard ebook readers. If you travel a lot this will be a huge issue.
  • The iPad comes with an improved Itunes which will include an ebook store. Although you won’t get as many ebooks as say on Amazon or Borders, you will be able to purchase eBooks on the go.
  • You can import any unlocked (non DRM) epub ebooks into your iPad through Itunes but you can’t read your ibooks from any other device then the iPad.
  • The device will be bigger than most eBook readers, but definitely compact: (height: 9.56-inches, width: 7.47-inches, depth: 0.5-inches, weight: 1.5 pounds (1.6 for the 3G model).)
  • Price wise, the iPad will start at $499, which is much more expensive than most ebook readers out there, but in line witht the pricing of the Kindle DX.

The iPad also innovates by providing interactive magazine content and tailored news content which mixes text and multimedia.

The verdict?

So is the iPad the next eBook reader? We don’t think so yet, but its definitely going to be a key player, and Amazon definitely acknowledges that by releasing a Kindle App for the iPad.

If you are a keen book reader, and you like having your books with you when travelling there is no better device than an E-Ink eBook reader. You won’t get eye fatigue, you will be able to read indoors and outdoors and you will be able to read for weeks without having to recharge the device.

But the iPad will change the landscape of eBook readers.

The start of a revolution?

So the iPad isn’t yet an EBook Reader Killer, but it is an impressive device which will force many eBook reader companies to push more innovative features.

What we will start to see in the next 3 to 12 months is:

  • The introduction of colour E-Ink screens
  • Faster refresh rates on E-ink screens
  • Downloadable & purchasable eBooks available from the eBook reader as standard
  • More magazine content becoming available for eBook readers
  • More news based content becoming available for eBook readers
  • Larger screens (more 8”+ devices to compete with the Ipad)

{ 7 comments }

Bebook Neo Announced – First Look Review

by Ebook Doctor on January 23, 2010


bebook-neo-main

Bebook have pulled a 180 with regards to their Bebook 2, opting to cancel the release of the device at last minute to concentrate their efforts towards releasing a better ebook reader for 2010: This ebook reader is the Bebook Neo.

Featuring an eye pleasing slim design, a 6inch Vizplex screen, WIFI access (A world first), access to ebook stores from the device, Wacom tablet technology as well as one of the fastest processors in its class.

bebook-neo-flat

All these attributes makes the BeBook Neo one of the fastest eReader currently on the market. Offering up to 2,5 times faster browsing and operating speeds, due to its powerful Freescale processor.

Another great advantage to this new ebook reader is the fact that you also get a web browser, which makes this ebook reader perfect for research on the go.

bebook-neo-side

The Wacom tablet technology makes the annotation and stylus writing experience better than some other ebook readers, and should make for a nippy experience.

Endless Ideas have released a few videos, check them out below:

The device is planned for a release end of Feb, we’ll keep you updated.
In the meantime you can find out more about the device at mybebook.com.

{ 9 comments }

iRiver Story Review

by Ebook Doctor on December 3, 2009


iriver-story-ebookreader

The iRiver Story is the latest entrant into the Ebook Reader market, and its iRiver’s first ebook reader.

I must admit I was weary when I first heard bout the iRiver Story, as from afar it could be mistaken for a rebadged Amazon Kindle clone. But I’m pleased to say that iRiver have done a good job designing this ebook reader, and they have invested quite a bit in the packaging and marketing material for their ebook reader.

This is no Amazon Kindle though, the build quality although ok and it doesn’t have the solid feel of a Kindle. But the device doesn’t feel cheap, its quite attractive and the keyboard actually works quite well.

iriver-story-side

The screen is your typical Vizplex E-Ink screen, featuring 8 levels of greyscale (same as the Sony Touch & Pocket / Bebook) with a resolution of 800×600. The Kindle features a better 16 greyscale screen, but both offer a really good reading experience.

The user interface is intuitive, you can use the keypad to navigate through the menus and there are side buttons available so that you can use the book in one hand for both left and right handed users.

Unlike the Amazon Kindle which limits the ebook formats to their own amazon.com and pdf ebook formats, the iRiver Story is compatible with a wide range of ebook formats including: EPUB, PDF & TXT cover the main formats for commercial ebooks, while the Story also displays office files like DOC, PPT & XLS.  For comics & graphic novels, JPEG, BMP and GIF image. This makes this ideal for reading business documents on the road without having to carry a laptop.

iriver-story-book

Page turns are snappy (for ebook reader standards) and you’ll find the ebook reader comfortable to read all sorts of books on your journeys.

