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e-ink e-readers & other e-stuff. No i-stuff.

Discussion in 'Everything else' started by Grench, Feb 8, 2018.

  1. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    I mentioned in another thread about my struggles to find a truly open e-ink e-book reader. Those simply don't exist. Another user @rygD asked me to share the experience and answer some questions once I have the device.

    So, I took a step back and considered my planned uses for one. I shop regularly on Amazon.com. I have bought thousands of $ in physical books from them over the years. So, at first glance I would be an ideal customer for their Kindle line, right? Wrong. The way Amazon handles the DRM on the Kindles, disallowing books purchased from other sources, turns me away and looses them the sale. They are the only e-book reader seller who's devices are deliberately made to NOT work with OverDrive.

    OverDrive is a book lending system that is in use by libraries all over the US - maybe all over the world (I don't know). It is what my local public library uses. Although I will likely purchase e-books too, I want to make sure I have a direct option to utilize the library's collection.
    https://www.overdrive.com/

    So, I went down the rabbit hole of trying to find out which e-ink e-reader works best with Overdrive.
    Kindles - don't work with OverDrive in any meaningful way.
    Nearly everything Else - works with OverDrive IF you have a Windows or Apple desktop computer to download the books onto then side-load them over.
    Then I found this line on the OverDrive site:
    https://help.overdrive.com/customer...25-how-to-use-overdrive-on-your-kobo-aura-one

    So, if there is one e-ink e-reader that can access my local public libraries OverDrive lending service over WiFi without needing a Windows or Mac computer, there must be others right? More research later - the answer is no. As far as I can tell, only the Kobo Aura One can. Pretty much any general purpose color Android tablet can - but not even the Android e-ink readers can do this seamlessly.

    The Kobo Aura One comes in two variants:
    https://us.kobobooks.com/products/kobo-aura-one
    https://us.kobobooks.com/products/kobo-aura-one-limited-edition

    As of 2/6/2018, I have a limited edition version on order.
    As of 2/8/2018, I have not received a shipping notice. I opted for free ground shipping, so this is not surprising.
    2/8/2018 - evening. I received the shipping notice with tracking info.
    2/9/2018 - tracking info says the device is in-shipping system in Concord, Ontario, Canada.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
    ible and ClockworkCoder like this.
  2. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    Regarding Overdrive, I think my PRS-700 works with sideloading. Never tried it.

    I already forgot the specs. Does it accept SD cards? It appears that the only physical button is the power button. Does that mean the only way to turn pages is with the touchscreen?

    I like the reading light and display better than what I have, although I think the bright white might become a problem after reading for an hour or so (my screen is a bit more grey, like a newspaper, while I would prefer something with a slightly cream color over bright white or grey).

    One of the problems I currently have is when using Calibre, or just dropping ebooks on the SD card, sometimes they don't all show up, and sometimes the names and tags get messed up (mostly Calibre here). I wanted you to try those out options for adding books when you get a chance. I mostly have PDFs and epubs.
     
  3. Caine

    Caine Hardcore Member

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    I think you messed up the year there.

    Unfortunately it is too small for me. I am still looking for a decent A4-ish e-reader for my piano sheet music, with little success (the more interesting ones are insanely expensive).
     
  4. sm0kew0n

    sm0kew0n Very Active Member

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    I did have one these, but I wanted it for pdfs mainly. It's native pdf handling is pretty poor so I tried this -



    I returned it after KOreader proved less than adequate as well, very slow rendering after making viewing changes. The device is very nice and light and nice to read on. If you not wanting it for pdfs then I think it will do a fine job.
     
  5. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Year typo corrected.

    Yes - there are 13" e-readers out there. I even found one reference to one that folds out with two 13" screens made specifically for musicians to see sheet music on. But they're bloody expensive and may very well be vapor.
    https://the-digital-reader.com/2017/04/09/dual-screen-13-3″-e-ink-musik-ereader-design-m-plus-video/

    The Kobo Aura One is a 7.8" e-reader with modest side bezels. It isn't going in a pant pocket, but should fit in a jacket pocket. I have seen musicians use tablets roughly this size. I may give it a try - I play Saxophone - admittedly badly - and never in public. But I can at least put the e-reader on a stand with some sheet music on a PDF and see if I can read it comfortably while playing.
    --- Double Post Merged, Feb 8, 2018, Original Post Date: Feb 8, 2018 ---
    No SD cards. So I got the 32GB version which should be more than adequate.

    Only physical button is the power button on the back. Touchscreen for page turns. Yes, fingerprints - but as a plus it's waterproof so those can be rinsed off.

    Apparently the reading light can be both dimmed and the color altered for low-blue-light night reading with an orange-ish tint. I'm looking forward to trying it out.

