What is best for e-book reading?

March 29th, 2014 at 1:03 pm by David Farrar

If you’re away tramping for say a week or more, and want to read Amazon you own, what do people recommend is best – a Kindle or an iPad (which has Kindle on it)?

The three factors for me are:

  1. Battery life (very impt as no or little power)
  2. Weight
  3. Ease of reading

I have an Ipad 1 (I know, very old but does the job) so it is either take that or buy a Kindle. Would be a fairly basic one as only need it for book reading. Welcome feedback as to whether to buy a Kindle to take tramping, and if so which one.

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47 Responses to “What is best for e-book reading?”

  1. nark (14 comments) says:

    Kindle Paperwhite

    Long batterylife, easy to read in the dark or in the bright sunlight

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  2. ShawnLH (5,265 comments) says:

    I have a Kindle Paperwhite. Def the best choice for what your needs are imo.

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  3. Fletch (6,407 comments) says:

    I’d say a Kindle. Mine is quite old so it doesn’t have the backlight (so I need some external light, just as you would with any ordinary book).

    One of the things that makes a Kindle good is that (sofar as when the backlight is turned off) it only uses power when you’re turning a page. Otherwise, it doesn’t take power to keep the LCD letters in the configuration they’re in on the screen. This can be seen when you power off and the Kindle always has an image on the screen even though the power is off.

    Also, Amazon has a great selection (as you already know, because you use the iPad app). If you download Calibre you can convert books between types as well (ePub to Mobi), even protected ones (with the help of a plug-in).

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  4. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    I loved my Kindle but haven’t used it at all since I got my iPad mini. Does everything I want when I am travelling or to have beside my bed for reading at night or in my handbag. You can adjust the screen to the brightness, font size etc you want, it instantly synchs with your iPhone or iPad and seems to hold a charge for ages when used mainly for reading. It even has a camera
    Love it.

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  5. Colville (2,269 comments) says:

    Why take a elec book tramping ?, Go old skool and take a paper one.
    I take one from a second hand shop and leave it in the hut if I finish it.
    A paper book is light and it isnt $500 if you get it wet!
    Tho I do have a few elec books on my S3 as backups and a battery pack to charge S3.

    Edit. Tho I would never read that yawnfest that DPF took on Milford! sheeesh !

    Further edit. If you can read more than 50 pages a day you are not walking enough!

    Yet another edit. I usually carry a gun. Which gives me things to do at night not involving a book!

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  6. Fletch (6,407 comments) says:

    By the way, if you belong to Auckland Libraries (and I guess other cities have it as well), you can borrow eBooks from online by downloading. The format is ePub, so you have to convert to mobi for Kindle.

    http://auckland.lib.overdrive.com/8F7AA69B-D721-4960-83A9-54D03B35C097/10/50/en/Default.htm

    It’s interesting that they have a limit on how many people can borrow an ebook as well (which is strange for a digital medium), so you’ll see that an eBook you want to read may be “out”. I guess they only have a licence for so many to read at once.

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  7. ray (63 comments) says:

    I am with BeaB, since I acquired my iPad mini the Sony ereader has not had a look in
    Much easier to read and can do everything
    The only advantage of the Sony is the huge length of time between recharges

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  8. arkhad (68 comments) says:

    Once the tramping bug really starts to bite you may find you want to tramp for weeks or even months.There are a number of mini solar chargers around that you can fasten on your back back during the day and then use to charge your device of choice at night.

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  9. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    I bought my girlfriend a Nook a while ago and after observing her enjoyment of it bought myself a Cybook Odyssey – carefully chosen because of minimal control by others of it’s contents.

    And I was surprised at how well it worked (though a bit disappointed that promises of tens of thousands of pages turns per charge don’t hold up) and found I now need two – so I bought a Boox and discovered that was a bad idea (nice hardware, poor software and it physically broke within a week – which may have just been bad luck – but ultimately it’s noisy clicking page buttons are the major no-no).

    I recommend Cybooks.

    Though of course Kindles are all about using Amazons store and have an excellent reputation for integration. I am uncomfortable with so much involvement of companies in my personal business so I avoid them, but a persona can ‘buy’ from Amazon and convert their ‘purchases’ for use on other devices using Calibre open source ebook management software.

    I find the whole ebook thing a worry – while the practical use of them is inarguably welcome the absence of bookshelves it implies suggests a loss of serendipitous discovery that nags me.

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  10. jawnbc (86 comments) says:

    For just reading, Kindle Paperweight. The flashier kindles are more like stripped out Android tablets and don’t have the e-paper screen that makes reading a Kindle outdoors easier. But it’s not nearly as nice a reading experience as on an iPad when indoors. So I mostly still use my iPad—the Kindle app on it, in fact.

