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  #1  
Old 12-26-2010, 02:33 PM
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Default Kindle & e-Book Reader Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKoh View Post
If you like gaming or quick reading, then iPad definitely gives you a smooth and fun experience ... For long, serious reading, Kindle is still the best as it doesn't cause any glare or strain your eyes, and is way lighter than the iPad.
Hi, Andy (and everyone else who is using these devices to read e-books...)

I've been looking at e-book readers for some time. I'm not a gadget freak. I'll buy technology only when I see a real use or advantage to it. I can see some advantages to e-book readers -- I could carry a whole library, the fonts are adjustable, I can annotate, etc. They're still relatively expensive, though, and I can't bring myself to hand over RM1000-1200 for a device I'm not sure I'll like.

Andy, it sounds like you have and use a Kindle. Be honest now -- do you like it as well as reading paper books? I probably wouldn't buy a Kindle, because I think Amazon is too proprietary. I'm asking about e-book readers in general, as opposed to books.

Thanks for sharing your opinions!
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Old 12-26-2010, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad: Compare For Yourself

Hi Amanda!

Yup, I've been using a Kindle for almost a year. In fact, I have 2 Kindles at home, and have been trying to convince Charlene to get one too haha..

To me, iPad and Kindle address two different segments of the market. iPad to me is more for fun and media consumption, while Kindle is for serious book readers. You can never use iPad for any serious reading due to its glaring screen and relatively heavy weight, but it's awesome for reading coloured magazines, and most of all, video, gaming and various applications.

I was originally quite skeptical about a Kindle too, but decided to purchase it nevertheless, and have never regretted owning it. In fact, I haven't bought a real book this year, but have read way, way more than what I did last time.

Here are some PROs, most of the points apply to e-readers in general:

1) First of all, it's price is REALLY affordable - Amazon is selling it for $139 only for its 6" Wifi version, which translates to something like RM450. MPH imitation brands sell more expensive (some were sold at RM1200 but reduced recently).

2) The screen is very crisp, in fact I find the font even smoother than many real books' print. It uses pearl e-ink technology that doesn't have a backlit screen, and so doesn't tire your eyes with glare. It only requires battery power to refresh the screen to a new page, and otherwise the ink stays as-is, so battery consumption is really low and a full charge can easily last 2 - 3 weeks.

3) It has a built-in Oxford dictionary - I find it very convenient to look up definitions as I read, and in fact this is indispensable for me now and I feel inconvenient now when I hold up a real book where I would never get the motivation to pull out a dictionary haha.

4) The weight is very light, about 8 ounces (imitation brands are bulkier), so you would not tire of holding even with one hand, and page turns are intuitively placed at both sides of the screen so you can do it either with your left or right hand.

5) There is a limitless resource of e-books online that you can download and transfer over to your e-book reader, and for Kindle you can also purchase directly from the Amazon store integrated into your Kindle. I actually ended up reading much more as I now have access to a wider variety of materials, instead of having to fork out money to buy every single book, and force myself to finish it even if it's not good since I spend the money on it haha. For Kindle, you can also subscribe to dozens of magazines and newspapers that are delivered to you via Wifi / 3G daily.

6) You can store thousands of books - that makes it really convenient when you move around - you no longer have to limit yourself to one or two bulky books when you travel or commute.

7) Kindle also has text-to-speech, so you can close your eyes and hear out the text if you are tired.


Here are some CONs though:
1) The experience will feel a bit electronic at first, although that seems to have dissapeared after I used it a month and it feels as natural as reading a real book to me now.

2) You don't get to randomly flip a book, the feel of a solid heavy book, or enjoy a nice visual book cover and packaging. Or even the SMELL of a real book and paper. Some old-school readers are pretty much attached to these subtleties.

3) The 6" screen size might be a little small if you are used to reading some hard cover books, although you could potentially adjust the font size and type a little.

4) Kindle is not good at formatting PDF documents especially those with many images, you would likely need to convert it to a Kindle-friendly format to better read it. Not sure about other e-readers though.