    I have never used Calibre - I'm relatively new to the whole e-reader thing. In my mind I'm envisioning connecting the tablet to my Linux workstation via USB where it would appear as a 32GB USB drive and drag/dropping whatever non-Kobo content to it. Yeah, probably not that easy, but I can dream. I have some PDFs that will definitely get attempted.
     
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  6. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    Calibre is good for organizing things. You can try it out on your Pandora.
     
  7. Inqui

    Inqui Member

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    I use this one:
    https://www.icarusreader.com/illumina-XL-HD

    Its a nice big screen, a real bookfeeling. Working with Android 4.2, so you can use almost everything on it.
    While it have bluetooth as well, you can listen to webradio while reading.
     
  8. Gren

    Gren Member

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    Wow. I had no idea ebook library lending was a thing. Thanks for the heads up Grench!
    Just checked my local library, and they support overdrive. So I've applied for a physical library card (go figure).

    I actually have a kindle paperwhite, and Amazon's DRM/format control, not to mention the pricing structure, is very annoying.
    Gonna ditch it and give the Kobo a shot.

    Many thanks,
    Gren.
     
  9. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Don't interpret my above statements as endorsement - just how I got to where I'm at and the thought process. I don't actually have the Kobo I ordered yet.

    Also - if you're after it for Overdrive integration, only one model (two versions of it) have OverDrive integration. The rest of the Kobo do not.

    I have used OverDrive itself before on my tablet and it works pretty well software wise on Android. I didn't care for the tablet reading experience though - I either had to have the backlight turned way down and got glare or turned up too much. Battery life on a full-on color tablet was also an issue. Others have noted their choices too - and they actually have their e-readers to be able to make endorsements and such.
     
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  10. Gren

    Gren Member

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    Yup, understood. I'll do some more research. PC world have the aura one in stock, so might go and have a play with it tomorrow...
    Overdrive integration is the killer for me. My library appears to be quite well stocked.. :)

    If only kindle unlimited was bundled with Amazon Prime :$
     
  11. dracmas

    dracmas Still Fresh

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    Have had a Kobo aura h20 for about a year. Battery life is really great since I don't charge it that often at all. Keep a 256gig sd card in it so space is not An issue.
     
  12. jorlinn

    jorlinn Member

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    Wow! I thought that 64GB was the max. Very interesting... I hardly start up the official firmware (Nickel) any more since it's database model (rather than a sensible file tree) makes it much too slow when compared to KoReader, especially with a large library. On the positive side: Nickel energy management is vastly superior to the current one in KoReader.

    For some pdf's the presentation works better on Nickel, but the ePub rendering is where Nickel really shines. Good kerning makes a big difference when rendering an ePub book properly. Please excuse my French, but the KoReader experience is piss-poor in that regard.
    Still, the ability to organise my books in a tree fashion still makes KoReader a winner to me, in spite of it's lack of polish.
    I use my Kobo Aura H2O almost every day.
     
  13. spud42

    spud42 Very Active Member

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    i got one of these from ebay. https://www.goodgearguide.com.au/review/central_book_services/eco_reader/326040/
    works ok, has SD card slot and there are three ways of turning pages. 1 buttons on the left, 2 the 9 and 0 buttons. and on the right side half way between the top and the clip of the cover is a lever you push up or down . works quite well. aparently there are custom firmwares for it but i have not bothered as it works fine as it is for me.

    https://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/ECO_Reader

    i got mine for $30 AUD it was brand new...
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  14. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    This is all going to start off negative. I actually like the device, but the initial frustrations just about had me sending it back. The frustrations were mostly my own fault combined with Adobe seemingly hating Linux users.

    After a 4 day wait to ship, multiple days of planned shipping and a two day severe weather delay, my Kobo Aura One Limited Edition arrived last Friday. Like any kid with a new toy, I opened things up right away that evening.
    Code:
    https://us.kobobooks.com/products/kobo-aura-one-limited-edition
    And before someone 'fixes' that for me - I'm putting URLs in code on these boards until someone turns off the automated media tagging 'feature'.

    First disappointment - no USB charger is included. OK, I get it, we all already have dozens. At least they included a cable... The included microUSB cable is quite possibly the cheapest, thinnest gauge shortest junk USB cable that wasn't labeled "Data Only" that I have ever seen. Yes, I have other better microUSB cables. However, this is a $280 premium device. They cut a $2 corner on the boxed cable and negatively impacted their customer's experience.

    As soon as I plugged it in, it asked for a WiFi connection. Perfectly normal and expected. No problem.
    Next it wanted me to log in via Kobo or Google+ or FaceBook. I bought the thing from us.kobobooks.com which I thought was Kobo and tried that. Nope. Tried creating a Kobo account - again failed, but this time it told me why. Apparently I already had a Rakuten account and they do not allow creation of a Kobo account with the same email address as an existing Rakuten account. So, the account I had created on us.kobobooks.com to purchase a Kobo turns out to be a Rakuten account. OK - work through that - resetting password, etc... That was a good 15 minutes to get through.