    The Economist Kindle edition is very flat and boring compared to the iPad or print versions.

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  11. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    if you belong to Auckland Libraries (and I guess other cities have it as well)

    I bought my mother a new iPad mini for Christmas exactly for this purpose and she’s enjoying it. I too find it odd that there are several completely arbitrary restrictions obviously born of contracts and legal restrictions rather than technical or actual scarcity.

    There are Android library apps as well that work by navigating to your local library and accepting your library membership number for electronic borrowing. I bought my mother an iPad rather than an Android on the theories that…

    a) Apples reputation for greater simplicity and ease of use is true (it is not).
    b) The hardware is of the best quality (it is).

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  12. Farmerpete (48 comments) says:

    Kindle is too small for me. Since I got the iPad a few years ago, I have been freed from the ‘burden’ of carting a lot of books around with me when I go away. I also use the Barnes and Noble app (Nook) for reading. I think this is quite good.
    Still like the feel of a book in my hands, but the iPad is a winner!

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  13. prosper (167 comments) says:

    I have a kindle 3. and the latest kindle fire MDX. The fire is very similar to an iPad but with a better quality screen resolution and is much lighter and cheaper. I find the kindle 3 which is not backlit much less tiring on the eyes, you can read in the sun and the battery life is phenomenal. I have a cover for this that has a small led light for at night and sneaking around when your wife is asleep. The led light runs off the kindle battery. The MDX is fantastic but much harder on the eyes and the battery life is 10 hours probably because of email, you tube and kiwiblog.

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  14. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    since I acquired my iPad mini the Sony ereader has not had a look in
    Much easier to read and can do everything
    The only advantage of the Sony is the huge length of time between recharges

    I personally don’t get liking LCD or OLED over e-Ink. I find e-Ink vastly superior (I sometimes wonder if that’s related to my irritation with flickering lights and monitors which I seem more sensitive to than others).

    I also think it’s the only logical choice for travel for it’s duration between charges.

    As I prefer holidaying on remote tropical islands I recently bought some solar powered usb chargers in case I stay in a bure without power (haven’t had a chance to test them out yet).

    Although I personally prefer e-Ink I suspect it has a limited appeal as peoples familiarities with their ph/tablets, the improving quality of OLEDS and increasing ease of access to power around the world (I can’t actually recall a time in the last fifteen years I’ve travelled and had a problem finding a power source for my phone/camera et al) make the single device preferable for most.

    Though I suspect leaving the device that is also a game machine behind when on holiday might be a good idea – but in a few years we’ll all probably have plenty of cast-offs lying around for re purposing as we please.

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  15. Fletch (6,407 comments) says:

    Out of interest, I read an article about the best reading software for iPad the other day, and an app called Marvin turned out to be the best (although you can only read epub and PDF with it – you’d have to convert other books).

    http://www.cultofmac.com/269542/winner-best-ebook-reading-app/

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  16. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Kindle for me. Its battery life is (apparantly) a spec’d gamebreaking design “feature” set down right from when Amazon first planned it.

    Better then others … dunno.

    My Kindle with the must! have reading light built-n cost me around $200 NZ from memory.

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  17. wreck1080 (3,922 comments) says:

    you should add durability too — kindles are excessively fragile.

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  18. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Kindle Paperwhite.

    I have an iPad, but Kindle PW has better battery life, easier to read outdoors, and is much lighter.

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  19. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    FWIW, I wouldn’t part with my Sony eReader. It’s been excellent for what I wanted it for – travelling. It’s been dropped / knocked / sat on / had a drink spilled on it / the poor thing has had a real hammering – yet it’s survived!

    As an aside: Bad experience for me when Whitcoulls pushed their NZ eBook customers to Kobo. The Kobo payment system somehow debited my CC twice for the one book (not twice on my Kobo account but twice on my CC Statement) and the fun started when I asked for a credit for the duplicate charge… it took a phone call / an email / then a further email in which I cc’d their CEO) for it to be sorted.

    So I now purchase via Amazon… :D

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  20. MT_Tinman (3,202 comments) says:

    I also like my Sony eReader.

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  21. Raphael (88 comments) says:

    I got myself a kindle 5 (ad supported version) from Amazon as a Christmas present for myself (cost me us$45 on sale + $17 shipping via YouPost). definitely the best thing for reading ebooks. Much easier on the eyes than Ltd screens.

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  22. Rufus (667 comments) says:

    Kobo Glo.

    Great battery life, nice to hold, does exactly what it says on the box.

    Oh, and you can simply download epub files and read – no need to convert into a “kindle” format.

    Walled garden crap pisses me off.

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  23. Laksa (16 comments) says:

    Based on your criteria go for a kindle, single charge will last weeks, and would get the paper white.