I suggest that you go to MPH and try out some of their readers to get a feel of it. Or better still, borrow one from your friend and try reading a book to better assess the experience.

If you do intend to buy one, I'd still suggest Kindle - it's by far the best and most intuitive one I've seen, but the drawback is the slight hassle in getting it over from US. It's also the top selling item and most wished for item on Amazon.

Let me know if you need any further details, I'd be glad to share more with you



Quote:
Originally Posted by Maneki Neko View Post
Andy, it sounds like you have and use a Kindle. Be honest now -- do you like it as well as reading paper books? I probably wouldn't buy a Kindle, because I think Amazon is too proprietary. I'm asking about e-book readers in general, as opposed to books.

Thanks for sharing your opinions!

Last edited by AndyKoh; 12-26-2010 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 12-26-2010, 05:31 PM
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Default Re: Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad: Compare For Yourself

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Originally Posted by AndyKoh View Post

5) There is a limitless resource of e-books online that you can download and transfer over to your e-book reader, and for Kindle you can also purchase directly from the Amazon store integrated into your Kindle.

If you do intend to buy one, I'd still suggest Kindle - it's by far the best and most intuitive one I've seen, but the drawback is the slight hassle in getting it over from US. It's also the top selling item and most wished for item on Amazon.
Andy, wow! Thank you for the wealth of information. From what you've said, the Kindle is definitely the best e-book reader at the best price.

I dislike Amazon.com intensely because of their refusal to sell 2nd-hand print books, music, or any audio books to Malaysia. Amazon purchased Audible.com, and they've now extended their odious policies to that company, too. Ugh!

Because my credit card has a Malaysian billing address, Amazon will not sell to me. It's so maddening. I would happily pay for electronic media, but they refuse to sell it to me on the grounds that Malaysia is a hot-bed of piracy. So what am I to do? Turn to the pirates?

You say you're able to buy ebooks directly from Amazon; are you doing this with a Malaysian credit card, or do you have a card with an overseas address?

Still, the Kindle does seem to have the most features at the best price. I suppose I could talk to some friends in the US or UK to figure out how I might get one. I don't suppose they could send it via post? I imagine it would get snaggled up in customs. I guess I'll keep my ears open for friends who might be traveling to the UK.

Anyway, thanks again for giving such an in-depth review.


P. S. I just found one way of getting around the Malaysian credit card obstacle. It seems absurdly convoluted, but it sounds like it should work. I just need to buy myself a lot of Amazon gift cards...
http://forum.lowyat.net/topic/1053076

Last edited by Maneki Neko; 12-26-2010 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:57 PM
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Hi Amanda,

Glad to be able to share some info with you. Books and gadgets are both my passion, and this Kindle hits right on both spots

Yes you are right, I used precisely that method to fund my Amazon account - I purchase gift cards from my Malaysian account and send it to my US account which the Kindle is tied up with.

Beside purchasing on Amazon, there are also those common and easy ways to obtain ebooks and audiobooks which you guessed *wink*.

Another plus of a Kindle is that if you purchase a book, you can read it on any other device that has kindle software, such as a computer, iPad, and many types of smartphones. Your bookmarks and notes can also be synced to Amazon and across devices.

Regarding shipping, I made use of vPost, which is a shipping/rerouting service by Singapore post. They have a warehouse in Oregon which Amazon can ship to, and they would accept the parcel on behalf of you, then ship it to your Malaysian address. The total time taken is about 10 days. You can also try services like OneNow, MyUS and Borderlinx, which partners with DHL for faster priority shipping.

I don't think there would be any troubles with tax as this is not a mobile phone or a taxable item. I haven't encountered any problems using vPost for shipping 3 times this year. However, note that vPost passes your parcel on to Pos Laju to deliver it in Malaysia, and that is not exactly the most reliable or reputable service haha. So you might want to consider those other alternatives as well.
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:27 AM
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Default Re: Kindle & e-Book Reader Review

Good info. Andy. Thank you. I'm a reader as well at least lessen the books piling up around here.
I might be getting Kindle or any e-book reader in the market but as you have mentioned Kindle got a lot of pros' worth to try and cheaper as well.
I have to agree with glaring in iPad's screen, it is very tiring.