    Instructions say to leave it on the charger for 5 hours - so I let it sit on the charger for a while and work through the rest of the stuff I bought to go with it. I had purchased the $50 Sleep Cover when I bought the device and another similar item for $13.50 from Amazon a day later. The one from Amazon arrived 4 days before the Kobo did.
    Code:
    https://us.kobobooks.com/collections/auraone-related/products/kobo-aura-one-sleepcover
    Code:
    https://www.amazon.com/Cover-case-Kobo-Aura-stand/dp/B078J5XR6X
    Comparing the two, the one from Amazon seems nicer. The back of it folds multiple ways to act as a kickstand in portrait & landscape viewing modes and seems more stable in both. The Kobo one has a foamy area for the power button to push-through to the real power button where the Amazon one has a window to stick a finger through to the real power button. In all, I thought they were very similar with a slight edge to the Amazon one - so I put it on the Kobo. At this point I had a bit of buyer's remorse for having spent $50 on the Kobo sleep cover that I wasn't going to use. Why would a cover cost $50? That was a clue that I missed.

    Having read up on things while waiting for this to come in, I knew that I wanted to use it with Overdrive. To use it I would need a local library card - Check. Drilling in a bit more, in order to make proper use of Overdrive, I needed to create an Adobe Digital Editions userID. Yet another online userID - OK, done. I thought I was ready - but no. I needed to register the device with Adobe Digital Editions - which is software to track ePUB DRM. And now we have the big catch/stop/pain. The device cannot self-register to Adobe Digital Editions. It MUST be connected via USB to a Windows PC or Mac that is already running and registered to Adobe DE. I looked things up and on the WINE list it has Adobe DE 4.5 as 'Gold', so I tried to install it - which then requires MS .NET 11 - which fails to install. I tried Winetricks, I tried Wine dev edition, I tried multiple 32bit and 64bit contexts. 3 hours later I was able to get Adobe DE 1.7 installed and running and registered - score! Then I connected the Kobo and - nothing. Adobe DE 1.7 doesn't have any way to talk to an e-reader. Without Adobe DE working I would not only not be able to use Overdrive to check out books from the library, but any book that I would purchase from Kobo or Google books or other would be forever restricted to the device it was purchased from. I.e. the ePub format requires linking the purchase to the Adobe key server in order for me to be able to see my purchases on my devices. At this point my recent 'Clean' Debian install on my workstation is now 'Cluttered' and the WINE install on it is fairly well hashed. Now 4.5 hours later I was ready to give up on getting the Kobo to work under Linux. It was after midnight and I admitted defeat for the night.

    At least the device allows me to power it on at this point. Data entry into this thing was VERY slow and VERY inaccurate. I figured it had to have something to do with the e-ink screen and low powered SoC - maybe that required some poor responding digitizer to make it all work together. That was a clue that I missed.

    The next day the Kobo was good and securely charged and I took a new approach to the Adobe DE issue. I own -one- Windows computer - a Gole1 running Windows 10. I keep it in a drawer and hardly ever use it. Plugged it in and booted it up. Windows 10 has always been an exercise in frustration to me. The level of effort that Microsoft expended to shelter me from being able to do anything useful with their OS is astounding. I re-found the 'Edge' browser and went to the Adobe site and downloaded Adobe DE 4.5 - then Edge vanished. I fumbled around the Windows 10 interface - Edge would not launch from the main multi-window abomination interface - the whole system seemed flaky. Having used Windows before I knew the first solution - click power - restart. Then I knew why Windows was behaving badly - it was in the midst of updating itself (without asking me). 30 minutes later it was willing to restart - then on startup spent another 20 minutes finishing the install.

    However, after the Windows update had finished, I was able to install the Adobe DE 4.5 software and register the Gole1. Score 1 - or so I thought. My next step was to plug the Kobo Aura One Limited Edition into the USB port on the Gole1. I have plugged in a lot of USB cables in my life, so I think I have that part down well. But, I plugged in the USB cable into the Aura One - and the Aura One immediately went to sleep. I disconnected it, disabled sleep mode from the Aura One and tried again - same thing. I tried other USB ports on the Gole1 - same thing. I tried other USB cables - same thing. I rebooted the Gole1. I factory reset the Aura One and tried again - same thing. At this point I've been fiddling with cables and computers for another two hours with nothing but frustration to show for it.

    A moment of realization... The unit was going to sleep just like it does if the 'sleep cover' is closed. The cheap cover that I was using from Amazon had an actual magnetic clasp what if I tried without the cheap cover on it... The unit instantly became far more responsive. It no longer went to sleep when the USB was plugged in. I was able to connect it to the Gole1 and register the Aura One to Adobe DE and complete my install of Overdrive and - borrow a book -.