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  24. SGA (1,061 comments) says:

    Like others, I’d vote for a Kindle Paperwhite given your three specifications.

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  25. Sonny Blount (1,783 comments) says:

    In our household we have 2 iPads, 5 iPhones, and 4 E Ink Kindles.

    The Kindles are way out in front for novel format reading. They are the most unobtrusive reading device, have the best screen to read from, the best battery life, the best content integration, the best prices, the best selection, and are the most trusted retailer.

    Just put it in a ziplock bag if you are worried about water.

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  26. Crusader (316 comments) says:

    For tramping, it’s Kindle by far. Good battery life. And light. Lighter than a real book. And so much nicer on your eyes than a LCD screen. Put it in a plastic bag (or 2) for water protection. And if the worst should happen, well it didn’t cost as much as a Crapple I-pad.

    For airport-to-plane-to-bus-to-hotel travel, then by all means take your pad or tablet. Listen to music and play games and reply to email etc etc. But that’s a different question, isn’t it? You were talking about tramping.

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  27. wf (446 comments) says:

    Another thing in four of kindle is that if you are a regular book buyer and your kindle dies, for whatever reason, it’s highly likely that Amazon will send you a replacement for free. Mine seems to be indestructible – I don’t know what others do to theirs !

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  28. s.russell (1,642 comments) says:

    I have Aldiko and Kindle apps on my smartphone. Small screen, but saves buying and carryin
    g two devices.

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  29. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    If you only want to read, I’d go with the Kindle (or other equivalent e-reader such as a Kobo), they’re lighter and stay charged a lot longer. But only for reading and carrying when weight matters. Otherwise I’d say iPad mini as it does everything else really well. Just use a ziplock bag in case the pack gets dropped in a stream or something.

    I have to say that even with access to any if the above, I take ordinary books (or book) with me on tramps.

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  30. Rich Prick (1,705 comments) says:

    iPad Mini, perfect size and weight to hold and read but with all the grunt of an iPad. No question.

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  31. dstraktd (1 comment) says:

    No android love??? Get an android smartphone and take only one device. Install the kindle app. Use moon-reader pro for epub(3), mobi, pdf’s etc
    Install Lightpaper so when and if you pickup a data signal, you can update kiwiblog with all your pix via the built-in Markup editor.
    Both the kindle app and moon-reader Pro received updates this week with a heap more features and controls.

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  32. Apteryx (4 comments) says:

    Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve ditched my old Kindle with the external light in favour of this. I love my iPad, but for book reading the Kindle PW wins hands down on battery life, lightness and ease of reading outdoors. Get one; you won’t regret it.

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  33. Johnboy (16,651 comments) says:

    Bugger me days. Dawks in the scrub.

    Take a paperback with unglazed pages in case you dont know what bushmans friend looks like!

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  34. nadir (98 comments) says:

    kindle by a mile. Anyone who cares about managing their own content on their own terms should never own an apple appliance. Still in the kindle version prior to the paperwhite (i’ll upgrade when my current one dies), a month of battery life. download books from mobilism.org or tuebl.ca, manage content on calibre, get the deDRM plugin if you want to share books with DRM. Use the email address to get books on to the kindle, much less hassle than plugging the kindle in to your pc. I have kindle apps on android phone and android tablet – read magazines on the tablet but that’s about it, otherwise I only use the kindle app when I cant find my kindle.

    I know its a bit naughty but if you are so inclined you can find almost any book you like in mobi or epub format and avoid the amazon store.

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  35. Tom Jackson (2,553 comments) says:

    By books on Amazon. Use Calibre (free) to strip the DRM from them and convert them to epub. Then use Apple’s iBooks software to read them, which is better than the Kindle app.

    It’s technically illegal, but no worse than making a separate copy of a CD you own for personal use, and you are paying for the books.

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  36. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    I bought an e-ink Kobo quite some time ago as I was buying at a time when the NZ markup for Kindle was pretty excessive and a Kobo was a damn site cheaper. I also did not want a Kindle as I felt that Amazon were starting to show some of the control freak characteristics that Apple seem to love. There had even been a couple of cases where they had remotely wiped a Kindle for one or other reason, which I don’t really care if legitimate but it’s my device and if they don’t like what I put on it they need to do something lawfully.

    If all you want is an e-book then the e-ink side has become somewhat of a commodity. They all store 1K+ plus books, have battery lives measured in 4+ weeks with basic usage and are very readable. If you need to read in the dark then get one of the back-lit ones.

    Using Calibre is pretty much a given no matter what device you get.

    Buying from Kobo – Basically Whitcoulls locally – is a bit of a nightmare – they put on regionally based software – and Amazon have by far the best and cheapest book supply.