I'm glad we are living in paperless tech, at least no more cutting trees and yes, the awful smell coming from the paper. Book prices are rocketing high as well unless it's under promotion. Additionally, I have a curious kitten that loves to involve herself in everything I do, tearing it accidentally by her claw wont be a fuss anymore after getting one.

But a game or a movie on-the-go wont hurt to try my hubby' s iPad when he's asleep...he's totally addicted with it right now(LOL)
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Old 12-27-2010, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad: Compare For Yourself

I suspect Andy has persuaded Amazon to pay him a commission for promoting Kindle so heavily. :)

I must say that Kindle does sound like it's the better buy. My only reservation that's holding me back from taking that plunge is that Kindle does not support PDF documents that well. About 95% of my ebooks are in PDF formats. A few were previously in LIT and ePUB formats which I had converted long before I knew of Kindle's drawback, and the original formats have been deleted.

So, for the time being, until I decide on which ebook to purchase, I'm reading mine on the computer, using the Caliber ebook viewer. It's more convenient than reading it with the Adobe. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKoh View Post
Yup, I've been using a Kindle for almost a year. In fact, I have 2 Kindles at home, and have been trying to convince Charlene to get one too haha..
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:20 PM
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Default Re: Kindle & e-Book Reader Review

No problem, Marcel! Yes, let's save the environment, a few books from each person would make a huge forest.

Oh, and since you have an iPad AND a naughty cat, have you seen this - iPad Game for Cats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK2dwTVi-aQ

It's free haha, but I'd be wary of letting a cat scratch the iPad unless it's armored with a solid, heavy-duty screen protector
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad: Compare For Yourself

Charlene,

I'm a secret undercover agent from Amazon sent to subtly brainwash people's minds into using Kindle

Yes, Kindle is lousy at displaying PDFs (you have to zoom in to each section of the PDF page to properly view it, no text-to-speech and dictionary search capabilities) - although that is more of a software hurdle than hardware, as can be seen from improved PDF functions in the latest system update. But to me it's still way inferior compared to reading a nicely illustrated PDF on an iPad or coloured devices, because of the images and formatting.

But, if your PDFs are mainly just novels or words, there would be no problem, as you can easily convert it using Calibre - which is the best ebook format converter around - to Kindle-supported MOBI format.

You can also easily re-download your PDF documents in MOBI format, as ebook readers are proliferating and lots of materials are available in this format. Even if this format is not available, you can get those in the formats of EPUB, LIT or even HTML or TXT, which all convert perfectly well to MOBI using Calibre.



Quote:
Originally Posted by blackie007 View Post
I suspect Andy has persuaded Amazon to pay him a commission for promoting Kindle so heavily. :)

I must say that Kindle does sound like it's the better buy. My only reservation that's holding me back from taking that plunge is that Kindle does not support PDF documents that well. About 95% of my ebooks are in PDF formats. A few were previously in LIT and ePUB formats which I had converted long before I knew of Kindle's drawback, and the original formats have been deleted.

So, for the time being, until I decide on which ebook to purchase, I'm reading mine on the computer, using the Caliber ebook viewer. It's more convenient than reading it with the Adobe. :)

Last edited by AndyKoh; 12-27-2010 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 02:03 PM
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Default Re: Kindle & e-Book Reader Review

She only uses her paw if my hubby's using his i-Pad and she thinks she can type words as well... as I'm typing on my Laptop she's also 'campur tangan' typing as well...hahaha she's always behind lurking and surprise me by jumping on the keypad - that ruins and have to re-type again.
She's interested with the paper 'coz of the sound and the look of it every time the wind blows.
I'm going to try the link, Andy. Thank s for the info. She really need that game.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKoh View Post
No problem, Marcel! Yes, let's save the environment, a few books from each person would make a huge forest.