The device comes with a generous 2GB of internal storage, enough to store hundreds of books, and it can be expanded with an external SD card.

We also like the added features which are not available on other ebook readers as yet including the diary, memo facility, the built in speaker and the voice recorder which are all handy but will probably never be used…

At £229 the iRiver ebook reader is on par with most 6″ ebook readers in the UK, but is more expensive than the Amazon Kindle.

In all the iRiver is a good device, especially if you are interested in being able to upload any ebook format, or your own documents which is not currently possible on the Kindle.

You can find out more about the iRiver Story here

{ 15 comments }

Ebook Comparison Tables Added

by Ebook Doctor on November 5, 2009


ebook-reader-comparison-tables

We have just added comparison tables for the most popular ebook readers available on the market today in the UK (Most of these are available in the US and Europe too).

It can be very difficult to pick the right ebook reader, plus there are many upcoming ebook reader companies releasing press releases monthly about planned launches which we will mostly never get to see on UK shores!

So check out the tables, they are a work in progress, and as more ebook readers are made available we will add them to the list.

6 Inch ebook readers compared

Picture 148

Click here to check them out.

5 Inch ebook readers compared

5inchebook-readers

Click here to check them out.


{ 31 comments }

Amazon Kindle 2 International Version UK Review

by Ebook Doctor on November 5, 2009


amazon kindle 2

The Amazon Kindle 2 is finally available in Europe and the UK, and we thought it would be good to review the product and offering to see how it compares to the leading ebook readers available in the U.K.

The Amazon Kindle 2 is a large improvement from the first generation device released by Amazon, and looks both stylish and usable. The navigation buttons are intuitive, featuring a 5 way rocker switch and various buttons laid around the screen for page flips.

The screen uses the popular Vizplex E-ink display, featuring 16 shades of gray for a clear and crisp letters and graphics. Many ebook readers are limited to 4 or 8 shades, and the 16 levels does give an advantage to the Kindle when it comes to handling graphics, font smoothing and images.

The screen refreshes are fast, and similar to the Sony and Bebook devices – This makes for a pleasurable reading experience without having to wait too long for the next page.

The Kindle 2 comes with 2 GB of internal storage onboard which should be enough for most user’s needs – But it does not come with an SD card slot for additional storage. This will be an important factor to consider when purchasing your ebook reader, as this means once you have filled this up, you will need to delete books…Plus means you can’t load ebooks from the SD card directly.

kindle2-compare-crayon

The device itself is gorgeous, and the ebook reader size is nothing short of amazing considering the features: With a 0.36 inch thick design, this is one of the thinnest ebook readers around.

Software wise, the Amazon Kindle features a well built and intuitive user interface thats been improved since the Kindle 1. Functionality wise, you can save notes, search, access the built in dictionary and it all feels pretty well thought out.

The new feature the Kindle brings to the table is the text to speach function, which means your Kindle can your books to you literally. This is an interesting feature, you get to pick from either a male or female voice, and you can change the reading speed to suit your taste. The Kindle uses the latest generation text to speech engine, which provides a more natural experience than the built in feature your your mac or PC, but lets just say that the audio book industry is not about to go out of business! The reading is robotic, and if you are like me will revert back to audio books or reading after 30 mins.

Another unique feature is the Whispernet 3G connection which comes built into the Kindle, which enables you to access Amazon’s walled garden internet network worldwide (in 100 countries) at no extra cost. This is a bold move by Amazon, and a world first at this scale.
Through Whispernet you get access to Wikipedia,the Amazon ebook store, read the first chapter of any book (try before you buy) and access to paid subscription news feeds. You don’t get access to email or the actual internet in the but considering this comes free and its available worldwide makes it an attractive offer.

You can therefore buy books wirelessly during your travels, research Wikipedia as you are reading, and keep on top of your favourite news at a low cost per feed – Its just like reading the morning paper, without the bulk or wasted paper.

The Amazon is not without its weaknesses though. This is apparent when you take into consideration the compatible ebook formats supported by the Kindle: Kindle (AZW and TOPAZ), PRC, Limited MOBI (non DRM), TXT, MP3, Audible (format 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), MP3;

UPDATE: The Kindle now supports PDF format ebooks.

Yes you read this right, there is no PDF support or DRM mobi / epub formats, which means you will need to buy your books from the Amazon ebook store only.

Alternative ebook readers such as the Sony Touch or the BeBook both enable you to load up pretty much any ebook or document format which make them very versatile.