    I live 2.5 miles from my local public library. It is a 7 minute drive with bad traffic or 20 minute bike ride if there were a way to do it without getting run down by the traffic. I spent roughly 8 hours checking out my first e-book on the Kobo. I have the real Kobo Sleep Cover on it and it works great and does not interfere with the other functions of the unit. Quality of the Kobo Aura One Limited Edition itself and the Kobo sleep cover are both very high.

    Granted, it isn't Rakuten's fault that I tried to use a knock-off cover (~2.5 hours) or a Linux fan (~5 hours). So, a 'normal user' who didn't do these things would have been up and running inside of about 30 minutes. I'm about 90% through that first book now. I can state that the reading experience is top notch and comfortable. The 'night mode' where you can shift the color spectrum from white/blue to rust/orange is no joke. So far I prefer to put the screen a bit orange - like old newspaper - and lock it there with brightness locked around 10%. Yes, it can do these things automatically - I prefer manual controls.

    The underlying sadness though is Adobe's Digital Editions has versions for Windows 10, Mac, Android and iOS, but not Linux. In fact, it feels like they have deliberately made it very difficult for Linux users to install or use by tying the PC version to Microsoft's .NET framework. If anything screams, "Write this so that it compiles and works on any OS!", this is it. DRM is only effective if it doesn't get in the way. I have no issues paying for books, but Adobe DE feels like punishment for 'doing it right' or punishment for using Linux - I'm not sure which their objective was.

    So, great device so far - once I got rid of the big magnet I had mounted to the side of it and stooped to using Windows. Being able to browse books, find one that I want to read - check it's status at the local public library and check it out directly on the device without having to side-load is just what I was after.
     
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  15. Caine

    Caine Hardcore Member

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    The right to read:
    Code:
    https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html
    
    The cloud brings us convenience... yeah right. Fuck this shit.

    I will put my PDF/Epub/txt/html file on my e-reader when it is connected as a mass-storage device to my Linux PC. As it should be.

    All these walled gardens need to die. Yesterday.
     
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  16. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    I love the dystopian story you linked.

    Your method is how the Kobo it works with non-DRMd content. Connected to my Linux workstation - no Adobe DE - the Kobo appears as a 32GB flash drive with 28GB free. Simply drag and drop content onto it - creating your own folder structure if you like - and it shows up in the on-device books list. I put a couple of BIG automotive shop manual .PDF files on it that way and they're usable.

    I went with a Kobo reader instead of a Kindle because it has a less restrictive walled garden with more doors. The Kobo Aura allows more file types from more booksellers and has Overdrive built into it. Yes, everything sold by Kobo or Google or lent to me by Overdrive has the Adobe DE DRM on it - which requires jumping through Adobe's hoops using software that Adobe requires device registration via one of two OSs. Today it feels like the lesser of the two evils if you want to seamlessly purchase and download or borrow and download without needing to sideload.
     
  17. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    If you are willing to stoop to using Android, I have pirated acquired many books on my nook tablet (the cheap one) with no trouble at all (once I added a microSD). I just download and read. It would be great if it had an e-ink screen, but I got it as a color/quick reference supplement to my actual ebook reader. The problem is now my list of hard copy books I want is growing fast.
     
  18. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    I have a really really nice Android tablet (Galaxy Note 12.2). I have a bluetooth keyboard and mouse for it and it works as a laptop replacement. Something about it though - I've never been comfortable reading for long stretches on it. As a general rule I run the backlight at near-minimum settings, but it still feels 'too bright' for extended reading.

    I have been using the Kobo at 4-10% backlight (the top end of the backlight is WAY too bright for me) with the screen turned a bit orange (less white/blue). That seems to have made the difference.

    That is why I was after an e-ink solution to my ever growing physical book stacks. The fact that it has Overdrive built in pushed me to this particular model.
     
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  19. Gremblo

    Gremblo Hi, how was your day?

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    I have been printing out my 'digital' reading onto paper.
    I have a double sided printer so I just fold the papers in half and staple them into 'booklets'. (I usually do a chapter at a time)
    [​IMG]
     
  20. rygD

    rygD Nihilistic Mystic

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    That is why I was saying an Android reader with e-ink would be nice. With most of my devices the light is as low as it will go (and too bright), while e-ink screens work great for me in most lighting situations with no internal light needed except at night in a dark room. That orangey light and wifi are the only extra features I wish my PRS-700 had. Overdrive is nice if you can find something. I know it isn't as straightforward on mine as yours, so if you use it that will also be a huge plus (but DRM...can't support that, and not because I want to steal books).

    I used to do that with certain books that were otherwise unavailable. I have always preferred real paper books. I actually just got a new one I have been looking forward to for a couple years.
     

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