Oh, and since you have an iPad AND a naughty cat, have you seen this - iPad Game for Cats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK2dwTVi-aQ

It's free haha, but I'd be wary of letting a cat scratch the iPad unless it's armored with a solid, heavy-duty screen protector
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:06 AM
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Default Re: Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad: Compare For Yourself

I'll bet! You're even trying to help me overcome my reservations about viewing the PDF format! :)

Ok, I'll try to use the Caliber to convert the PDF files into MOBI format and see how it works....thank goodness you're not a salesman in a boutique. I'd probably end up buying every piece of clothing in the store! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKoh View Post
Charlene,

I'm a secret undercover agent from Amazon sent to subtly brainwash people's minds into using Kindle

Yes, Kindle is lousy at displaying PDFs (you have to zoom in to each section of the PDF page to properly view it, no text-to-speech and dictionary search capabilities) - although that is more of a software hurdle than hardware, as can be seen from improved PDF functions in the latest system update. But to me it's still way inferior compared to reading a nicely illustrated PDF on an iPad or coloured devices, because of the images and formatting.

But, if your PDFs are mainly just novels or words, there would be no problem, as you can easily convert it using Calibre - which is the best ebook format converter around - to Kindle-supported MOBI format.

You can also easily re-download your PDF documents in MOBI format, as ebook readers are proliferating and lots of materials are available in this format. Even if this format is not available, you can get those in the formats of EPUB, LIT or even HTML or TXT, which all convert perfectly well to MOBI using Calibre.
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad: Compare For Yourself

Hahaha... Amazon should certainly consider giving me some award (i.e. lifetime supply of Kindles)!

Don't worry, this volunteer salesman hasn't diversified into other merchandize yet.. right now, I'm contented at just brainwashing people on Kindles and most importantly, pet adoptions haha!

Actually you can already sort of try out the PDF conversion's effectiveness, since you have a Blueberry mobile that can read e-books. You can convert PDF to MOBI or most likely EPUB which is supported by your mobile e-reader, and see how it fares.

In the event that some PDFs' text lines are incorrectly broken into multiple new lines when converted in Calibre, you can go to Preferences->Conversion->Input Options->PDF Input and tweak the "Line Un-wrapping Factor" value, I usually set it to something like 0.6 or 0.7. That would make Calibre have a higher tolerance for line formatting issues in the original PDF.


Quote:
Originally Posted by blackie007 View Post
I'll bet! You're even trying to help me overcome my reservations about viewing the PDF format! :)

Ok, I'll try to use the Caliber to convert the PDF files into MOBI format and see how it works....thank goodness you're not a salesman in a boutique. I'd probably end up buying every piece of clothing in the store! :)
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Old 12-28-2010, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad: Compare For Yourself

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackie007 View Post
I'll bet! You're even trying to help me overcome my reservations about viewing the PDF format! :)

Ok, I'll try to use the Caliber to convert the PDF files into MOBI format and see how it works....thank goodness you're not a salesman in a boutique. I'd probably end up buying every piece of clothing in the store! :)
Hey, Charlene -- I'm giving some halfway serious thought to ordering a Kindle (the 3G one, since I don't have a WiFi router at home). If you're interested, let me know, and I'll order one for you at the same time. That would be a nice double commission (ka-ching! ka-ching!) for Amazon Agent Andy.

I'm seeing increasing numbers of e-books available from various sources, and I'm always happy to reduce the amount of paper I purchase. I think Andy's convinced me that I can get used to reading on the electronic device. It can't be as difficult an adjustment as learning to read audio books. That really was learning a new skill, and reading with my ears is still not my strong suit...