Another think to bear in mind is that at the time of writing, you have to buy your ebooks from the US Amazon Ebook store in US$ – This is not always practical, but can lead to lower ebook prices compared to UK ebooks.

Also the Kindle does not come with expandable memory, this is not a major issue as 2GB is a lot of books, but its nice to know you have room to grow with such a device.

In all this is a great device, its slim, it looks fantastic, and its a breeze to use. If you are keen on reading your own pdf’s or epub / mobi ebooks or god forbid download ebooks from your favourite pirate site then the Kindle might not be for you (Check out the BeBook One or Sony Touch).

For everyone else, the Amazon Kindle is a great device, you get instant access to a wide range of ebooks downloadable without the need for a PC. Plus you can keep in touch with the built in feed reader to read the news as it gets released from participating websites (for a monthly fee per feed).

The Amazon Kindle is available from the Amazon store for $259 / £158 – A bargain considering the quality of the device and the wireless access. Go to Amazon.com for more information.

Also check out our comparison table to see how it compares to other 6 inch ebook readers.

{ 5 comments }

COOL-ER (Cooler) eBook Reader Review

by Ebook Doctor on October 22, 2009


cooler-ebook-front

The Cool-er (or Cooler ebook reader if you prefer) is a relatively entry level ebook reader which comes in a range of striking colours similar to the ipod range.

cooler-device-colours

The COOL-ER ebook reader uses the typical Vizplex E-ink display used in other ebook readers and features a 6″ 600 × 800 pixels, 167 ppi screen. This is comparable to other ebook readers in this range with 4 levels of grey.

Although the Cool-er has the same 6-inch screen as say the Kindle 2, it renders text with a proprietary font instead of the print like fonts used by the Sony or Kindle devices.

You can flip it the screen 90 degrees to read in landscape mode but you will have to go through the settings as it cannot sense when you are turning the reader.

The design and build quality is not as good as some of the more expensive models – For example the Sony Pocket and the Bebook Mini  both have more wow factor when it comes to the build quality, but it should make for an ideal device for people looking to save but still be able to read on the move.

The latest generation Cool-ER ebook reader comes with 1GB of internal memory, and can be extended up to 4 GB through an SD card. In comparison, only the Bebook mini supports SD cards at this price level, the Sony Pocket reader is limited to its internal memory of 512 MB. This is rather good, and means that you are able to store in between 500-800 novels in the internal memory alone.

The 6 inch screen is glare free, and features Vizplex E-ink for a nice reading experience just like reading on paper. Thankfully, this screen is un-affected by direct sunlight glare unlike earlier ebook readers so you can read anywhere as long as you have light.

cool-er-ebook-hand

The user interface / device build is a bit problematic, and is where more expensive ebook readers will shine. The big iPod type design and the D-Pad scroll whele interface look and feel clunky and cheap.

The D-Pad scrollwheel acts as both a menu selector and a page turner, which doesn’t feel natural as you will only be able to turn pages with either you left or right hand based on the orientation of the device.

The onscreen UI works, but isn’t intuitive and you will find yourself going through many menu’s to find your way round.

There is no text to speech function, but thats no loss as I’m not a fan of the robotic voice of the text to speech apps available in some of the ebook readers such as the Kindle. But the COOL-ER comes with an MP3 player function which although limited, is quite good for listening to audio books (ie you can’t control the playing, unless you get out of the book…).

There is no built in dictionary but bookmarking is thankfully included for easy reading.

The COOL-ER ebook reader supports a good set of formats including: PDF, EPUB, FB2, RTF, TXT, HTML, PRC, JPG AND MP3. As well as Adobe EPUB/PDF DRM’d ebooks. Which makes it a versatile ebook reader which will accept almost anything (this is not the case with earlier Sony ebook readers or the Amazon Kindle).

Ebooks are loaded through the USB cable or SD card, and its a simple process. The ebook reader appears as an extra drive, which works better in Windows than on Macs where it creates additional folders for nothing.

The battery life is good, the device is rated for about 7000 page views (Most ebook readers have in between 7000-8500), but the battery meter is not always accurate. This isn’t a big deal, but can mean you might find yourself with  drained device out of the blue.

There is no auto-sleep function so make sure you switch off the device after using it, although it doesn’t use much juice it will still be draining the battery.

The COOL-ER device is available at £189 from Firebox, and it makes for an attractive device at this price point. This is an ideal starter ebook reader, or gift for students to encourage them to read more.

You can find out more, and purchase the COOL-ER ebook reader here.