    I think if I was buying now I would not buy Kobo as I don’t reckon it will be one of the main players in the future so expect the software to get less investment etc.

    Looking at a friend’s Kindle the build is a bit better but my Kobo has been to a couple of countries now and I use it about 6 hours a week for 18 months +. The Kindle software looks a bit better and faster. Both sets of software are rather clunky compared to modern more slick Windows/Apple type software.

    If you don’t want both a tablet and an e-book then obviously a tablet is the job – if you want a specific e-book and ease of use wrt to purchasing and availability of books is key then hard to get past Amazon’s devices. Also I feel that Amazon are most likely to be one of the long term survivors in the e-book environment.

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  37. Fentex (986 comments) says:

    By books on Amazon. Use Calibre (free) to strip the DRM from them and convert them to epub. Then use Apple’s iBooks software to read them, which is better than the Kindle app.

    It’s technically illegal,

    i wonder if it is. I think there’s a specific allowance for music format shifting in NZ law and I recently read an article about it (which was quite silly as it was predicated on the idea that law should be made regarding current technical services rather than general principles) but not other media.

    I imagine there’s licensing and terms and conditions involved in using Amazon but being a civil matter it’s not right to call bending, twisting or breaking them illegal and I don’t know if NZ law exactly criminalises format shifting.

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  38. jedmo (33 comments) says:

    I used to take a trashy paperback, read a few pages at night by candle light; those pages could then do double duty next morning when inevitably the longdrop had no paper.

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  39. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Crusader Yep right on all points … Go Kindle

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  40. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    SWMBO received an ipad for xmas for reason other than ebook reading but has endeavored to access ebooks from CHCH City Library anyway.
    As a user friendly resource for tyros it is in the category of junkmail or even turtle on a post.
    It appears to require connectivity to perform and the absolute number one driver for her, is access from the remote destinations I am want to pursue.

    Knowledge and therefore assistance from library staff is non existent, most common response is sheer pants wetting excitement at seeing an ipad closeup???

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  41. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Quote: … [Name] has endeavored to access ebooks from CHCH City Library anyway.
    As a user friendly resource for tyros it is in the category of junkmail or even turtle on a post.
    Knowledge and therefore assistance from library staff is non existent …

    No surprises here.

    1. Librarians are equal first, (Doctors/Teachers/Uni academia) in resisting any change that might threaten their own existing employment conditions.

    2. Councils could make big inroads into their (library and other) costs by buying bulk orders of Kindles and providing them at cost to library users. But then Councils just spend (with no incentive to save) “your” money … not theirs.

    3. Library management and staff are untrained, unmotivated and are locked into a hidebound inward-looking business model.

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  42. Caturday (5 comments) says:

    Kindle Paperwhite.

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  43. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    3. Library management and staff are untrained, unmotivated and are locked into a hidebound inward-looking business model.

    1. Public libraries don’t have a “business model.” For those of us who aren’t idiots, the term “public” is a giveaway that the “business” in question is a public sector entity.

    2. For the most part public librarians have had plenty of training and are highly motivated.

    3. As various people have noted above, library lending of ebooks is fraught with licencing and DRM problems because digital files aren’t really compatible with the concept of “lending.” The difficulties you encounter with borrowing ebooks from the library is due to the difficulty publishers are having coming up with an appropriate business model, nothing to do with reluctance of libraries to deal with digital media.

    4. Local councils buying Kindles for library users may sound good to ignoramuses with a penchant for leaping to conclusions, but not to people outside that category.

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  44. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Well said Psychomilt.

    What of? … “Librarians are equal first, (Doctors/Teachers/Uni academia) in resisting any change that might threaten their own existing employment conditions”.

    You are showing all the Luddite responses of … the Librarians trade.

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  45. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Librarians were using the internet when DPF was in short pants. Ignorance expressed with confidence remains ignorance.

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  46. Ryan Sproull (7,195 comments) says:

    Probably too late for me to be of any assistance here, but I asked this same question on Twitter at the end of last year. I had an iPad2 with the Kindle app and asked why on earth I’d get a Kindle. Unanimous blast back at me of people saying that e-paper is just a million times easier on your eyes.

    Bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas, haven’t looked back. It is great, and the battery lasts for aaaaaaages. Definitely take a Kindle tramping rather than an iPad, for reading.

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  47. moaningmoa (68 comments) says:

    I’m currently doing most of my reading on my android tablet (nexus 7)and phone, using the google play book service; which allows me to continue the same book on either device with my current page being updated on both devices <- the killer feature for me.

    My books are all in the ePub format, and I manage them locally using calibre as well as uploading to google play.

    That said, I still have my old kobo, and if only it was updated with my current reading position it would be my preferred device (due to battery life).

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