Andy, what about a case for the dear little thing? Can I find one locally, or do I need to buy from... from... that company that sells the Kindle? (I really, really don't like them, so I hope they do pay you a fat commission!)
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Old 12-28-2010, 12:54 PM
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Default Re: Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad: Compare For Yourself

Hi Amanda,

Wow, I can't wait to hear the ka-ching ka-chings rolling in haha!

I've tried listening to audio books too, but I find it a bit slow, at least 2 or 3 times slower than visual reading.. I could only stand listening to short audios like BBC news, else I might fall asleep hearing out a novel! Since Kindle has text-to-speech function, you wouldn't really need to separately purchase audio books next time. However, I don't think Kindle's synthetic text-to-speech has the realistic feel of a person's accurate pronunciation and expression. Its text-to-speech availability is actually subjected to the approval of the publisher/author, although most of the ones I came across had this enabled.

Oh wait.. I don't think you should buy 3G, at least not while using it in Malaysia. You see, the 3G version only works in countries where Amazon is affiliated with and have telco agreeements. The beauty of the 3G Kindle (which also has Wifi) is that it has an embedded sim card so that you can use worldwide at no cost even for surfing (yes, Amazon pays for it, but it's already factored into the ebook prices and wireless ebook delivery fees outside of US). However, Amazon doesn't have any contract with Malaysian telcos, so you would not get any stable 3G signal here. My older Kindle (a white 3G-model) gets sporadic 3G signal from some unknown telco, which I suspect is from Thailand, as Amazon sells Kindles in Thailand.

In my opinion, you don't really need to spend $189 on a 3G + Wifi Kindle - just a $139 Wifi Kindle will do. Reason being you don't really need to constantly access the internet with the Kindle - you can always download the Amazon ebooks (or whatever other sources) through computer first and easily transfer it through USB cable to the Kindle. The 3G/Wifi is only useful if you wish to conveniently download daily newspaper subscriptions or browse the Kindle store, which you can also do manually via computer. You can always go to Starbucks or somewhere with Wifi occasionally if you wish to get a taste of this activity, or proudly surfing the web in retro Black & White.

One more problem with the 3G model is that when you purchase an ebook from Amazon and don't configure things properly in your account, Amazon would instantly push the ebook to your Kindle via 3G, and that would cost you a $2 delivery fee as Amazon detects that you are outside of US. I have suffered such fees unknowingly before, but luckily Amazon refunded them in full to me within 24 hours after I complained hehe.

Regarding the leather cover, I suggest you just buy it directly when you order the Kindle. It costs $35, and although there are lots of choices on Amazon, I think their standard one is good enough. You can carry the Kindle around like a small, thin notebook, very convenient and compact. I think black colour looks most professional and matching to the graphite Kindle.
http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Leather...in3w_ddp_bbe1?

You should try to request Amazon to ship the cover and Kindle together in one package (sometimes they can, depending on whether both items come from the same warehouse). Reason being vPost charges your shipping by parcels, and it'd have some extra parcel charge if both are separated, and shipping might then cost you RM50 or so more. Not sure about other re-routing services though, they might have better terms for multiple parcels.

One inconvenience though, is when you are browsing the Kindle store through your computer, or accessing your US Amazon account. Amazon will detect your location, and if it's in Malaysia, it would not allow you to see the Kindle ebook prices or download them. So you'll need to configure your browser to go through a US proxy server whenever you wish to browse/download Kindle books from Amazon. Don't worry though, this is a simple configuration I can help you with. It only applies to Amazon, so downloading and transferring your ebooks or audiobooks from other sources are not affected.

Btw, the Kindle can also play background MP3 music, so you can listen to some nice music while reading. Just transfer over your collection of MP3s to their music folder and Kindle will loop through the songs for you. You can hook up standard headphones or play it through their built-in loudspeakers.

If you guys would like a hands-on test, maybe we can arrange to have a drink this or next week, preferably at a place with Wifi, and I'll bring along the Kindle so you can get a feel of it. You wouldn't get accustomed to reading on it within such a short duration though, but it'd be good enough for you to preview its functions. I'd be at Mid Valley tomorrow (Wednesday) for gym, so if you want I can also meet you at Starbucks after that, say 9:30pm.