If you are looking for a more feature packed ebook reader, we would recommend the BeBook one which is £10 more expensive but includes a dictionary, and better build quality. Alternatively at a higher pricepoint we suggest the Sony Touch which is also an excellent looking  alternative jam packed full of features.

{ 15 comments }

BeBook Two to be released on the 14th Oct at Frankfurter Buchmesse

by Ebook Doctor on October 13, 2009


BeBook-two

Thats right folks the long awaited update to the Bebook One is finaly going to be released on the 14th of October 2009 during the Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair).

If you happen to be in the area, you can find the BeBook booth at hall 4.2, booth 450.

If you have been holding off from buying an Ebook Reader, now is the time – With great offerings from the likes  of Bebook, Sony, Amazon, Cybook, and Irex you are spoilt for choice.

We haven’t managed to get our hands on a Bebook 2 yet, but from the information provided by the guys behind Bebook it sounds like a really good candidate for the top ebook reader slot in Europe.

So far, the specs include:

  • Wireless connectivity (3G and WIFI)
  • Touchscreen
  • Purchase from the ebook reader with selected ebook partners using 3G or Wifi
  • Free Wireless RSS support (unlike the Amazon Kindle which charges per feed, per month)

We’ll update you as more details come in.

Update: No sign of a release I’m afraid 🙁 Sounds like the BeBook team is busy with the post Bookfair work.

Although this date was provided by ByBook/Endless Ideas in a Dutch TV show a few weeks ago, it looks like they have delayed the launch…

We have found this interesting interview from the Book Fair, and their representative talks about launching in the next months. The interesting thing to note is that they mention different launch scenarios: Selling the ebook reader direct without a sim, selling the ebook reader with a sim card and contract, or selling the ebook reader with a subsidised 3g contract paid by the prefered ebook seller.  I would imagine this could complicate things massively, and could be the reason for the delay. Check out the interview below:

{ 4 comments }

Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600 Review

by Ebook Doctor on September 16, 2009


Sony have recently released an updated lineup to it’s popular PRS-505 ebook reader which we reviewed last year.

This year they are releasing the Sony Reader Touch Edition PRS-600 and the Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-300. Both are looking to compete against different sides of the ebook reader market: Mainly the rise of the sub 5 inch ebook readers, and the new Amazon Kindle 2.

The Sony Reader Touch Edition is the new successor of the old PRS-505 and PRS-700, which adds a touchscreen into the mix. The Pocket edition sports a smaller 5″ screen format which we will review at a later stage.

The first thing you will notice once you handle a Sony Touch ebook reader is that it looks really classy – Its an elegant ebook reader which won’t look out of place next to your other accessories.

The screen is easy to read, and the contrast has been much improved since the PRS-700 and ebooks look great on this 6″ e-ink Vizplex™ paper-like screen.

The touch screen is interesting, unfortunately its a bit slow and doesn’t quite feel natural when interacting with words or the UI. Don’t expect an Iphone like touch interface on this ebook reader! But the touchscreen is useful, and adds to the ease of use of the ebook reader – For example you can flick through pages like on a real book.

In terms of capacity, the Sony Touch comes with 500 mb of internal memory which you can store about 350 books with, and you can expand this through an optional MS Duo (up to 16GB) and SD card (up to 16GB) slots for up to 13,000 eBook titles – practically an entire library!

The great difference in these new ebook readers is the change of stance from sony with reagards to ebook formats – Beforehand the Sony ebook readers were a bit limited in the book formats supported, not anymore.

You can now read eBooks in a choice of file formats: Reader Touch Edition™ supports EPUB  (industry standard), PDF, Text, RTF, Word and BBeB. Also displays most common image and photo file types including JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP (in black-and-white).

This is a big change and will mean that you can now upload ebooks which are both DRM and non DRM protected to read on the go!

The US version of this ebook reader comes with a 3G connection built in similar to the Amazon Kindle, which has been ommited from the European and UK release, but thats not too much of a problem. Thanks Russ for the clarification, the US version is like the European version, and does not include a 3G card.

You can still buy your books from your favourite online book shop such as Waterstones, Borders, and Whsmith in the UK.

This is a lighter and more nimble device, and if you are a fan of Sony products, or haven’t yet got your feet wet with an ebook reader device this is a very affordable device, which oozes of quality.

Is it the best device out there? Well we still like the Bebook (reviewed earlier) which supports more ebook reader formats.

But if you are looking to spend a little more, and like the look of the Sony Reader Touch we definately recommend it too. Click here to find out more.

!Update:
Waterstones have just lowered the price of the silver Sony Touch, get it at £29 less here: Click here to find out more about the promo.

{ 8 comments }