Thursday, June 19, 2008

First SECULAR eBook Experience (UPDATE)

Amazon's Kindle caught my attention months ago. The Kindle solves the problem of both book storage and book carrying, and at a certain intellectual level the price per book seems OK. It has other features that distinguish it significantly from other eBook readers and processes. But the unit itself seemed pricey, and one has to buy the unit to evaluate fully this way of buying and reading books. And, before investing this much, one needs to get familiar generally with the portable eBook market.

Glenn Reynolds posted recently on a new sci-fi novel entitled Fallen Angels. Reynolds reports that the book is available in an eBook format, and the eBook edition is available free at a site called the Bain Free Library. So I went over there and took a look at the Bain Free Library site.

Not only is Fallen Angels there and available to download without charge, but the site has links to various kinds of software that would turn one's internet device into a reader. I have a Palm Treo 680, and there is reader software to download without charge for that device. The site for that software is Mobipocket. Mobipocket not only has the software, but it is also a site that sells eBooks. There are many other sites that sell eBooks, as I learned when I googled "eBook." I also found that there is other reader-software for the Palm that will give one access to other eBook formats. I will post more on all that later. But how was it to read Fallen Angels on the Treo?

Not bad. Books are a sort of portal into another world - not books so much as the stories, the content, that the book conveys. If it really is the content and not the particular package, then an eBook on a Palm ought to work. And it turns out that it does work, at least for me.

There is a problem with memory on my Palm - the eBook in question and the Mobipocket software took up a lot of space, so I am going to have to address that if I get serious about the eBook alternative on the Palm Treo.

And I still like to hold the book in my hand, to see it on the shelf, to loan it or give it away. It will be a while before I get out of the life-long "tBook" (tactile book?) habit.

I would like to hear from you on your eBook experiences.

UPDATE: Now that I think of it, I have been using eBooks on my PDA for years, first with a Palm Pilot and, when a cell phone came out with Palm software, my Treo. What I've been using is Bible software by Laridian. I use it many times during the week, and obviously it has become so familiar I don't even think of using it as an eBook experience. I think Laridian will still give you the software and the KJV for free. I have that, plus the NIV, NASB, the NIV with some annotations, the RSV, and the ASB. Once you have a passage before you, you can switch versions quickly to see how it was translated differently. I also have their Bible dictionary. It has a great search feature. (Wow! I just looked at the Laridian site and they now have the NIV Study Bible notes available.)

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