.

Last edited by AndyKoh; 12-28-2010 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:22 PM
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Default Re: Kindle & e-Book Reader Review

Andy,

The PDF files didn't convert well into MOBI or EPUB formats, and the results looked the same in the computer and my Blueberry mobile, too. Well, almost the same, with the exception that the lines are a little off in the Blueberry mobile's display. I took a couple of shots of the display on my PC screen.

The first photo showed the abnormally compressed font...short and fat fonts that are hardly legible. The second photo showed the fat black column in place of the apostrophe character.



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Old 12-28-2010, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: Samsung Galaxy Tab vs. the iPad: Compare For Yourself

I'm still stuck at the halfway serious thought...haven't moved beyond that, yet, so Andy has to wait for a bit to hear his ka-ching ka-ching sounds. :)

But please let me know before you place your orders and we'll see if I've decided by then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maneki Neko View Post
Hey, Charlene -- I'm giving some halfway serious thought to ordering a Kindle (the 3G one, since I don't have a WiFi router at home). If you're interested, let me know, and I'll order one for you at the same time. That would be a nice double commission (ka-ching! ka-ching!) for Amazon Agent Andy.
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Kindle & e-Book Reader Review

Hi Charlene,

I think the first converted format is fine - you won't need to worry about the fat/compressed fonts, because Kindle uses its own set of fonts, and only follows the text, size and formatting (i.e. italics, bold) from your original text. If you want to see how it shows on kindle, just email me that converted MOBI file and I'll photograph it on my Kindle display for you to see. Send me the original PDF too just in case ya.

Oh, I think Amanda has crossed the halfway point haha.. she might be ready to take a dive into electronic readers pretty soon!
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:41 PM
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Default Re: Kindle & e-Book Reader Review

Okay...will email you the files later.

Brave Amanda! :)


Quote:
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Hi Charlene,

I think the first converted format is fine - you won't need to worry about the fat/compressed fonts, because Kindle uses its own set of fonts, and only follows the text, size and formatting (i.e. italics, bold) from your original text. If you want to see how it shows on kindle, just email me that converted MOBI file and I'll photograph it on my Kindle display for you to see. Send me the original PDF too just in case ya.

Oh, I think Amanda has crossed the halfway point haha.. she might be ready to take a dive into electronic readers pretty soon!
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: Kindle & e-Book Reader Review

Hi Charlene,

I've emailed you photos of your ebook on my Kindle.

The single quote was indeed incorrectly translated by Calibre, I suspect it's something to do with the source PDF's problem.

Most of my converted books are fine, but now and then certain ones would crop up such weird problems too. Try directly finding EPUB or MOBI versions instead of converting PDF ones.

As for the title, you can always right-click on that entry in Calibre, and edit the Metadata, where you can set the author and title.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:03 AM
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Default Re: Kindle & e-Book Reader Review

Hi Andy,

You are a good promoter really... hehe.. now I'm in Kindle... make me more confuse now anyway, tried my cat's game in i-Pad, they're both busy with it. Again, thank you for being a good promoter for e-book reader
I'm getting Kindle, can play mp3 songs too...is it available only in Amazon?

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Eve
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Kindle & e-Book Reader Review

Hi Eve,

Haha, thanks.. ironically I only seem to "sell" things that I get no benefits out of! A non-profit salesman haha..

Cool.. so your cat actually loves playing with the cat game on iPad? Wonder what happens if I show it to a dog.. then again, I don't think I wanna risk my iPad on a dog yet as it might go crazy and barbaric hehe..

Yes, Kindle can play MP3 songs too, although it's sound quality isn't the best among audio playing devices.. serves more like a value-added feature rather than a main selling point for the device. Yup, the device can only be purchased on Amazon US, unfortunately. Unless you have friends in Thailand, then you can have Amazon ship it there.
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